Lajedo de Soledade

Gruta dos Martins

Useful Information

Location: Apodi, Soledade, north of the town.
BR-405 from Mossoró, after 93 km turn right at sign Laj. Soledade, 7 km to the museum.
(-5.598118, -37.829916)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: Adults BRL 7. Guide for up to 15 persons BRL 50.
Classification: KarstKarren KarstBare Karst KarstLimestone Pavements ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: n/a
Guided tours: V=8000/a [2019]
Address: Lajedo de Soledade, FALS, Apodi - RN 59700-000, Tel: +55-84-3333-1017, Tel: +55-84-99911-9070. 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.
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1990s expedition by geologists, archaeologists and environmentalists of Petrobrás to the site.


Lajedo de Soledade is a bare karst area with limestone pavements and karren. There are also numerous small caves, shelters, and abris. The official main sights are unfortunately the rock paintings by the native inhabitants, which were created between 3000 and 1000 BC. Yes, they are impressive, yes, there are 56 painted shelters, yes, there are 10 guides which guide quite professional. The site is obviously a tourist draw and 8,000 visitors travel to this remote spot every year. It is located in the district of Soledade, in the municipality of Apodi, in a mountainous region at the border between the states of Rio Grande do Norte (RN) and Ceará (CE), named Chapada do Apodi.

The whole area consists of limestone, which is dissolved by rainwater. Cracks in the rock were widened forming a pattern of wide cracks which is called limestone pavement. The rain water flowing on the surface dissolves the limestone forming funnels which are called karren. This is an impressive example of a karrenfield and limestone pavement and the geologic importance is unfortunately completely ignored by the archaeology dudes.

The site is also one of the most important archaeological sites in Brazil. It was used by the Pleistocene megafauna of the ice age and later by prehistoric man. Bones of mastodon, armadillo, saber-tooth tigers and giant sloth were excavated. Cave paintings on walls and ceilings of the rock shelters, but also human remains, tools, and remains of the cave paintings were found on the floor. The site is divided into three areas. The first one is called Vulture, because it has dark, pointed rock formations, and several caves, which resemble this bird. The second one is called Macaw, because it has most cave paintings, a lot of them similar to macaws. The third one is called Water's Eye, because this area has many waterholes.

The museum in Apodi contains mostly discoveries of the nearby site. This includes fragments of Paleozoic animals and some pieces of lithic and ceramic material that were used by the various indigenous tribes that inhabited this territory The exhibition is divided into two groups, archaeological and paleontological.

The site and museum are managed by the Fundação Amigos do Lajedo de Soledade (Friends of Lajedo de Soledade Foundation - FALS). It was created in the 1990s in a partnership with Petrobrás, the Brazilian oil company. They obviously provided money and infrastructure for the creation of the museum. Possibly with the intention of improving their public image. Formerly the site was known under the name Gruta dos Martins and is listed under this name in older publications.