Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park - Day 73

Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Mato Grosso,
Saturday, March 21, 2009

Booked a bus ticket to Sandarem this morning, I leave Cuiaba this evening. This is an alternative route into the Amazon to one I was originally going  to take. My original plan was a combination of bus and boat to Manaus via Porto Velho which would take a week. This revised travel plan to Sandarem is a 1800km two day drive, which includes 800km of dirt track, should be a real adventure! In bad weather the journey can apparently take a week. If it does take  a week it's the same amount of time as my original plan so it doesn't really matter, but I sincerely hope it takes 2 days!

Before the bus mission to Sandarem commences this evening I visited the Chapada National Park which is 70km north of Cuiaba. The owner of the hostel and one of his friends took me to these picturesque tablelands by car. I had to pay for the fuel and our lunch, but it wasn't too bad of a deal, would have cost me more on an organised tour.

The Chapada National Park has a myriad of waterfalls, steep cliffs and lush vegetation. We stopped off at many viewpoints to admire the scenery and went for a swim in the numerous crystal clear streams. We also visited the true geographical centre of South America, which is marked by a concrete trig point on a plateau over looking a majestic valley. We then stopped for a great traditional Brazilian meal of chicken, rice and beans before driving back to the hostel in Cuiaba. We arrived back at the hostel just before sunset and I quickly packed my bags, had a shower and caught a cab to the bus station to catch my ride into the Amazon. This bus journey will certainly be the longest of my life and could potentially turn into a bit of an epic. Let's just hope we have good weather and don't get stuck in the mud for days!!
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