Three-day tourist itinerary in the Cariri region of Ceará

Statue of Father Cicero
The statue of Padre Cícero, a postcard of the region, is located on Colina do Horto, in Juazeiro do Norte.

Cariri, in the south of the State of Ceará, is a region marked by a rich cultural heritage, heir to the traditions of the indigenous peoples who lived there, especially the Kariris Indians.

With the miscegenation of various peoples (indigenous, European and African) and the relative isolation of Cariri in relation to large Brazilian cities, a distinct cultural identity was created, with typical folkloric dances and songs and peculiar religious and artistic expressions.

O Cariri became known as a 'cultural melting pot' that keeps alive the traditions of its ancestors”, describes the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

In addition, the Cariri region conserves one of the largest fossil deposits from the Early Cretaceous (between 90 and 150 million years ago) in Brazil and in the world.

Map of Geosites in Ceará
Map of Geosites in Ceará

For this reason, Unesco chose Barbalha, Crato, Juazeiro do Norte, Missão Velha, Nova Olinda and Santana do Cariri to house the Araripe Geopark, highlighting the importance of the region for the history of humanity.

Cariri still houses the municipality of Assaré, where the poet Patativa do Assaré was born and lived.

We have prepared an itinerary that covers six municipalities in the southern region of the State of Ceará.

Cultural, ecological, adventure and religious tourism. There is no lack of attractions in the region of Cariri, in the south of the state of Ceará.

Map of the Cariri Region, Ceará
Map of the Cariri Region, Ceará

at the foot of the Chapada do Araripe, in addition to the natural beauties, the so-called “oasis in the middle of the sertão”, the cities bring memories of revolutions, marks of coronelismo, the traces of popular manifestations and faith.

Therefore, drawing a script that includes such richness is a challenge.

Something will always be left out. Even so, with the help of the tour guide, we prepare your three-day itinerary.

The Ministry of Tourism defined a tour that includes six municipalities in the Metropolitan Region of Cariri.

Touristic Guide in the Cariri Region

Cariri Tourist Map in Ceará
Cariri Tourist Map in Ceará


Missão Velha – Missão Velha Waterfall – Petrified Forest Geosite

In the morning, the tourist can visit Missão velha, which is half an hour from Juazeiro do Norte.

There, the first village of Cariri appeared, at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, when Jesuit missionaries gathered at Sítio Cachoeira, which would be the mother cell of the Municipality. 

In Missão Velha, the first recommendation is to get to know the petrified forest geosite, located at Sítio Olho D'água Comprido, 6 km from the city's headquarters.

The site has fossil trunks approximately 145 million years old, which are invaluable, especially for the study of paleobotany and geological evolution.

The Petrified Forest Geosite is located at the Olho D'água Comprido site, in Missão Velha
The Petrified Forest Geosite is located at the Olho D'água Comprido site, in Missão Velha

From there, the visitor goes to the other geosite, the Old Mission Waterfall, postcard of the Municipality, 11 km away from the Petrified Forest.

Formed by the Rio Salgado, the place is charming and has three waterfalls measuring approximately 12 meters in height.

In addition to its beauty, there are important geological aspects such as its sedimentary sandstone rock from the Cariri formation, which is approximately 420 million years old.

The structure also preserves trace fossils, which are traces of the vital activity of ancient organisms, in this case, aquatic invertebrates.  

In addition, the Mission Velha Waterfall brings several legends and stories.

Some researchers believe that the place served as a ceremony for indigenous peoples.

Tourists also have access to a trail with 1,9 km, of moderate level, that leads to a stone house in Sítio Emboscada.

It is estimated that this property, built in the XNUMXth century, is one of the first built in Cariri.

Before going to the next city, the visitor can take a walk around the Center and observe some well-preserved old mansions.

Old Mission Waterfall
Formed by the Rio Salgado, the Waterfall of Missão Velha has three waterfalls measuring approximately 12 meters high

After lunch and rest, the next route is Barbalha, which is 22 kilometers from Missão Velha.

Known as the land of the Cane Verdes, the city is notable for the biggest celebration in honor of Santo Antônio in the world, the Flag Stick.

There, in addition to the ruins of the mills that made the sugar economy important in Cariri, the Historic Center has the best preserved mansions in the region.  

