Historical towns / Termas & Serras Gerais region
The region of Termas & Serras Gerais comprises the southern municipalities of Tocantins, part of the State of Goiás, including the Araguaia Valley, extending to the borders of Bahia and Maranhão. Most of its towns were found in the 18th century under strong influence of catholic missionaries and African culture due to slave work in the gold mines around. This fact brought to the local community much of its tradition, like religious festivities, afro-dancing, feasts and the dominant black population in some localities.
In this region the richest colonial architecture in the state is found in the city of Natividade registered by the National Historical Patrimony.
There are also lots of ecological tourism options in the rivers and beaches.
Formoso do Araguaia
]aú do Tocantins
Ponte Alta do Tocantins
Distance from Palmas: 480 km
Population: 13.000 inhabitants
On its narrow streets, cobbled sidewalks and hills, the town still keeps a colonial mood full of tradition and a peculiar fact: people which live usually longer than 85 years. According to residents this fact has to do with magnesium concentration in the water.
The town has mostly had its culture influenced by African habits.
Religious feasts and rituals are a tradition. “Romaria de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios” (Pilgrimage of Our lady of Remedy) has happened every August 3 since 1835. “Santos Reis” and “São Sebastião” Feasts in January, “FoIios do Divino”, “Romaria de Nosso Senhor do Bonfím during Easter. Carnival is also traditionally celebrated. Craftsmanship is diversified and offers art in potting, straw work, sculpturing, frilly threadwork and leather articles.
Typical dishes: paçoca (dried meat with farinha) “maria isabel” (rice and beans cooked with sun-dried meat ), “mucunza” (corn based dish), cashew sweets and “buritis”, liqueurs and “cachaça”
In the region, 22 km away from downtown, is Fazenda Furnas Cave, a 40 m wide by 20 m long cave with four large chambers. “Chapadas dos Negros” is a grand grooving area of ruins and gold diggings at 3 km from downtown.
Distance from Palmas: 350 km
Population: 14.000 inhabitants
The town was found during gold cycles in 1750. Its history has experienced tragic consequences from epidemic diseases, attacks from Indian Tribes and village devastation. It has a strong economy based on cattle raising, rice, soya and mineral rocks. It is known as “capital” of The Southeastern Tocantins.
“Balneário da Conceição”, a water resort near Rio da Conceição lown, has lots of leisure options: 12 huts, soccer field, volleyball courts, shower baths, barbecue grill and most important Conceição River wilh its crystal clear waters.
At the same location, three falls make “Cachoeira da luz” (Waterfalls of light, 15 km away from Dianópolís. Another option is “Lagoa Bonita” Beautiful lagoon, a 30 m long fall that runs five meter deep showing clearly shoal of fish in the bottom.
Formoso do Araguaia
Distance from Palmas: 323 km
Population: 17.000 inhabitants
This municipality began in 1949 along with crystal mines exploration. Today it holds one of the largest irrigation programs for rice and soybean plantation in Latin America. Cattle raising, lumbering and fishing are along with breeding of alligators profitable activities tor the local economy.
Alligator breeding started in 1990 through Copraba (Brazilian Forming Cooperative). Due to an increasíng rate of these animals reproduction around the irrigation channels the Cooperative decided to install a breeding reservoir aiming to export alligator skin.
Tourism is to become a very profitable source as well.
The Javaés River encircles the right side of Bananal Island and is also one of the countless attractions in Formoso. The beaches start to come into sight in May and Porto Piaui is the most famous one at 25 km from downtown.
Coming out of a groove in the rocks Morro Azul Lagoon is a spring of warm clear waters. Along the side is Morro Azul from where mineral rocks are extracted without affecting much of its original 70 m high formation.
To be present at Aruano, an Indian dance ritual that happens in “Aldeia dos javaés”, means an unforgettable experience. On April 1 st, “Festa do Indio” is also a very interesting feast. Actually, anytime of the year is great for visiting the Indian settlement in Formoso.
Rio Formoso Project brings together machinery, working men and wild animals. It’s an interesting scene to watch: a stretching area of cultivated land and water inhabited by rheas, capybaras, deers, alligators and other animals. The project extends along 27.000 hectares for rice and soya plantation.
