The Chapada Diamantina National Park, established in 1985, is located in the State of Bahia. The Park covers an area of 152,000 hectares in a dozen municipalities, being one of the largest Brazilian national parks outside the Amazon region.
Chapada Diamantina is considered an oasis right in the middle of Sertão (caatinga), with mild temperatures and several river springs. The region was drawn over billions of years, when the rains, winds and rivers have carved the rocks, creating valleys and mountains.
The park still does not have visitation control and it can be visited from many locations, especially from Lençóis, Vale do Capão, Mucugê, and Andaraí. Access to its attractions, most often, is performed by hiking.
With a rich architecture and a high number of listed building by the Historical and Artistic Institute (IPHAN), the place is a haven for cultural exchange between locals and tourists. The mining period left its legacy, giving feeling, taste and identity to the Chapada.
The great object of protecting this area is the conservation of its river springs, highlighting the Paraguaçu river, responsible for supplying 60% of the population of Salvador. The park also safeguards a genetic bank important for scientific research and conservation of biodiversity. Every year, at least four or five new species of endemic plants and three species of animals are
discovered in the region.
• Cachoeira da Fumaça: Land steep, many stones and lack of shadows features a walk that takes two hours (6 km). Upon reaching the attraction, one of the most sought after in Chapada, you forget fatigue. The landscape: a thin curtain of wa-ter that plummets through an opening in the wall and “dance” according to the wind – because of the height, it hardly touches the ground. When it rains little, the waterfall virtually dries.
• Cachoeira do Buracão: A visit to one of the main attractions of the park begins with the beautiful road from Ibicoara (28 km), where the visitor observes huge mountains amid the bucolic atmosphere of the farms. The car is parked at the trail-head, which takes an hour of quiet walk and follows a river to the place where the visitor can see the waterfall over the top, which impresses by its height.
• Cachoeirão: Several waterfalls sprouting from a wall in a half-moon, transforms the landscape in waterfalls curtain. In winter, when they dry up almost completely, the beautiful canyon appears. In the four-hour trail leading to the top is needs to cross a mountain range, but the route is on level ground.
• Morro do Pai Inácio: From the top the visitor sees the main formations of the park, such as Morro do Camelo – best to go in the late afternoon and enjoy the sunset as a backdrop. The view makes up for the effort of the 20-minute climb – 300 m of steep walk from the car.
• Morrão: One of the Chapada Diamantina icons, its peak can be seen from various parts of the park and takes various forms, depending on the viewing angle. At his feet is located the Toca das Aguas Claras, a sort of oasis with a sequence of three wells with waterfalls, with the clearest waters in the Park.
• Vale do Capão: Access by dirt road makes it seem like the journey to Capão Valley is eternal. Of a sudden the little town appears, unpretentious, with its square surrounded by little houses and residents goofing off. The atmosphere is kind of hippie and the landscape is striking, full of green mountains. From here depart the difficult treks to Paty Valley, among the most beautiful in the country, and to the Smoke Waterfall.
• Vale do Paty: The most scenic trekking Brazil takes four to five days and is about 70 km, starting at the village of Bomba in a steep trail that leads to the top of the Serra do Candombá. Following appears a large plateau, the Gerais do Vieira, with the ubiquitous Morro Branco in the background.
• Poço Azul: The fluctuation in the crystal clear well that springs from inside the cave (from 4m to 21m deep) is quite an experience, even better between February and October, when sun rays leave it with blue shades and reveal amazing rock formations.
• Pratinha: The river of blue clear water springs from within a cave and forms a huge beach, accessed by a trail or zipline. It is possible to float inside the cave, on a path through a tunnel full of fish and rock formations that leads to the other side of the river.
Where to Stay
The main tourist infrastructure is installed in the cities of Lençóis, Mucugê, Andaraí, Ibicoara, Palmas, and Rio de Contas, and in the villages of Igatu and Vale do Capão. The best option is to choose one of these locations to stay and, from there, organize the visitation to the attractions.
Due to the size of its territory and the existing large distances between the main natural attractions and tourist towns, planing a trip to Chapada Diamantina requires special attention.
It is not recommended to rely on inter-city transport for moving from one city to another, as they have no regular schedule. The best option is to hire a transfer, rent a car or close a package with a tourism agency
• Plane: The Horacio de Matos airport, in the municipality of Lençóis, receives regular flights from Salvador and from Belo Horizonte (Confins) and is 20km from the city downtown, on the BR-242 highway.
• Bus: The main bus routes leave from Salvador bound for Lençóis and Palmeiras and Andaraí, Ibicoara, and Mucugê
• Car: The main route leaving from Salvador is through the BR-324 highway to the city of Feira de Santana, taking the BR-116 highway to the city of Argoim and then the BR-242 highway to the city of Lençóis.