Five destinations in Tocantins to enjoy nature

23/04/2016 - Daniela Oliveira / Government of Tocantins

Tocantins has many travel destinations where nature is the main attraction. With wonderful sceneries and unique flora and fauna, the state provides tourists with a pristine environment for adventures through its mountain ranges, rivers, dunes, canyons, waterfalls and many more. Check below some of the most popular destinations:

Jalapão

Jalapão has become one of the main destinations for ecotourism and adventure tourism in Brazil. It is ideal for those who want to enjoy their vacation getting to know the most well preserved region of Cerrado in the country. Located in the eastern part of the state, the main attractions are spread throughout the municipalities of Ponte Alta do Tocantins, Mateiros, São Félix do Tocantins and Novo Acordo.

The region encompasses 34 thousand km2, with plateaus, mountain ranges, dunes, rivers, waterfalls, springs, beaches and impressive rock formations.  The main attractions include Pedra Furada, Canion Sussuapara, Cachoeira do Lajeado, the boiling wells, Cachoeira do Formiga, Morro da Catedral, and Cachoeira da Velha.

Another very popular location is the dunes, with fine golden sand that can reach up to 40 meters, the villages of Mumbuca and Prata, that are the communities formed by the descendants of escaped black slaves where you can find the traditional craftwork made with golden grass (capim dourado). Visitors can also go trekking up the mountains of Serra do Espírito Santo, go rafting in the Novo river and go bicycle touring in the region.

How to get there: take highway TO-050 from Palmas, drive for 64 kilometers to Porto Nacional. From Porto Nacional, drive more 116 kilometers in highway TO-225 to the city of Ponte Alta do Tocantins. From there, the tourist has to follow the road signs leading to each location. The roads are not paved, thus the use of a 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.

Cantão

The region of Cantão is in the juncture of two of the largest Biomes of Brazil: the Amazon and the Cerrado. The 800 lakes in the region are the natural birthplace of numerous fish populations.  Cantão State Park is home to some endangered species, such as the spotted jaguar and the giant otter. More than 300 bird species have been cataloged there, 33 of which are endemic.

Cantão is also a very popular destination for bird watchers and recreational fishing enthusiasts. The tourists can also practice bicycle tourism and go trekking following the waters of the streams.

If visitors want more adventure, they may choose to visit Ilha do Bananal - a 20 thousand km2 river island - considered one of the most important ecological preservation sites in Brazil since 1959, when it was officially made an environmental reserve.

How to get there: Leaving Palmas, the best way is to go to the city of Caseara. The city can be reached by charter flights (40 minutes) or by land, following highway TO-080 (from Palmas). The driving is 3 hours long on average.

Palmas and surrounding regions

The youngest capital in the country is located in a plateau between Lago de Palmas (lake) and Serra do Lajeado (mountain range). The city has a lot to offer nature and adventure enthusiasts. The main attractions are the permanent beaches (most river beaches are seasonal) and the waterfalls and trekking sites nearby. In addition, there are many historical elements about the creation of the State of Tocantins and the city itself that are worth visiting.

In Palmas, tourists can enjoy not only the beaches, but also other entertainment opportunities that the lake has to offer, such as fishing, boat rides, kayak and stand up paddle. Leaving the city, in the nearby district of Taquaruçu (32 km from Palmas), there are dozens of waterfalls. In some of them it is possible to go abseiling.

Serra do Lajeado is a mountain range with trails for the most adventurous who are willing to see the pre-historical rock paintings found in the region. In the city of Lajeado there are many watering locations and waterfalls.

Araguaína and surrounding region

Those interested in spending Carnival in the northern region of the state also have to option of having fun in nature, in the rivers and waterfalls. Most cities are between the Araguaia and Tocantins rivers, the main rivers of the region.

In Araguaína, second largest city in Tocantins, Cachoeira Véu de Noiva is a 20 m drop waterfall, that ends in a natural pool surrounded by stunning nature. Another option is Lago Azul, the lake formed after the construction of the Hydroelectric Power Plant Corujão.

How to get there: 368 km from Palmas, taking highway BR-153.

Natividade and neighboring villages

In Natividade, there is a waterfall called Paraíso, formed by several smaller falls and accessible by trail. The landscape is stunning and the fresh water is an invitation in warm sunny days.  Another hallmark of the city is its history, embedded in streets and buildings: the architectonic complex has been declared a Brazilian heritage site.

In the city of Almas, (82 km from Natividade) several little known sites stand out because of their natural beauty. Such is the case of Vale Encantado (Enchanted Valley), where there are four waterfalls with more than 70m drop, one right beside the other - the site is well worth the difficulties for reaching this magical place. The highest point in the region with an elevation of 700 m, Canion do Chupé is another very popular destination. Córrego Chupé is the stream that crosses the canyon, sliding over the black rock walls at 250 m height, forming crystal clear water pools along its way.

The region is also home to Serra do Gambá, where the waters spring on the summit of the mountains and cascades down over the rock walls, also forming these unique pools.

How to get there: 200 km from Palmas, taking highway TO-010 towards Natividade. 

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