Alto Paraíso de Goiás
Alto Paraíso is home to some 40 mystical/ philosophical/ religious communities (Daimists, Oshoists, Hare Krishna, Kardecists, Protestants, Buddhists and others). It is believed that the huge geological layer of quartz crystal underground makes this a region of the Planet that was chosen to receive enlightened beings, creators of the Age of Aquarius, and emanate positive vibrations. The parallel 14, which crosses Machu Picchu in Peru, also does so on Alto Paraíso, more precisely upon the Zen Garden (there is a small monument, full of stones and flowers, on the highway en route to Cavalcante), a beautiful scenery and stage to fantastic stories involving UFOs and ETs. On the road to São Jorge is the impressive Morro da Baleia (Mount Whale), a close second in mystic beauties and mysteries. Within the municipality are several of the best and most beautiful waterfalls in the country, especially in this sense the rivers Preto, São Miguel and Couros, tributaries of the mighty river Tocantins in Amazon Basin.
Most air travelers arriving at the Brasilia airport. There is a small domestic airport here, for small planes, but there are no regular air services.
The companies that make the route Brasilia-Chapada are Real Expresso e Santo Antônio.
- From Brasilia, take the BR-020 toward Salvador (for those arriving by plane: Airport> South Eixão> North Eixão> Bragueto Bridge> Torto Roundabout> Posto Colorado> Sobradinho) and turn left into the BR-010 (GO-118) after Planaltina (the roundabout is well signposted). Total distance from Brasilia is 230 km.
- From Goiânia, pass Brasilia and follow the above route.
- From São Paulo, take Via Anhanguera (SP-330) until Uberaba. From there, take the BR-050 to Brasilia.
The city itself is very small and easy, a Main Avenue (Avenida Ary Valadão Filho) starts on the road and cuts through the whole of it. The Bus Station is two blocks to the right of Main Avenue and all the "buy", "eat", "drink", "stay safe" and half "sleep" options are either at Main Avenue, (at most) two blocks away of it, or close to Bus Station. It´s that simple.
There are a lot of waterfall options around Alto Paraiso (Loquinhas are the closest and coziest, Crystal River is close too, there is a hiking trail to Sertão Zen, a little harder, Couros and Macaco rivers require a 4WD vehicle), but the best ones are around Vila São Jorge (St. George Village) 36 km west, the gateway to the National Park. There are vans and little difficulty to hitchhike. The road is very scenic, half of it is paved already, but the dirt part can get a little annoying during the rainy season (October-April).
- City Portal - Stone arches welcome the visitor, at the entrance of APG.
- Mirante do Pouso Alto- Monument on Pouso Alto hill, highest point of Goiás state - 1.676 m.
- Jardim Zen (Zen Garden) - Monument marking Parallel 14, ahead on the highway
- Little Stonehenge - beside the City Portal, parallel to the road, curious arrangement of granite blocks, worth a pic.
- Loquinhas (3 km from city center, follow Rua do Segredo), ☎ +55 61 9662-2115. seven emerald pools. Easy for children and elders. Slave-built stone wall, ecologic treks, 780m of wood wakways beside córrego Passatempo, easing the walk and preserving the environment. R$ 10, free for children under 12.
- Rio Cristal, Rodovia GO 118 (5 km from Alto Paraíso, going to Teresina de Goiás, plus 1 km of dirt road), ☎ +55 62 9668-0159, +55 62 9659-2624. Daily 8 to 18h.. several falls and pools, easy access, bar and restaurant.
- Sertão Zen - 8 km of hard trek, going along good bouldering and climbing options, cozy fall with stunning abyss view at the end. Better hire a guide.
- Portal da Chapada- Rodovia GO-239, km 8 - at Fazenda São Bento, after 3 km of dirt road, and 1 km walking, another Chapada wonder, on rio dos Couros, Almécegas I - The Fall. Following the dirt road a little more, Almécegas II - The Pool, a few meters walking. São Bento waterfall is a gorgeous natural pool, where water polo matches are held, very easy access for children.
- Anjos e Arcanjos - Moinho a 10 km - medium difficulty trek, the falls are worth it. It's customary to jump (35 m) from one to the other.
- Vale da Lua (Moon Valley)- Rodovia GO-239, km 30 - on Rio São Miguel, an unbelievable moonlike landscape, not for swimming, just bathing. Extra caution on the rainy season, as this place has already claimed the lives of many careless unlucky fellows.
- Vale do Rio Macaco (Monkey River Valley, 50 km) Waterfalls and canyons complex. Arduous trekking on rugged terrain. Great for canyoning. 4WD vehicle and hired guide recommended.
