Brazil Destinations, Lençois- Chapada Diamantina

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Lencois is not only known for being the main access to the Chapada Diamantina. Formerly called the
Diamond Capital, Lencois has a lot of history and a past marked by wealth and traditions. According
to historians, Lencois ­ Bahia was discovered in the 19th century due to the exploitation of diamonds
in the Mucugê region. The city’s name originated from rocks formation through which the river flows
downhill, which creates an illusion of an embroidery sheet.
For a century gold was the main wealth of the region and this period was built the Royal Road to
facilitate transportation across from North to South. Since the gold exploitation started reducing, the
exploitation of diamonds emerged in Lencois. The exploitation of diamonds has ended around the
year 1870 when it begins to call “Age of Colonels”.
In the mid­20th century Lencois underwent a strong economic crisis due to high demand for
diamonds, which resulted in the depletion of the exploitation of stone. The activities in the mines
came to an end in 1994 and from that was discovered another form of wealth in the Chapada
Diamantina region: tourism. It created the Chapada Diamantina National Park and in 1973 the city of
Lencois was listed as a National Heritage Site. Since then, tourism is the main form of income at the
Chapada Diamantina region.
Lencois has the largest amount of B&BS and also the most comfortable. The rooms with the best
views are at the lodgings of the Vale do Capao. For all other locations, most hotels are simpler and
with little structure.
From the top of Mount Pai Inácio, traditional and unforgettable, it seems the Chapada is endless. No
wonder there are over 1500 km2 full of caves with large underground halls, giant canyons and
waterfalls among the most beautiful and highest in the country. All this, together, makes this one of
the main ecotourism destinations in Brazil. In addition to charming natural scenery, the structure is
the most prepared for tourism, especially in Lencois. The city is the base to go to the other six tourist
sites; the hippie style Vale do Capao, the waterfalls of Ibicoara, the historical Igatu or Itaetê. The
cherry on the cake at Chapada is the darling of adventurers: the Paty Valley, the most scenic trekking
in the country.
How to get there
For a road trip from Salvador or the Midwest region of the country, the best way to the region of
Chapada Diamantina (in this case Lencois) is the BR­242; starting from the South, from Vitoria da
Conquista, take the BA­262 and then the BA­142. Azul Airlines offers the route Salvador­Lencois, one
hour flight only on Sundays. By bus, departing from Salvador, the Royal Express makes the trip
(0800­280­7325; R$63.19; every day at 7am, 13h, 17h and 23h; 6:30 a.m.).

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