June 22, 2013

Cave Paintings and Big Rocks in the Sertão

Being beach people, we spend a lot of time checking out the various beaches in Brazil.  But there's a lot more to see.  We headed inland one weekend to check out the sertão - it's the inland area of the northeast - arid and dry.  We were lucky to be able to go with friends of ours who are not only scientists, but professors as well.  They explained and taught us so much - it was like having your very own interactive Internet professor with you - just awesome!

The place we went was called Lajedo Pai Mateus.  It is inland in the state of Paraiba.  The drive there is about 4 hours.  We first drove north from Recife and then cut inland to the west.  We passed through some small towns

and farmland.  There were the usual sugar cane fields, but also some other crops that we hadn't seen before.  We passed one farm that was growing rows of cacti.  At first we thought - tequila!!!!  But, never seeing tequila in Brazil, we then thought perhaps not.  When we met up with our professor friends we learned that the cacti don't have spines and they are grown as a water source when it gets really dry. Very interesting.

Heading west we passed the home of Havianas - Campina Grande. Shortly after that we turned south for a bit.  Eventually we turned off onto a dirt road for about 20 kilometers heading towards the town of Cabaceiras.

Along the road we passed some interesting birds

and saw lots of beautiful cacti and other trees.

There were cows, and lots of goats with bells on.

Eventually we got to the fazenda - lots of little cabins,

a big open patio, a pool,

and a wonderful shaded area with lots of hammocks.  Just the place for a nice weekend.

The construction of the hammock place was just like the mud huts that we'd seen on our trip to Maceio.

The cattle guards were very interesting and effective.  The spaces between the granite were quite wide.  

The next morning we went on a great hike.

Along the way, our friends found some cactus fruit for us to sample - yummy and so beautiful.

O. just loved this fruit!

They pointed out bushes to stay away from - lots of spikes.  Humming birds like to build their nests in these bushes as they are fairly safe with all the spikes.

And they showed us the plant with the exploding seed bombs. These aren't quite ready to pop . . .

There were big boulders along the way. Apparently this region is really ancient. Many, many years ago it was still above water when most of the Amazon region was part of the ocean.

Eventually we came to the really special part. First there was a hut that marked the entrance to the truly ancient area.

And then we crossed a dam.

On the other side, the rocks and terrain changed.  It was all ancient rock - and a different ecosystem.

We climbed a big granite hill that had large boulders.

The boulders were all so cool - like being in the town of Bedrock.

Up on top the views were amazing - you could see for miles around!

And the rocks were covered with beautiful lichen.

It's such an ancient place.

The rocks had their own special ecosystem with ponds and

dragonfly larvae.

The rocks formed different shapes - probably from glaciers and / or wind.

We found the place where the hermit had lived.

And also saw the cave paintings.

Lots of hand prints! 

It was a great trip!


  1. That looks really cool. I hope we can go into the interior a bit. I finished the book _The Seamstress_ and highly recommend it. Historical fiction that takes place in Recife and the inland area during the 1920's and 1930's.

  2. Cabaceiras is a municipality that belongs to the state of Paraíba and Pernambuco not as quoted on the website.