Another important aspect is the natural wealth. The Municipality has several trails and spas at the foot of Chapada do Araripe.

Within the territory of Geopark Araripe, Barbalha also has its geosite, the Riacho do Meio, 7,6 kilometers from the city center.

Conservation Unit, the place has trails, springs and is one of the refuges of the Araripe toy, endemic bird of the region.


Colina do Horto – Potateiras Geosite

Early in the morning, the visitor can visit the Horto HillOn Juazeiro do Norte, where the statue of the Father Cicero.

On the city's postcard, there is also the Living Museum dedicated to the city's founder, including personal items that belonged to the parish priest and countless ex-votos, wooden sculptures for those who paid the promise.

Colina do Horto Geosite - Padre Cícero

A few meters away, the wall of the 1914 War is still erected, when the pilgrims, in support of the priest, defeated the state forces and deposed governor Franco Rabelo. Still in Horto, there is a trail to the legendary Santo Sepulcro, which has a breathtaking view.  

In the afternoon, the Crato is the stopping point.

In addition to a countless number of trails, “Princesa do Cariri” has several resorts at the foot of Chapada do Araripe. “If you want, you can spend the whole day hiking”, jokes the guide.

Potatoes Geosite

An ideal place for this is the Potatoes geosite, which is inside the Sítio Fundão State Park. With about 93 hectares, the conservation unit holds the ruins of an old mill still powered by animal traction. In addition, it has a rare floor house made entirely of rammed earth. There, it is crossed by the Rio Batateiras.  

Another place to visit that attracts bathers is the Cascata do Lameiro, also formed by the Rio Batateiras. A waterfall eight meters high, with an area of ​​2,5 meters deep, is ideal for those who want to relax. Open to the public and close to the city center, it attracts many people on weekends. 


Ponte de Pedra Geosite – Casa Grande Foundation – Pedra Kariri – Pterosaurs Park – Pontal da Santa Cruz

We recommend visiting two municipalities in the so-called “Cariri Oeste”.

The first is New Olinda. 

Even before arriving in the city, on the CE-292, there is the Stone Bridge geosite.

Ponte de Pedra geosite in Cariri
Ponte de Pedra geosite in Cariri

With a beautiful view of the valley, it is represented by a natural rock formation that resembles a bridge. The structure is believed to be 96 million years old.  

Ponte de Pedra Geosite in Ceará

In the center of Nova Olinda, the Casa Grande Foundation – Homem Kariri Memorial, which functions as an archaeological center in the region.

In addition to the fantastic work with children in the city, the building includes in its collection several indigenous artifacts.

Next to it is the Leather Museum of the artisan Espedito Seleiro, neighbor to his studio. His items such as bags, slippers, wallets are requested in Brazil and around the world.   

Casa Grande Foundation - Homem Kariri Memorial in Cariri
Casa Grande Foundation – Homem Kariri Memorial in Cariri

The last stop is Santana do Cariri, where are three geosites: Kariri Stone, Pterosaurs Park and Pontal da Santa Cruz.

Geosite Parque dos Pterosaurs in Cariri

Within the city, there is also the Museum of Paleontology Plácido Cidade Nuvens, which has an important collection of fossils and replicas of dinosaurs that lived in Cariri millions of years ago.  

Cariri stone in Santana do Cariri
Cariri stone in Santana do Cariri

The Pedra Kariri geosite is located in Santana do Cariri.

At Pontal da Santa Cruz, which offers an excellent lunch, tourists have a panoramic view of Cariri and can see the sunset, which is among the most beautiful in Ceará.

If you still want to venture a little further, there is the trail to Vale dos Buritis or Vale dos Azedos, which is 5,6 km long.

There, there is a lookout for the Santana do Cariri valley and, going down the slope, you will find an ideal spot for swimming.  

The Pterosaurs Park, in Santana do Cariri, contains many fossils.

Pontal da Santa Cruz Geosite – Araripe Geopark

If you want to extend your stay, you can still get to know other cities like haughty, which offers trails and even rappelling, assaré, land of Patativa do Assaré, that breathes culture and maintains a memorial about the poet, Miracles and Mauriti, that have important archaeological sites, Gates and Garden, for its viewpoints and water channels.

 Ceará and Northeast Tourism and Travel Guide

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *


18 - 18 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your feedback data is processed.

Hide picture