Jalapão, full of natural beauties
Between golden dunes, grandiose landscapes, hot springs and waterfalls the Jalapão every day conquers ecotourism lovers. In the middle of the closed of Tocantins, Jalapão is being discovered by the tourists that look for some days of rest away from the big urban centers. The destination is ideal to relax and enjoy intensely contact with nature. The region is one of the best preserved in the country and access, although still limited, makes Jalapão a region that is little exploited. It is time to leave the common itinerary and continue for a refreshing swim in the waters of Jalapão, after all, the sun is what is not missing there.
Jalapão is a region of the Brazilian cerrado, in the state of Tocantins, which encompasses several municipalities and different preservation areas, including the Jalapão State Park. The total area of Jalapão is 34 thousand km² and the region is considered one of the largest blocks of native vegetation remaining in Brazil.
¿When to go?
It is possible to visit Jalapão all year round, but the dry season, which runs from May to September, is the most appropriate. From October to April, although the days are less hot, the rains can hinder the walks, and affect the visibility of the sun's rays, one of the apex of the trip.
Under the intense blue sky of the cerrado, there are innumerable rock formations that, with the action of wind and rain, were transformed into sand. This explains the origin of the orange dunes, the largest postal card of Jalapão.
But the region is much more than that: to walk there means to know chapadones and streams that form natural pools, waterfalls and sight animals such as emas, blue-macaws, tapirs, capybaras, wolves-guará and, with luck, even ounces
In the Jalapão State Park, fed by the waters of the Novo River, the Velha Waterfall is the largest in the region, two falls that complete together, about 100 meters wide and 15 free falls. It is not allowed to bathe there, but it is possible to do a rafting by the waterfall or join the visit to the Prainha do Rio Novo. The Cachoeira do Formiga, 36 km from Mateiros, is one of the most beautiful in the region. The fall is not very big, but its waters form an impressive natural aquamarine pool. It is also possible to camp in the area.
For those who go to Ponte Alta do Tocantins, other good options are the Cachoeiras del Soninho, 68 km from the city. In it, the main drop, 30 meters high, has a large volume of water that makes swimming impossible. But a few meters above, the Sono River forms small falls and natural pools good for bathing. The river descends by slippery steps before forming the fall and then a well (to reach it, it is necessary to go down by the waterfall itself). In the Cachoeira da Fumaça, the program is to contemplate the fall and the great cloud of water vapor that it forms - for security reasons, the bath is not recommended.
The unique program of Jalapão, the Hervideros are crystalline wells where the water flows with so much pressure that it prevents the bathers from sinking. One of the most famous is the Fervedouro de Ceiça, in Mateiros, with a maximum capacity of ten visitors at a time and a total stay of 20 minutes. The Fervedouro Bela Vista, in São Félix do Tocantins, is the largest and one of the most beautiful in the region, with incredibly blue waters. It has a good infrastructure, with restaurant, camping area and wooden deck.
Other hot springs open to visitors are the Fervedouro del Río Sono, near Mateiros, with a restaurant serving homemade food and Redaria and Fervedouro del Buriti, with blue-green water and surrounded by buritis.
Fervedouro del Buritizinho and Fervedouro Encontro das Águas, in Mateiros and Fervedouro do Alecrim, near San Félix, are also good options.
About 30 kilometers from Mateiros, Serra do Espírito Santo offers a privileged view of the beauty and vastness of Jalapão. The track to the top is not the easiest - they are around 8 km round trip, but the visual compensates. The best times to do the track are first thing in the morning and end of the afternoon, when it is possible to see the sun rise or to get from the top. Next, erosion of the sandstone rocks of the Serra do Espírito Santo form the dunes of Jalapão. Huge orange sandbanks, the dunes are ideal for watching the sunset - the feeling is of being in a desert.
More things to do
To complete the visit to Jalapão, it is worth knowing the Cionion Sussuapara, a crack of 12 meters high opened by the water, about 12 km from Ponte Alta, with many plants, a stream and a small waterfall. For those who want to know and buy handicraft pieces in golden grass, it is worth visiting the quilombola Mumbuca community, near Mateiros.