The north eastern region is best known for its long and beautiful coastline dotted with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but to travel inland takes one off the main trail on a journey of discovery within some breathtaking natural scenery.
- Swim in the electric blue waters of the underground cave at Poco Azul
- Wander around the cobbled streets of Lencois, a colonial gem
- Hike the Morro do Pai trail for some stunning picture postcard views
- See some incredible dinosaur fossils at Santana do Cariri
- Escape the crowds amongst the waterfalls, caves and mountain scenery
Founded in 1985, the Chapada Diamantina National Park covers 1520 sq kms and is home to an area of flat-topped mountains with stunning views, beautiful waterfalls, streams, forested ravines, ancient caves with iridescent lakes and a huge variety of flora ranging from cacti to bromeliads and wild orchids. This is a paradise for those who enjoy the outdoor life with some wonderful hiking with a variety of trails lasting from half a day to up to a week, horse riding, camping and refreshing dips in crystal clear waters.
Amongst the attractions are the amazing fluvial beach of the Paraguacu River with its long white sandy beach and crystal clear waters as well as the famous Cachoeira da Fumaca (Smoke Waterfall), the tallest in Brazil plummeting 1100 feet and aptly named due to the fact that the water evaporates before it reaches the ground.
This is a park with many legends and mysteries. The Morro do Pai Inacio (Father Inacio Hill) is the most prominent of all the peaks in the area and supposedly bears this name due to a legend telling that a slave, who fell in love with the owner´s wife, threw himself into the abyss from where the dazzling sunset can now be seen. It also has a great trail that leads to the summit. The Morro do Camelo (Camelo Hill), and the Monte Tabor (Tabor Hill) also have trails leading to the summit and from the flat tops of any of these, the views are extraordinary with the entire Chapada spread out before you.
Caves are another fascinating aspect of the park and some of the best-known ones in the area include Gruta de Lapao (Lapao Grotto), which is the largest sandstone and quartzite cave (1km) in South America. There are a number of other limestone caves such as Gruta da Lapa Doce with splendid stalagmites and stalactites, whilst the Gruta da Pritinha is where an underground river emerges into the sun and inside there′s a large pool where you can dive and swim. Nearby is the small Gruta Azul (Blue Grotto) so called because in the afternoon when the sun reaches into this cave, the water glows cobalt blue.
The small and pretty colonial city of Lencois, which flourished during the diamond boom in the 1800´s, is the gateway to the park and it is here that trekking & camping equipment as well as guides can be hired. For those interested in archaeology the town of Santana do Cariri has one the largest fossil sites in the world where pre-historic plants and animals, such as dinosaur fossils, have been found.