Top Ten Brazil Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Go Caving in a National Park
By Shawn Blore

Located in the far northeast corner of the Brazilian state of Goias, Terra Ronca boasts over 200 caverns—some tens of miles deep—many of which remain unexplored. The largest formations attract spelunkers, adventure travelers, and, once a year, the religious. Every August 6th, residents of the area celebrate the Festa do Bom Jesus da Lapa. Women dressed all in white form a procession to a large underground lake, into which they toss offerings of flowers and votive candles.

Perhaps the best-explored cavern is the Gruta Terra Ronca, which extends for over three miles underground. Exploring the length of the cave is possible, though you have to work for your fun; close to the entrance of the cavern is an underground river with a considerable current. The rewards on the far side include numerous galleries holding magnificent stalagmites and stalactites, as well some delicate and beautiful calcium flowers. In one gallery, about two-thirds of the way along, there's an opening in the ceiling that allows enough sunlight to filter in for a few small palms to grow.


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