Chapada Diamantina and the sertão in Brazil

The beautiful Chapada Diamantina national park comprises a series of escarpments covered in cerrado, caatinga and moist tropical forest, dripping with waterfalls and studded with caves. It is one of the highlights of inland Bahia. Although little of the forest is original, there is still plenty of wildlife including jaguar and maned wolf, and the area is good for birdwatching. Various trails cut through the park offering walks from a few hours to a few days, and many leave from the little colonial mining town of Lençóis, the ideal base for visiting the region.

The road from Salvador to Lençóis and the chapada passes through Feira de Santana, famous for its Micareta, an extremely popular out-of-season carnival. The harsh beauty of the sertão and its hospitable people are the reward for those wanting to get off the beaten track. The region has been scarred by droughts and a violent history of bandits, rebellions and religious leaders. Euclides da Cunha and Canudos are good places to start exploring this history. The Raso da Catarina, once a hiding place for Lampião, and the impressive Paulo Afonso waterfalls, can both be visited from the town of Paulo Afonso located on the banks of the São Francisco. This important river runs through the sertão, linking agricultural settlements such as Juazeiro, Ibotirama and Bom Jesus de Lapa and has its headwaters in northern Minas Gerais.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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