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Those on the group flight arrive this evening in Salvador. Land only passengers can arrive at the hotel at any time. Salvador de Bahia was established in 1549 and rapidly became a major centre of the new world. In 1558 the city got the dubious honour of becoming the first slave-market town in the Americas with a high demand for cheap labour to work in the sugar plantations. These large African populations would have a deep impact on the city which is, today, the most African city on the continent and the centre of Candomble, a religion with its roots in voodoo practices from West Africa. The old town, centred around the Pelourinho neighbourhood, is characterised by its colourful houses and renaissance architecture as well as its vistas resulting from being built on a hill.
Salvador walking tour.
We spend today exploring Brazil’s colonial capital, Salvador. We start this morning with the old town, Pelourinho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of the black movement in Bahia. We explore some of the areas main sites, churches and houses, but also have the chance to learn about the local art movement as it is a popular spot for Brazilian artists’ studios and galleries. After lunch we take the Elevador Lacerda (a lift which connects the uptown and downtown). From the top we get panoramic views of All Saints Bay and the Mercado Modelo (the local craft market). This market is our next stop where we can find crafts but also religious artefacts from the city’s two main religions: Catholicism and Candomble. Finally we head for the Ribeira District to enjoy ice cream at the renowned Sorveteria de Ribeira (Ribeira Ice Cream Shop) established in 1931.
To Lencois, Chapada Diamantina.
This morning is free to relax after yesterday’s long journey. Around lunch time we will head out to the airport to catch our domestic flight to Lencois in the heart of Chapada Diamantina. Please note that airlines in Brazil are notorious for schedule changes. Whilst changing the day of the flight is unlikely, if it does happen we may have to go overland to Lencois. Chapada Diamantina is one of Brazil’s most beautiful regions with its flat-top mountains, small villages, clear streams, waterfalls and more. As an introduction to this stunning region we will head out to Pai Inacio Hill, one of the region’s most spectacular view-points, in the late afternoon to catch the sunset over the outstretched flat-top mountains. It is an easy 25minute walk to the top of the hill but bring a torch/flash light as we’ll be walking back after the sun has set.
Full day hike to Capao Valley.
After a short transfer to the base of Pai Inacio Hill we start our hike to the Capao Valley (13kms). We follow trails that take us past some of the areas famous flat-top mountains and waterfalls. Along the way we can enjoy views of Morrao, the tallest of the flat-top mountains in this sector of the Chapada Diamantina (at 1,418m); the Aguas Claras valley and waterfall and the mountains of Serra dos Cristais, Morro do Camelo (so named because of its resemblance to the silhouette of a camel) and Serra da Cravada. We should arrive at Campina at the end of this 5-6hrs walk and will then have a short transfer to our Pousada (Guest House) in Capao Valley. There will be opportunity to go for a dip in the Aguas Claras pool so bring swimwear.
Cachoeira da Fumaca hike and Riachinho.
Today’s hike takes us to the Cachoeira da Fumaca (Smoke Falls). The trailhead is just a short transfer from the village. From here the hike to the falls is 12kms, 6hrs round trip. This is the tallest waterfall in Brazil at 340m. The small stream of water is spread by the wind, sometimes even lifting it upwards (forming a curtain of droplets which has given the falls their name of ‘smoke’). The first 2kms are uphill followed by 4kms along the high plain with great views. The return journey is along the same path. We later visit Riachinho, a series of small falls and pools, great for a refreshing dip before returning to our Pousada.
Full day hike to Guine, transfer to Mucuge.
Our hiking today takes us onto mountain plateaus (at about 1000m) in the western part of the Chapada Diamantina Park. Most of the day will be spend making our way through the fields of Gerais do Vieira and Gerais do Rio Preto which are criss-crossed with clear streams and off great views of the Pati Valley, considered one of the most beautiful in Brazil. We hope to reach our destination of Guine after some 7 or 8 hours. From here we have transfer to Mucugue where we spend night.
Poco Encantado and Poco Azul.
Today we visit two of Chapada Diamantina’s most beautiful underground pools – Poco Azul (Blue Well) and Poco Encatado (Enchanted Pool). The flooded cave of Poco Azul’s waters are an unnatural hue of blue, especially when the sun comes in through a crevice and shines onto the pool. We can spend about 20mins in the incredibly clear waters here exploring the ethereal décor. Nearby Poco Encantado is another surreal flooded cavern of incredible blues. This is particularly highlighted during the months of April-August when sun comes in through a natural window and hits the water. Swimming is not allowed here. We later transfer to the village of Ibicoara for the night.
Fumacinha Waterfall hike.
Today is, without a doubt, the most challenging trek of the trip but probably also the biggest highlight. The first 2kms are easy enough along flat terrain but the next 5 get more demanding. The trail follows a river and there is a considerable amount of scrambling and walking on uneven rocks, and possibly having to skip from one rock to another. The destination of our trek is the Fumacinha Waterfall, a 300m waterfall located at the end of a deep canyon. There is only one way in and out so we return the same way we came. The whole day should take between 6 and 8hrs depending on the group’s capabilities. Tonight we return to Mucuge for the night.
Encantadas Waterfall hike.
Our last day hiking and our last waterfall, named Cachoeira Encantadas (meaning Enchanted Waterfall). After 1.5hr transfer we start our hike which should take approximately 3 hours in each direction. Along the way we can stop to rest and take refreshing dips. We follow the river most of the way and pass along forest trails as well as some rocky terrain. We later return to Lencois for our last night in Chapada Diamantina.
To Salvador, end.
Today we drive back to Salvador arriving in the afternoon in time for those passengers on the group flights in the early evening.