Chapada das Mesas is an environmental protection area covering 160,046 hectares of Cerrado.
Chapada das Mesas is composed of the municipalities of Imperatriz, Tasso Fragoso, Estreito, Carolina, Riachão, Balsas, Formosa da Serra Negra, Fortaleza dos Nogueiras, Itinga do Maranhão, Campestre, Alto Parnaíba, Açailândia in south-central Maranhão;
The name comes from its plateaus, which resemble the shape of stone tables, concentrated mainly in the cities of Carolina and Riachão.
The waterfalls and natural pools of crystal clear water, with mild temperatures around 22 ° C, and amid the immense rocky walls, are largely responsible for the charm that surrounds the place.
The Parque Nacional da Chapada das Mesas holds unique ecological sanctuaries.
There are 160,000 hectares with countless species of plants and animals that can only be reached using tractor-trailer vehicles that travel the dusty trails.
On an easily accessible hike near Carolina, there is Morro do Portal or Portal da Chapada with a crack in the rock that allows a panoramic view of the table-like hills and the entire region.
The city of Carolina, in the south of Maranhão and close to the border with Tocantins, is the starting point for the adventure amidst amazing scenery.
From the bucolic little town you can reach waterfalls and rock formations that look like they were made by hand.
This is the Chapada das Mesas National Park, a mix of sertão, buritizais forests, waterfalls, canyons, cerrado… explored through dirt roads and 4×4 cars, a perfect place for those who like hiking, rafting, rappelling and other radical activities.
To get to know the nooks and crannies of the reserve created in 2005, you need to hire the services of tourism agencies – almost everything is far away and has precarious access – which offer a car and guide towards the many wells and waterfalls.
On the way, the attractions are the rock formations sculpted by the wind and rain and that, yes, resemble tables of various sizes and shapes.
One of the region’s postcards is the Santuário da Pedra Caída, a “complex” with three waterfalls, the main one plummeting from a height of 46 meters.
The thrill is the walk inside a 300-meter canyon, to enjoy and dive into the well that forms below.
Access also includes a walk along the river and suspended wooden ramps. Oh, and it is possible to do abseiling and zip-lining there!
The Chapada das Mesas National Park is made up of rock formations that form the Chapada das Mesas, such as Morro do Chapéu, Morro do Dedo, Morro Do Gavião, Portal da Chapada, Morro do Macaco and many other beautiful scenery.
The Chapadada Mesas received this name for having hills of great heights that had their surfaces flattened by erosion, most of them resembling the shape of tables, and has as tourist attraction the ecological tourism with its beautiful vegetative landscapes, the beaches of the Tocantins River, waterfalls and the chapadões.
The beauty – but with less adrenaline – is also guaranteed in the Poço Azul and Encanto Azul, two wells with crystal clear waters; and in the waterfalls Santa Bárbara (76 meters of fall), São Romão (22 meters high and 33 meters wide), Prata (26 meters).
And for those who want to enjoy everything from above, the tip is to climb Morro do Chapéu, at 378 meters of altitude. But preparation is essential: the trekking is done on sandstone rock, which requires skill and experience.
Tourist Spots and Waterfalls of Chapada das Mesas
- Pedra Caída Waterfall
- Silver Waterfall
- Itapecuru Waterfalls
- Ilha dos Botes
- Morro das Figuras
- Morro do Chapéu
- Portal da Chapada
- Praias do Tocantins
- São Romão Waterfall
- Dodo Waterfall
- Balneário Praiolandia
- Queda D’agua Spa
- Blue Well
- Encanto Azul
- Ilia Waterfall
- Cachoeira da Garrafa
- Rio Tocantins
- Capelão Waterfall and Cave
- Santa Bárbara Waterfall
1. Pedra Caída Waterfall
The attraction is located 35 km from the municipality of Carolina on the (BR010) in the direction Carolina/Estreito.
The paved road can be accessed by small private vehicles or by tourism agencies in Carolina.
The Pedra Caída Waterfall is one of the most impressive falls in the Chapada das Mesas complex.
It all starts in a river that, at a certain point, finds a crack.
At this point, the water plummets from a height of about 50 meters, forming a natural pool between rocky walls.
2. Prata Waterfall
The Prata Waterfall is located on the Farinha River, in a region not so cleared, wild one might say.
The people who live nearby are typical sertanejos, they value the place where they live.
It is close to the São Romão waterfall.
3. Itapecuru Waterfalls
The waterfalls are located along the BR-230, 33 km away from Carolina, 66 km from Riachão, 130 km away from Balsas and there you will find two beautiful waterfalls that fall from 12 meters and form a huge natural pool with rocks that surround it, beaches and small islands.
