Gruta do Sumidouro

Gruta do Sumidouro do Rio Pacuí

Useful Information

Location: Campo Formoso (BA), 83 km from Petrolina (PE).
Between Petrolina and Laje, BR-122, from Abreas 11 km towards Pacuí, turn left, 400 m.
(-10.074640, -40.754334)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=500 m.
Guided tours: self guided/cave trekking
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: André Araújo, Itamar Cruz, Luciano Barros (2019): Diagnóstico de impactos ambientais adversos causados pela visitação da população na Gruta do Sumidouro – Campo Formoso (BA), Scientia Plena. 14. 10.14808/sci.plena.2018.125301. researchgate
Address: Gruta do Sumidouro - Ecological park, Laje dos Negros, Campo Formoso - BA 44790-000 Gruta do Sumidouro.
Adventure Valetur, Rua Job Marques da Silva, N° 26, Bairro Jardim Novo, Encontro 48.904-457, Juazeiro, Bahia, WhatsApp: +55-74-98856-5976. 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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The Gruta do Sumidouro (Loosing River Cave) is a huge through cave in which the Rio Pacuí vanishes, sumidoro is the Portuguese term for swallow hole or sink. It is sometimes called Gruta do Sumidouro do Rio Pacuí to distinguish it from other Gruta do Sumidouros, the name is quite common. The river flows underground through the cave for about 500 m and then reappears on the other side. Only one entrance is accessible, at the other end a small lake forms around the stream, so visitors have to return the same way after enjoying the great view. The cave floor is level and there is a footpath on the cave floor along the river. The cave is very easy and due to its size and the huge portals it is rather well lit and many visitors make the tour without a torch. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend a torch and good walking shoes.

Nearby, 450 m to the east, is another, shorter through cave which is crossed by a road. However, the cave itself is not accessible. Gruta do Sumidouro is used by the Adventure Valetur as a cave trekking and climbing spot, the participants actually sleep in tents in the huge cave entrance. They use the cliffs around the cave for abseiling. There is also a wild cave nearby named Toca do Convento, which requires caving gear and should be visited only with a group and a competent guide. The cave entrance also has a small cafe or bar, which serves snacks and drinks during business hours, but it seems to be open only on demand.

Access to the cave is a little tricky. The road from Abreas is a narrow gravel road. At kilometer 11 a single lane gravel road branches off to the left, which leads to the second through cave mentioned above. After 200 m at a farm house is a gate, through the gate a single lane dirt road runs parallel to the main road for 200 m, then it turns left 400 m to the parking lot in front of the cave. The gate and the fence make clear that it is private property, but as far as we know it is okay to go to the cave. The owner, Mr. Dernival, doesn't charge anything for visits, he just asks visitors to collect their garbage. The bar is operated by his wife. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to ask politely if the farmer is around. It is recommended to book a day trip with a tour operator, once for the access to the cave and second for the bad road, which actually demands an SUV or 4x4. Start with a full tank and bring enough food and water for the day, because the villages are small and deserted, and there might be no chance to replenish. A gas station is in Pacuí.