Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil
Need an adventure? Lencois and Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil are where you can make it happen! Waterfalls, canyons, and mountains galore.
Get in, around, and out:
- From Salvador, its about a 400 km bus ride to Lençóis (len-SOY-s), the starting point for adventures into the park.
- Lençóis itself is very small and walkable.
- If you’re trekking into the park, do a little research before hand and buy a map. But you probably don’t need to hire a tour guide (though many will try to tell tell you that you absolutely need one).
- Lençóis is adorable. With pastel colored cottages and winding cobblestone streets, it’s worth a day of exploring and relaxing in town.
- There are numerous campsites in town, so bring a tent!
- We did a paid tour of the caves and areas surrounding Lençóis with Volta ao Parque. While I wouldn’t suggest paying for a tour guide to Sossego Waterfall, this was worth the cost. For a full day, we were driven to the tops of the chapadas to the vast caves below in a barely function yet adorable little VW van.
Hiking to Sossego Waterfall:
This is an intense but well worth it hike of about 14 km roundtrip. It begins pretty flat, taking you past a natural water slide that plops you into a refreshing spring (which you should definitely take advantage of). The path then moves down near the river, becoming a bit more difficult, until you’re eventually hiking up the river bed, jumping from rock to rock. It ends at the Sossego Waterfall. Be sure to bring your bathing suit! The waterfall is situated in a shaded cove of sorts, with plenty of rocks to layout on, cliffs to cliff jump from, and a large spring to swim in.
We got a bit lost before even starting the hike, so we ended up camping along the path (about halfway to the falls). This is doable, but you’ll need to bring along:
- A small tent (obviously)
- Water purification tablets. The hike is pretty demanding, so if you’re making this an overnight trek, you’ll want to ensure you have enough drinking water! The river water + purification tabs tasted great.
- Pack light. Not only is jumping from rock to rock rough if you’ve got a 50 lb pack, but there are a few small spaces you’ll have to slip through along the way.
- Deet/really strong bug spray. You shouldn’t need malaria meds in this part of Brazil, but there’s no harm in slathering on the bug spray before trekking in.
- Flashlight or headlamp. Necessary for overnight. Bring one!
Photo credit to Clay Mason for many of these shots!