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Chapada das Mesas

This 10-day guided tour will take you to Chapada das Mesas National Park which is located in the south of Maranhão, 220 kilometers from Imperatriz, in a quite remote and yet unexplored region of Brazil. The park is a true hidden gem with blue water waterfalls and water springs, breathtaking table mountains, rocks and rivers. This region is a true paradise for hikers who love ecotourism and want to connect with nature. The waterfalls are usually located inside complexes with good structure and the trails are well marked. The attractions are scattered between the sleepy town of Carolina and Riachão. Stay at charming boutique hotels and discover beautiful trails and streams. This itinerary is designed for active travelers who like the outdoors, hiking and beautiful landscapes.

10 Days – From £ 2,090 per person 

*equivalent in USD, EUR accepted

Itinerary: Imperatriz, Carolina, Riachão

  • Price is per person, based on two people sharing in a double/twin room
  • Accommodation with breakfast
  • All the excursions mentioned in the itinerary 
  • All transfers by car and boat on a private basis
  • Entrance & guiding fees to all the mentioned National Parks
  • The guides speak Portuguese and they use the Travis portable translator. In this area of Brazil it is almost impossible to find an English-speaking guide.
  • Translation assistance is available on Whatsapp during the whole trip, in case this is necessary
  • All mandatory local taxes
  • Exclusive travel insurance for the activities 
  • Visa, where applicable
  • International Flights (See Flights to Brazil)
  • Domestic Flights 
  • Personal Expenses
  • Insurance
  • Tips & Gratuities
  • Meals not mentioned in the description

International flights are not included in the package price. We give you the freedom to book the flights yourself, use miles and choose your preferred airline, and if you are stuck we can help you find the right connections. Return flights to Brazil start from £800 per person, depending on the connections and time of the year. Fly to Imperatriz (IMP).

Send us a message on WhatsApp or email us at brazil@boutiquetravelexperts.com to check availability, discuss your preferences and get a quote.

This is a sample itinerary and prices are correct at the time of writing. We can tailor it to suit your plans by changing the length of the trip or the order of activities. More days can be added. Other hotels can be chosen, according to your liking. You can also combine this trip with other sights in Brazil, like the cosmopolitan Rio de Janeiro, the exciting Amazon rainforest, the fascinating Pantanal, the culture of Bahia or the deep canyons of the south. For more travel inspiration check these itineraries.

  • The rainy season runs from October to May. Best time to visit is from June to October. Avoid July because of crowds.
  • The temperature in the region ranges from 36°C to 19°C, with the milder temperatures in June and July. The high season is from July to September, which is when the fluvial beaches along Tocantins River appear.
  • Bring cash as there is no ATM, but some places accept cards.
  • To avoid unpleasant weather surprises, we recommend to check our Brazil Weather Guide to plan your trip in the right season. Click on the month you want to travel in and see the tours which are best for each month of the year. 
  • Bring cash as there is no ATM, but some places accept cards.

Day 1 - Arrival in Carolina

Today you will board your flight to Imperatriz city (IMP), in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhão. Upon your arrival you will be picked up and transferred to the sleepy town of Carolina, located in the very south of Maranhão, in the Valley of Tocantins river (3 hours). Carolina is the gateway to Chapada das Mesas. Prepare for a dazzling set of waterfalls, trails, caverns and generous landscape. The plateau is crossed over by 22 different rivers forming diverse landscapes. Upon your arrival, spend the rest of the day at leisure, discovering the chilled atmosphere of Carolina. Overnight at Pousada dos Candeeiros.

sunset in Chapada das Mesas, Maranhao, Brazil

Day 2 - Riachão

After breakfast, depart to Riachão (136 km), a small town with wonderful blue waterfalls Encanto Azul and Complexo Poço Azul. Take a 20-min trail to Poço do Encanto down the canyon through the woods, to arrive at a natural crystalline pool coming from the rocks, a truly charming place. The water has a perfect temperature for swimming. At 12:00 the sun hits the surface, making the colour very intense. Later, take a 20-min walks on wooden walkways to the waterfalls inside Poço Azul Complex. Relax and swim in the natural pool. Continue to one of the biggest falls in Chapada das Mesas (70 m), the beautiful Santa Bárbara Waterfall, 10 min away. Return to the complex for lunch and continue to Carolina. Overnight at Pousada dos Candeeiros.

Poco do Encanto in Chapada das Mesas, Maranhao, Brazil

Day 3 - Cachoeira da Prata & São Romão

Today head out to the imposing Cachoeira da Prata and São Romão (83 km / 3 hours). On arrival, walk to the entrance of Cachoeira da Prata, a beautiful place with two massive falls and an ample space to swim, on Farinha river. Later, continue to Cachoeira São Romão on a 20 km sandy road. This waterfall is the most voluminous in the chapada. After lunch go down the 5-minute trail to the waterfall. Walk through the savanna observing local fauna, especially the swallows. You can kayak to the bottom of the São Romão waterfall. Return to the hotel at the end of the day and spend the evening at leisure. Overnight at Pousada dos Candeeiros.

