Com acessibilidade de tirar o chapéu, conheça a Chapada das Mesas no Maranhão

O Parque Nacional da Chapada das Mesas, localizado bem próximo à divisa com o Tocantins, tem um cardápio de cachoeiras e lagos de tonalidades azuis impressionantes. E com vantagens: não é roots nem tem trilhas difíceis como em outras chapadas. Quase todas as cachoeiras contam com passarelas de madeira, o que deixa tudo mais fácil na hora de circular, tanto que não faltam famílias com crianças (às vezes de colo) e idosos. 

Como chegar à Chapada das Mesas

A cidade-base para visitar as atrações é Carolina, que tem menos de 30 mil habitantes e fica a 840 km ao sul de São Luís. Os aeroportos mais próximos são Araguaína, no Tocantins (119 km), e Imperatriz, no Maranhão (221 km). Algumas empresas oferecem traslados, mas alugar um carro vale a pena para se ter maior liberdade para programar os passeios. Muita gente aproveita para emendar com um passeio ao vizinho Jalapão.

Quando ir para a Chapada das Mesas

Na época da seca, que vai de maio a setembro: não cai um pingo d’água, o sol brilha e a temperatura chega aos 40 graus. As chuvas costumam aparecer entre outubro e maio. Evite especialmente o período entre final de janeiro e início de abril, quando chove muito mais.

Atrações

Encanto Azul e Poço Azul

Localizados no município de Riachão, o Encanto Azul e o Poço Azul são os cartões-postais mais famosos da Chapada das Mesas por conta de suas águas azuis em tons extraordinários. Apesar dos nomes parecidos, são dois lugares diferentes a 6 km de distância um do outro. 

Quem fica em Carolina costuma visitar os dois no mesmo dia, já que estão a 130 km da cidade – levei pouco mais de 2h de carro, pois boa parte da estrada é de terra, mas não há necessidade de veículo 4×4. Aplicativos como Waze ou Google Maps resolvem bem para encontrar o caminho, sem necessidade de guia.

Para quem quer aproveitar mais os lagos, é possível se hospedar no Poço Azul, que conta com uma estrutura de chalés, suítes e piscinas (reservas via WhatsApp: (99)8847-1289; diárias desde R$ 380). Visitantes pagam R$ 60 pelo day use. Há um restaurante no local (comi um filé mignon grelhado com arroz, feijão e salada para duas pessoas por R$ 80). No caminho (700m) até o poço há outras cachoeiras, com destaque para a de Santa Bárbara, com mais de 70 metros de altura (é possível descê-la de rapel; R$ 120).

Evite visitar o Poço Azul em dias de chuva, quando as águas podem ficar turvas e o passeio perde toda a magia. Durante o “inverno” maranhense (que vai do final de janeiro até o início de abril), com dias seguidos de temporal, elas podem até mesmo adquirir uma cor marrom.

Já o Encanto Azul (R$ 30 por pessoa) não sofre com as chuvas. Por ser uma nascente, as águas são sempre claras. O lago chega a sete metros de profundidade e a incidência de raios do Sol realça ainda mais o azul. Ainda que possua banheiros e passarelas de madeira que levam até a nascente, coisa que o Poço Azul também tem, o Encanto Azul não dispõe de restaurante e tem apenas um quiosque de lanches. 

Complexo Pedra Caída

O lugar é uma espécie de resort a 35 km de Carolina e abriga algumas das cachoeiras mais famosas da região. É possível se hospedar no complexo (R$ 340 a diária com café da manhã; passeios não inclusos) ou fazer um day use das piscinas (R$ 60 por pessoa; passeios e refeições são pagos à parte).

Dentro d’água, nas áreas mais fundas, há cordas para apoio. Os guias acompanham durante todo o percurso e, devidamente treinados (e muito carismáticos), ficam por perto.

Santuário Ecológico Pedra Caída: a cachoeira do santuário é a mais disputada e não sem motivo. As águas caem de uma altura de 46 metros e formam uma piscina que chega a três metros de profundidade. O percurso não requer deslocamento de carro e a descida até o local passa porbicas d’água, rica vegetação e cânions, o que faz do passeio um dos mais cênicos e interessantes (R$ 30 por pessoa, 600m de caminhada).

Portal da Chapada

Trata-se de uma formação rochosa que se assemelha ao desenho do estado do Tocantins e de onde se pode ter uma visão privilegiada das chapadas. Aqui, é trilha de verdade e, para chegar até o topo, leva cerca de 20 minutos passando por trechos bem sinalizados, mas que dão vertigem, ainda que haja cordas de apoio. Para crianças ou pessoas com medo de altura, há um outro caminho mais seguro que leva ao mesmo ponto. 

O melhor momento para aproveitar o Portal é no nascer do Sol, que é enquadrado pela formação geológica. Por conta da alta procura, a entrada até 7h custa R$ 20 e, depois disso, cai pela metade.

O Portal fica perto do Complexo de Pedra Caída e da estrada que leva para as cachoeiras de São Romão e Prata – e pode ser combinado com qualquer um desses dois itinerários. É aconselhável usar tênis e, é claro, levar água.

São Romão e Prata

Dos 80 km de distância entre Carolina e a São Romão, 50 km são de terra (muitas vezes de areia fofa e lama). No percurso, muita vegetação densa típica do cerrado. Por ser um lugar bastante isolado e carecer de sinalização, não deve ser nada agradável ter algum contratempo com o carro por ali. Não é mesmo um lugar para ir sem um guia.

Na primeira cachoeira, a São Romão (R$ 30 por pessoa), há uma prainha onde é seguro nadar. As quedas d’água são imponentes, com 35 metros, e há caiaques para alugar (R$ 10). Mas a maior adrenalina é entrar por trás da cortina de água da cachoeira. Como a queda d’água é muito forte, é preciso caminhar por uma trilha que chega pela lateral. 

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