Everybody needs time off in order to get disconnected from this busy world and feel human again every now and then. Never before have so many people filled their time with numerous activities so as to obtain titles and goods while their lives are being slipped away through their fingers carelessly. It feels so great to listen to the cliche “live life to its fullest”, but when it comes time to make this quote real in our lives, we complicate things so much that the only feasible solution found is to keep ourselves in the so called comfort zone, which is not comfortable at all. That zone only hurts us and might even kill us.
Far be it from me to say that we all should give up on doing what we have to do in order to sustain the world’s economy, or shun civilisation and live off the grid in the wilderness (that was my initial idea, though, when I was younger and had just realised how messed up this world is). On the contrary. What I am trying to say here is that a balance should be made between our professional life and the only life we have. We can be busy and work hard as long as, every once in a while, we spare moments for ourselves so as to renew the energy of our body and mind.
Places in the wilderness, which hasn’t been too much affected by human’s work, are the preferred destinations for me to recharge my soul. Mother nature with its enchantments and purity is, undoubtedly, the main source of strength that our spirit needs in order to help us balance our inner and outer world. That’s the reason why so many people, including myself, have found their way out of the crowd periodically, not to escape reality but to find the peace and truth that nature freely gives out.
I haven’t been to everywhere in the world yet, but I can assure you that if you are a looking for a place where you can experience what was described above, a trip to Chapada Diamantina will perfectly be what you need.
Natural Beauty of Chapada Diamantina
Chapada Diamantina (Portuguese for Diamond Plateau) is the second most important Natural Park in Brazil, as well as reference in tourism of adventure. Located in the heart of Bahia and surrounded by dozens of cities, Chapada is also known as the oasis of the northeast backlands. Its natural beauty, which was carefully and lazily designed by the rain and wind billions of years ago, include valleys, mountains, canyons, caves, natural pools and numerous waterfalls that can be enjoyed all year long (Chapada’s mild temperatures, annual averages of 22 degrees celsius, allow us that).
Annually, Chapada welcomes visitors from all over the world who want to experience quality time in the nature to either relax or practice outdoor activities such as trekking, hiking, hillwalking, mountain biking, rappelling, rock climbing, canoeing, zip lining, scuba diving, snorkeling and so on. You can find quite few ecotourism agencies, as well as independent guides, that are ready to organise tours throughout the region and offer you the best experience of your life.
I do not intend to lie here, and I must say that if you want to see the most beautiful attractions that this place has to offer, a bit of trekking is required, mainly if you want to see the astonishingly beautiful waterfalls or the dazzling sunset from Father Inacio Hill.
If you feel like you won’t have stamina to do such activities, or that you are not adventurous enough for that, do not worry. If i could make a trip to Chapada, you can do it too, seriously!
I was the least indicated person to go to Chapada since I was such a chicken and also because I had always had a sedentary lifestyle. But let me tell you something, Chapada Diamantina turned out to be the remedy for those problems. Once you get there and realize what you are about to experience with all your senses, you will feel so compelled to explore, that you won’t even notice how far you had gone just to see and/or shower in that particular waterfall. It won’t take very long, and there you are asking for more adventure.
The main attractions worth seeing in Chapada Diamantina that I recommend are:
- Morro do Pai Inacio (Father Inacio Hill), where a dazzling sunset can be seen.
- Cachoeira da Fumaca (Smoky Waterfall), the second highest fall in Brazil.
- Pratinha (Little Silver Grotto), a shallow lake at the mouth of the cave where swimming and snorkeling are permitted.
- Poco do Diabo (Devil’s Pool), where you can go zip lining and take a dip in its iron-rich river.
- Poco Encantado (Enchanted pool), an underground lake that is illuminated by a shaft of light at 2-3pm. That’s when the blue water can be seen.
- Cachoeira de Sossego (Peaceful Waterfall), it is a difficult hike up the steep rocky slope to reach there, but the name do it justice.
* symbolic fee is required to enter in most of those places*
The local gastronomy is very rich and tasty. There are excellent restaurants where the visitors can try typical dishes such as feijoada (black beans stew), acaraje ( a deep-fried patty of crushed black-eyed-peas stuffed with dried shrimp, vatapa, chopped tomatoes, onion and cilantro), pao dequeijo (cheese bread), moqueca (fish stew), acai (purple berry served as a sweet sorbet, sometimes topped with granola and slices of banana) and also a wide range of fruit juices which is worth a try.
There is a wide range of inns, hotels, hostels in the region, and even camping areas for those who are willing to stay connected 24hrs with the nature. The price varies from $25 to $400 reais per night, but before booking a hotel, inn or hostel make sure about what you want to visit the most in order to avoid waste of time. Chapada is quite big and surrounded by dozens of cities. Choosing the city that best suit your needs in advance, is paramount (I stayed in Lencois, since it is the main city of this region).
Getting in there
You can get in Chapada Diamantina either by bus, plane or car. However, it is preferable to go by car in order to have flexibility and freedom to organize your trip script. If you opt for car, make sure you grab the park map and a GPS so as to get your bearings.
If flying is better for you, the closest airport to Chapada is Horacio de Matos Airport, which is located in Lencois and receives flights operated by Azul Airlines only every Thursdays and Sundays.
For more information, visit Chapada Diamantina and have a lovely trip!!!