A Trip to the Heart of Brazil
by Julie Cleaver Malzoni
Together with a group of friends, my husband Eduardo and I visited the very remote Jalapão National Park in the state of Tocantins to check out all the wonders we had heard about: rivers of clean water, waterfalls, crystal clear springs, sand dunes and a tropical savanna biome encompassing thousands of Mauritia flexuosa palms. It sounded like paradise to us. We just had to see for ourselves.
We set out in two 4WD cars, and after 150 km of an excellent paved road, this is where the adventure started… an unpaved, bumpy and sometimes very sandy road.
On the way to Mateiros we stopped to climb the sand dune that rises right in the middle of the park, offering a fantastic view over the valley below.
We arrived at sunset and had the first glimpse of Mauritia flexuosa in their natural habitat – here they grow in “veredas,” swampy lands between rivers and hills.