Distance from Palmas: 245 km
Population:: 57.000 inhabitants
Southern gateway of Tocantins, this town connects the state through BR-153 with the Country. It has a strong rice and cattle-raising based economy, wellstructured trading market, communication, transportation, hospital and hotel infrastructure.
Two large fairs take place in Gurupi: in June, “Exposição Agropecuária” (an exhibition of farming activities) and on different dates: Feneg – (a business fair for small and medium companies in Gurupi) sponsored by SEBRAE-TO.
Carnival is a big event in Gurupi – street parades and club parties bring crowds to town. Jacaré Beach, holds festivals, shows and sport contests during its season (June through September). It is a clear shallow water beach and is located at 86 km from Gurupi with a perfect area for camping.
Culture and Tradition – Gurupi is all culture with its superstitions, beliefs, old stories that make its routine. Craftsmanship vary from rustic pieces to industrialized products. Three play groups make regular presentations at the “Centro de Referencias da Imagem Populor” (a local cultural centre). Regional cuisine offers coconut based fish dishes, vegetables and spicy sauces.
For hotel accommodation there are seven places with restaurants, snack bars and beer lounges.
]aú do Tocantins
Distance from Palmas: 390 km
Separated from Peixe in 1991, Jaú had its population started after the first half of the century. Its economy is based on agriculture and cattle raising.
Square Dance Festivities happen in June changing the quietness into a lively town full of celebration. Regional cuisine has a “hot” dish called “quibebe” (Jerked beef with sliced manioc root) not to mention chicken with “guariroba” (variety of palm tree) and “pequi rice”.
Termas da Magdal is one of the natural attractions: a spring of warm waters make up two small ponds located at 22 km from Jaú, in Fazenda Pocos de Caldas.
Gruta da Boa Vista, a hollowed out retreat sheltering an altar for Our Lady of Conceição where a mass is held every year in September.
Distance from Palmas: 327 km
Population: 4.000 inhabitants
Lizarda is in the west of Tocantins bounding with Maranhão. Its first inhabitants came to the region in 1824.
Agriculture, cattle raising and lumbering make its economy.
For tourism attractions, Lajedo River makes the following landscape: a river 30 km long, in shallow clear waters, running over multicolored rocks. All along its course one can see shoals of fish swimming in the bottom. At the margins, one will find flower trees like “aroeira ” , “jatoba”, “angico”, “buriti” and “ipe” and also monkeys, wild pigs, anteaters, deers, capybaras and a world of birds. Lajedo River forms many pools before meeting Perdido. At one point in the course this river narrows its path to 8 cm where the waters hide under a rock to come out a few meters ahead. Perdido River has greenish waters and river rapids in some points. “Perdido” means lost in portuguese which has to do with the river disappearing under a thick vegetation “Iosing” its course in both margins. Nevertheless, the narrowing vegetation sets apart great areas for fishing and swimming. On the sand fresh water turtles and tortoise pop up regularly.
Distance from Palmas: 218 km
Population: 10.000 inhabitants
Place of many pro-separation movements during the 19th century, this town was founded by Manuel Alves in 1728, temporarily being the judiciary district of Goiás from 1809 to 1815. It is Tocantins oldest city.
The town was registered by the National Historical Patrimony in 1984 and keeps its portuguese – french-styled colonial architecture depicted on oId houses and narrow streets. Blacks are majority.
The Historical Center of Natividade is considered the most important and well kept architecture complex in Tocantins. The buildings are: The Governor’s Palace, across from the main Church, The Public Prison which is to become a museum, “Amalia Hermano Cultural Center”, another building from the 18th century restaurated to house a library and a school. The ruins of Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos (The Church of Our Lady of Negroes’ Rosary) is a must see. Founded over rocks, the church preserves remaining walls and an entrance arch. The Church of Our Lady of Natividade whitens up the town common: built in 1759 it is a simple colonial . construction with two towers on the side built from Negroes Church’s debris. Inside an art piece sits on a blue painted wood altar the statue of Our Lady of Natividade sculptured in wood.
The largest and most traditional religious feast in Tocantins, the Bonfim Pilgrimage, gathers over 60 thousand people every year in August. The pilgrimage has happened since the 18th century.
Divine’s Feast in Natividade is also a century old. It begins in Sunday Easter when pilgrims go around town holding flags of the HoIy Spirit and lasts forty days of celebrations to end up in a big feast.
