A refuge surrounded by waterfalls, canyons, and intriguing rock formations, Chapada das Mesas is located in the south of Maranhão, and is a destination for those looking for beautiful landscapes and contact with nature.

Photo: Francisco Lusivaldo Marques / Wikimedia Commons

Internationally known for its tropical desert formed with white sand dunes and lagoons with crystal clear waters, the maranhão is always remembered by Lencois Maranhenses National Park, but the 8th largest state in Brazil is located in an area with a strong transition of biomes and ecosystems from the north and northeast regions, forming other surprising scenarios that can be seen in numerous parts of the state.

One of them attractions is the magnificent Chapada das Mesas, a region that stands out for its natural beauties made up of the large number of mountains, canyons, waterfalls, rivers and caves present in the destination. The gateway to the Chapada das Mesas National Park is the city of Carolina, located in the extreme south of the state, 800 km from the capital São Luís, already on the state border with the Tocantins.

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THE Chapada das Mesas is still a destination little explored by tourists but it has a lot to offer, there are dozens of waterfalls, trails, viewpoints, groves of buritizais, rivers and incredibly transparent water wells, which form surprising and untouched scenarios, which most of the time are in inhospitable regions and can only be accessed in 4×4 vehicles.

The natural beauties of the landscapes around the roads that connect Carolina at main attractions gives Chapada das Mesas has been awakening the desire of cyclists to discover all the charms of the southern region of the state by bicycle, increasing the ways to explore and enjoy this very special part of Brazil.

Where to stay in Chapada das Mesas

Photo: Otávio Nogueiraa / Flickr Wikimedia Commons


The peaceful town of Carolina had its heyday in the past, due to its privileged location on the banks of the Tocantins River, being an indispensable stop for colonists who sought to imprison Indians to work in the exploration of gold. Until today, the municipality has traces of that time present in historic buildings that can be seen in the streets and squares of the city, which have immense mountains and rock formations with a flat top that resemble tables of different sizes and formats.


The city of Riachão is 140 km from Carolina and does not offer good infrastructure for tourists. The city receives tourists thanks to the Poço Azul complex, which houses the three most beautiful attractions of Chapada das Mesas: Santa Bárbara Waterfall, Poço Azul and Encanto Azul, an incredible well of crystalline waters formed between the rocks of the region.

What to do in Chapada das Mesas

Photo: Dante Laurini Jr / Wikimedia Commons

Chapada Portal

To get to the main postcard of the Chapada das Mesas, the visitor needs to climb to the top of a wall composed of an open crack, which had its peculiar shape reminiscent of the shape of the map of Tocantis, was shaped by the action thousands of years ago.

Sao Romao Waterfall

THE Sao Romao Waterfall is located on the Farinha River, 70 km from Carolina, within the area of the Parque Nacional da Chapada das Mesas. In addition to enjoying the immense curtain of water, the visitor can also enjoy the attraction on a trail that goes towards a cave located behind the fall.

Hat Hill

Another beautiful postcard of the chapada, Morro do Chapéu is 376 meters high, and is a must-visit for trekking and climbing enthusiasts who wish to have a very extensive view of the region.

Shrine of fallen stone

THE Sanctuary Waterfall It is located inside the Pedra Caida tourist complex, a few kilometers away from Carolina, to reach the waterfall in the middle of a wall, the visitor needs to walk a few meters of well-marked and structured trails, between a gigantic flooded canyon.

Blue Well

Main attraction of the city of Riachão, 130 km from Carolina o Blue Well it is the most coveted attraction in the whole plateau. The reason is its transparent waters that pour into a wonderful well that reaches up to 5m deep.

Santa Barbara Waterfall

Waterfall formed by the Cocal River, is in the municipality of Riachão and is 76 meters high. THE Santa Barbara Waterfall it was baptized with that name thanks to an eccentric rock formation present in the middle of the waterfall.

blue charm

Another attraction of Riachão, the Encanto Azul is a well of pure water that gushes from a spring, forming an incredible natural pool with crystal clear waters. The attraction is a few kilometers away from Poço Azul.

Itapecuru Waterfall

At Itapecuru Waterfalls they are located along the BR-230, 33 km away from Carolina and are also known as twin waterfalls. The attraction offers a basic structure of restaurant, bathroom, chalets to stay overnight, and therefore, it is also one of the busiest by residents and tourists.

Other attractions of Chapada das Mesas

  • dodo waterfall
  • Mansinha Waterfall
  • Silver Waterfall
  • Cave Waterfall
  • Capelão waterfall
  • moon tower
  • blue charm
  • Beaches on the Tocantins River
  • Garrote Waterfall
  • Porteira Waterfall

How to get to Chapada das Mesas

Photo: Jhonatha Connection / MTUR

By airplane

The closest airport to Chapada das Mesas is Imperatriz (200 km), São Luís (833 km) and Palmas – TO (500 km). Then the best way to get there is by car or bus.

By car

Coming from Imperatriz – access via BR-010 and BR-230 Coming from São Luis (811 km) – access via BR-135 (up to BR-226), MA-012, MA-132 and BR-230. It's 850 km

By bus

The region receives daily buses departing from Imperatriz, São Luís and Palmas. For up-to-date information on which companies operate to Carolina, it is worth calling the city bus station:
Tel: (99) 3531-2076

Best time to visit Chapada das Mesas

Photo: Jhonatha Connection / MTUR

The Chapada das Mesas region has high temperatures throughout the year. In July, the river beaches of Tocantins appear and are invaded by tourists from the region. The predominant seasons are winter (from September to May when thunderstorms are frequent) and summer (from June to August).

Where to stay in Chapada das Mesas

Photo: Jhonatha Connection / MTUR

Carolina | Pousada dos Candeeiros, Pousada Águas da Chapada, Pousada do Lajes, Star RanchRefugio do Raiz Camping

creek | Pousada Chapada das Mesas

» Sanctuary Waterfall, an essential attraction in Chapada das Mesas
» Poço Azul enchants tourists in Chapada das Mesas in Maranhão
» Chapada das Mesas: discover the Itapecuru Waterfall
» Chapada das Mesas: Waterfalls of Prata and São Romão

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