The Terra Ronca State Park was created by decree nr. 10,879 of 7 July 1989 and had its area and boundaries established by decree nr. 4,700 of 21 August 1996, covering the municipality of São Domingos. Around the state park, they created the environmental protection area (APA) of the Serra Geral, by decree nr. 4,666 of 16 April 1996. The areas of these two protected areas are of restricted use and regularly monitored and audited by the Agência Goiana de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais, covering respectively 57,018 ha and 40,000 ha. It is one of the most beautiful and significant geo-morphologic sets of Brazil.
The implementation of the park and the APA has as their main focus the protection of all the natural complex of the region composed of numerous caves with a rich system of speleothems, springs, and rivers of clear waters that run inside and outside the caves, as well the diverse flora and fauna of the region, offering a spectacle for the vastness of countless species, including some endemic ones. The area of the park falls within the domain morphology of the Brazilian Central Plateau, northwest of the state of Goiás, on the border with the state of Bahia.
The Terra Ronca State Park is home to the third-largest cave in the country, the Gruta de São Mateus, with more than 23 km of development and is one of the largest complexes of caves and grottos in South America. There are thousands of kilometers of virgin forest. , with waterfalls, rivers, sinkholes (a type of depression in the ground), trails, and more than 250 caves, 5 of which are open to visitors. Among the grottos and caves in the park are the 30 largest in the country and the largest is over 90 meters high.
Located in the municipalities of São Domingos and Guarani de Goiás, the name comes precisely from the “snoring” that the waters make inside the caves. In some of them, the entire route is made along the riverbed. There are caves within easy reach and others that challenge even the most adventurous traveller. The place is very popular for the practice of ecotourism and guarantees a lot of adventure for visitors. In addition to the grottos and caves, the region has many waterfalls and incredible scenery, rich in flora and fauna.
The visit requires the accompaniment of a guide and there are rules defined by the Secretary of State for the Environment and Sustainable Development of the Government of the State of Goiás to guarantee both the safety of tourists and the conservation of the area.
The caves in the region keep not only natural beauties but also much of our history: on many of the walls we find cave paintings dating back more than 10 thousand years.
Located in the municipalities of Guarani de Goiás and São Domingos, the Terra Ronca State Park, created in July 1989, has an area of approximately 57 thousand hectares, houses caves with rare and preserved limestone formations, a spectacle of underground nature.
Its main attraction is the cave complex, concentrated in just over 40km, where there are numerous caves of very rare beauty, such as the caves of Terra Ronca (which gave the park its name), São Mateus, and Angélica.
The formation of this complex is due to the action of the rivers that rise in the Serra Geral, gain volume over the quartzite massifs, and end up forming a series of caves when they encounter the limestone massif within the Park.
The region has several cave systems, which have in common the kilometric galleries and the large volume of watercourses.
The complex has caves with a high technical level, which are only possible to be explored by experienced and well-equipped speleologists and others with easy access with the possibility of simple ecotourism visitation.
⛰️ Terra Ronca 1 and Terra Ronca 2: The grand entrance of Terra Ronca Cave translates all its grandeur. The mouth – as it is known – is 96 meters high and 120 meters wide. In it, there is an altar where, every year, the Festa do Bom Jesus da Lapa takes place, on August 6th. The other part of Terra Ronca can be accessed by crossing the Lapa River, in the middle of a sinkhole – a type of canyon – called Oco das Araras. The name was given because the birds use their walls for shelter.
The Terra Ronca Cave, the most visited in the park, is formed by dolomitic rocks, a kind of sedimentary rock, and limestone. Inside, the cave has large halls adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, calcium flowers, limestone pearls, travertine, among other rock formations. One of the highlights is Valentine’s Room, which has large rocks and formations that look like they were made of porcelain.
💎 Angélica is 17 kilometers long where there are about 10 majestic halls, covered by stalactites and stalagmites. The highlights are the Salão dos Canudos and the Salão das Cortinas.
It is not for nothing that the Angelica Cave is considered one of the largest in Brazil. Access to the cave is via a river beach. The waters of the Angélica River pass inside and reveal its beauties, ranging from rock formations to water mirrors.
St. Bernard’s Cave
💧 São Bernardo Cave is actually a complex with three caves. Entry is via a steep descent. In its interior, the São Bernardo and Palmeira rivers flow. The entire route, of about 4 kilometers, is made through its waters, which are in a certain stretch. The cave halls are covered in stalactites and stalagmites. The highlight is the Pearl Room, which has rock formations that seem to have been carved in the shape of pearls.
São Mateus Cave
👣 The second-largest cave in Brazil, to visit it you need physical conditioning and a taste for adventure. The São Mateus Cave can only be accessed through a small crevice, through which you descend with a rope. Inside, there are rock formations that seem to have been carved by hand and others that resemble large crystals. One of the highlights is the Giant Travertines Hall.
São Vicente Cave
💦 100% adventure! For starters, the only way to enter it is by rappelling 40 meters. In its interior, there are 12 waterfalls, formed by the waters of the São Vicente River. The rare phenomenon attracts many visitors. But that’s not all, the place is home to a truly magical setting. Proof of this is that the São Vicente Cave, which is more than 13 kilometers long, has been mapped since the 1970s and there is still much to discover there.
Waterfalls: In addition to the waterfalls inside the São Vicente Cave, the Terra Ronca State Park has other beautiful waterfalls. The rivers that cut through the area have warm and crystalline waters.
- It is forbidden to enter caves with domestic animals.
- It is mandatory to hire a guide accredited by the park to accompany you during the tour of the caves open to visitors. (The guides provide helmets with flashlights for the group)
- Footwear: boots or sneakers
- When to go: From April to early October. Best time: June