Eco-tourism in Brazil: Chapada dos Veadeiros

The Chapada dos Veadeiros, located in the interior of Goiás, is known for its mystical climate and stunning landscapes. One thing is a fact: Chapada is passionate, and always makes you want to go back, or maybe not even leave!


Chapada is known as the capital of mysticism. In the last decades several alternative communities, sects, and religions have landed in the region. Thus, Chapada is marked by a zen atmosphere that is contagious, and regardless of the belief in spirituality that surrounds the place, the fact arouses curiosity, to say the least. Besides the extraterrestrials that “are everywhere”.

The Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is among the 25 best in the world, did you know? With incredible landscapes and trails both accessible and longer for the more adventurous.    

It has so many sights to visit that it is possible to set up many itineraries for a trip there. Besides the national park, there are more than 30 waterfalls, trails, caves, viewpoints and many other natural attractions scattered around the cities of Alto Paraíso de Goiás, São Jorge and Cavalcanti. So how to choose what to do in an itinerary in Chapada dos Veadeiros in just a long weekend or holiday?

First, it is worth considering that Chapada is a destination that has been in high demand by tourists, which means that its most famous attractions can get overcrowded on weekends, holidays, and school vacation months. This is the case with the Santa Bárbara Waterfall, which often has a line starting at 6am for tourists to get a ticket. Access to its blue waters is limited to only 20 minutes so that more people can visit.


For this reason, I decided to make a suggestion for an alternative itinerary in the Chapada dos Veadeiros, so that you can enjoy the places you will visit even if you have to face the overcrowding of a holiday. It doesn’t mean that the attractions will be 100% empty, but since they are not THAT popular and their access is more distant or complicated, at least the number of other possible visitors will be bearable. And all the places are very, very beautiful.

I also decided to set up base in only one city, Alto Paraíso, so that we wouldn’t have to waste time commuting, packing and unpacking, checking in and out.

So, lets go to the itinerary:

  • Day 1 – Angel and Archangel Waterfalls and the sunset at the Novo Horizonte viewpoint

The first day of the Chapada dos Veadeiros tour will be dedicated to the Angel and Archangel Waterfalls and the sunset at the Novo Horizonte viewpoint. And you don’t have to wake up that early, leaving Alto Paraíso around 9am is fine. The waterfalls are in the Solarion Park, located 15 km from the city, 2 on paved roads and 13 on dirt roads. You have to pay R$ 15 to enter, but if you are with an agency, this is already included in the package.

The trail to the farthest waterfall is 1.5 km long. That is, it is a total of 3 kilometers of walking, round trip. After 1 kilometer the road forks and you will see the access sign to Cachoeira dos Anjos on your right. The difficulty level of the hike is easy up to here. But it is better to go first to Arcanjos, which is further away, and then return. On this stretch there is a steep ascent and descent, amidst rocks. Children and sedentary people may have difficulties.


The Novo Horizonte Viewpoint is one of the places to watch the sunset in Alto Paraíso. It is inside the city, just five minutes by car from downtown, and the access is easy. Which does not mean that the view is less beautiful. From up there it is possible to see the view of the mountains, the typical vegetation of the cerrado (savannah), and the king of stars descending on the horizon just behind the town.


  • Day 2 – Trail and lots of Falls

Did you wake up with sore thighs after the first day of hiking in the Chapada dos Veadeiros? There is much more to come! The departure from the pousada needs to be done a little earlier on this second day, around 8am, so that lunch doesn’t end up happening too late. The destination for the second day is the immense and beautiful complex of the Falls, located on the river of the same name.

The access is through the Boa Esperança Farm, approximately 50 km from Paraíso. More than 30 km of the road is dirt and in a very bad state of conservation and without signs, which makes the trip much longer than the distance would presume (it takes about 1.5 hours by car). You don’t have to pay anything to enter this attraction. To get to the first waterfall, called Cachoeira da Muralha, is easy. There are only 800 meters of downhill trail.


Buuuuuuut, This is not the path you will take, hehe. The idea is to walk the complete circuit, starting at the last waterfall and ending at the Muralha. The path is initially flat, in the middle of the beautiful cerrado landscape. But the difficulty level of the trail increases as you go towards the last canyon. This is considered a medium difficulty hike, which is a total of 4 kilometers round trip.

Even if you choose not to contract an agency package and decide to do this tour on your own, we strongly recommend that you hire a guide to do at least this tour. This is because, besides being heavy, the trail has no signage, which makes it almost impossible to find the final viewpoint without the help of one. And we guarantee that it is worth it! After the flat part, you start descending to the entrance of the detour to the viewpoint.

The descent is so steep that some ropes have been installed so that people can hold on and not slip when slipping on the earth. After so much downhill, you can already see the impressive Cânion dos Couros. But it’s not over yet. The guide will take you to climb a set of rocks from where you will have a truly breathtaking view. As much for the beauty as for the fatigue! But beware: the viewpoint is not accessible during flood (October-April).

