Best Places You've Never Heard Of
by Kate Appleton, Naomi Lindt, Laura MacNeil, Sean O'Neill and Brad Tuttle
Chapada Dos Veadeiros, Brazil Armenia Nercessian de Oliveira, Co-Founder of Novica, a National Geographic associated organization with eight international offices that enables local artisans around the globe to sell their crafts over the internet (novica.com).
Its hard to catch Armenia Nercessian de Oliveira in one place, let alone one where she has access to a landline. De Oliveira oversees Novica's offices, which are scattered from India to Peru, while also searching for new artists. In the past year, she's spend time in Ghana, Indonesia and Thailand- and a little at her home in Rio de Janeiro. And although she's traveled to some 50 countries over the past 20 years, its a spot in her native country of Brazil that she returns to time and again. "I love Chapada dos Veadeiros, in the state of Goias," she says. "Its where I go to recharge." the 253-square-mile national park, about 150 miles north of Brasilia, has vast amounts of natural quartz crystals, which are said to have mystical powers. "Many Brazilians believe this is the highest level of concentrated energy in the world," says de Oliveira. Activities, both in the park and the surrounding region, include bird-watchign, hiking, swimming and exploring waterfalls, such as a breathtaking septet called Loquinhas. The park's high season is April through September, but de Oliveira says she'll never forget being there on New Year's Eve. "It felt like we were at the center of the universe. Chapada dos Veadeiros has some kind of unusual and wonderful magnetic quality that I can't quite explain or understand." chapada.com, park admission (only with a tour) $2; hotels and pousadas in nearby towns Alto Paraiso and Sao Jorge arrange day trips to the park for about $40.