Chapada dos Guimarães is reached in an hour by car from Cuiabá in Mato Grosso.
It is popular with Brazilian tourists and is growing in popularity with foreign visitors too now that more and more people are traveling to the northern Pantanal.
The Chapada is about 800 m higher than the enormous, flat plains of Pantanal so it enjoys cooler temperatures and its vegetation is 'cerrado' or savannah which gives rise to different flora and fauna.
The Guimarães National Park consists of stunning table-top mountains, ravines, caves, streams and waterfalls and is a haven for walkers and nature lovers.
Do not expect the abundance of wildlife that exists in the nearby Pantanal but do bring your walking boots and be prepared for some pretty awe-inspiring scenery. It is also great for birding so bring binoculars if you're keen.
Cidade de Pedra & Mirante da Geodesia
Visitors should not miss a visit to the 'Cidade de Pedra' a weird rock formation about 25 km to the north of town where you can see large groups of swooping macaw at certain times of day. It is also worth a visit to the 'Mirante da Geodesia', a scenic point approximately 8 km north of the town which has been pin-pointed as the geodesic center of Latin America.
This national park is very easily combined with a stay in the Pantanal but provides a totally contrasting experience to the Pantanal's wetlands.