Emas National Park. Cerrado, Brazil.
Emas National Park. Cerrado, Brazil.

Emas National Park: 8 Must See Attractions

Brazil is a true treasure trove of natural beauty, and within this wealth lies a hidden gem: the Emas National Park. Located in the heart of the Brazilian cerrado, this park offers a unique experience for those looking to connect with nature, venture on exciting trails, and dive into lush wildlife.

Imagine exploring the largest conservation unit of the cerrado biome in Brazil, Emas National Park, which spans an extensive area of 133,000 hectares in the State of Goiás. This park is much more than a landscape; it’s a living lesson on the diversity of vegetation typical of the cerrado.

Things to Do in Emas National Park: 8 Must-Do Tours in the Cerrado

In Emas National Park, where two entrances – south and north – lead to identical experiences. Currently managed by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), it spans the municipalities of Chapadão do Céu and Mineiros. Home to over 800 species of plants and 350 species of birds and mammals at risk of extinction, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Natural Site. Exploring its wonders requires guides and scheduling, in addition to tickets purchased at the tourism centers of neighboring towns.

1. Trails in the Cerrado

Trails in the Cerrado.
Trails in the Cerrado. Photo: trilhasdocerrado.com.br

The trails of Emas National Park offer a deep immersion into the richness of the Brazilian cerrado. Each trail is an opportunity to explore lush landscapes, unique biodiversity, and fascinating ecosystems. With options for all skill levels, from casual walkers to the more adventurous, these trails lead visitors through green fields, imposing plateaus, and crystal-clear streams, allowing for an authentic connection with nature and a deeper understanding of the park’s rich ecosystem.

2. Bird Watching

Birdwatching tourism in the Cerrado, Brazil.
Birdwatching tourism in the Cerrado, Brazil. Photo: https://casadospassaros.net/ema-animal/

The park is a true paradise for birdwatching tourism. With over 350 species recorded, you’ll have the chance to spot toucans, macaws, rheas, and a multitude of other colorful and exotic birds. Be sure to bring along binoculars and your camera to capture these unique moments.

3. Bike Ride

Ciclismo no Parque Nacional das Emas.
Cycling in Emas National Park. Photo: Official Release.

For adventurers who love a dose of adrenaline, Emas National Park offers specific trails for mountain biking. Pedaling through the diverse landscapes of the cerrado provides an exhilarating experience and a closer connection with nature.

4. Safari

Safári no Parque Nacional das Emas.
Safari in the Cerrado, Brazil. Photograph: Flávio Martins/Divulgação MTur

Embark on a safari vehicle specially designed for wildlife observation, accommodating up to 20 enthusiasts in stadium-style seating, providing the best angle to spot animals in their natural habitat. Lasting up to 8 hours, this tour also offers the option to be conducted at night, revealing the secrets of animals that come alive after sunset.

5. Cross Float along the Formoso River

Boia Cross ride along the Formoso River. Photograph: Flávio Martins/Divulgação MTur.

The Boia Cross ride on the Formoso River is a must-do for adventurers seeking an adrenaline rush. Lasting about 40 minutes, this adventure allows you to feel the energy of the waters, enjoy the lush cerrado landscape surrounding the river, and observe aquatic life, all for an average price of approximately R$ 80.

6. Rafting Trip on the Formoso River

Passeio de Bote pelo Rio Formoso.
Rafting Trip on the Formoso River. Photo: Official Release.

The thrilling rafting trip on the Formoso River offers a unique aquatic experience for those looking for alternatives to hiking trails. Lasting about 2 hours, this tour allows you to explore the crystal-clear waters of the river while enjoying the natural beauty of Emas National Park. This enriching and diverse experience combines adventure, contemplation, and a connection with nature.

7. Bioluminescence of the Termite Mounds in Emas National Park

Bioluminescence of the Termite Mounds in Emas National Park.
Bioluminescence of the Termite Mounds in Emas National Park. Photo: Divulgação.

During October and November at Emas National Park, the bioluminescence of termite mounds creates a magical spectacle. The interaction between fireflies and the termite mounds produces larvae that emit a soft light at dusk, attracting other insects for feeding. Tourists from around the world are drawn to this incredible scene, offering a unique connection with nature and the opportunity to experience natural ecosystems.

8. Watching the Milky Way in the Cerrado

Observação da Via Láctea no Parque Nacional das Emas.
Watching the Milky Way in the Cerrado. Foto: Maurício Oliveira.

At Emas National Park, you have the unique opportunity to behold the magnificent Milky Way painting the night skies. With minimal light interference, the vast expanses of the park provide a perfect backdrop for observing this cosmic wonder. Amidst the tranquility of the cerrado, indulge in a breathtaking celestial spectacle and connect with the vastness of the universe.

Where to Stay Near the Area

The neighboring municipalities of Mineiros (GO), Chapadão do Céu (GO), and Costa Rica (MS) offer good tourist infrastructure to facilitate your visit, with specialized guides, hotels, inns, and restaurants.

When to Visit Emas National Park: Choosing the Ideal Time for Your Adventure

October and November emerge as the ideal months to visit Emas National Park, as they offer optimal conditions, free from wildfires and rain. Moreover, during this period, you will have the unique opportunity to witness the luminous spectacle of the termite mounds’ bioluminescence.

The dry season, extending from June to September, and the months from December to March, characterized by frequent rains, can impact your adventure. From September onwards, lightning is common, which can trigger fires that are often extinguished with the onset of rain.

Although Emas National Park is open for visits year-round, it is crucial to consider the periods of rain and wildfires, which can negatively impact your experience.

Remember that the Cerrado depends on fire for its renewal, but it is essential that it occurs naturally and not criminally.

How to Get to Emas National Park: Routes and Access

Emas National Park, located in the southwestern part of Goiás and bordering Mato Grosso do Sul, offers several access options for visitors. The cities of Mineiros and Chapadão do Céu in Goiás are the main gateways, each with paved roads and highways. It is also possible to access the park via Costa Rica in Mato Grosso do Sul.

If you choose Mineiros, located 426 km from Goiânia, the route continues for about 88 km to the Jacuba gate, at the heart of the park. If opting for Chapadão do Céu, you will travel 378 km from Campo Grande and, upon reaching Chapadão, just about 30 km to get to the park entrance. Alternatively, starting from Costa Rica, located 329 km from Campo Grande, access is through the Bandeira gate, completing your journey towards this natural wonder.

If you wish to rent a car, we recommend RentCars as it simplifies the search for rental agencies, availability, and prices, allowing direct bookings through the website.

Operating Hours

Emas National Park is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 7 AM to 6 PM. The best times to spot wildlife are at dawn and dusk.

How Many Days to Visit Emas National Park

A one-day visit is sufficient to explore the main attractions of Emas National Park. However, for specific activities like wildlife observation, we recommend planning a longer stay.


In summary, Emas National Park offers an unparalleled immersion in the nature of the Brazilian cerrado. Whether through fascinating trails, thrilling aquatic tours, or observing unique fauna and flora, each visit is an opportunity to connect with the lush biodiversity of Brazil. By exploring this natural treasure consciously and supporting its preservation, we are ensuring that future generations can also enjoy this ecological gem.


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