North of Girassol, Cocalzinho de Goiás, State of Goiás 72975-000.
65 km west of Brasília.
Itakamã: All year Sat, Sun 8 at Buraco das Araras.
Itakamã: Per Person BRL 160.
|Classification:||Karst cave erosional cave|
|Light:||full caving equipment|
L=1,600 m, VR=140 m, A=1,050 m asl.
Largest Chamber: L=100 m, H=35 m.
Largest Passage: L=350 m, W=70 m.
|Bibliography:||Ivo Karmann, Luis Sánchez, Thomas Fairchild (2001): Caverna Dos Ecos (Central Brazil): Genesis and Geomorphologic Context of a Cave Developed in Schist, Quartzite, and Marble, Journal of cave and karst studies the National Speleological Society bulletin. 63. 41-47. researchgate|
|Address:||Gruta dos Ecos, Itakamã, Formosa - GO, Tel: +55-61-99942-5098. E-mail: E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Gruta dos Ecos (Echoes Cave) is located in low-grade metamorphic rocks of the Mesoproterozoic Canastra Group. So this is actually a cave which formed in schist, quartzite, and marble. While marble is soluble, shist and quartzite are not. And the cave actually has quite impressive dimensions, 1600 m long and 140 m deep, with halls up to 100 m long and 35 m high, the main gallery is 350 m long and 70 m wide. This makes this cave the largest cave in the world in mica schist. It also has the one of the largest underground lakes in Latin America, Lago dos Ecos, which is 350 m long, 50 m wide, and 10 m deep. There are waterfilled passages with dry passages behind, which are not part of the cave tours.
This cave is quite interesting from the geological view, because of the surrounding rocks. Mica shists and quartzites are insoluble, as a result the cave is more or less devoid of speleothems. It seems the cave development started with a vadose phase in which channels were created in the matacarbonates, which are soluble, so this part is actually regular karst. Then the development was intensified by epiphreatic rivers and erosion which also eroded to unsoluble rocks, supported by abrasion. If you are interested in caves and geology, this cave is obviously a must on any Brazil trip. And unlike the quartzite caves at the Venezuelan border it is quite easy to reach from Brasilia.
This cave is definitely a wild cave, there is no development of any kind. On the other hand it is quite spacious and the floor mostly level. Nevertheless there are narrow crawls, climbs, and short abseils. On the other hand the cave is mostly dry and comfortably warm, so its much mor comfortable than European caves. The cave does not need special caving skills, surefootedness and physical fitness are sufficient. Nevertheless we strongly recommend to take a tour with a tour operator, at least go in a group and with a competent guide. Full caving equipment is advisable, and afterwards clothes to change and a towel, bring a plastic bag for the dirty equipment. Visits are only allowed if accompanied by local guides, hired in Cocalzinho or Pirenópolis. Also an authorization from IBAMA is required. This paperwork is obviously done by your operator/guide. While tours are possible all year, it is recommended to go during the dry season.
The full day tour offered by Itakamã seems to be very competent. Participants meet at Buraco das Araras. They are provided with helmet, safety equipment, PPE, and flashlight. If you want you can also get mask and snorkel for floating in the cave lake. The guides are very competent, give detailed security lectures and carry first aid and radio monitoring. Participants have a personal accident insurance. Its also possible to include transfer from CLN 208 Block D in Brasilia.