Buraco das Araras


Useful Information

Location: Northeast of Formosa.
From Formosa follow BR20 for 41 km to the village Bezerra, 5 km after the village turn left on dirt road (signposted), at the turnoff turn first right then cross the road. Follow dirt road for 7 km, turn right, follow dirt road for 1.9 km, turn right again, road ends after 340 m at parking lot. 160 m walk to the doline.
(GO-016)
(-15.383433, -47.115018)
Open: All year daily.
Itakamã: currently no tours.
[2021]
Fee: Per Person BRL 5.
Itakamã: currently no tours.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyQuartzite Karst Caves KarstTiankeng
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=120 m, W=90 m, D=105 m. L=295 m, D=128 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Buraco das Araras, Itakamã, Formosa - GO, Tel: +55-61-99942-5098. E-mail: E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

Description

The Buraco das Araras (Abyss of the Macaws) is one of the largest sinkholes or collapse dolines of Brazil, it actually qualifies as a tiankeng. However, the name is actually a fake, as there are no Araras (macaws), the lush forest at the ground is home to flock of parrots, toucans, other birds, and some monkeys. Also it is not the only doline of that name, which causes a lot of confusion, the other one is located in Mato Grosso do Sul. It is sometimes called a cave, which is actually wrong, there are two short caverns on two sides of the doline, but there is actually no access to a cave, Nevertheless the doline is the result of the collapse of a huge cavern of an exceptional quartzite cave, which is probably located below the debris.

The doline is located on private property, it belongs to the Fazenda das Araras, it was most likely named after the farm. The owner charges a small fee for the visit, but there is definitely no infrastructure. As a farmer he is obviously around every day, but probably somewhere else on the farm, and in this case you will find locked gates. This is one of the reasons why we recommend a visit with an adventure tour operator. Another is the difficulty to find the site and the poor road conditions. To reach it an 11 km drive on a rather poor dirt road is necessary, make sure your car is up to this, 4WD or SUV is recommended.

The whole area is a dry plateau, mostly scrubland, while the floor of the doline is covered in lush vegetation. Many plants are quite ancient, for example the different ferns and fern trees, so that some tend to call this an primeval forest typical of the primitive age. Sounds a bit like the Lost World, but is actually nonsense. The locals are just impressed, because the microclimate is much wetter and cooler, and the vegetation differs so highly visible. 3.5 km to the north is a second doline, which is a little smaller, called Buraco das Andorinhas (Hole of the Swallows).

We were quite astonished about the stuff which is written on the web about this site, and actually 90% of it is completely wrong. We got the impression that some visitors and guides tend to use more fantasy that actual facts. The doline is elliptical, the hole is 120 m long and 90 m wide, and about 105 m deep. The rappel is around 67 m, because it starts where the rim is lower and ends at a higher point of the floor. We read the following numbers on the web: 167 m in diameter and 148 m in depth, 298 m wide and 100 m deep, 327 m in diameter and 128 m deep, 500 m x 200 m and 100 m deep. All those numbers are nonsense, you can easily see and measure the size on google maps. However, some of the numbers are actually the survey length and total depth, which are higher, although the two caverns are not very big. And because there is another doline of comparable size in Mato Grosso do Sul, which is actually a tourist site with trails and infrastructure, it is frequently mixed up. Even the tripadvisor comments are mostly for the other site. And no it was not discovered in 1912, that's the other one. There is also no cave river which froms a lake at the entrance to the cave.

And one last misinformation: this doline is quite big, but there are many bigger dolines in the world. It qualifies barely as a tiankeng, but there are some 75 of those huge dolines known worldwide, most of them much bigger. Nevertheless it is one of the largest dolines in quartzite and one of the largest in South America.

The two caverns give the impression that the doline is actually a section of a much longer cave passage. So far this passage has not been found, probably because it does not exist. The short passage on one side has nevertheless a highlight, which is used to good effect by the tour operators: there is an underground lake which is used for swimming. The water is not very warm, but warm enough for a refreshing swim after the strenuous climb.