With so many amazing attractions, it’s hard to decide what treks do in Chapada Diamantina National Park. Located in Bahia, the second-biggest National Park in Brazil is a region full of mountains, waterfalls, canyons, caves, and valleys, one of the most popular destinations for those who like to venture into nature, and considered one of the most complete National Parks. A paradise for those who love adventures like hiking, climbing, cycling and also resting and recharging.
There are so many attractions to see that it’s hard to define how long to spend in Chapada Diamantina. We used to joke that it would take two lives and a helicopter to see all! 😀 However, for those who do not yet have these conditions, we have selected 10 unique and special attractions of what to do in Chapada Diamantina for you to make the most of your days there. Check out some tours that local guides have to offer you!
Top 10 Best Hikes in Chapada Diamantina
Vale do Pati Trek
Vale do Pati is one of the most stunning treks in Brazil, and it’s located in the heart of the National Park! You can only do this trek on foot, so be prepared to walk an average of 15 km per day on steel trails that lead to the must-go attractions in Vale do Pati, like breathtaking landscapes, caves, and waterfalls. For sure one of the best options for what to do in Chapada Diamantina! An incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, with no internet or cell signal to distract you (check here for 10 more curiosities about this place). Instead, you’ll be able to interact with your local guide, other backpackers, and the friendly locals who offer their homes as accommodation and provide meals, bedrooms, and toilets. You can customize your trekking itinerary to last 3 days, 4 days, 5 days, or even 7 days. Additionally, you can choose to start and finish your journey in different cities, such as Vale do Capão, Guiné, and Andaraí. If you’re interested, take a look at some itinerary options here.
You’ll be amazed by the impressive 85-meter waterfall located in the southern area of Chapada Diamantina, near Ibicoara City. An exciting trail in the middle of a vast canyon, accompanied by a massive well. The 3 km trail is relatively easy, and you must be accompanied by a local tourist guide and pay an entrance fee. The strength of the waterfall depends on the rainfall, and while there’s always water, it may be impossible to swim in the well after heavy rain. During the hike, you’ll have a chance to see the waterfall from above and even take a dip in the Orquídeas Waterfall. Join a local guide on a 6-day expedition in Chapada Diamantina National Park and come visit Buracão!
Morro do Pai Inácio is always on every list of what to do in Chapada Diamantina. A popular and easy walk with a panoramic view from the top that will give you a real sense of the grandeur of the park, including the iconic Camelo and Três Irmãos hills. The trail entrance is located near BR 242, and you can drive to the starting point and then walk uphill for around 500 meters. You can visit Pai Inácio anytime during the day, but it’s recommended to go up close to sunset time (the latest you can ascend is until 5:00 pm) and pair it with other trails like the Poço do Diabo Waterfall, take a look at some of the itineraries that you can combine with this trail!
Visitors often describe this trail and waterfall as one of the most stunning sights on their list of what to do in Chapada Diamantina. The natural spectacle features a 100-meter waterfall surrounded by 280-meter walls, located in the southern part of Chapada in the city of Ibicoara. The round-trip journey spans 18 km, following the riverbed, and involves jumping over rocks, which can make the hike quite challenging. You can either complete it in a day or camp overnight in the wild to have more time to explore the other wells along the way. Before you go, it’s important to check the weather conditions, as the current can be strong during the rainy season, or the waterfall may run dry in the dry season. Get to know the itinerary better and hire a local guide.
Fumaça Falls Top
To reach the top of the second largest waterfall in Brazil, with about 380 meters, it is necessary to prepare legs and lungs to go 2 km of a steep climb, with large steps, and another 4 km for uneven terrain. This is one of the most famous trails in Chapada, attracting visitors who want to see the magical scenery of the water that disperses with the wind like smoke (hence the name) before reaching the ground, surrounded by huge rocky walls. Depending on the time of year, this waterfall can be completely dry. The easiest access starts at Vale do Capão and, despite not having a good bath to cool off, it is possible to go another 3 km by car after the end of the trail to bathe in Cachoeira do Riachinho.
The same Fumaça waterfall but seeing from the bottom perspective. If you’re a camping enthusiast who loves to challenge yourself on trails, you can embark on an adventure on this Chapada Diamantina trek to reach Cachoeira da Fumaça, a breathtaking waterfall that you can bathe in, surrounded by a 380-meter wall. This route is usually taken by those who want to cross the Capão Valley to Lençóis or the other way around. Along the way, you’ll pass through well-preserved forest remnants and even see the ruins of the mining period. To complete the journey, you’ll need to camp in the wilderness for 3 days, carrying all the necessary camping equipment, food, and water. You’ll also need to be prepared to navigate over rocks and take care of your personal needs in nature (we recommend using a “shit tube”). During your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to visit two more beautiful Chapada Diamantina waterfalls, Capivara and Palmital. Get a guide and learn the route for this trekking.
Poço Encantado e Poço Azul
These wells are not just a must-do of what to do in Chapada Diamantina, they are also well-known for being postcards of this National Park. They are incredibly stunning and can make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time, especially since fossils of extinct species were found at the bottom of Poço Azul. Both wells are located on private property, so it’s important to pay the entrance fee and take good care of the environment. You can even float in Poço Azul with a life jacket since it has running water. However, it’s not allowed to bathe in Poço Encantado since its water comes from a non-renewable water table. It’s easy to access both wells by dirt road, with Poço Azul being in the municipality of Nova Redenção and one hour away by car from Poço Encantado, which is located in the city of Itaetê and 140 km from Lençóis. Join a 6-day expedition with a local guide to visit both of them!
If you’re up for a challenge, the trek inside the Capivari River canyon is an impressive option for what to do in Chapada Diamantina. The highlight of this Chapada Diamantina trek is the 80-meter Mixila waterfall, which is truly stunning! You can complete this trail in one day if you’re in good physical shape. Alternatively, you can take your time and camp overnight to enjoy more of nature and discover other waterfalls, such as Capivari and Poção. To get to the Mixila Waterfall, you’ll need to follow the riverbed, jump over rocks, and even swim in the final stretch. Make sure to leave your backpacks at one point and only bring your bathing suit. The best way to access Mixila is through Lençóis, followed by a 9 km car ride (we recommend a 4×4) to the beginning of the walk. The round trip is approximately 25 km.
This waterfall is stunning, with a 20-meter drop, and is situated in the middle of a multi-level wall inside a canyon. It has a spacious well and is perfect for a refreshing dip and sunbathing on the stone plateaus. This Chapada Diamantina trek route is 12 km and includes breathtaking viewpoints, impressive rocks, and towering trees. It can be done in a day starting from Lençóis. However, it is not recommended to do this trail after consecutive days of rain, as the river can rise and make the rocks slippery and dangerous. Also, be aware that one section of the trail involves walking under a large rock and is only possible when the water level is low.
Lapa Doce Grotto and Pratinha
If you’re a fan of underground exploration, don’t miss the Lapa Doce cave! Located in Iraquara, this 42 km cave system has 850 meters open to visitors. The easy route is suitable for most visitors, and you’ll witness millenary formations of stalactites, stalagmites, and curtains in limestone rooms. After the cave, take a dip in the turquoise waters of Pratinha, where you can also go zip-lining or floating. Both Lapa Doce and Pratinha require payment on-site and a guide is essential for the cave tour.
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Frequently asked questions about Chapada Diamantina National Park