Welcome to Chapada Diamantina, the favorite national park you never knew you had! Chapada Diamantina is one of Brazil’s most glorious national parks, with plenty of options for hiking and trekking through gorgeous valleys, mountain plateaus, and enchanting caves. The landscapes of Chapada Diamantina are so varied, you can climb plateaus, hike through jungles, and swim in waterfalls all in one day! From snorkeling to kayaking, caving to diving, there are loads of activities to choose from.
We asked our South America Program Director, Gretchen, what her favorite destination was in Brazil and she responded without hesitation: Chapada Diamantina! Read on to learn 10 fun facts about Brazil’s “Lost World” and what you can plan to do there on your next adventure!
- Chapada Diamantina National Park, created in 1985, is a 375.950 acre park located in Bahia, Brazil.
- In Chapada Diamantina National Park there is a flooded cave called Poco Azul (or Blue Well). When explorers ventured into the cave they made a discovery of roughly 40 different animal species’ bones. Many of the bones were from species that are now extinct. One of the species of animals discovered in Poco Azul was a creature roughly the size of an elephant, called a Megatherium.
- The most popular swimming holes in Chapada Diamantina National Park include Sossego waterfall, Ribeirao do Meio rock slide, and Fumaca waterfall, once considered to be Brazil’s tallest waterfall until a later discovery in the Amazon took the record.
- Chapada Diamantina is also referred to as Brazil’s ‘Lost World’, consisting of underground caves and water systems, red rock mesas, and canyons and caverns.
- The highest point in Chapada Diamantina National Park is Pico do Barbado, at 6,680 feet. It is also the highest point in the state of Bahia.
- Chapada’s best dive spots: Gruta da Pratinha – approximately 390 feet wide and from 4.5 to 7.5 feet deep. Descend by natural stairs into a crystal clear lake, Os Impossíveis – called the Impossibles for a difficult entrance but once in the crater shaped area at the bottom of a 100-foot pit with vertical walls, you’ll be rewarded with white stalagmites and access to various tunnels. The main Northwestern passage offers an unforgettable snorkeling experience, Poço de Milú – called the Enchanted Well, this pool is similar to the Poço Encantado but less restricted. Underwater passageways abound, Poço Encantado – this giant sunken pool is 120 feet deep but the water is so transparent the rocks and ancient tree trunks are visible on the bottom. When the sun is just right, light comes through a crevice and creates a blue reflection on the water. Access to this pond is highly controlled for environmental protection of its rare and delicate ecosystem.
- The famous through-hike that traverses the National Park is called: The Pati Valley Trek.
- Chapada Diamantina National Park does not have a great deal of infrastructure. It is difficult to reach interior portions by public transportation but it is a popular park for avid trekkers and adventurers. It is possible to camp in small caves for free.
- Protected mammal species that can be found in Chapada Diamantina National Park include the jaguar, giant armadillo, giant anteater, the cougar, and Barbara Brown’s titi.
- Chapada Diamantina National Park has a great selection of accommodations and numerous restaurants and cantinas where you can sip Brazilian beer and trade stories with the locals and learn about the best climbing spots, swimming holes, and cave diving.
Want to plan your next journey to Chapada Diamantina? Check out the following adventure:
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Your friendly Brazil expert,