The flat-topped rock formations near Pai Ignacio
The flat-topped rock formations near Pai Ignacio

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Extraordinary Nature and Geology

Situated some 400 kilometres inland from the golden beaches of Bahia, the Chapada Diamantina offers something completely different for those who may have grown tired of sun, sea and caipirinhas.

The focus of its interest derives from its extraordinary geology, which amongst other things attracted tens of thousands of diamond speculators into the area to try their luck during the 19th century. Only the ghosts of the miners and a few vestiges of their industry remain, but the name of the main town in the area, Lencois, is attributed to the miners tents which when spread across the hillside resembled sheets drying in the sun.

Today Lencois is a very charming brightly coloured historic town with lively bars and cafes, making it a good base from which to explore the Chapada. It’s new airport only handles a handful of flights each week, so modern day visitors can still justifiably feel that they continue the pioneering spirit.

Treks can be tailored entirely to your preference, ranging from a couple of hours up to several days. A popular one day walk takes you past the famous flat topped outcrops by Pai Ignacio and on up to the Capao Valley, stopping to swim in rock pools and to observe beautiful wild flowers en route.

We strongly recommend a trip to the Poca Azul where you can swim in an underground rock pool. And if that is not exciting enough, you can swim under towering waterfalls, explore fascinating surface rock formations and undergound caves, some of which contain stunning crystal formations.

For those wanting to venture further off the beaten track, the tiny village of Igatu offers peace and tranquility with small open-air museum and art gallery. The accommodation is simple but clean, and you will feel a long way from the modern world.