What’s the Buzz
Lençois, (pronounced len-soiz ), lies 250 miles west of Salvador in the remote Chapada Diamantina (Diamond Plateau) mountain range in the interior of Bahia. It’s breathtaking scenery, unique flora and fauna and evocative old villages virtually untouched by time, make it the very best place to sample the aching beauty and simple delights of interior colonial Brazil. Excellent 2-4 day excursions including moderate to expert hiking and caving can be enjoyed in the Chapada area. Getting there requires a seven hour bus ride from Salvador or a 50 minute small plane ride from Salvador.
Lençois grew up around the huge diamond boom in the region in the mid-1800’s. At one stage it had a population of 30,000 but as a result of the discovery of diamonds in South Africa, the town began to go into decline. The town has been designated a National Monument for it’s important examples of residential architecture from the 19th century. The well preserved town center remains today one of the most delightful examples of Brazilian colonial times, largely untouched by modern worries.
The Chapada Diamantina region, with an average altitude of over 3000 feet, has been the subject of two extensive studies by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in England for it’s unusual and very varied flora. The dramatic table topped mountains provide stunning views of the region. There are innumerable rivers and waterfalls, amongst them the famous Smoke Waterfall, the tallest in Brazil, with a fall of 1350 feet, and so called because of the fact that the water from the falls evaporates before reaching the ground. The drive from Salvador takes about 6 hours and is in itself a lesson in geography, geology and botany. We leave the dense, low tropical vegetation of the coast and drive inland through the fertile pasture lands of the Recôncavo to the Sertão with it’s scrub land and dramatic cacti and finally up into the Chapada with it’s stunning variety of wild orchids and bromeliads.
How Best to “Do” Lencois
Our man in Bahia (Conor, a Irish lad who has made this part of the world his home and knows it like no one else), describes the options in his own inimitable way. Perhaps this will help you in selecting your trip. Read what Conor has to say