Trek and Raft Undiscovered Brazil

Hike up table mountains, raft the rapids of the Rio Novo and swim beneath isolated waterfalls in Jalapão State Park. 6 days.

Explore the Brazilian savannah in this little-known part of the country. Trek up table mountains and through canyons, swim in rivers, raft rapids and stand beneath waterfalls, before watching the sunset from the top of golden sand dunes.

Your hassle-free adventure includes:

  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners and snacks
  • Experienced, English speaking guide
  • Drinking water
  • Local transportation in a 4x4
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Whitewater rafting equipment

Perfect for: Those who want to discover an area of Brazil untouched by mass-tourism and try a range of activities whilst there.

Need To Know

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You can book flights that arrive into Palmas at anytime on day one - you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in the city. Likewise, on day six you can book flights that depart at any time - you’ll be transferred back to the airport after breakfast and checking out of the hotel in the city. No activities are planned for either day one or day six.

Direct flights to Palmas operate from São Paulo, Brasilia and Goiânia. If you’re travelling from anywhere else in Brazil then you’ll need to take an indirect flight with a short stopover – very common when travelling internally in Brazil. The main domestic airlines are GOL, Azul and LATAM, all comfortable and with good safety records.

You’ll eat home-cooked typical Brazilian food. Breakfast usually consists of bread with eggs and cheese, tropical fruits, plus tea, coffee and juice. For lunch and dinner you’ll eat hearty food like rice and beans or pasta, with meat or fish, potatoes and salad.

Dietary requirements can be catered to - please let us know at the time of booking.

The weather in this part of Brazil is hot and sunny, with temperatures reaching up to 38°C during the day, and dropping to 15°C at night. Dry season is from April to November, and the rainy season is December to March.

All rafting equipment, including lifejackets, is included.

You’ll need to pack:

  • A lightweight, quick drying towel or sarong
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Light clothing
  • Suitable clothing for rafting (quick drying shorts and t-shirt)
  • Shoes for rafting (plimsolls or trekking sandals)
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Headtorch or flashlight
  • Sunglasses
  • Baseball cap or hat
  • Small backpack to use during the days
  • Sunglasses
  • Any personal spending money for drinks or handicrafts

Absolutely! The trip runs with a minimum group of 2 people and a maximum of 12, so you’ll be hiking and rafting with other like-minded travellers. Lot’s of people book our trips as a solo traveller - it’s a great way to meet people.

You should have a good general level of fitness and be used to walking around 6km in one day. No previous rafting experience is required - all safety equipment and a briefing will be provided.

The only extra costs are:

  • Travel to and from Palmas
  • Meals on day one in Palmas
  • Soft drinks or alcoholic drinks (water is provided)
  • Personal expenses


View map

Located in central Brazil, Jalapão State Park covers 34,000 square kilometres of cerrado, or Brazilian savannah - a remote wilderness waiting to be discovered by intrepid travellers. Known for ecotourism and the range of adventure activities available, this region is relatively undiscovered by mass tourism, with a varied landscape of golden sand dunes, table mountains, canyons with unusual rock formations, rivers, bubbling springs and isolated waterfalls.

Start point?

You’ll be met at Palmas airport and transferred to your hotel in the city. Check-in is from 12:00.

Finish point?

Checking out of your hotel in Palmas on day six before 12:00, you’ll be transferred back to the airport for onward travel.

Getting there and away?

Direct flights to Palmas operate from Brasilia, São Paulo and Goiânia. If you’re travelling from anywhere else in Brazil then you’ll need to take an indirect flight with a short stopover – very common when travelling internally in Brazil. The main domestic airlines are GOL, Azul and LATAM, all comfortable and with good safety records.

Travelling from the UK, British Airways operates direct flights to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo or LATAM flies direct to São Paulo. There is a wide choice of airlines offering indirect flights via Europe, or Avianca fly from London via Bogota, Colombia, to all the main cities in Brazil.

