Mato Grosso Attractions
Situation and CharacteristicsThe state of Mato Grosso (the name means "primeval forest") in central Brazil is surrounded (in clockwise order) by Rondìnia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins and Goiás (beyond the Rio Araguaia) and Mato Grosso do Sul. On the south-west it is bordered by Bolivia. The northern part of the state is in the Amazonian rain forest belt; the south merges gradually into savannah and finally into the swampland of the Pantanal.HistoryThe first settlers and founders of towns in the Mato Grosso, in the early 18th century, were gold prospectors from eastern Brazil. Soon afterwards cattle-farming developed to meet the needs of the immigrants, and this is still an important element in the economy, to which arable farming and forestry also make major contributions. In 1979 the southern part of the state was hived off and became the independent state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil
Chapada dos GuimarãesSituation and CharacteristicsChapada dos Guimarães, 67km/42mi north-east of Cuiabá (reached on MT 305), was founded by bandeirantes from São Paulo who had discovered gold on the plateau and in the uplands to the north of Cuiabá.The town preserves a number of 18th century buildings, notably the church of Nossa Senhora Santana (1779).Bus stationRua Cipriano Curva
Winter FestivalThe Winter Festival is celebrated in July, making this a good time to visit the town and see the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, a plateau with bizarre rock formations, and other places of interest in the area.
There are a number of natural attractions in the Chapada dos Guimarães surrounding area.
Geographical Center of South America
Center of South America8km/5mi from Chapada dos Guimarães, on the edge of an outlook terrace from which there are fine views of the surrounding country, is the Ponto Geodésico, marking the geographical center of South America.
Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Guimarães
Parque Nacional da Chapada dos GuimarãesTo the north of the town is the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park (area 33,000 hectares/82,500 acres), which contains 32 archaeological sites with rock inscriptions, some 200 waterfalls, sheer walls of rock, gorges - among them the 50m/55yd deep Portão do Inferno ("Gateway of Hell") - and gigantic rock formations shaped by erosion.
Cidade PerdidaSome 25km/15mi from Chapada dos Guimarães are the rock formations known as the Cidade Perdida ("Lost City"), with individual crags bearing names expressive of their form - Cabeça de Rei ("King's Head"), Camelo ("Camel"), Dedo de Deus ("Finger of God"), etc.
Casa de Pedra
Casa de Pedra14km/8.7mi from the town center is the large cave known as the Casa de Pedra ("Stone House").
WaterfallsAmong the most impressive waterfalls in the National Park are the Salgadeira Falls, near the Portão do Inferno, which have a clear drop of over 10m/33ft and are flanked by reddish-coloured rocks carved into bizarre forms by erosion; the falls of Cachoeirinha and Andorinhas; and the fascinating Cachoeira Véu da Noiva ("Bridal Veil"), with a drop of 86m/282ft. The Cachoeira da Salgadeira is quite near the main road; the other three are at least 15km/9.3mi outside the town.