The capital city of Brasilia isn’t high on the priority list for many foreign travelers in Brazil. It’s quiet, organized, and focused around the political and judicial operations of the country.
This was President Kubitschek’s goal when he moved the capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia in the 1950’s – to get away from all the distractions.
But what if you’re looking from some distractions and adventure?
In my opinion, along with the incredible architecture within the city, the best thing about Brasilia is its proximity to some of the most amazing national parks in the country. Many of which are completely unknown to foreigners.
I highly recommend renting a car in Brasilia and making a day trip to one of these beautiful hidden gems…
Note: Chapada is a Brazilian word that means a region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a plateau.
Parque Nacional de Brasilia
Driving Time: 10 Minutes
For those that just need a quick fresh air fix, Brasilia’s National Park is a short drive from the city center and the perfect place to spend a sunny day. It is 160 square miles of lush green space, featuring swimming reservoirs, nature trails and plenty of monkeys.
Go during the week and you’ll avoid the local weekend crowd.
Driving Time: 35 Minutes
Poço Azul (or the Blue Pit) is located on a private estate within the Chapada da Contagem. It is a small park that has formed a beautiful landscape due to the streams and small tributaries coming from the Palm River Valley.
The featured attraction is Poço Azul, which is a large cavity approximately seven meters high and eight meters long, formed by the beautifully clear water over the years.
With waterfalls and hiking trails around the property, this place is perfect for a family picnic!
Driving Time: 2 Hours
The small Portuguese colonial town of Pirenópolis is not only a great place to visit, but it’s also the perfect hub for a weekend of outdoor exploration outside of Brasilia. It reminds me a lot of Paraty, because of it’s proximity to great waterfalls and nature hikes, but a lot less crowded.
Spend the weekend, get some sun and enjoy the tranquility.
Chapada dos Veadeiros
Driving Time: 2 Hours 45 Minutes
Now we’re getting into the absolutely breathtaking attractions that make this region impossible to miss. Based in the Brazilian state of Goias, Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park was created on January 11, 1961 by President Juscelino Kubitscheck, and listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.
With over 655 square kilometers and more waterfalls than I can count, Chapada dos Veadeiros is a must for any adventure-seeking nature lovers.
Here are four great natural excursions from Brasilia, but if you do want to stay in the city and explore, here are some great things to do in Brasilia…