One of Brazil’s most beautiful National Parks Chapada Diamantina, is an incredibly exciting destination. Surrounded by valleys, a Chapada is a hill with a flat top. Centuries of erosion activity shaped each of them. Although easily accessible from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil’s top tourist destination, it still is mostly pristine.
Doing research online on where to stay, I found two options in the middle of the area. It wasn’t sure though how they looked and what infrastructure and excursions they offered. Lençois is closer to Salvador and according to the internet, a real city. Not something nice, if you imagine a typical Brazilian city, overcrowded and dangerous. But it’s not like that at all. It is barely a town, and surprisingly beautiful!
On the other side of the National Park Vale do Capão is a smaller isolated town. Just like Lençois it sits at the footsteps of the park, surrounded by beautiful nature, being the starting point of great trekking routes. It’s harder to get to Vale do Capao a more alternative hippie little town.
Where to stay in Chapada Diamantina?
Happy Frog absolutely recommends Lençois for 4 reasons:
- Lençois is closer, a 6 hours bus ride, versus 7.5 hours bus + minivan ride, from Salvador de Bahia.
- Nicer architecture and immediate natural setting.
- Very relaxed and atmospheric with more of a life.
- Better excursions offered.
The main highlight of Chapada Diamantina is Morro do Pai Inácio, a spectacular high plateau rising over endless green valleys, just north of road 242 with killer views. The top of the hill is covered with rocks and different species of plants, and a very cute rodent, the Mocó. Additionally, the area is famous for numerous cachoeiras – waterfalls, and grotas – caves. Cachoeira da Fumaça is one of Brazil’s largest waterfalls; Cachoeira do Sossego and Cachoeira do Buracão are not to be missed. Poço Azul, Lapa Doce and Poço Encantado are among the nicest caves.
On my visit to Chapada Diamantina this June I followed online advice and stayed in Vale do Capão. I loved it, the weather is splendid and I had great pizza. Fortunately, I was curious enough as to find out what Lençois is like. Beautiful architecture, atmospheric cobbled streets surrounded by lush forests – it’s absolutely gorgeous! Plus it is closer, so I wouldn’t stay in Vale do Capão, unless you can spend 5 days in the area.