We love Brazil for its sunny beaches, its vibrant Carnaval, exuberant costumes, lively people, music, and dance. However, not many people know about the more remote areas of Brazil such as the Jalapão state park, one of the most incredible Brazilian destinations for ecotourism. Jalapão is a paradise hidden in the eastern Tocantins, Brazil. Its an area of savannah crossed by clear rivers and stunning sceneries of waterfalls, golden-orange sand dunes, watering holes, and much more. Keep reading to learn all you need to know for your next trip to Jalapão.


Jalapão State Park: Discover this Hidden Gem of Brazil

About Jalapão State Park

Jalapão State Park is close to Mateiros, about 300 km from Palmas, the capital of Tocantins with an area of 158,885 hectares (392,610 acres). The area lies at the intersection of four different ecosystems, creating an area perfect for biodiversity. The Cerrado, Tropical Rainforest and Pantanal-type wetlands all meet at different parts of the state with a set of species completely different from the other within a few hundred yards. Jalapão has a very low population and most people will only speak Portuguese with a small number also speaking Spanish. The low population has helped to preserve the natural state of wilderness.

In the landscapes of Cerrado, the Brazilian savannah you can find rivers, rock formations and numerous animals, such as jaguars, maned wolves, and macaws. Foxes, armadillos, and anteaters are also possible sightings. You will also be captivated by impressive canyons, such as Suçuapara, waterfalls, such as Formiga and Velha, and the phenomenal fervedouros which are natural hot springs with bubbles that prevent you from sinking. 

Tocantins is one of the least visited states of Brazil, but it’s worth the journey for the diverse scenery and wildlife that can’t be found elsewhere in Brazil. For the adventurers, the park is ideal for canoeing, swimming, and rafting, or for just relaxing as you float on top of the fervedouros. 


Jalapão State Park: Discover this Hidden Gem of Brazil

How to Get There

If you are staying in São Paulo, you have to fly to the state of Tocantins. Jalapão is in the state of Tocantins and the gateway is through its capital, Palmas. Once in Palmas, the park is a six-hour drive away, around 200 miles to reach it and only accessible by a 4×4 vehicle. There are no buses or public transportation that connect the small towns around Jalapão. The ride is considered rough since it’s littered with rocks, trees, mud, roots, and the occasional crater. It is not recommended to rent your own car and drive yourself to the park. 

Can I go without a guide?

It is extremely difficult to go without a guide since there is no road signage, there is no cell phone service, and cars other than 4x4s can not get anywhere. The best way to travel is to carefully plan the trip to be safe. In the Jalapão you will find an immense amount of unexplored nature. These roads require a lot of driving skill and there are almost no clear directions, so a guide is highly recommended. 

Many people prefer to book a tour so they can feel more secure throughout their journey and not have to worry about planning such a long expedition. Especially since it takes a couple of days to see everything the park has to offer. On this Jalapão adventure tour you’ll be able to spend 7 days trekking, kayaking, swimming in waterfalls, sleeping in a Safari Camp, relaxing in natural pools and so much more. 

Jalapão State Park: Discover this Hidden Gem of Brazil

Best Time to Visit 

The best period to visit is in the dry season from May to September. You can expect those months to have hot days and cold nights, about 86ºF (30ºC) during the day, cooling to around 65ºF (18ºC) at night.

Why Should I Go?

Jalapão is the perfect off-the-beaten-track attraction for lovers of nature and adventure. With an incredible array of ecosystems and wildlife, there is something for everyone. This place is far away from touristy and is a great opportunity to see Brazil in a new light. While Jalapão isn’t for the faint of heart, the people that do make the journey will remember it for the rest of their lives. So, leave your telephone at home and enjoy this immersive experience of untouched nature.