Chapada Diamantina is a National Park of 38000 sq kms, full of flat topped mountains, canyons, caves and waterfalls, with superb trekking possibilities. It lies 425 kms to the west of Salvador- a 5-7 hour drive depending on traffic and if your are travelling by car or bus. 1.7 billion years ago this whole area lay under the sea and you can see the layers of strata and pebbles on all the mountains. It is also not unusual to find soft white sand half way up a mountain which looks like it should really belong on a beach. The main town is Lençois a historical city dating back to 19th century when it was the centre of diamond prospection, glory days which lasted until the early 20th century. Andarai, Mucugê Igatu, Palmeiras and Capão are also interesting villages with typical colonial architecture dating back to the same period but only Lençois and Palmeiras (for Capão) are accessible by bus, and now the diamonds have gone tourism is by far the biggest industry.
There are 4 buses a day from Salvador with Rapido Federal bus company via Feira de Santana. They leave at 7am, 1pm, 5pm and 11.30 pm, take between 6 and 7 hours and cost R$68 one way. The same buses return to Salvador at more or less the same hours, but it is always worth checking times with the pousada you are staying in.
Azul airlines (voeazul.com.br) operates the Salvador/Lençois/Salvador route twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays, leaving Salvador at 13.33, arriving 14.40. Return flight leaves at 15.05 arriving Salvador at 16.06. Prices range from R$70,00 one way to R$700 one way. Transfer to Lençois from the airport costs an additional R$150,00.
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