Chapada das Mesas, Maranhao, Brazil

Day 4 - Tres Encantos Trail

After breakfast, drive to Mirante da Chapada and hike along stunning scenery of table mountains that took millions of years to form. The place impresses by its panoramic view of the red and orange sandstone walls. The scenery of the hills and pillars are stunning. At noon, head to Beleza Pura for lunch. Take a refreshing swim in Urupuchete River. Later, return to Carolina and head to Tocantins River, which divides Carolina in Maranhao from Filadelfia in Tocantins. Take a beautiful boat ride to a majestic Enchanted Stone, a single rock in the middle of the river (22 km). Return to the city in the late afternoon, contemplating the sunset over the plateaus. Overnight at Pousada dos Lajes.

Morro do Chapeu in Chapada das Mesas, Maranhao, Brazil

Day 5 - Pedra Caida

After breakfast discover the savannah trails, dramatic canyons and waterfalls of Pedra Caida Complex (35 km away). Spend the day in nature. Visit Cachoeira do Santuário, Santuário Canyon, Cachoeira da Caverna and Cachoeira do Capelão. Swim in the clear green water. Return to the complex for lunch. Before sunset, depart to the plateau Portal da Chapada to admire the breathtaking views and a beautiful sundowner. Hike along a 15-minute light trail to the rocks at the top, observing the chapada from a different angle. The rocks are very beautiful, with a wonderful view of Morro do Chapéu. Overnight at Rancho das Estrelas.

Complexo Pedra Caida in Chapada das Mesas, Maranhao, Brazil

Day 6 - Secret Waterfalls

Today discover more wonderful waterfalls, which are located in a secluded and yet unexplored area. A professional local guide who is familiar with the trails will accompany you all the time. Today is the day for more hidden gems, wonderful, peaceful and totally enchanting places. After breakfast, take a 30 km drive to Cachoeira do Dodô and Cachoeira do Talho. At around 11:30 am depart to Encontro das Águas for lunch. After lunch, relax in hammock, before driving to the preserved waterfall of Cachoeira da Mansinha, an ideal place of crystalline waters where you can recover your energies. Return to Carolina in the late afternoon. Overnight at Rancho das Estrelas.

Cachoeira do Talho, Chapada das Mesas, Brazil

Day 7 - Serra Torre da Lua

Today leave early, crossing the Tocantins River to the bordering state of Tocantins. You will pass from Filadélfia to Vale do Matrinxã, the starting point of the ascending hike. You will walk along a moderate trail in Serra Torre da Lua (10 km), a reservation of 4 mountains. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the table mountains. It looks like they are crafted by human hand. So beautiful. On the way you will pass by two springs – Luíza and Descanso do Guerreiro and will cross Serra do Landir. Arrive at Fazenda Vale do Matrinxã for lunch. In the afternoon, return to Carolina for stand-up paddling on the river, with a beautiful sunset. Overnight at Rancho das Estrelas.

Serra Tore da Lua in Chapada das Mesas, Brazil

Day 8 - Fortaleza dos Nogueiras

After breakfast, depart to Fortaleza dos Nogueiras (160 km away from Carolina) to discover the highlights of this region. On arrival, take a short trail downhill to reach the turquoise blue pool of Castanhão waterfall (25 m). Swim and relax, recharging from the energies of this pristine place. After lunch, depart to another waterfall, Cachoeira do Esmeralda (1 hour). On arrival, descent along wooden stairs and swim in the beautiful emerald pool of the waterfall. Later on continue to Cachoeira do Macapa, the biggest waterfall in the chapada. Return to Carolina just in time for dinner. Overnight at Rancho das Estrelas.

Castanhão waterfall, Fortaleza dos Nogueiras, Brazil

Day 9 - More Waterfalls

After breakfast discover Cachoeira do Garrote, formed by three 4 m high waterfalls (40 km away). Later on, drive to Cachoeira da Porteira waterfall (6 km), a fall of approximately 6 meters high and an excellent place for bathing and relaxing. Then, continue to the nearby Poço Sonrisal, a magnificent geyser-like well. Have lunch at Recanto das Famílias and then relax in the clear and transparent waters of Pedras River. Return to Pedra Caida complex to discover the exuberant Cachoeira da Pedra Furada. In the late afternoon return to Carolina just in time for dinner. Overnight at Rancho das Estrelas.

Rancho das Estrelas, small rustic hotel in Carolina, the gateway to Chapada das Mesas, Maranhao, Brazil

Day 10 - Carolina to Imperatriz

In the morning, wake up at sunrise to see sweeping views from Portal da Chapada. Then, visit the twin waterfalls of Cachoeira do Itapecuru. After, depart to Imperatriz airport to take your flight. We recommend flying to Sao Luis and discovering the Route of Emotions. The itinerary can be adapted to a shorter duration based on your available time, concentrating more on the beautiful sites of Santo Amaro, one of the gateways to the Lencois Maranhenses national park. You can visit Bethania, Emendadas and many other circuits. Santo Amaro receives less visitors so you will be able to enjoy the lagoons and dunes at your own pace.

Chapada das Mesas, Maranhao, Brazil

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