The place has bar service, restaurant and chalets.
4. Ilha dos Botes
Ilha dos Botes, bathed by the waters of the Tocantins River, preserves an exuberant virgin forest formed by native babassu and coconut trees and still holds in the summer season the most beautiful beaches of clear waters bordered by small dunes in its seven kilometers of extension.
5. Morro das Figuras
Near the waterfall of Prata, 40 km from Carolina with rock formation with several rock inscriptions recently discovered by archaeologists, who believe to be authored by Indians craôs descendants of the tupis-guaranis.
6. Morro do Chapéu
With its 378 meters high. It takes its name because of its shape.
Morro do Chapéu is one of the most beautiful postcards of the Chapada das Mesas region.
From the upper part of its formation it is possible to contemplate the whole region, observing the island of the boats, the Tocantins River, the city of Carolina in addition to the other plateau formations that make up the scenery of Chapada das Mesas.
It can also be seen during the route (road) between Estreito, Carolina and Riachão.
7. Portal da Chapada
Easy to access, but only for those who know the place well (you must climb from behind).
The hill that is on the road to the waterfalls of Pedra caída, allows an impressive view of the chapada das mesas.
In addition, an interesting fact is that on one of the walls of the hill there is a crater shaped like the map of the State of Tocantins.
8. Beaches of Tocantins
Known by all who pass through the southern region of Maranhão, the place is quite crowded. Despite being better known as the beaches of Carolina, they appear on the side of the State of Tocantins, in the city of Philadelphia.
The beaches begin to appear when the river lowers, from the month of June and only disappear at the end of October. The place has a bar and restaurant service.
9. São Romão Waterfall
The São Romão Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall, located on the Farinha River, a tributary of the Tocantins River, 70 kilometers from Carolina.
Access to this waterfall is made by a good part on a dirt road, requiring a traction vehicle such as pick-ups and jeeps.
What makes the tour an even more exciting adventure. The place has bar service, restaurant and chalets.
10. Dodó Waterfall
Located on private property, 34 km from the city of Carolina.
There you will know the warm waters of the waterfall of your dodo and the numerous small waterfalls that form an almost virgin place. The place posui bar, restaurant and even tents that allow you to stay overnight.
11. Balneário Praiolandia
It is another leisure option that is 3 km from the center, via BR-230 the Spa has bar and restaurant, is the banks of the River Lajes.
12. Balneário Queda D’agua
It is 30 km from the city center via BR 230 in the village Itapecuruzinho, where you can find peace and quiet to enjoy nature and crystal clear waters.
The place offers lodging service (chalets) and food.
13. Blue Well
It is located in Rio Cocal, in the municipality of Riachão. At a distance of 130 km from Carolina.
It is the most paradisiacal place of Chapada das Mesas, the crystal clear water in a natural pool with more than 5 meters deep of crystal clear waters that enchants everyone.
14. Encanto Azul
It is located on the Rio Cocal, in the municipality of Riachão.
There is no way not to be enchanted by this natural beauty of clear, crystalline water and perfect temperature for bathing, and fish appreciation.
Do not forget to bring goggles for diving.
15. Ilia Waterfall
Waterfall that is 20 km from Carolina on a dirt road. Access is through the road that passes near Morro do chapéu. It is recommended to go by motorcycle, or pickup trucks and jeeps.
Its beauty lies in the water of its waterfall that flows down the wall and the clean water of the river.
16. Garrafa Waterfall
Small waterfall with crystal clear waters, has a great bath, the water has a pleasant temperature, suitable for the heat of the region.
It is located 24 km from the city, following the same path to reach the Ilia Waterfall.
Access can be done by motorcycle, or 4×4, as the terrain is a bit bumpy and some parts with a lot of sand.
17. Tocantins River
One of the main Brazilian rivers, it divides the states of Maranhão and Tocantins, providing fishing as a commercial activity and scenarios of rare beauty, especially the sunset seen from Carolina.
In the Tocantins River we have as main attractions the beaches that appear in the months of June to August and the Island of Botes.
18. Capelão Waterfall and Cave
The attraction is characterized by a small cave and lake formed by the force of the waters of the Capelão waterfall in the friable sandstone.
19. Santa Bárbara Waterfall
The Santa Bárbara Waterfall, a fall of 75 meters is located in the municipality of Riachão.
At a distance of 130 km from Carolina. It is next to the blue well, you reach the place after a 5-minute trail.
Tourism and Travel Guide of Chapada das Mesas in the south of Maranhão.