- Cataratas dos Couros (28 km) On Fazenda Boa Esperança, sequence of 4 lovely falls on Rio dos Couros, 4WD vehicle and hired guide also recommended.
- Poço Encantado - rodovia GO 118, on the way to Cavalcante, 35 km from APG - beautiful fall with spacious and calm pool, very recommended for children.
There are a lot more; local people will be happy to talk about it.
There is a New Age quality about Alto Paraiso, lots of people come there looking for Positive Vibration and alternative stuff. As a rule of thumb, "quiet" people stay here and "party" people stay at São Jorge.
Crystal souvenirs, hippie clothing and pinga de arnica (pinga: strong liquor, arnica: spicy vegetable with medicinal properties)
- Avalon, Av. Ary Valadão Filho, 1350, ☎ +55 62 3446-1046. 12:00 a 16:30; qui/sex/sab 19:00 a meia noite. Fondues, pasta, lasagnas, fishes and steaks; organic and vegetarian options;good wine selection.
- Cravo & Canela, Av. Ary Valadão Filho, 1363, Q 62, lt 03, ☎ +55 62 3446-1376. Coffee, vegetarian snacks, broths and desserts. Jewels, bijoux, ayurivedic massage, and musical instruments.
- Restaurante Goiano, Rua dos Buritis/Palipalan (next to Farmácia Paraíso), ☎ +55 62 3446-1880. almoço e jantar. Traditional Goiano food, feijoada, salads. They deliver.
- Nativus, Av. Ary Valadão Filho, esquina com GO-118 (city entrance, by the stone arches), ☎ +55 62 3446-1036. 11:30 a 15:00. Self service.
- Jambalaya, ☎ +55 62 8438-5352. Self-service.
- Jatô. Self-service.
- Massas da Mamma, ☎ +55 62 3446-1362. Italian food.
- Oca Lila, Av. João Bernardes Rabelo, 449, ☎ +55 62 3446-1006. 18:30 a meia noite. Buffet lunch. Pizzas, calzones, focaccias, caldos, sandwiches, beer, wines and live music at night. Accepts Visa and Mastercard.
- Pizzaria 2000, Av. Principal (next to Banco do Brasil), ☎ +55 62 3446-1814. Pizzas, beer, live music and belly dancing.
- Rancho do Valdomiro (road to São Jorge, km 21). Very scenic location at foot of Morro da Baleia. Owner famous for sympathy. Cachaças, licores, doces and artesanal cheeses. R$ 15 the matula; R$ 25 / person for full meal.
- Sem Fronteiras, R. São José Operário Q 51 lt 17 nº 251, Paraizinho, ☎ +55 62 3446-1435, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mexican, Italian and Goiano options.
- Alquimia, Av. Ary Valadão Filho, 875, centro (2 blocks before Praça do CAT). Beer and live music. Local musicians are above average and favor playing rock, blues, reggae and esoteric stuff.
- Oca (road to Moinho, km 4). cultural workshop by day and shows/parties venue by night. Jan 2013: closed for reform.
- Pousada Alfa e Omega, R. Joaquim de Almeida, 15 - Center, ☎ +55 62 3446-1225. Indoors pool, sauna, WiFi, colonial breakfast, rooms have TV and frigobar, suites have cable TV and DVD. from R$ 50 / night, Visa and Mastercard accepted..
- Pousada Casa Rosa, R. Gumercindo Barbosa, 233 (2 blocks off Main Avenue), ☎ +55 62 3446-1319. Big garden with trees, rooms, single and double chalets from R$ 40/night.
- Pousada Renascer Na Luz, R. Joaquim Costa, 234, ☎ +55 62 3446-2113. 10 rooms, double & triple. Meditation temple and therapy facilities. Therapy groups welcome.
- Hotel Europa, R. 01 Qd. 107 lt 01 (across the road from the city entrance), ☎ +55 62 3446-1558. Big structure, sober style, family oriented.
- Pousada Maya, R. 11, qd. 11, lt 4/5 Estância Paraíso, ☎ +55 62 3446-2062. Built on Feng Shui principles, seven suites, ample meditation room, WiFi, fireplace, outdoors coal oven, soccer lawn, big garden. Visa accepted.
If you don´t enter Alto Paraiso and keep on the road going north, you´ll end at Cavalcante(87 km) with another hundred waterfalls (try looking for Rei do Prata). If you go through Main Avenue all the way, you´ll end at Vila do Moinho (Mill Village, 10 km), home to Anjos e Arcanjos (Angels & Archangels waterfall). Both are worth the trip and both trips have very beautiful landscapes.
- Colinas do Sul (70 km)
- Niquelândia (150 km)
- São Jorge (36 km)
- São João d'Aliança (60 km)
- Teresina de Goiás (64 km)