VISIT OUR NEW WEBPAGE ---------- Chapada Diamantina National Park

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The National Park of the Chapada Diamantina is one of the most fascinating natural parks of Brazil. The mountain scenery contains an extraordinary variety of ecosystems, like Cerrado, Mata Atlantica, and Stone fields, Caatinga. The bromeliads and orchids find a privilege ambiance, adapting themselves to the differences in climate, altitude. The mountain tops reach a height of 5,660 feet (see map of hiking routes) and they offer shelter to the Jaguatiricas (local breed of feline) pumas, moc�s (local rodents), deer's, tei�s (local reptile) and seriemas (local little ostrich) .

The massive quartz pieces, have undergone and resisted the erosion that began in the Pre-Cambrian period, forming towers of minerals known as "TEPUY" by the local Indians of the Maracas and Cariris tribes, which dominated the region before the arrival of the first settlers or bandeirantes, around the year 1750. The most astonishing tepuis reach a height of 4,830 ffet and they run across the municipalities of Palmeiras, Len�ois e Mucug� . The Tabor hilltop, Calumbi (Also known as Morro do Camelo, or Camel Back) the Pai Inacio and the Morro Branco do Paty, challenge time and feed the many local legends from other eras.

The cities that border the National park are filled with colonial buildings representing the architecture of the time, a vivid memory of the richness of the time of the diamonds, which made Brazil the first world producer of the mineral during the beginnings of the XX century. The trails opened by the garimpeiros (searchers of precious minerals) are opened today for the enjoyment of hikers and trekkers from around the world. It is still possible to encounter old garimpeiros in the area, who experienced and lived the diamond rush that made the area famous.

The main rivers of the area begin in the hidden rocks of the Chapada. The Paragua�u and the de Contas rivers cave deep canyons in the hills and planes, creating a scenery of divine beauty in the Fuma�a Waterfall (1,400 feet long, the highest fall in the country), the caves of Iraguara and the Enchanted Cave or Po�o Encantado.

The National Park of Chapada Diamantina was established in 1985 and it is currently undergoing the implementation process, administered by the Ibama (Environmental Institute of Brazil -Instituto Brasileriro de Meio Ambiente), headquartered in Palmeiras.

For security and environmental protection, the local guide associations in the area should be contacted to pursuit hikes in the park. Tourist agencies, pousadas, hostels and alternative community hosting promote trips by bike, off-road, canoe and by foot, as well as by mule and horses. In addition, other interesting attractions include new age, spiritual discovery and personal growth, including regressions to past lives and esoteric activities

 Google Earth:  Norte do Parque Nacional  to get a vision of the North of National Park and Cap�o Valley with trails: Vale do Cap�o com trilhas          

Road Map

For drivers that are discovering the region, some information about the roads and their conditions.

The following maps represents the different roads and their conditions, distance between the cities and the main tourist attractions, gas stations and park surroundings, as well as the main hiking roads. The Brazilian guide named Quatro Rodas ( www.portaldaviagem.com ) is an excellent resource to explore the region in detail and it is regularly updated. The road between Mucug� and Palmeiras is in good condition until the settlement of Guin�, then it turns into dusty road, but good for driving.

The road Guin�-Palmeiras must be done on at a very slow pace, due to many rocks and other road deformations. Nevertheless the road is much shorter than taking the road from Andarai and the BR242.

The road that joins Abaira, Piat� e Boninal is in excellent condition until BR242, close to Seabra. The road between Rio de Contas, Jussiape, Abaira is in poor condition and very sandy. In Jussiape, you can choose to go east and reach Mucug� (dirt road is good for driving Jussiape and partially covered with asphalt).

The road that joins Len�ois to Andorra can be done by off-road vehicles, but the difficulty of passing through the rivers Roncador and Garapa depends on the water levels at the time of the trip.

The road that joins Palmeiras to Vale do Cap�o (Caete-A�u) has some difficulties, but it can be drived by any type of vehicle in 40 minutes.

 Mountain-bike lovers will find excellent roads and circuits, inside and outside of the part (including the roads previously covered) among which: road Len�ois/ Pai In�cio thorough Barrio Branco, Vale do Cap�o / Morr�o, Pai In�cio / Morr�o, Guin� / Cap�o.....  

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Map Trails of National Park

 

Sat�lite picture

CAVES

The underground of the Chapada is as fascinating as the surface.

The caves of the potholding or Spelogical Park of the Iraquara, close to the town of Palmeiras, is one of the most important subterranean nets of Brazil. The most visited caves are Lapa Doce, Torrinha,  Buraco do C�o and Pratinha (usually overflowed with tourist).

The cave of  Torrinha was discovered several years ago by an association of French potholders or speleologists from Meandres. The cave is currently overlooked with much care and professionalism by Eduardo Martins, owner of the land where the caves are located. Three trails are offered to the visitors of the area, ranging from a simple overview to a complete discovery (3hours). These caverns offer a geological curiosity of displaying gypsite needles of 60 centimeters in range, aragonite flowers of unimaginable size and other wonders, which local guides know well how and are happy to share with those interested in the subject matter.

