The Chapada dos Guimarães region is a spectacular plateau with dramatic red sandstone escarpments and surprisingly different from the typical Mato Grosso terrain. The town is much higher than state capital Cuiabá and provides a cool and convenient base for exploring the surrounding areas. It is also home to a lush central square. Very quiet midweek, it packs out with weekend visitors from Cuiabá.
The area surrounding the national park has numerous attractions. On the way from Cuiabá to Chapada town, you pass Rio dos Peixes, Rio Mutaca and Rio Claro, which are popular weekend bathing spots for cuiabános, and three commanding valleys, Vale do Salgadeira, Vale do Paciéncia and Vale do Rio Claro. The sheer 80m drop called Portão do Inferno (Hell’s Gate) is also unforgettable – it was the town ‘prison’ in the early 1900s (use your imagination!).