With an incredible geological and archaeological heritage, the Cavernas do Peruaçu National Park is one of the unmissable destinations to practice ecotourism in Minas Gerais.

Minas Gerais it is a privileged state when it comes to nature and incredible places to visit. The mountainous territory is formed by majestic canyons, beautiful waterfalls, many rivers and grandiose caves.

All this makes ecotourism in Minas Gerais be so famous and attract tourists from all over. Among the many impressive scenarios to discover there, is the Peruaçu Caves National Park

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It is a conservation unit, with 56,400 hectares, created to preserve the geological and archaeological heritage existing between the municipalities of Januária, Itacarambi and São João das Missões.

The place, in addition to having surreal caves, holds a priceless treasure: cave paintings that can be up to 9,000 years old. The level of conservation of these records is surprising, as well as the grandeur of the caves that house them.

The trails that run through the Peruaçu Caves National Park pass through breathtaking landscapes and provide fantastic experiences, as they reveal the interior of the caves and prehistoric records.

It is worth visiting the Peruaçu National Park to explore its surreal caves. If you're interested, check out our tips on everything you'll find in this magnificent piece of Minas Gerais territory.

Enchantments of Cavernas do Peruaçu National Park


Photo: Fernando Tatagiba / flickr

Put on light clothes, comfortable sneakers, fill your backpack with water and a snack and get ready for long – and rewarding – hikes through the surreal caves of the Peruaçu Caves National Park.

Part of the Velho Chico Tourist Circuit, this is another incredible destination to practice ecotourism in Minas Gerais.

Window's Grotto

main attraction of Peruaçu Caves National Park, the Janelão Cave is immense. The grandeur begins at its portal, which is about 100 meters high. At its entrance is a large open-air studio with several cave paintings.

There is no way not to be enchanted by the Gruta do Janelão. Inside, majestic halls reveal impressive rock formations and incredible views. In addition, gigantic natural skylights and slits in the ceiling keep the place bright.

The Peruaçu River flows through the Window's Grotto and makes the scenery even more spectacular.

beautiful cave

Unlike the Gruta do Janelão, the Gruta Bonita is totally dark. It is the only one of its kind open to visitors. Inside, it preserves halls and galleries full of speleothems – rock formations. 

The famous Red Room is located in Gruta Bonita, covered by reddish sediments that make it unique.

Indian Grotto

The entrance to the Gruta do Índio has archaeological records that go from floor to ceiling. The large panels of cave paintings are beautiful and impressive for their conservation.

On site, there is also the Mirante do Índio, which allows you to see the opening of the Gruta do Janelão. 

Lapa do Boquete

In addition to cave paintings, Lapa do Boquete houses ancient tombs and a prehistoric silo – a food storage structure. 

The vestiges found in Lapa do Boquete made it one of the main and most studied archaeological sites in the Peruaçu National Park.

Drawing lapa

As the name suggests, Lapa dos Desenhos has cave paintings as its main attraction. And no less. There are huge panels of these prehistoric records, all very well preserved. 

The diversity of colors and the richness of details are impressive. To get to Lapa dos Desenhos, the trail borders the Peruaçu River and reveals beautiful vegetation.

Praying Grotto

With an immense entrance hall – 40 meters high and 90 meters wide – Gruta do Rezar combines the beauty of the Peruaçu River canyon with the wealth of cave paintings.

To reach it, however, it is necessary to go through a path that requires a high degree of effort, with 500 steps.

Caboclo's Grotto 

The name of the Caboclo Cave comes from the fact that the cave paintings contained in its interior are of the Caboclo style.

Records of this type were discovered for the first time in Gruta do Caboclo and have not been found anywhere else in the world.

Carlúcio's Lapa

The Gruta do Carlúcio can be accessed by a trail with viewpoints from where you can observe the beautiful vegetation, formed by cacti and other species. 

To enter the Gruta do Carlúcio it is necessary to go around some rocks fallen from its ceiling. 

Andrew's Arch

The Arco do André trail leads to two spectacular viewpoints: Mirante das Cinco Torres and Mirante do Mundo Enteiro. Both reveal breathtaking landscapes.

How to get to the Peruaçu caves

Photo: Fernando Tatagiba / flickr

THE Peruaçu Caves National Park It can be visited from Wednesday to Sunday, from 8 am to 6 pm. According to the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), which manages the area, the park can be visited all year round.

However, it is good to know what the climate is like in the region in each season to choose the best time to visit Cavernas do Peruaçu National Park for you. 

Between November and April, it rains a lot in the park, which makes the vegetation greener. If you prefer to visit it during the drier season, go between May and October, however, the landscape will be grayer.

In addition, to visit it is necessary to make an appointment by e-mail [email protected] or through the ICMBio website.

But then, how to get to the Peruaçu caves? 

Cavernas do Peruaçu National Park is 662 km from Belo Horizonte (MG), 573 km from Brasília (DF), 1,092 km from Rio de Janeiro (RJ) and 1,222 km from São Paulo (SP).

If you go by plane, the nearest airport is Montes Claros. Upon arriving in the city, it will also be necessary to travel more than 200 km to Januária. The ideal is to rent a car to have more freedom in moving to the park.

By bus, there are options for boarding to Januária or Itacarambi at the bus stations in Montes Claros and Belo Horizonte, in Minas Gerais, and in Brasília, in the Federal District. It will still be necessary, however, to take another bus or rent a car to go to the park.

Now, if you go by car, own or rented, the entrance to the Park is on the banks of the BR-135, at kilometer 155, in the community of Fabião, 45 km from Januária. 

Where to stay when visiting Cavernas do Peruaçu National Park

Photo: Edgar Corrêa Kanayko / Wikimedia Commons

Of the three cities that house the Cavernas do Peruaçu National Park, Januária has the most structure. While Itacarambi, much smaller, is closer to the park. 

However, both have great options for where to stay when visiting Cavernas do Peruaçu National Park. The accommodations are simple, but very comfortable, with great service.

More attractions of the Velho Chico Tourist Circuit

Photo: Faagoncalves / Wikimedia Commons

If you want to extend your trip and get to know more attractions of the Velho Chico Tourist Circuit, here are some tips for ecotourism tours in the region:

In Januária, it is possible to walk the ecological trail to Gruta do Tatu or Gruta dos Anjos, and also to rappel over the São Francisco River.

In Itacarambi, the attractions are the Buraco do Cipó, the Caminhos da Serra route and the boat trip through Velho Chico.

What are you waiting for to discover this special corner of Minas Gerais?

Read too:

» Tourist train will connect Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro
» Places to visit in Ouro Preto
» Discover the places where the soap opera Espelho da Vida was recorded
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