The region of crystal clear waters.
By Renata Solano
The search for a place full of beauty and charm provided by Mother Nature, made Rede Globo define Rio Araguaia as the reference point for the new 6pm soap opera. Behind the production shown on the screens of millions of Brazilians, there is an even larger and amazing environment.
Belonging to the Amazon basin and over 2,000 km in length, the Rio Araguaia, also known as ‘rio das araras’ in the Tupi dialect, is the division between the states of Mato Grosso, Goiás, Tocantins, Maranhão and Pará. This environment has one of the largest and richest ecosystems in Brazil, encompassing the biomes of the Cerrado, Pantanal and Amazônia.
The bird show is one of the big attractions in the region. It is possible to see birds forming a choir composed of herons, bem-te-vis, sabiás, azulões, uirapurus, coalheiros, mergulhões and wild ducks, among other local and migratory species that live there.
Besides the rich contrast of flora and fauna, there is a cultural diversity which varies from the characteristic forró of Pernambuco to the rituals and handcrafts of around 80 indigenous tribes in the region of Araguaia and the northern part of the country.
Specifically in the months of July and August, the Araguaia River suffers dry spells, as the water level decreases and, on the waterbed, sand islands are formed that are used as a camping area by tourists who explore the beautiful fine white sand beaches. It is as if the river turns into an ocean.
The ideal time to fish in Araguaia is between the months of September to April. However, it is necessary to get a temporary license for this activity, which can be obtained from any Banco do Brasil branch. The river is famous because it contains an enormous variety of fish such as, pintados, pirarucus, tucunarés, corvinas, mandubés, barbados, dourados, mandis and many more.
June to October is the best time for tourism in the region. During these months, extreme sports are guaranteed fun! Canoeing, glider rides, rafting and jet-skiing can be practiced all the time. However, after this period the flood season begins, which will make any type of tour difficult.
Aruanã is one of the most sought after tourist spots in Araguaia Goiano. The city, which is 300 km from Goiânia, has beach parties, large camping spaces, shows and sporting events. Goiás, in São José dos Bandeirantes, with its rustic features, is very close to Barra do Rio do Peixe and some large lakes, which altogether, offer an environmental diversity perfect for ecological tourism.
In Barra dos Garças, in Mato Grosso, you will find the Serra Azul Park, which includes archeolgical sites such as caves, caverns and underground lakes. In this region you will also find the Águas Quentes Park, the Porto do Baé, the Serra do Roncador, indigenous villages (Bororos and Xavantes), trails and waterfalls. Also in Mato Grosso, São Felix do Araguaia is known the world over for its handcrafts, made by the Karajás, Tapirapés and Txucarramãe who inhabit the island of Bananal.
But be aware, some basic care must be taken before and during your trip! It is necessary to have a yellow fever shot, at least ten days before coming to this region. Besides this, the presence of some insects and animals such as bees, mosquitoes, spiders, snakes, alligators and even fish such as candiru and piranha, require you to take some care. Besides the option of camping, there are also bed & breakfasts with simple and luxury rooms and boat-hotels available in town. Have a great trip and have fun!