What to Expect

Day 1: Arrive into Palmas

Fly into Palmas, the closest airport to Jalapão State Park, where you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel.

Check in and explore this newly built city, only founded in 1990.

Day 2: Swimming and Sunset Views

Meet your guide in the morning at your hotel and set off by 4x4 towards Jalapão, stopping off at Morro Vermelho, a red sandstone hill with unique rock formations.

Arrive at Jalapão Ecolodge, your home for the next two nights, in time for lunch and a refreshing swim in the Soninho River.

After plenty of time to relax, hike up the Morro da Catedral for sunset views over the surrounding park.

Return to the ecolodge for dinner and a good nights sleep.

Total driving time - 5 hours Total distance walked – 4,5km

Day 3: Waterfalls and Rafting

Rise early with the sun for a hike on the Garcês trail, originally used by local indigenous people to reach their fields.

Arrive at Cachoeira da Velha, the largest waterfall in the park, 100 metres wide and 15 metres high, for a refreshing dip and time to relax.

Eat a picnic lunch on one of the golden sandy beaches that line the River Novo and get ready for the adrenaline hit of an afternoons rafting on Class IV rapids.

If you’re travelling in the rainy season between December and March you’ll instead raft the Class II rapids of the River Soninho for safety reasons.

Return to the ecolodge for dinner.

Total distance walked – 15km Total distance rafted – 3hrs (River Novo) or 6 hrs (River Soninho)

Day 4: Float in Natural Springs and Visit Local Villages

After breakfast, drive to Fervedouro Bela Vista, one of the most unusual destinations in the park, a series of crystal clear springs that constantly bubble giving you the sensation of floating effortlessly.

Continue on to the Formiga Waterfall, where emerald green waters tumble over smooth rocks, forming a perfect natural swimming pool shaded by forest.

Stop for a home-cooked lunch at another turquoise spring and enjoy the nearby golden beaches on the River Formiga.

After plenty of time to eat and rest, take a short hike across the cerrado, or Brazilian savannah and see where the different coloured waters of two rivers, the Formiga and the Soninho, meet.

Travel on to Mumbuca village, a small community descended from escaped slaves known for its handicrafts woven from golden grass that only grows in this region – a technique passed down through generations.

Have dinner in the local community and learn more about the Quilombola way of life here, before continuing on to Mateiros where you’ll spend the night.

Total distance walked – 4km

Day 5: Hiking and Sand Dunes

Wake early for a morning hike to see the sunrise from the top of Espírito Santo Hill, 500 metres high, with views over the surrounding landscape.

Head back for breakfast and then climb into a 4x4 to visit sand dunes surrounded by mountains and wetlands.

Travel on to Suçuapara Canyon, carved by water flowing through the sandstone walls for hundreds of years.

If you’re travelling in the rainy season from December to March, the canyon is inaccessible so instead you’ll visit the nearby Cachoeira da Velha Waterfall.

Stop for lunch and a break from the afternoon sun, before driving on to Pedra Furada hill to climb this huge piece of sandstone carved by wind and rain in time for sunset.

Stop for dinner and then travel back to Palmas.

Total distance walked – 8km

Day 6: Departure

Eat a final breakfast before being transferred back to the airport for your onward travel.


In Palmas (days one and five), you’ll stay at Hotel 10, a smart modern hotel with double or twin en-suite rooms, a bright reception and lounge area and in-room amenities such as a fridge and TV.

On days two and three you’ll stay at Jalapão Ecolodge in the heart of the State Park. Wooden cabins are scattered amongst tree-filled gardens, with mountain views and terraces to relax on with a cold drink. All rooms are en-suite twins or doubles.

On day four you’ll stay in Pousada Beira da Mata in Mateiros, a local guesthouse with individual chalets set in the gardens. All rooms are en-suite twins or doubles.

Please note the above are suggestions and depending on availability you may stay at a different accommodation of the same standard - your guide will decide on the best option for the group.

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