Discover Jalapão, the Amazon gateway! Part 2
Part two, Ponte Alta do Tocantins:
At this point, less then 24 hours into our adventure discovering Jalapão, I’m already enchanted with its natural beauty and really looking forward to what the land has to offer us for the next 72 hours!
After our Sunset experience at Pedra Furada, we headed back to Ponte Alta do Tocantins for dinner, I cannot express how satisfied I was the friendliness and welcoming hospitality of this community, they really look after their guests, the food was very good too. Dinner was served at around 8pm, home-made Brazilian food at a small family run restaurant just up the hill, past a blue high bridge that crosses the Ponte Alta River*.
*Did you know?
Ponte Alta do Tocantins (Tocantins High Bridge) is considered to be the gateway of Jalapão. The city’s name is associated with the Ponte Alta River that passes through the city. The river forms numerous beautiful beaches during the dry season, including the Tamboril beach, one of the region’s most popular river beach with natural white sand. Ponte Alta do Tocantins has basic infrastructure including lodging, food and local guides.
Once dinner was over we headed back to Pousada Aguas do Jalapão, our lodging accommodation for the night, just outside of Ponte Alta, but before hitting the sack Mr Black (our guide) introduced us to the local way of drinking cachaça (Brazilian sugar cane rum), we sat around a small table, overlooking a pitch black grassland, knocking back shots of Brazilian rum and eating freshly harvested cashew fruit from the garden, It can’t get better than that, no distractions from modern life, no TV, no radio, no mobile phone, just a small group of people that have only just met chatting away like old friends, sharing experiences from life and savouring a nicely distilled rum and eating freshly harvested sweet cashew fruit.
There is nothing better than waking up to the sound of wild birds chirping away and the fresh air coming from the grasslands first thing in the morning, compared to my usual city environment, waking up to horn sounds from the traffic jam and people complaining that the bus is running late from the bus stop just outside the house!
Our second day began at 7am with a healthy breakfast, freshly pressed ground coffee, delicious pao de queijo (gluten free cheese breads) and a buffet of fresh local fruits. “Eat well guys, we will be on the road for about four and a half hours before arriving at our next destination!” Said MR Black.
The road trips are not easy, and I cannot emphasise enough how difficult the roads in Jalapão are, sandy roads, grilling bumpy tracks full of pot holes and rock surfaces.
Four and a half hours later… I tell you what, I didn’t even notice the clock, I felt the bumpy road, got shaken about a little but the scenery alongside the road and the atmosphere between the whole group inside the 4×4 was so good that it felt as if we were driving for a couple of hours only. Here we are, Cachoeira da Velha (The old Lady Waterfall), you can really loose yourself here in deep thoughts. The sound of the waterfall hitting the rocks, combined with the sound of the cool breeze passing through the trees, magnificent views and very peaceful. We stopped over for about 40 minutes to experience the place and relax a bit after so many hours on the road.
Next stop, a few minutes away from Cachoeira da Velha, we arrived at the Prainha (Little Beach). We’ve been told that the Prainha was the back drop scenery for a film called “Deus e Brasileiro” (God is Brazilian) starring Antonio Fagundes (famous Brazilian actor) and I tell you what, the little beach was certainly a heavenly place.
We stopped at the Prainha for about two hours. While our guide was preparing a delicious fruit and sandwiches picnic we decided to go for a swim, the water was nice and refreshing, so clear you could see schools of fish swimming through your legs and if you stayed still the little fish would come and softly nibble your feet, very therapeutic! The sandy beach was just like being by the seaside surrounded by wild vegetation, tall trees and wild life. While we were having our picnic we saw a group of cutias (common agouti) foraging and also beautiful toucans eating wild fruits from the trees.
“Are you guys ready to be amazed?” Yes, it does not stop here, the adventure continues says our personal guide. “Back on the Jeep, the clock is ticking and the sun waits for no one! I have a surprise for you guys.”
Continue reading my adventure here: Discover Jalapão! Part 3