From the city of Salvador, we decided to go to the heart of the Chapada Diamantina, also called the green jewel of Brazil or the paradise of the trek.
South AmericaBrazil6 days / September 2021
Highs & Lows
The Cachoeira da Fumaça, probably one of the most impressive waterfall I've seen!
Some places are really touristy, but you only have to walk another 10 minutes to find yourself almost alone in the world!
Until 1996, the Chapada Diamantina was known as the cradle of diamonds, widely exploited by miners at that time. The extraction of precious stones is now forbidden, but we can still observe some stone seekers digging at the bottom of the rivers.
For us, the Chapada Diamantina was more like a breath of pure air, in the middle of nature. For 6 days we put on our hiking shoes to discover its giant waterfalls, its red but pure waters, its peaceful mountain paths and the bohemian and hippie atmosphere that reigned in the villages.
For an exotic Brazil, the Chapada Diamantina is certainly one of the best places for walkers and nature lovers!
After a 6 hours drive from Salvador, we finally arrive in the charming little village Vale do Capão (or Caeté-Açú), a welcoming village with a bohemian and hippie atmosphere.
We join our airbnb, a big red house contrasting with the green of the luxuriant nature of the surroundings and we meet our host Lucas. Very welcoming, like all the inhabitants of the village, he shows us on his maps all the excursions that abound in the surroundings of the Vale do Capão. It is sure, between hikes, waterfalls, bathing in the rivers, our program for these next days will be well filled.
But before all, for this first evening, we decide to go to dinner and to stroll in the streets of Caeté-Açú. Very small village, it is not less alive in the evening. Handicraft sellers, jugglers, acrobats of all kinds, we find a festive and very friendly atmosphere. We choose to eat a good pizza cooked on a wood fire and then go back home to rest before these next days which promise to be sportive!
Day 1 - Cachoeira da Fumaça:
With its 340 meters of height, the Cachoeira da Fumaça is known to be one of the biggest waterfalls in Brazil. For this excursion, it is necessary to plan a day.
So we left in the early morning to avoid the overwhelming heat during the ascent of the departure in the middle of the rocks. After this ascent of the departure, the way becomes then more quiet and especially more green and flowered.
The arrival at the waterfall is spectacular. In addition to its height, what makes its charm is surely the exceptional panorama that it offers in front of it and the shivers that it guarantees at its approach. A rocky wall which plunges on 340 meters, so much to say that it is better not to get too close!
It was in any case for us surely one of the most beautiful excursions that we could make.
Day 2 - Rio rodas + Cachoeira Rio Preto:
For this second day, a well deserved rest in the nice garden of our airbnb. After lunch time, we then set out to cool off in the red but pure waters of Rio Rodas and the Rio Preto waterfall. Just a few minutes drive from the village of Do Capao, the hike is certainly much less strenuous than the day before. Quickly arrived on the spot, we spend the afternoon to appreciate the freshness of the Rio and the Rio Preto Waterfall.
At the arrival, it's always the same thing, a lot of tourists who stand almost next to the sign indicating the place, but you just have to go along the river only ten minutes to find yourself alone in the world!
Day 3 - Cachoeira da Purificaçao:
For this last day of exploration of the Vale do Capao, we decided to test ourselves against the so-called coldest waters of the Chapada Diamantina, in the Cachoeira da Purificaçao.
To get there, it takes half an hour of bumpy road from the village with dirt roads full of holes, so you have to go slowly! Once we arrived at the parking lot (on the side of the road), the path that leads to the waterfall is certainly one of the easiest of the surrounding hikes. In one hour we easily reach the waterfall. I advise you to go there at noon, to get some sunshine that will warm you up after this refreshing bath, because the waterfall is well hidden in the middle of the trees. The waterfall is not necessarily one of the most impressive, but the detour is worth it, especially for this invigorating dip!
To get to Lençois from Vale do Capão, it takes 1h30 by car.
Lençois is a typical colonial village, with its colorful houses and cobblestone roads. Its small streets are full of life and festive restaurants, with always an artist playing music. It is advisable to explore this small village in the late afternoon, to avoid at all costs the overwhelming heat that reigns during the day.
In Lençois there is something for everyone. For the trekking lovers who want to explore the paths of the Chapada Diamantina and for those who prefer a 100% relaxing stay and who will be able to bask all day in the natural swimming pools ''do Serrano'', located in the immediate vicinity of Lençois.
For our part, apart from small walks in the village and relaxing moments at the end of the day in the Serreno waters, two excursions are on the program: the Ribeira do meio and the Pozo del diablo.
Day 1 - Ribeirao do Meio:
Located at less than 4km from Lençois, the Ribeira do meio is an ideal excursion to realize on a half-day. Having slept like marmots, it was the perfect option for us.
The path to get there is not difficult and accessible to all, but count on at least 3 hours to make the round trip.
On the spot you can enjoy a good swim in its large natural pool and even slide for the more adventurous on its steep rock!
Day 2 - Pozo do diablo:
For our second day of excursion, we take the car for 30 minutes to park at the entrance of the Pozo do diablo path, next to a small restaurant. This waterfall is one of the most attractive in the area and owes its name, in addition to some mystical legends, to the color of its dark water, almost black, due to the minerals.
The access path is simple, sometimes a little slippery on the rocks. At one point, we arrive at the highest point of the hike, with a direct and superb view of the ''devil's waterfall''. After a few pictures, it's time to go down for a well-deserved swim in the Pozo and even a little free massage offered by the falling water of the waterfall.
The Chapada Diamantina is a splendid region to discover in the heart of a luxuriant Brazilian nature. Between mountains, canyons, waterfalls and rivers, you can go on magnificent hikes and watch incredible sunsets every day! So, for a ''different'' Brazil, far from the clichés of the paradisiacal white sand beaches, we put on our hiking shoes and we go explore these more remote areas with exceptional sceneries.
Q & A
What would you have changed?Make a trek over 2 or 3 days to be really in the heart of the Chapada Diamantina!
Restaurant recommendations?All the local restaurants in the villages have their own atmosphere and offer different specialties!
Tips you would give a friend?To make the most of the tranquility of the Chapada Diamantina, always walk an extra 10 minutes when you arrive at a place.
Packing tips?Hiking shoes, water, sun cream, and a small vest for cooler evenings.
Transportation Tips?For our part we rented a car to be totally autonomous, but it is possible to go there by bus or by plane from Salvador.
Booking details?We booked everything on our own, most of the excursions in the Chapada Diamantina are accessible without a guide!