Opened for visitation in 1979, the Serra da Capivara National Park concentrates traces of prehistoric man in Brazil and was inscribed by UNESCO in the list of World Heritage Sites, due to its archaeological and historical importance. Check out a 4-day itinerary in Serra da Capivara

In addition to housing thousands of archaeological sites with rock paintings and study areas where ancient bones and utensils were found, the Park preserves a huge area of exuberant vegetation typical of the Caatinga, framed by plateaus and curious rock formations, which convey an aesthetic of prehistoric scenery.

THE Serra da Capivara National Park is located in the southwest of Piauí, between the municipalities of Colonel Jose Dias, Saint Raimundo Nonato and Sao Joao do Buriti. The fastest way to access the reserve is at the airports of Teresina and Petrolina, in the neighboring state of Pernambuco.

Because it is in an area that is difficult to access and offers a very diverse range of attractions, many visitors decide to get to know the destination a little more calmly, so as not to make the trip exhausting.

The city of Saint Raimundo Nonato it is the main base of visitors arriving at the destination. The city is connected by roads with the main cities of the state and other important capitals of the North East. The city's main source of income is commerce and tourism, concentrating some simple accommodation options, but offering comfort and basic services that help tourists who arrive without much information about the destination. Pousada Zambelê and Pousada Progresso are the most popular options in the municipality.

If you are looking to get even closer to the park and wake up with a view of the mountains, the city of Colonel Jose Dias and the village of Sítio do Mocó can be a great option. Our tip is the rustic accommodation of the Cerâmica Serra da Capivara space. For adventurers, eco lovers and backpackers, the Pedra Furada space, in Sítio do Mocó, offers a camping area, hammocks and some suites at more affordable prices.

Day 1 – Museums, crafts and sunset in the mountains

Photo: Gustavo Albano

Photo: Gustavo Albano

To better understand the historical importance of Serra da Capivara, start a tour of the museums of American Man and Nature. The spaces dedicated to the preservation of this enigmatic history, have impressive collections left by prehistoric peoples.

Start the tour by Nature Museum, located in front of the entrance to the National Park, 35 km from the center of Saint Raimundo Nonato. The museum is the newest attraction in the Serra and has a permanent exhibition telling the entire history of the region, divided into 12 rooms. From there, head to Cerâmica da Serra da Capybara. The cooperative, created in 1992, produces 12,000 pieces a month and serves retail giants such as the Pão de Açúcar group and the funky Tok Stok. The space has a store (take advantage of the factory promotional prices), a space for lodging and a restaurant, with typical flavors of the region.

After lunch it was time to visit the Museum of American Man. The site contains about 90 pieces found during research in the region. In addition, the museum also has some interactive areas, where it is possible to observe the various cave paintings found in the park.

To end the first day with a flourish, follow the BR-020 towards Baixão das Canoas, located in Serra Vermelha, in the surroundings of Serra da Capivara National Park. Access is via a winding dirt road, with approximately 9 km. From there, a small trail leads visitors to a viewpoint amid curious rock formations. A great place to watch the sunset and admire the beauties of the mountains that emerge over the Caatinga. As it is not inside the Park, the attraction does not have an entrance fee and can be done autonomously, without hiring guides.

Day 2 – Tour of the archaeological sites

Photo: Gustavo Albano

Photo: Gustavo Albano

Get ready to spend hours trying to unravel the messages stored in rocks and caves by our ancestors. The Serra da Capivara National Park is divided into 4 mountains (Capivara, Talhada, Vermelha and Branca) and each one has a complex of archaeological sites open for visitation.

The most visited circuit is the Holed stone. It concentrates the Boqueirão da Pedra Furada, with more than 1000 rock paintings, and the iconic rock formation that bears the same name as the circuit. The tour can be complemented with a visit to the Middle Site and not Low of the Women, located in Sítio do Mocó.

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Day 3 – Adventure and more cave paintings

Photo: Gustavo Albano

Photo: Gustavo Albano

THE Serra da Capivara canyon It concentrates 17 trails that lead visitors to archaeological sites, viewpoints and curious rock formations. The circuit, as the name implies, is located between the walls of a charming canyon, which served as a shelter for our ancestors thousands of years ago.

The Serra da Capivara Canyon is among the most visited attractions, due to the ease of access and structure offered to tourists. Among the 17 demarcated visitation points, the Toca da Entrada do Pajaú, a Burrow at the entrance of Baixão da Vaca and the Hell's Lair, are the ones that draw the most attention, both for the concentration of paintings and for the natural beauty of the places.

As it is an attraction that takes time to get to know, it is advisable to bring a snack and drinking water for the tour. When leaving the park, separate the end of the afternoon to visit the friendly center of São Raimundo Nonato. You can start at the city's Municipal Market, visit the Church of SRN and enjoy the sunset at Alto do Cruzeiro, the highest point in the city, which offers a panoramic view of the mountains and fields of the region.

Day 4 – Serra Branca and Balé das Andorinhas

Photo: Disclosure

Photo: Disclosure

Serra Branca is the sector that concentrates most of the cave paintingsif Serra da Capivara trails. Prepare your legs and leave the camera positioned to make beautiful records.

The circuit has trails with moderate levels that pass through several viewpoints and “holes”, where the cave paintings are located. The Toca do Conflict gathers engravings that represent fights and murders, and is among the most visited attractions on this side of the Park. Other interesting places to visit are Toca do Sobradinho, Toca do Caboclo and Toca do Juazeiro da Serra Branca, the last burrow uninhabited by the families who lived within the environmental area in the 60s.

The end of the day is marked by the wonderful flight with hundreds of collared swallows, which takes place daily between 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm. The place chosen by the birds could not be more spectacular: a deep canyon covered by Caatinga, baptized as “Baixão das Andorinhas”. The contemplation of the low and acrobatic flights is conferred on top of the stone walls, also allowing a wide view of the park's mountains.

» Complete guide to Serra da Capivara National Park
» Where to stay in Serra da Capivara: Sítio do Mocó or São Raimundo Nonato
» Serra da Capivara National Park wins Nature Museum
» Trekking through Brazil, discover the main crossings to do in the country

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