One of the secret paradises of Brazil has a strange name: JALAPÃO. Do you have any idea where that name came from? It’s a curious story. “Jalapa” is a native potato from Tocantins used for medicinal purposes by quilombolas since they settled in the region. But, to such a potato, it is also usually placed inside bottles of cachaça to give an orange shade, which by the way is beautiful. That’s where the name comes from. When the person asks for a capricious dose of the drink, they ask for a “Jalapão”. Got it?
So, let’s for a Jalapão? Or rather … to Jalapão? It is right in the heart of Brazil. Palmas is the gateway to this unusual, exotic, unique place of stunning natural beauty. In Palmas get a driver with a 4X4 car (I indicate Marcelinho, my wonderful guide, phone number: 63 99999.2113) and throw yourself on the dirt roads that lead to the many fervedos (which are natural pools in turquoise blue springs where water pressure do not let you sink), to the more orange desert of color I’ve seen in life, to the beautiful waterfalls and sandstone walls that form perfect designs. It is a rustic place, simple hotels, good people and surreal beauty. Perfect for a roadtrip of over a thousand kilometers passing through the cities of Ponte Alta, Mateiro and Novo Acuerdo, which can serve as a base.
Include Mumbuca in your itinerary. This quilombola community needs to be visited because it is the cradle of the golden grass handicraft, considered the great treasure of the sertão. It was the golden grass that brought Jalapão to the world. Art has become a tradition and has been passed down from mother to daughter since D. Miúda – as the matriarch was known – began to weave the grass with buriti threads. The community lives basically from the sale of their handicrafts. Buying a piece, besides giving you joy, will help in the livelihood of the people who live there.
Jalapão is one of the most exotic and surprising destinations in Brazil. Do not expect luxury. The simplicity of eating a chicken with pequi, cuajá rice and caranha prepared in front of you with affection, in a place so blessed by nature, makes the trip worthwhile. I guarantee!
A wonderful week to all!