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The best things to do in Chapada Diamantina National Park

I'll admit, there are so many things to do and places to go in Brazil. But I do just want to come here to say that Chapada Diamantina National Park should absolutely go high on your list. Between the hikes, endless waterfalls, wild viewpoints, clear blue water, caves, and cute little towns, Chapada Diamantina has so much to offer and is worthy of your time. It was one of our absolute favorite places we visited in our two months in Brazil and I highly recommend that iit jumps onto your bucket list.

Chapada Diamantina Hotels

Let's first get into where to stay in Chapada Diamantina. The national park is endless wild lands. and forests, so if you want to explore it with the comfort of a nice hotel and good restaurants, base yourself out of the town of Lençóis. Chapada Diamantina is vast and there are other towns to see and stay, but Lençoís is known to be the best spot to base yourself out of.

In Lençoís, there is no better place to stay than Hotel de Lençóis while exploring the area. We stayed here with our 3 kids and it's one of my favorite hotels we've ever been to. It's the first established hotel in the area, so the history is fascinating, but the upkeep has been impeccable, keeping it modern and clean. It also feels like you're well taken care of by the staff , but it's not pretentious. The facilities were the most amazing part of it all (especially for my kids), between the pool, hot tub, playground, and game area. I can't recommend Hotel de Lençóis enough.

(For transparency, this was a hosted stay, but my views are honest and my own)

How to get around Chapada Diamantina

Chapada Diamantina is huge and you'll definitely need four wheels to even scratch the surface. You can either rent a car on your own which is what we did, or hire a guide service to bring you around. I definitely prefer renting my own car to have the ability to move freely and at your own pace, but I also understand how nicee it is not to think and get brought around to all the best areas.

To rent a car, we always use because it always seems to find us the best deals. For this area, you may want to get a 4 wheel drive vehicle. It isn't completely necessary, but there are definitely some hikes and waterfalls that are at the end of a dirt road, and if it';s been rainy, a four wheel drive vehicle is definitely advisable.

If you're looking for a tour that takes care of everything start to finish and brings you to all the best places in the area, check out this tour. You can also look at the wide range of tours offered ini Chapada Diamantina here.

Trekking Chapada Diamantina

There are more Chapada Diamantina hikes than there is time in your life--I'm not joking. I felt like I could live a lifetime here and still discover more hikes. Here are the hikes in Chapada Diamantina that should float to the top of your list.

Ribeirão do Meio

This was an easy 3.6 mile out and back hike that is right outside the town of Lençóis. Unlike the popular saying, it's definitely more about the destiination than thee journey. At the end of the trail, you arrive at a waterfall that is the perfect grade to make the most fun natural waterside ever. We spent hours here launching down. The kids absolutely loved it and I, personally, couldn't get enough.

Two kids at Chapada Diamantina National Park ready to slide down a waterfall
Here are the kids at Ribeirão do Meio waterfall, about to zoom down the natural waterside.

We did this without a guide, which the hike doesn't really require. When we arrived at the waterfall, we were so lucky that a family had a guide because we wouldn't have known where to start or go about sliding down the waterfall, let alone launching our kids down it. If they weren't there, I don't know if we would have been brave enough to do the slide, so maybe it would be a good idea to hire a guide.

You can easily find guides ini town, or you can get a guide through Hotel de Lençoís, the hotel I highly recommend in the area.

Cachoeira do Mosquito

This Chapada Diamantina hike is an hour drive from Lençoís and not much of a hike at less than a mile long. It is however a gorgeous waterfall to swim around and get some beautiful photos.

Lapa Doce Cave

This cave hike was a super cool experience for all of us. It's about an hour drive from Lençoís on good pavved roads. Once you get there, you pay an entrance fee that includes a guide (the guide is mandatory). Our guide was wonderful and told us so much information about the formatiion of the cave, the flora and fauna in the area, and had all sorts of light tricks up his sleeve inside the cave.

We were told that the hike was only 1.5 kms, but it was definitely more than that. Nothing little legs can't do, but just don't actually expect a short walk.

A silhouette of a family of 5 in a cave in Chapada Diamantina
Caves are one of the coolest features of Chapada Diamantina Natiional Park.

Morro Do Paí Inácío

I can't say any hike is MANDATORY for your time in Chapada Diamantina, but this one is...mandatory. If you've done any research whatsoever into this area of the world, you've absolutely seen the view from the top of this hike. I will tell you, it's even more beautiful than the pictures.

The hike is short but steep. In the past, it was known as a great place to see the sunrise or sunset, but unfortunately they've closed it off during those times, so you can only see this absolutely stunning, jaw-dropping view during the day. Yuck.

A family with small kids at a viewpoint after a hike ini Chapada Diamantina National Park
The view from the top! It's definitely worth the short hike for this view.

Cachoeira do Buração

This is the one that got away, but the main reason I hope to return to Chapada Diamantina one day. We happened to hit Chapada Diamantina in an unseasonably rainy week, so a lot of our plans got derailed--including this hike.

Buração Waterfall is known as one of the most beautiful waterfalls and an epic adventure to get there (that you can still safely do with kids). Why? Because the last part of the hike and the main event is swimming the last bit to get to the base of the waterfall. That, or you can repel from the top!

The hike itself is an easy 2 mile out and back and good for the whole family! It's also required to get a guide which you can find at the entrance. The only hiccup about this hike is that it's quite far from Lençoís (3 hours and 45 minutes), so you may want to stay in a town closer by the night before.

Cachoeira da Fumaça

This is another quintessential Chapada Diamantina image you see floating around. Water falling from hundreds of feet up, catching enough wind toward the bottom to whisk it away, appearing to look more like smoke than water (hence the name Smoke Falls).

Unlike a lot of the hikes I'm mentioning here, this one is more of a commitment. It's 12km out and back and gets steep, so come prepared with good shoes, water, snacks, and weather appropriate gear.

Kids walking around Lençóis, Bahia
The town of Lençoís is a quaint little place with cool restaurants and shops to roam around.

Other things to do in Chapada Diamantina National Park

Rio Pratinha Mergulho

This part of the river looks like a tropical paradise with its turquoise clear waters. It's a great place to stop and swim (for a fee) and for a little extra, you can swim into a cave. This place gets busy, so try to avoid it on the weekends if you can.

Poço Azul

This little pool is unique for two reasons: it's bright blue in color (just try to catch it midday so the sun hits it right), and it's in a cave. You can swim in the pool for 20 minutes and snorkel around, which I'vvev heard is an incredible experience. Unfortunately, when we were there, it was raining hard and nonstop for days which caused them to shut it down, so we weren't able to visit.

Poço Encantado

Simiilar to Poço Azul, this is a cool cave with deep blue water. This was another spot we wanted to hit up, but kids under 12 weren't allowed because of the steep climb down with ropes. Just another reason to come back!


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