Even if you get exhausted from the hike as we did, there’s no way you won’t think it was worth every sore muscle. In front of you are three waterfalls: Parafuso (100 meters high), Bujão and Cânion dos Couros. It is beautiful to cry in the corner. But, after so much beauty and a good pause for photos and rest, it’s time to take the road back. All that steep descent now turns into an endless climb, a test for the best thighs.

  • Day 3 – Trail Macaquinho watterfalls and Vão do Paranã lookout point

Another day in the Chapada dos Veadeiros to wake up early and leave the inn around 8am. The destination is the incredible Macaquinhos Waterfalls complex. The access is through the Santuário das Pedras Farm, 42 km from Alto Paraíso. It is a 30 km dirt road, so be prepared for another bumpy ride of about 1.5 hours by car. Unlike the road to Couros, this one is well signposted and can be easily done by private car.




Halfway there, it is worth stopping at the Vão do Paranã lookout point, from where there is a beautiful view of the Chapada. When you get to 900 meters from the entrance to Macaquinhos, there will be a sign indicating that you should park and do the rest of the trip on foot unless you are in a 4 x 4 vehicle! Don’t disobey, because the stretch is sandy and you run a serious risk of getting stuck. After overcoming the 900 meters of steep descent, you arrive at the entrance of the complex. The cost is R$ 30.



The complex is composed of no less than eight waterfalls in the waters of the Macaquinhos River, plus some pools for bathing. The trail has a total distance – round trip – of 4 kilometers, being well signposted and of average difficulty, with some not very steep up and down stretches between rocks. We recommend that you go first to the last two waterfalls of the complex, which are the most beautiful, and take the time to bathe and see the others on the way back.

The second to last waterfall is called Cave Waterfall, which has this name because there is a small cave on the right side of the rocks. But forget the cave, because the attraction is really the very green (or is it blue???) water falling among the red rocks. The pool is good for bathing, even if it is cold. After it, you can still go to the Encontro Waterfall. The trail ends and the way is made by the rocks on the edge of the river, but there is no way to get lost.

In this waterfall, the Macaquinho and Fundão rivers meet, forming a 50-meter high waterfall. The view is breathtaking, but the place is not so good for swimming because of the force of the water. After admiring the two waterfalls at the end of the complex, start your way back to the entrance. Not without many stops for photos and to see the other waterfalls. Don’t miss the Pedra Furad waterfall and the Poço do Sereno, excellent for swimming!

  • Day 4 – Amazing sunrise and more trail!

the last day of the Chapada dos Veadeiros itinerary, it is necessary to wake up very early. The departure from the inn occurs around 4:30 am and is destined for the Morro da Baleia trail. This is a hike that very few people have done or know about, and we’ll tell you about it here first hand. With its 1,500 meters high, the Whale Mount reigns as the postcard of the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park. It can be seen from GO-239, which connects Alto Paraíso to São Jorge.

But getting up there – or at least to the top of the whale’s ‘tail’ – is not so simple. This is another tour for which we strongly recommend that you hire a guide or agency, especially if you want to watch the sunrise from up there. The trail is accessed by a dirt road and is less than 20 minutes from the city center. In total, it is about 3 kilometers (2 miles) round trip. At the top, the hike is easy.

But to get there, you have to face 600 meters of very steep climbing (which becomes a very steep descent on the way back). And, if you choose to follow our route in Chapada, in total darkness! The initial hike is done with flashlights and cell phones. It is not easy, but, particularly, we found it less heavy than the Cânion dos Couros viewpoint. Once at the top of the Whale, you will have about half an hour to admire the very starry sky of the Chapada.

At about 6:15 a.m., the sky begins to be colored red and you will be able to watch the spectacle of the dawn from the balcony. Any difficulties on the way up will be instantly erased from your memory in the face of such beauty! And it’s not over yet. After the sun rises, it’s time to resume the trail to the other side of the hill, from where there is an impressive view of the national park and the Maytrea Garden, which we will talk about later.

The descent is made with the 10:00 am sun already burning on your back. Back in town, you will have lunch and the beginning of the afternoon free to walk around the city and buy your travel souvenirs. Naps in the hammock (or in bed) are also allowed, hehe. Around 5pm, it’s time to get in the car again for the last sunset of this Chapada dos Veadeiros tour. The destination is the already mentioned Jardim de Maytrea.



Although it is inside the national park, it is possible to admire it through an access road on GO-239, which connects Alto Paraíso to São Jorge. You will see many cars parked on the shoulder, you can’t miss it. Visitors can circulate at will, respecting the limit of the fence. But you don’t have to go any further to enjoy the view of the buritis field surrounded by mountains. Everything becomes even more beautiful with the rosy colors of the sunset.





Hi all! Im a marketing professional passionate for ecotourism and for traveling around the world knowing the beautiful places nature give us :)

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