Buraco das Araras


Useful Information

Location: Jardim-MS.
(-21.491828, -56.403233)
Open:  
Fee:  
Classification: KarstTiankeng
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=120 m, W=80 m, VR=100 m.
Guided tours: L=970m
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography: Heros Augusto, Heros Lobo, Edvaldo Moretti (2009): Tourism in Caves and the Conservation of the Speleological Heritage: The Case of Serra da Bodoquena (Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil), Acta Carsologica. 38. 265-276. 10.3986/ac.v38i2-3.127. researchgate
Address: Buraco das Araras, Tel: +55-67-3255-4344, WhatsApp: +55-67-99995-2586. 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.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1912 discovered by cowboys who named it buracão.
1986 farm bought by Seu Modesto.
1990 opened to the public.

Description

Buraco das Araras is one of the largest dolines in Brazil, approximately 100 m deep and 500 m in circumference. The huge doline collapsed some 200,000 years ago, a time at which the area was inhabited by saber-toothed tigers, giant sloths, tapirs and giant armadillos. It was discovered in 1912 by cowboys, who called it simply buracão (hole). The huge doline is home to thousands of birds, mostly Araras, a local red macaw or parrot, hence the name. But there are more than 150 species of birds living in the pit.

The regular visit is a walk of about one kilometer from the ticket office to the outlook and back. The walk is level on good trails and wheelchair accessible. Nevertheless we recommend good walking shoes, sun protection, a hat, insect repellent, and enough water. Its also a good idea to bring the best binoculars you own. There are two different tours, the standard tour which takes 80 minutes, and the four hour tour which gives you enough time to see and photograph birds. The site is a famous animal reservation, and only 495 visitors are allowed daily at the outlook. The long tour is limited to 20 people per day.

Macaws are a big family of parrots, but the Araras of Brazil are mostly of the genus Ara. The typical bird of the Buraco are the red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus), also known as the green-winged macaw. During the reproductive period an estimated number of 120 individuals is the highest concentrations of red macaws in the World.

The doline is quite huge, and since a few years there is a new term for dolines which are bigger than 100 m, they are called tiankeng, after the huge dolines in china. Among millions of dolines all over the world, only 75 tiankengs are known, and only 25 outside of China. But despite the fact that this is a geotope of world fame it is advertised as a bird sanctuary. The Buraco das Araras is one of the largest dolines in South America, and quite exceptional: it formed in sandstone. There once was an underground cave, most liekly water filled, which supported the ceiling. When at one time the ground water level went down, the ceiling collapsed and formed the doline. Unclear is how the cavern formed, as sandstone is actually not soluble. The most likely theory is probably that there is a layer of soluble rock below the sandstone and the cavern formed in the soluble rock. Today the lower layers are again below ground water, and the ground water can actually been seen as a small pond at the deepest point of the floor.

This pond is home to jacaré-de-papo-amarelo (yellow-headed alligator). The question is, how did they get there, they probably did not abseil into the hole. A 100 m deep drop would be deadly for any alligator, and actually there are no alligators in the surroundings, so where did they come from. The most likely story is that someone put them there, for unknown reasons. But we guess the eggs were brought there by some birds, who probably intended to eat them, and hatched in the pond.

Another nice story is how the current owner, Seu Modesto purchased the land. He was not informed about the doline, but after he actually bought the property, people looked at him with a sarcastic smile. Finally some neighbor told him "Mr. Modesto, a good part of your property is a giant hole". So he became the owner of the funniest joke in Mato Grosso do Sul. But after four years he had the idea to make an attraction and charged BRL 2 from anyone who wanted to laugh at him. He planted trees all around the doline and so reforested the area, increasing the ecological (and touristic) value. And he loves to make jokes on the visitors, like the one that he dug the hole with his own hands to find water.