Photos

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Torrinha Cave Map

FUMA�A WATERFALL

MAP TRAIL

The Fuma�a Waterfall is unique and astonishing for its grandiosity and imposing scenery. With 380 meters of free fall, it is the second highest waterfall of the world, following only Salto Angel in Venezuela. During the season from May to September, the falling water levels are less abundant and the wind embraces the water drops and presents a smoky effect, which originated the name of "Fuma�a". The road taking to the waterfall was created in the early days of the last century, time of the diamond seekers or garimpos, who established themselves in the basin of the rivers Capivara, Palmital, Capivar� e Caldeir�o. The trail was partly covered with rocks to facilitate the access of the cattle that is brought to the gerais for pasture in the drought season of the Sert�o. The periodic fires of these pastures, purposely started by cattle ranchers, have a strong negative aspect on the local environment.

The fist part of the trek to the Fuma�a is an easy walk and offers the satisfaction of a visual panorama over serra do Rio Preto and Vale do Cap�o. After the first hour you reach a stable walking pace and the surrounding area is special for its rich and various flora of Bromeliads, Orchids e Cactus. The stone wall forbids the return of the cattle that periodically invades the gerais. From the wall, the trail is flat, with no difficulties, and displaying some areas rich in carnivorous plants (Drosera) and plants surrounded by the numerous Bromeliads (Vriesas e Tillandsias). The area has the name of "gerais", an incense area that fosters a unique fauna rich in variety, including the local birds, monkeys, reptiles and passing felines. Fortunate trekkers might get a sight of the footprints of the local puma, currently in extinction! The approximate walking time to arrive to the Waterfall is two hours.

 

Arriving to the Waterfall is uplifting to look around, breath deeply and fall into the mystery of creation. Enjoy the peaceful and quiet moment, which you will probably never forger. The canyons through which the rivers cross by, is a natural refuge for the small palms or palmitos of the dense mata Atl�ntica. After passing around a long curve, the river falls into the Capivara, which continues down the stream until joining the Rivers S�o Jos� and Paragua�u. The water flows and drops from  Fuma�a end then travels miles away, to the Bahia de Todos os Santos.

Photos

Walking time Total Inclination Distance Drop height Highest Altitude
2 hours (one way    1,060 feet 3,2 miles 1270 ft 4,400 ft

Trail Map

For informational purposes, the following is a description of the points or stops presented in the attached map.

 

Point 1: A telecommunication tower marks the beginning of the trail, there is a sign placed by the Brazilian Environemental Institute with some information about the route and the park. After several stony corners, you reach an open field of 300 meters, which set the way up towards Serra de Larguinha.

Point 2: Walking time: 20 min. Hike divided in three legs, areas of high inclination and a maximum height level of 330 meters, this is the most demanding part of the trail. The most inclined areas have been covered with stepping stones to allow a less steep hike, even to human and area animals that feed on the pastures. Beautiful view from Morr�o and the plains of Campina. You can find at your feet pieces of the local plant, Candomb�, which can reach a height of 1,200 meters with a dense fibrous trunk, traditionally used to light campfires. The presence of the plant is an indication of the altitude over the 1,200 meters, as well as the presence of quartz crystals (Si O2). This trail was originally opened by the garimpeiros who used it to reach  Palmital and Capivara rivers.

Point 3: Walking time: 45 min. AT this point you reach the level of the first gerais or canyons, walls of rocks with a sandy trail with a fantastic view overlooking Cap�o Valley and Serra do Rio Preto. Immediately, the trail turns to the east, where you find the basin.

Point 4: Walking time: 1 hour. Fields of multiple rock types, rich and fragile surround the basin at the same time. Watch your footsteps and remember not to pick up plants! Multiple species of Bromeliads (includes the Ortophitum burle marxii in homage to the Brazilian nature genius). Cactus and orchids are representing the natural landscape with its rich biological diversity (more than 30.000 samples per m2). Big trees with dense foliage (pau de moc�) and the Samambaia�u (Alsophila armata) complete the visual pleasures that have existed in the area for millions of years.

Point 5, 6,7: staged where you loose sight of the "Gerais" and it extends itself for over 3kms, with river flows, including the tributaries of the Fuma�a, and an exotic fauna and flora. Pay close attention to the red, hairy plants, these are carnivores (Drosera). The beautiful tie-like red flowers that you will see during your walk are endemic to the Chapada (Augastes lumachellus). Close to the falls, it is easy to find a moc� (Kerodon rupestres) a small rodent with a brown bottom.

Point 8: Walking time: 2 hours. Close to the river, you will begin to feel the drops from the falls that turn toward the mountains, driven by the wind. This phenomena originated the name of the falls, "Fuma�a", which means "from the smoke". Be careful if you tend to be claustrophobic or become dizzy. The abyss can play tricks with your mind and fears and you are at 380 meters of altitude. The woods guiding towards the canyons is a reminiscence of the Mata Atl�ntica, with numerous palmitos (Ju�ara, Euterpe edulis).

Fuma�a River converges with Capivara River, ending in S�o Jos�, a tributary of Paragua�u, which runs to Bahia de Todos os Santos, and being blessed by all the regional Gods, better known as "Orix�s".

Cap�o Valley