After so many nights spent on buses mostly sleeping, reading and writing the seven hours to reach Chapada Diamantina from Salvador de Bahia pass in a blink of an eye. I get off the bus at Palmeiras where a jeep picks me up and in an half hour drive I’m finally at Vale do Capao!
This small and quiet village is the best basecamp to go hiking and exploring Chapada Diamantina: a famous group of mountains, canyons and valleys where nature is still uncontaminated and purely wild!
I take a couple of days for myself to enjoy the quietness of the village, work a bit on the new version of the blog while evaluating the idea to explore the valley on my own and checking out the small charming waterfalls and natural pools near the village.
Many are the stories of snakes and wild animals, plus tourists lost for days in the huge Chapada Diamantina without support and food convince me to look for a guide, especially since as solo traveller is not wise to hike mountains on my own and partially I hope to find a cool group to spend few days with.
Luck brings to me the right guide for me: Leo!
I am not sure he would be the right guide for everyone, but for me it’s the perfect match for my craving of adventure, improvisation and serendipity. Once again entrusting Destiny I get beautiful surprises and receive in exchange an amazing experience.
The meeting point with Leo is 8.30 in the square and, still doubtful if I gave my money to an official guide, I start wondering if I’m victim of a scam, but Leo shows up with his happy and sincere smile! The same smile he will have with everyone we meet on the way: what a powerful source of happiness and friendship is a simple smile!
Together with us Arthur, the photographer who is preparing for Leo a website to promote his unique tour. He is a great source of good tips to improve my photography and the author of amazing shots of this great adventure in Chapada Diamantina.
Almost 2 hours by car and we reach Mucugè, the starting point of our hike, on the Southern part of the Chapada. A couple of stops to make some lunch and make some shopping but especially to visit an old man friend of Leo and teacher of all his knowledge of the valley and nature!
Another happy face to remember.
It’s already mid afternoon when we start hiking on a light slope ascending…
80 kms ahead of us and four days to complete the challenge!
Three hours walking are enough for today to reach our special shelter for the night: a hidden spot under a big rock on the rocky wall of the side of the valley. Just two minutes away a refreshing swim in the river is waiting for us.
The water is a bit reddish but Leo assure it’s drinkable and good to cook our deserved dinner before falling asleep.
No tent, just our sleeping bags and the shelter offered by nature with the big rocks above us..
This is the adventure we choose for and I have been dreaming about!
Just on the side of our rocky roof a carpet of shining stars fills the dark of the sky.
Below us a layer of leaves and a big isolating cloth to protect us from the cold land and to help our sleeping on the hard soil… 😉
We obviously make a fire to cook, but also for the energy and charm that it brings along: it’s like going back in time and I feel a bit like a caveman in the stone age.
No alarm or clock, the wake up comes naturally with the sun rising on the horizon . The rhythm of nature!
Coffee and in short we’re heading north east with our backpacks! The route smoothly climbs up in the centre of the valley offering us a beautiful view of the big rocky walls on both sides of this verdant valley!
The sun is strong on our heads and we walk the whole day through the late afternoon. No-one pushed so far in the valley and the path is all for us and a couple of horses that seems not afraid and allow us to gently stroke their forehead.
But when we reach our intended campsite we get a bad surprise: the drought dried out the stream and we no drinkable water we just can’t cook and camp here!
Leo suddenly comes out with a backup plan and in less than 2 hours walk we’re at Vale do Pati, a campsite with rooms and beds where they can host us. A kitchen to cook, other people and especially a fire around which we sip cachaca and play guitar till early hours of the morning.
The next morning a dense fog adds up to the fog in our eyes (after the few hours of sleep and the “cachaca tasting” of yesterday night). The bad weather forces us to change again our plans to climb the highest peak of the valley and sleep in a cave half way to the top. From there the view is supposed to be breathless, but not with this weather.
Few coffees and our ideas clears up and we leave in search of two caves hidden in a side canyon out of the touristic tracks and few hours away by foot. When we reach the place the first cave is just impossible to find and after 30 minutes I thanks to have Leo always ready with a backup plan and we head to the second cave. It’s an amazing place hidden under the rocks on the side of a beautiful waterfall: the sound of falling water will accompany our sleep the whole night and deep sleep.
Coffee on the fire, pack and ready for the last few hours walking passing by a couple of waterfalls and natural pool for a swim!
Obviously a rewarding cold beer is waiting for us at the first bar at the end of the track!
A sincere thank you to Leo and Arthur for the great company and amazing trip:
- Leo, adventure tour guide: www.facebook.com\leonardo.serrao.12
- Arthur, adventure and business photographer
How to get here & where to stay:
Daily buses from Salvador de Bahia to Palmeiras passing through Lencois, check out on this website: http://www.buscaonibus.com.br/en
Minivan or 4×4 transportation from here to Vale do Capao: no need of reservation, just step out of the bus.
You can find plenty of accommodation and tours both from Valle do Capao and Lencois.
- Budget hostel with great breakfast on cozy terrace and extra welcoming staff, Katatau albergue: http:\\novaledocapao.wix.com\katatau
- Impressive breakfast and beautiful rooms in the centre of the village, Posada Pè no Mato: www.penomato.com.br