I read about this national park back at home – it was listed in the 12 best hikes of South America – so we couldn’t miss it from our route. In this post you’ll find out why to hike the Chapada Diamantina National Park in Brazil if you are looking for hidden treasures.

Heading to Lençois

Arriving at Salvador, our super awesome host Rodrigo (who we were so so lucky to find via a couchsurfer) suggested us to stay in Salvador until the weekend, when he has more time to spend with us. So we decided to swap around our plans and after one day in Salvador, we headed to Lençois which is the biggest town in Chapada. It took 7 hrs to get there with an overnight bus.

Local women washing in river near Lencois Chapada Diamantina Brazil
Women washing clothes in the river

From Salvador to Chapada

The road between Salvador and Chapada is medium scenic: there are some nice hills and the side of the village roads is full of borracharias. I laughed quite many times at them (borracha in Spanish means drunk) when it turned out in Portuguese it means some sort of truck repairing shop – since there’s a lot of truck traffic on the national roads.

Chapada Diamantina region

Chapada Diamantina got its name from its diamond mining past: it was the biggest place in Brazil where diamond was extracted. Today the region is a magnet for hikers. Lençois has numerous tour operators offering day activities and 3-day hikes. With Anthony we’d be up for a multi day hike, since none of us had done it before, so we were a bit sorry that we were only staying 2 days.

Apart from the tour operators the town is full of restaurants and shops catering for tourists – it seems like everyone makes a living of tourism here. There are some colonial style buildings painted with vivid colour functioning as state houses.

Hilltop vegetation Chapada Diamantina Brazil
Mountain top vegetation

Hike the Chapada Diamantina

On the first day we did a short hike along the river. We saw women washing clothes on the stones of the wide riverbed (so far it seems to us that having a washing machine is not very common here). The water has a brownish colour because of the many minerals but it’s okay to bathe in it.

Hiker at Chapada Diamantina National Park Brazil
In the riverbed

Best hike in Chapada Diamantina: the charming Cachoeira do Sossego

The second day we went on a more serious, full day hike to a waterfall called Cachoeira do Sossego (“waterfall of the quiet”). Our Airbnb hosts told us that it’s not possible to do the hike without a guide, and really, none of the trails are actually signposted in the national park (so jobs remain for guides in the town). We downloaded an app called Wikiloc, where members post hike routes and in the paying version one can follow the route with GPS.

Our way led through forests, Moon-like mountain tops and from halfway we jumped from rock to rock in the wide riverbed. With scenic and tiring detours we did the hike ourselves and arrived to the waterfall to chill and bathe. The way back was also nice, we stopped at places to shower at a small waterfall and bathe in a natural pool of the river.

Beautiful Cachoeira do Sossego in Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil
Beautiful Cachoeira do Sossego in Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil

Hiking detour Chapada Diamantina Brazil
Beautiful detour

Do you like hiking? What is your favourite landscape to hike in?
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Who am I?

Anna is a world citizen, an avid traveller, a passionate environmentalist. Writing about her year backpacking through South America, she tries to encourage everyone to discover this beautiful continent and pass on her love for responsible travel.

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4 Comments

  1. Chapada Diamantina National Park looks so beautiful! I hadn’t heard of it before, but now I’m looking into it! Swimming in a natural pool sounds wonderful right now. I plan to look into the app Wikiloc- that sounds really helpful.

    1. We used Wikiloc at the time, but later on during the trip we discovered mapps.me. That’s another great (free) tool for hiking. Thanks for stopping by, Leah!

      1. I also used the mapsme -app in Chapada Diamantina. Should be ok to hike in Vale do Pati and around Vale do Capao, but it’s also nice to do the walking with a local guide (it’s not really expensive and was well organised).

      2. Thanks for your feedback, Ruben. We always prioritise self-guided trekking, but it’s true that sometimes taking a guided tour is worth it.

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