Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara, Brazil

By: Anne Stoll
This item appears on page 47 of the March 2018 issue.

My husband, George, and I returned on Sept. 20, 2017, from a 26-day trip exploring the beautiful country of Brazil. We think this wonderful place is seriously underrated by many travelers.

Not to diminish the roaring wonders of Iguaçu Falls, the wilds of the Amazon and the Pantanal or the white-sand beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, but there is so much more to this huge, rich, remarkable country to explore and see!

We are especially interested in photography, with an emphasis on prehistoric painted rock art. Deep in the interior of northeastern Brazil in the state of Piauí, near the small town of São Raimundo Nonato, lies Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara, a 1,300-square-kilometer national treasure little known outside of Brazil. 

In addition to towering rock formations set in splendid scenery, this large park contains nearly 1,000 archaeological sites, over half of which feature prehistoric rock art — easily over 40,000 rock paintings!

This is one of the greatest concentrations of prehistoric art anywhere on Earth, and the archaeologists in the foundation FUMDHAM who actively work there find more sites all the time. This astounding richness of prehistoric sites placed Capivara Park at the top of our must-see places long ago, but we were stumped on how to reach it.

You can get there by air now. Piquiatuba Transportes Aéreos (piquiatuba.ttinteractive.com/empresa/site) flies one 18-seater from Picos or Teresina to São Raimundo infrequently, but, as we had never been to Brazil before, we wanted to see the country along the way. 

Thanks to a stroke of good luck on the Internet, we found Isaac Frankental at EasyTourRN (phone +55 84 3013 3747, www.easy tourrn.com.br), based in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. We can’t recommend him highly enough.

All of our ground arrangements — including transportation (in a nice, roomy Renault Duster), hotels, tour guides (including tips), site admissions and water every day — were expertly handled by Isaac. Originally from Belgium, Isaac was very personable and paid close attention to all details. He also speaks excellent English, along with French, German and other languages.

Isaac and I communicated by email for nearly nine months, and together we designed a 20-day driving adventure from the lovely coast at Natal through the Sertão (Brazil’s “outback”) to São Raimundo, where we stayed four days and toured the park. 

Then we made a loop back, stopping at another fascinating small park with rock paintings in Piauí, Parque Nacional de Sete Cidades, before being dropped off at Fortaleza International Airport for our next phase, a flight to the historic city of Salvador in the state of Bahia.

Isaac shared driving and translating duties with a colleague from Natal, Filipe, so there were four of us on this fun adventure. We had everything we needed, and all went perfectly.

Our total tour price for 20 days was BRL28,790 (near $9,090). This didn’t include meals (which were very reasonably priced), airfare on Latam Airlines, a oneworld partner of American Airlines, or an additional three days in Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, which, of course, we HAD to see.

The temperatures were perfect — warm but overcast, which kept us a bit cooler than expected. And no earthquakes or volcanoes! 

Don’t miss Brazil, friends. It’s a wonderful destination. For more information, I can be contacted at stollanage@gmail.com.

ANNE STOLL
Claremont, CA