Chapada Diamantina

The National Park of the Chapada Diamantina (Diamond Plateau) is one of the most fascinating natural parks of Brazil.
Known as Chapada Diamantina, this scenery mountain range runs north and south through the state of Bahia, with an average altitude of over 1000m (3000 feet), offers some of the most amazing landscapes you can find in the country.
The park, established in 1985, contains an extraordinary variety of ecosystems, like Cerrado, Mata Atlantica, and Caatinga, and is the home of many species of plants and animals. In its area you can find different species bromeliads and orchids. The highest mountains reach 1800m (5,660 feet) and they offer shelter to Jaguatiricas (local breed of feline), mocós (local rodents), deer's and teiús (local reptile find a privilege ambiance).

What is now a jewel of the ecotourism, was once a refugee of precious stones hunters. The cities that border the National Park are filled with colonial buildings representing the architecture of this time, a vivid memory of the richness of the diamonds, which made Brazil the first world producer of the stone during the beginnings of the 20th century. Lençois, (pronounced len-soiz), the main village in the Chapada, lies 400km (250 miles) west of Salvador. The city grew up around the huge diamond boom in the region in the mid-1800's. At one stage it had a population of 30,000, but as a result of the discovery of diamonds in South Africa, the town began to go into decline.

Today, the town is considered National Monument due to its important examples of residential architecture from the 19th century. The trails opened by the garimpeiros (searchers of precious minerals) today works for the enjoyment of hikers and trekkers from around the world. It is still possible to encounter old garimpeiros in the area, who experienced and lived the diamond rush that made the area famous. Most of the attractions at the Chapada are the trails to caves, hills and waterfalls that have as departure point the city of Lençóis.

Everything in the Chapada is wonderful, but the waterfalls deserve special attention. The most famous is the Cachoeira da Fumaça, the highest fall in the country, where the water does not have sufficient volume to overcome the drop of 380 meters and the force of the wind cooperates in transforming the water into vapour - a real spectacle. Other like the Cachoeira do Sossego and the Cachoeira do Buracão are among the most beautiful of Brazil. And the Chapada offers much more… The caverns of Lapa Doce and Pratinha, the amazing hills of the Capão Valley and the incredible blue waters of the Poço Encantado complete this wonderful scenario.

The landscape of the hills of the Chapada is a creation of the erosion process that the region have suffered that began in the Pre-Cambrian period, forming towers of minerals known as "TEPUY" by the local Indians that dominated the region before the arrival of the first settlers or “bandeirantes”, around the year 1750. The most astonishing TEPUY’s like the Tambor hilltop, the Calumbi (also known as Morro do Camelo, or Camel Back), and the Morro do Pai Inácio, challenge time and feed the local legends. One good example is the Legend of Pai Ignacio that tells a story of a slave that fell in love with his colonel’s wife. Chased by the guards, he found a refugee in the top of the mountain, from where a dazzling sunset can be seen. When he was found, he preferred to throw himself into the abyss instead of being captured…

The main rivers of the area begin in the hidden rocks of the Chapada. The Paraguaçu and the de Contas rivers cave deep canyons in the hills and planes, creating a scenery of divine beauty. The same Rio das Contas will reach the ocean in the city of Itacaré, hundreds of kilometers further.

All these make Chapada Diamantina the perfect place in terms of adventure and integration with nature!!!


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ATTRACTIONS

See details and pictures of each attraction of this destination.

Fumaça Waterfall
Sossego Waterfal
Igatú
Pai Inácio Hill
Capão Valley
Buracão Wayerfall
CAVES
Enchanted Pool
Lapão Grotto
Lapa Doce Cave
Pratinha Cave

TRAVEL TIPS


  • To Bring: Swimming suit, sports clothes, sun block, sandals, two pairs of trekking tennis shoes or boots, sun glasses, jeans, liquid or cream repellent, rain coat and lantern, jackets and pullovers between the months of July and September.
  • To Buy: There are night stalls on Praça Horácio de Mattos selling crochet, lacework, trinkets and bottles of colored sand collected at nearby Salão de Areias Coloridas. Funkart Artesanato and the Mercado Municipal are other places to look for the work of local artisans.
  • To See: See the old French vice consulate, a beige 19th-century building where diamond commerce was negotiated, and Casa de Afrânio Peixoto (House & Museum of Afrânio Peixoto), with the personal effects and works of the writer Afrânio Peixoto.
  • Also worth a visit in Lanchonete Zacão, run by local historian Mestre Oswaldo, which displays various mining relics and artifacts.

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CLIMATE


In general, temperatures are warm in the 80s during the day and the 60s at night. June through September are the coolest months in Chapada Diamantina, with fall-like temperatures in the 50s at night and the 70s during the day.
From December to March, the rainy period, the greater flow of water makes more enjoyable the baths on the waterfalls as well as the appreciation of the flora and the healthier vegetation.
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PEOPLE


 
Before the discovery of precious minerals in Chapada Diamantina, the region was almost inexplored. It was dominated by the Maracás Indians that used to react agressively to the arrival of strangers.
In 1710, when gold was found in the south part of Chapada (next to the Contas River), the resulting arrival of explorers coming from other mining regions, started the colonization of Chapada Diamantina. These explores are called the “Garimpeiros”. In 1844, with the announcement of the discovery of valious diamonds next to the Mucugê River, more garimpeiros came, also running from the crisis of the gold in other areas. That made the garimpeiros, the principal figure on the colonization of the region.
Today, you still can find some very old garimpeiros from the “diamond era”, but living from agricultural activities now, since the mineral extraction declined and recently got forbidden. Most of the young people of the new generation are also living from agricultural activities or from the tourism on the region that has increased a lot in the past 10 years. But, working in any kind of activity, what you’ll find for sure is the friendliness and happiness of the local “baianos” (born in the State of Bahia).
This very peculiar characteristic of these people will make you feel like you were home.
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HOW TO GET THERE


Adventure Bahia   (Special Programs)
A program designed for adventurers looking for someting more than just watching and taking pictures. Here, we visit the hottest points of the Bahia State, as the astonishing landscape of the Chapada Diamantina National Park and the untouched beaches of Itacaré. It also includes visits to the most important attractions of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro.



Chapada Diamantina - Around the Park   (Expeditions)
Trekking through the wonderful landscapes of Chapada.



Chapada Diamantina   (Ecotourism)
The wonderful landscape of Chapada and its caves and cascates.



Natural Wonders   (Special Programs)
Imagine the Sahara Desert, with hundreds of miles of white dunes, but for each dune you climb, there’s a blue lagoon with refreshing water…  These are real places: Lençóis Maranhenses, Chapada Diamantina, Iguaçu Falls and the Amazon are four natural wonders found only in Brazil!





Brazilian Cultural Roots   (Expeditions)
This trip is a unique life experience, where you’ll be given the opportunity to understand the reality of three local communities in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, while contemplating outstanding landscapes and natural attractions.



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The contents of this site are copyright ? 2003 Biosfera Brasil Ag¨ºncia de Turismo Ltda. All rights reserved. Site Map
Chapada Diamantina
- ATTRACTIONS
- TRAVEL TIPS
- CLIMATE
- PEOPLE






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Fumaça Waterfall