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"There are red dunes here! "
Little known and wild, Jalapćo is in the newest State of Brazil, Tocantins, whose capital, Palmas, is at 1.776 km from Sćo Paulo and 2.124 km from Rio de Janeiro.
This is not a regular place: the endless roads and some soft sand passages limit the access to that paradise, and maybe this why the place is still so preserved.
|"The water of "Cachoeira da Formiga" (Ant Waterfall) is crystal clear."|
Besides the stones and holes, Jalapćo is a place where you should keep your eyes open 100% of the time: the roads are not well signaled, with few gas stations and the chances of getting help, in case you need, are very small. For all this, the area is known as Jalapćo "desert": it has one of the smallest population densities of the country, only losing for the Amazonian Forest - about 1,2 inhabitant / km2.
Leaving "Ponte Alta de Tocantins" (Tocantins Tall Bridge) (entrance door of Jalapćo, where the main attraction is to jump from the bridge of the city right into the river), the first stops are: "Fenda Sussuapara" (Sussuapara Crack), a small rift on a rock, forming a small canyon; and "Cachoeira do Lajeado" (Paved Waterfall) (succession of small falls of water).
"Getting the car wrecked here could be a serious problem".
From that on we began to feel the true spirit of Jalapćo: endless savannah, plains and lonely hills, and a great solitude.
To arrive at "Cachoeira da Velha" (Waterfall of the Old Lady), it's 40 km shaking in the car, but it is worthwhile: "Rio Novo" (New River) falls down forming two horseshoes with about 100 meters of width, the Waterfall of the Old Lady has 25 meters of fall, approximately. And, following the river, a shower is taken at "Prainha" (Beach) of the Old Lady: a beach of clear sands, surrounded by forest.
"At "Fervedouro" (Boiling) it is impossible to sink."
The next attractions are close to the city of Mateiros. On the road, it is possible to visit the famous orange dunes of Jalapćo. The color is due to the natural erosion of the sandstone walls (red color) that are near there: the wind ends up forming a cloud of small particles from the rock, which end up falling onto the dunes, covering them with a colored layer. There is a small stream there that runs by the feet of the dunes: take advantage to remove the sand from the body.
|"Kilometers and kilometers seeing nothing nor nobody."|
In Mateiros, the main attraction is "Fervedouro": a small well from where it bubbles, amid the white sand, a blue and crystalline water. The bubbling is so intense that a person don't get to sink. Through a small entrance, you soon see a "swimming pool" of crystalline water, with bottom of white sand, that reflects the green of the banana trees that surround the well. The pressure, created by a phenomenon called of "ressurgźncia" of the waters, stops the body from sinking. That happens because under the swimming pool flows an underground river and right under it, an impermeable rock. As it can't find a passage on the rock, the water flows up and is gushed with a lot of pressure, pushing upward the sand and what is on her.
"The Beach of the Old Lady is very relaxing."
Close to it the Ant Waterfall: a small waterfall forms a natural swimming pool of completely crystalline waters and of bluish coloration. It is, for sure, the most delicious bathing of the trip. Due to the white sand that covers its bottom, the green and blue tones of the Ant waterfall mix up in the transparent waters.
This is Jalapćo, kilometers and kilometers of bad roads, enclosed by the almost virgin savannah and red hills, all this crossed by rivers of warm and transparent waters.
"Watch your step."
How to arrive: from Palmas, the best option is to go to
"Porto Nacional" and from there to "Ponte Alta de Tocantins": this passage is
paved and in good conditions. Other options exist, as to come from "Taquaruēu"
until "Santa Tereza do Tocantins", but it is dirt road and without attractions.
In "Ponte Alta", you should ask for information on where the road to Jalapćo
begins and to follow it until the end of the trip. Only go out of the main dirt
road to visit the natural attractions.
"The Waterfall of the Old Lady is very big."
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Tips by GUSTAVO VIVACQUA
1. Let's to begin by the famous legends that you read or will read about Jalapćo... Here, at TriptoBrazil.com, there is no virtual trip.
Legend 1: YOU CAN ONLY GO TO JALAPĆO ON A 4X4 CAR. CORRECTION: Actually, even a Fiat Uno can make the trip. To go to the main attractions, except for the dunes, it is dirt road of such a hard gravel that the stones may hole the tire of your car. If you leave the main road, then you'll stall.
Legend 2: TAKE SPARE GAS. THE GAS STATIONS ARE AT 500KM FROM EACH OTHER. CORRECTION: Also, this is not true. Gas stations are rare, but at each 200km you will find one. It's expensive, but it is dangerous to carry gasoline and very annoying also. Here goes the right tip: fill the tank at the cities of Ponte Alta do Tocantins, Mateiros, Sćo Felix and Novo Acordo
Legend 3: YOU CAN ONLY SLEEP IN TENTS. CORRECTION: It is worthwhile to take one, but it is possible to stay at simple bedrooms or lodgings in the cities of Ponte Alta, Mateiros, Sćo Felix and Novo Acordo or in the middle of nothing, like the Lodging of Jalapćo, that is between Ponte Alta do Tocantins and Mateiros
Legend 4: BRING FOOD, OTHERWISE YOU'LL STARVE. CORRECTION: There are simple restaurants in Ponte Alta, Mateiros, Sćo Felix and Novo Acordo. You won't feel at Club Med, but Jalapćo has food. Anyway, bring much water and some food as a guarantee.
2. Jalapćo is kind of an oval circuit of approximately 500km. For not getting lost, keep on the road woth electric light posts. Only leave this road to go to the attractions of the place. There is no mistake.
3. If you're going by car, make a good check up on it, because if it wrecks, fella, you're f..... The place is absolutely empty. The connects nothing to nowhere, and there, 100km is considered a short distance for anything.
4. In Mateiros you will find craft made of gold grass. Even who doesn't care for those things will be impressed, because it is very beautiful. Take it as a gift for who you like. The foreigners already discovered and it is very outside the country.
5. This a really isolated place, and to feel the solitude that this place offers, avoid to travel on high season. The place, when there is nobody until where your sight reaches, is very special.
6. The inhabitants of the area are scarcer than the wild animals. It is a guy for km2, in other words, care for not to run over anybody and to exterminate the local population. Speaking of running over, watch out for the animals crossing the road all the time, because it's easy to run over a snake or a macaw flying low. Don't run on this area.
7. "Fervedouro" is the most impressive attraction. You can see pictures, videos of the place and yet not understand why people get so astonished when they swim there. Of course, in spite of being very beautiful, it is the only place that I've ever been to that is not to be seen, but to feel. To stand up in the water without feeling your feet touching the bottom is awesome. And the most impressive, when someone screams, bubbles come up from the bottom. It is great.
8. In Novo Acordo there is a macaw that is allways with a parrot. The two are partners and they stay on the street doing dirt tricks on who goes by, like flying low and pecking. Watch out. The two are real friends and if you decide to get revenged on one of them, the other you come for help. In spite of they fly freely, they belong to a local resident.
9. Rio Novo is the largest river of drinking water of the world. Imagine to do a rafting on a water you can drink. Very rare thing.
10. There are many snakes in the bushes. Wear boots, looking at the ground and remember that the help is always far.
11. 2 things are essencial in Jalapćo: flashlight and repellent. Remember that.
13. Strange things may happen, like you are drinking a beer in a town and a wild emu passes, running on the street. Relax, you are not drunk, you are in Jalapćo!
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