Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara

Top choice in Piauí

One of Brazil's most important national parks, this 1300-sq-km reserve contains more than 40,000 rock paintings among spectacular panoramas of immense chiseled rock formations surrounded by dry forest. The scenery and wildlife here are themselves reason enough to visit, but the archaeological sites make it a must-visit for those with an interest in the field. The park has good facilities including wooden walkways, firm vehicle tracks and bilingual signs. There's disabled access to many sites.

More than 170 sites are open to the public, organized into five main driving circuits and several walking trails helping visitors appreciate the landscape, geology, vegetation and wildlife as well as the evidence of ancient humanity. You should give yourself two days or more, as some of the circuits and trails require a whole day. Outstanding sites include the Boqueirão da Pedro Furada, where remains of cooking fires provided evidence of human presence 50,000 years ago; and the Baixão do Sítio do Meio and Desfiladero da Capivara, both with a wealth of rock art.

A local guide is obligatory for visiting the park, costing R$150 per day for up to eight people – best organized through your accommodations in São Raimundo Nonato. Round-trip transport options, including wait times and/or touring, are moto-taxi (R$80) and taxi (R$200). Some guides also work as drivers so you may be able to negotiate a discount. The few English-speaking guides in town charge slightly more.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Piauí attractions

1. Ceramica Serra da Capivara

10.91 MILES

This workshop's pottery, featuring designs inspired by the park's rock art, is sold all over Brazil. If you come during the week you can watch the…

2. Museu do Homem Americano

26.89 MILES

This modernized museum on the edge of town has excellent info (in English) on what you will see in the park. It also exhibits the oldest human skull found…