Brazil // Brasília and the Planalto Central //

Exploring the Goiás countryside

If you need to cool off in the afternoon after walking the old city streets, there’s a natural swimming pool out by the Cachoeira Grande waterfalls on the Rio Vermelho, just 7km east of town – the best (and cheapest) way to get there is on the back of one of the local motorbike taxis. The pool is pleasant when quiet, but it can get crowded at weekends. The most beautiful sight in the area is the Cachoeira das Andorinhas (Swallow Waterfall), 8km out of town, which makes for a wonderful day-trip. On the only road out of town, cross the Rio Vermelho, passing by the pretty church of Igreja de Santa Bárbara, perched on a small hill overlooking the municipal cemetery. Taking the dirt road to the left of the church (signposted Hotel Fazenda Manduzanzan), continue 7km through picturesque hill country until you reach a signposted trail entrance in front of the hotel (R$121–350), which has a pool and offers horse riding. The waterfall is another kilometre from here – when in doubt, always bear left. The last few hundred yards rise steeply through a forested gorge before ending at a glorious, tree-choked swimhole with a waterfall and – true to its name – swallows darting around. A highlight is a natural rock chamber that channels part of the waterfall into a cavern.