From tradition to mystic, creatures-shaped rocks make up an intrinsic labyrinth: that is Bom Jesus de Nazareth Center, where unlike all other religious places gets its final project built through telepathic instructions and visions given by space creatures according to its founder, Dona Romana.
The Serra da Natividade is a mountain range 350 m higher than the town level. The hiking trail is full of crystal clear brooks. The landscape at the top has a beautiful streamlet, flat grounds and ruins from the old town with an artificial channel built in the 18th century by slave labor. Typically fruit trees and patches of vegetation cover the area. Mostly visited from April to October.
The river coming from the mountains forms “Cachoeira do Paraíso” (paradise’s fall) with natural pools surrounded by a magnificent landscape.
The town preserves its cultural traditions and beliefs through african folklore dances (Sussia and Catira) with rustic musical instruments. From the colonizer’s side there are religious celebrations during Christmas time.
Typical dishes are “quibebe”, chicken with “guariroba” and pequi rice, always served with tropical fruit juices.
Distance from Palmas: 392 km
Population: 11.000 inhabitants
Another town of Tocantins that had its population started in the 18th century. In 1857, Paranã gained its emancipation. It is the São João da Palma city where Teotonio Segurado founded the North first provincial capital.
The Thermal Waters that spring out of Serra de Caldas are a very “hot” attraction forming two 40 degree hot spring pools. In a 10m range the “hot” meets the “cold” of Ventura River waters creating a greenish pond. The spring is located at “Emoções das Caldas” Farm.
The town also has beautiful beaches formed by the clear greenish waters of Paranã River with its 700 km of extension. “Praião” (Big Beach) is located on a busy town area with bar huts and leisure options. Ten minutes down the river there’s a more quiet beach spot.
Dauto Lagoon, downtown Paranã, is formed during floods. It extends 2.500 m long by 1.800 m wide. Hawks, herons and wild ducks are found there.
At 3 km away from Paranã is Palma River, safe for navigating and great area for fishing.
Like many other small towns Paranã has also traditional festivities and religious celebrations. Indians and blacks had great influence on local art that works on clay, wood, leather and straw. Corn is mostly used on typical dishes. Tropical fruits make delicious liqueurs, juices and sweets.
Distance from Palmas: 310 km
Population: 13.000 inhabitants
Click here for more about Peixe
The name “peixe” means fish in portuguese due to local “fish tales”. Based on a diversified economy the town has been getting a Iot of attention for its tourism potential.
“Praia do Peixe” (Fish Beach) is one of Tocantins people’s favorite. ‘Praia da Tartaruga” (Turtles Beach) is a great place for ecotourism. The beach, as the name says, is an ecological sanctuary of turtles.
Tropeco Archipelago comprises 366 islands. It’s an impressive island group that presents risk to navigators not familiar with the channels. “Canal das Cuias” is mostly used as a navigating channel. Religion and traditions have been influenced by catholic missions as well as African culture. During festivities dances such as “sucia”, “garrafada” and “tambor” are presented.
Ponte Alta do Tocantins
Distance from Palmas: 189 km
Population: 8.000 inhabitants
This is a new municipality less than 40 years old, situated in Jalapão. The town postcard is Ponte Alta Beach covered by woods on its highest area. The waters run at an enjoyable temperature and the beach is 1 km long.
“Cachoeira Sucuapara” comes out of a 60 m deep groove and runs down a 6 meter high foil resembling a small canyon. Tropical plants like “samambaia” and “avenças” cover its left side slope.
“Morro Solto” presents a peculiarity about its top: there’s a set of shaped up stone blocks with openings carved by wind farces. In the same area live block and spotted jaguars, wolves, deers, toucans, rheas and other animals.
Distance from Palmas: 475 km
Rich soil and gold attracted its first inhabitants to this town next to Bahia. Agriculture, cattle raising, lumbering and mining make its economy.
Sobrado River falls off a 70 m high slope forming Registro Falls, a loud water foil that frightens for its proportion. The lake is nice for a swim.
Azuis River with intense blue waters and only 150 meters from source to its mouth, is according to researchers the smallest river in the world. The waters stay clear throughout the seasons.
Gruta dos Caldeiroes (Caldeiroes Cave), located at 12 km away from downtown forms curious shapes inside its chambers.
Taguatinga has also a characteristic colonial architecture from the 19th century and many traditionally religious festivities in July, August and January.