Top Ten Brazil Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Bike Chapada Diamantina
By Shawn Blore

In the hinterland of Salvador, just outside of the town of Lengois, lies the Chapada Diamantina. Valleys of lush green dotted with bright tropical flowers surround a mountain range of twisted red rock formations reminiscent of the American Southwest. Prowling this lush little wilderness are capybaras, jaguars (to eat the capybaras), and flocks of gorgeous multicolored birds.

Named by the miners who once came in search of diamonds, the Chapada Diamantina is now sought out by adventure travelers who come to hike the trails, explore the caverns, and swim in the mountain-fed waterfalls. Backpackers here often eschew a tent, since campsites are mostly located conveniently next to a comfy grotto. For those in the mood for some two-wheeled exploration, there's an excellent 47-mile track that starts in Lengois, leads down along the edge of the wetlands in the Vale do Capco, then switchbacks up to the highest point in the Chapada, the 4,000-foot Morro Volta da Serra, before gliding back down into the town of Andarai.


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