Chapada Diamantina (literally “Diamond Plateau”) National Park is not nearly as famous as the coastal parts of Brazil. However, it’s not less impressive. Deep inland, surrounded by table mountains, semi-deserts, canyons, gorges and ravines, the region hides one of the most beautiful caves in the world. Two of them – “Blue Pool” and “Enchanted Pool” – are filled with crystal clear, intensively blue waters. The other, “Torrinha Cave”, one of the biggest and most impressive in Brazil boasts with huge chambers full of cave formations and to walk it through takes around 2 hours.
How to Get to Chapada Diamantina National Park
Cave of Chapada Diamantina National Park in Brazil (Tomasz Lisowski, Adventurous Travels)
Chapada Diamantina region is located deep inland and quite far from any large city that are mainly strewn along the long coast of Brazil. Nevertheless, it’s worth to stray away from the beaten by tourists paths and explore the breathtaking nature of Chapada Diamantina.
The easiest and cheapest way is to travel to the main town in Chapada Diamantina – Lencois. There are several buses a day departing from the popular capital of Bahia State – Salvador. The best option is to take an overnight bus as the distance is over 400 km (250 miles). The fare is around 63 BRL (21 EUR/28 USD). To find the timetable an up to date details click here.
Another option, is to take a flight from Salvador. There are 2 flights daily (on Thursdays and Sundays) to Lencois, the journey takes only about 45 minutes, but it’s considerably more expensive. If you are interested, you might check it here.
Lencois is a great town in itself. It’s in the middle of nowhere and has the cozy atmosphere of a little town. It also holds some nice examples of colonial architecture.
There are many accommodation options in Lencois, from high end to backpacker’s hostels. The staff generally know very good English and will assist you with any questions regarding tours and places you would wish to visit.
If you are not traveling with a group, the best thing to do is to make a deal with fellow travelers and agree on which tour you would all like to take. The more people are going, the lower the price.
Enchanted Pool Cave (Poço Encantado)
Blue Pool Cave (Tomasz Lisowski, Adventurous Travels)
The Poco Encantado – Enchanted Pool Cave is the landmark of Chapada Diamantina. You can find it on many postcards from the region. It’s truly impressive – the best time to visit is from April to September when the sunlight reaches the blue surface of water creating incredible reflections. Unfortunately, I was there in the rainy season – February and didn’t see this phenomenon. But don’t despair, and if you have a chance to see it out of the season – do it, as it’s not less breathtaking.
To get to the cave, you must go down some steps and go through quite a narrow entrance. You will be equipped with helmets and flashlights. You will spend around 45 minutes in the cave.
How to Reach Poço Encantado
Rock Formation (Tomasz Lisowski, Adventurous Travels)
It possible to reach the Enchanted Pool Cave from Lencois with a daily tour – Blue Pool and Enchanted Pool. The price depends on the number of people. You can book it online or directly in the hostel. If there are more then 4 travelers – the price is 165 BRL (55 EUR/73 USD) with a meal included. More info here.
If you drive, you must get nearby the town of Itaete, located 140 km (86 miles) south-east from Lencois. The drive from Lencois takes around 2 hours.
Blue Pool Cave (Poço Azul)
The water in the Blue Pool is as blue as in the Enchanted pool, so perfectly clear that you can see all the rock formations and the bottom 20 m (65 ft.) below. What’s best is that swimming is allowed in this cave and it’s an unforgettable experience. The golden rocks contrasting with the blue water create an image out of this world. It’s a must in Chapada Diamantina.
Before going for a swim, everyone is obliged to wear a life jacket and take a shower.
How to Reach Poço Azul
Rock Formation (Tomasz Lisowski, Adventurous Travels)
The Blue Pool Cave (Poco Azul) lies around 1 hour drive from The Enchanted Pool (Poco Encantando), between the town of Itaete and Andarai. You need to get to the car park at the river Paraguacu, cross the river on a ferry/raft and you’re there.
A visit to the Blue Pool Cave is also available in the same daily tour from Lencois that also includes the Enchanted Pool.
Torrinha Cave (Gruta da Torrinha)
Torrinha Cave is one of the most impressive in Brazil. Comparing to the two above mentioned caves, Gruta da Torrinha is gargantuan. It takes around 2 hours to walk through it and see all the most important cave deposits. Daily light doesn’t reach it’s interior so the flashlights are provided. It is the richest in speleothems (cave formations like stalactites etc.) cave in Brazil.
Before entering the cave you will also have a chance to admire the scenic views of rock columns set among the ever green woodlands. A typical scenery of an adventure movie.
How to get to Gruta da Torrinha
Torrinha cave lies on the opposite site of Lencois comparing to the Blue and Enchanted Pools, near the village of Torrinha (thus the name – Torrinha cave), 15 km (9 miles) from the town of Iraquara. The drive from Lencois takes around 1 hour. On the way, on the Mucugezinho river, there are beautiful waterfalls. Don’t miss them!