Beaches and waterfalls attract visitors to the capital of Tocantins

23/03/2016 - Maria José Batista / Government of Tocantins

Tocantins is the youngest state in Brazil, and it was created by the Federal Constitution of 1988. It is geographically located in the North Region, within Amazônia Legal, which grants investors with incentives from the federal government.  The region is a transition between the Biomes of Cerrado and the Amazon, with stunning natural sceneries crisscrossed by rivers - Tocantins and Araguaia being the largest ones. In addition, the mountain ranges, lakes, deserts and vast flood plains provide a great array of options not only for ecotourism, contemplation and adventure, but also for business tourism, due to the state’s main economic activity, agribusiness.

Tourism in Tocantins can be tailored to the visitors needs and wishes, to the activities they want to embrace. In any region of the state nature is an overwhelming presence, both in the Capital, Palmas, the starting point of one’s journey, and in other destinations: Jalapão, Cantão, Serras Gerais, Ilha do Bananal, Vale dos Grandes Rios, Bico do Papagaio, amongst others.

Located in the geodesic center of Brazil, Palmas is the youngest capital in the country and the last planned city of the 20th century. It is one of the cities with the highest percentage of green space per capita, large streets and avenues, with public gardens and with numerous road signs. The city is on the right shore of Tocantins river and of the large lake formed by the construction of the Hydroelectric Power Plant of Lajeado. There are permanent fresh water beaches ready to receive visitors all year round, but high season is mostly in the July school vacations. 

Despite being a young city, Palmas has some monuments worth visiting. Some of these monuments tell the history of Tocantins, others portray national history, such as 18 do Forte and Memorial Coluna Prestes. There is also Relógio do Sol (Sun clock), Monumento à Bíblia (Monument to the Bible) and the Cross, set in the location where the first mass was celebrated in the new capital. All these monuments are set in Praça dos Girassóis, considered one of the largest squares in the world, with an area of approximately 580 thousand m2. Palácio Araguaia, the seat of state government is also in the same square, along with the Legislative and Judiciary Powers and other State Departments.  The city also offers a good hotel infrastructure, exciting night life and a variety gastronomic options, on par with other large cities in the country.

There are two shopping malls with modern movie theaters, a large park with natural pools, lake, walking track, trails and outdoor gym stations. The city also offers a cultural facility, with library, rooms for classes, art exhibition areas, a theater and an event calendar with the artistic and cultural events for every month of the year. 

Other popular attractions include the farmer’s markets, especially the one on Quadra 304 Sul (Tuesdays and Fridays). A variety of typical fruit of Cerrado, such as mangaba, murici, buriti and its sub products (sweets and oils) can be found at the market, as well as other produce from local farms: many kinds of beans and favas, puba flour, bacaba and also prepared food (osso buco, chicken, fish and soups).

The lake

Created with the construction of Lajeado Dam, in Tocantins river, it extends over 100 km, to the cities of Lajeado, Palmas, Porto Nacional, Brejinho de Nazaré and Ipueras. There is a great variety of fish, such as tucunaré, caranha, piau and others, that are great for recreational fishing, except in Piracema, which lasts from November to February. 

The lake is also good for water sports such as boats, paddling, swimming and stand up paddle, one of the favorite of the people from Palmas.

The shores of the lake have several permanent beaches and provide entertainment all year long. The main beaches are:

Graciosa - located in the southern part of the city, at the end of Avenida JK, right beside the bridge Ponte da Amizade Fernando Henrique Cardoso that connects the capital to the district of Luzimangues and to the highway that leads to Paraíso. There are no tents on the beach, but there are pubs and restaurants in the waterfront, where families gather to watch the sunset, take a walk and take the children to play. There is also a pier where visitors can rent boats for rides. It is possible the get there by Avenida LO-05.

Prata - located between Graciosa and Caju, after the club sector, it is the beach with the best structure. It was named after Prata river, a tributary of Tocantins. There are restaurants and tens on the beach, that serve local cuisine in generous portions all over the beach. Local fresh water fishes such as tucunaré and caranha are the main dishes served, but there are other options such as chicken. Visitors can access the place taking Avenida LO-05 and then Avenida Parque, or taking Avenida Teotônio Segurado and finally taking a dirt road that leads to the beach. The waters are shallow and the bathing are is delimited by  safety nets. There is also a camping area.

Caju - Taking Avenida Parque, a few kilometers past Prata beach, there is another beach that receive visitors all year long. The name derives from the many cashew trees found there. The waters are deeper and there is no safety net, which requires the visitors to be a little more careful. 

Arnos - Arnos are the block in the northern part of town, where the beach is located. There you can also find a good infrastructure with pubs, restaurants and kiosks that serve the beach. The waters are shallow. Local cuisine is also served there, predominantly fried fish. Once in this beach the lake is more open, many people practice recreational fishing in the surroundings. 

Taquaruçu district

The name Taquaruçu means “large bamboo” and it was an old village, 30 km away from Palmas, where we can still find the quiet lifestyle of our grandparents, with people chatting on the sidewalks at the end of the day. The district offers trails, waterfalls, mountain ranges, typical cuisine and quaint lifestyle, with a cooler weather. Taquaruçu was also the temporary capital of the state, while Palmas was being built. 

Once a year, there is a gastronomic festival in which prizes are awarded to culinary innovations created with local ingredients. The festival also promotes local and national artists with concerts and presentations.