The Chapada Diamantina National Park, created in 1985, is a region of mixed terrain, verdant slopes and red-rock mesas fed by the underground
water system, waterfalls and pools contrasting with the nearby drought-ridden semi-arid Sertao. This topography is the cake-like layers of sediment once collected on a primeval ocean floor and pushed up to be carved by wind and water into mesas, canyons and caverns.
Take a landscape of mesas, weird and fantastic rock formations above ground, a system of quartzite caves with crystal clear lakes and underground rivers, and you have the setting for some of the wildest eco-adventures in Brazil. Add in a historical diamond boom, prospectors, natural monuments and you have the 152,000 hectare Chapada Diamantina national park in the northeast state of Bahia.
At the beginning of the 19th century, two German prospectors discovered a huge vein of diamonds in a region of unusual rock formations, tablelands, subterranean rivers, waterfalls, valleys and mountains called morros. When word got out, the ensuing diamond rush brought a rush of prospectors, called garimpeiros who formed the town of Lencois as a base for explorations into what is now known as the Chapada Diamantina.
The climate of the Chapada Diamantina makes it an all-season destination, but evening storms provide the almost seven feet of rainfall a year. Once the third largest town in the northeast state of Bahia, Lençóis is now much smaller and is mainly a tourist oriented town. You can arrange tours yourself or ask your hotel for help with planning tours with groups of six to 10 people. English-speaking guides are available.
Lencois is easily toured, and its cobblestone streets, pastel colored colonial buildings and little churches are a reminder of its wild past. As the gateway to the Chapada Diamantina National Park, it has a good selection of lodging and plentiful restaurants and cantinas where you can sip Brazilian beer and trade stories with the locals and learn about the best climbing spots, swimming holes and cave diving.
Package 5 days option
DAY 1 – LENÇÓIS / IGATU
Arrive in Igatu village and accomodation at Igatu.
Day 2 – IGATU / LENÇÓIS – BLUE POOL
After breakfast, visit to the local museum with photos from the diamonds period and the ruins of the old village. Departure to Poço Azul (Blue Pool). It has a wooden platform for an easy access to the pool. Views changes with the movement of the sun. We’ll have a swim and a lunch (included) at Poço Azul. On the way back transfer to Lençóis. Overnight.
DAY 3 – LENÇÓIS – GROTTOS
Transfer by car to Poço do Diabo (22 km – 20 min – 25 min walking. After transfer to Pratinha and Gruta Azul (27 km by paved road and 13 km by dirty road – 1 h). Then transfer to Lapa Doce (8 km – 15 min – 1 hour and 30 min crossing the cave). Return for overnight in Lençóis.
Poço do Diabo
– Dark and it gives a really a weird sensation, with an almost complete lack of visibility. Nevertheless, the acids that give this color are not pollutants.
Optional (locally paid)
– You have the option of practicing abseiling and flying fox.
– A bathing spa that is a real oasis in such arid area. The bottom of the lake has countless micro-conchs, showing that in the past there was a sea in this region. Pratinha´s river formed many grottos in the limestone.
– Short walking distance from Pratinha. By this time the sun rays start to enter it and reach the water, creating magic colors. Kids – there were many – remained surprisingly quiet admiring this wonder. There is a connection between this grotto and the lake, available only to specialized divers.
– It’s the most beautiful grotto at Chapada Diamantina with big salons and nice rock formation.
DAY 4 – LENÇÓIS / CAPÃO – FUMAÇA
Transfer by car to Capão Valley. Walk up to the top of “Cachoeira da Fumaça” (6 km – 2 hours each way). Lunch box at the top. Walk back via the same route. Stop at Richinho Waterfall to take a refreshing bath. Overnight at Capão Valley.
Cachoeira da Fumaça (Smoke Falls)
– With 340m drop, this is the highest waterfall in Brazil. The wind spreads the water and even carries it upwards, forming a curtain of droplets – thus the name “smoke”.
DAY 5 – CAPÃO / LENÇÓIS
After breakfast, transfer to Lençóis.
Package 5 days option 2
DAY 1 – Lençóis
Reception at Lençóis airport. Transfer (20min) and check in at the hotel.
Easy walk to Serrano River to swim in natural water well. After the walk, head to the Hall of Colored Sand, Halley well, Spring Waterfall and Cachoeirinha.
Return to Lençóis.
DAY 2 – Caverns
After breakfast, road transfer (1h) to visit Torrinha cavern. Visit the cavern (approximately 2h) to see its stalactites, stalagmites and other speleotherms. Then, visit Pai Inácio hill, where you will see one of the most beautiful view of Chapada Diamantina. Break to have lunch. Then, transfer to Mucugezinho river to visit Poço do Diabo waterfall. Return late afternoon to Lençóis.
DAY 3 – Lençóis
After breakfast, easy walk to Ribeirão do Meio. Formed by the Ribeirão River, Ribeirão do Meio is composed of a huge stone flooring, sloping and flat, where you can slip till you drop at the natural pool.
Return to Lençóis and break to have lunch at Grisante Restaurant.
The afternoon will be dedicated to Brazilian culture.
Visit the Museum Peixoto with several belongings of the physician and writer, including the original novels and uniform from the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
Visit the workshops of the leading artists in the city.
Visit a prospector diamond to get to know the process of stoning.
At night, a special presentation of capoeira.
DAY 4 – Cachoeira da Fumaça e Vale do Capão
Breakfast and departure by car to Vale do Capão (1h30min). Walk 2hs until the upper part of Fumaça waterfall, known worldwide for its fall of 422m height. Visit the Rio Riachinho Waterfall, with a break to swim.
Overnight stay at Vale do Capão.
DAY 5 – Vale do Capão
Transfer to Lençóis airport. End of services.