There are some specially powerful places in the world. Distant corners that guard a strong energy, sometimes hard to identify but easy to sense. Wether by an imposing nature or the vitality of its inhabitants, places such those are capable of awakening in visitors a strange awareness of a bigger belonging. The Chapada Diamantina – in the heart of the already energetic Brazilian state of Bahia – is one of these terrestrial paradises.
Named after its rich soil, a plateau full of diamonds, the Chapada Diamantina was for centuries a wonderland of mining. Many barons, adventurers and dreamers arrived in these lands during the nineteenth century looking for fortune. Some found it, others lost it. But the epoch of miming – banned for ecological reasons – marked the identity and landscape of the region.
Since the mid-1980s Chapada Diamantina is a protected National Park. A long green strip right in the heart of a semi-desert region, its abundant life looks like a miracle. The mountain range guards the highest altitudes of country’s northeast region, reason why such rare life flows next to such dryness. The humidity that comes from the Atlantic and runs without barriers through the backlands, bumps into the stone walls, moistens the ground, and gives growth to one of the richest and most exotic vegetation in the world. Between giant cactus and dead looking trees, wild exuberant flowers such as Bromeliads and Orchids spring all year long.
Birds and fruits color the way. Snakes, armadillos, lizards and even discrete pumas and wild cats walk at will up and down the hills. The mountains serve as a spring for the most important rivers in the region. And as they move through the land, meeting a carrying rich organic material along, red waterfalls and natural pools are formed.
In hidden corners of this Brazilian oasis the vestiges of the mining time can be found in small beautiful villages of colonial architecture, today preserved cultural heritages. It is in these charming little communities that life happens and where travelers find their rest. Vale do Capão is a special one among them. Surrounded by some of the highest waterfalls of Chapada Diamantina, Capão also gathers engaged locals and keeps a rich cultural agenda. Formed by a colorful openminded mixture of natives and words citizens this village celebrates its traditions and welcomes the new. Regional festivals, holistic therapies, sacred dances and one of the most important jazz festivals in the region are just some of the reasons that make this little corner of the world such a sought after place.
If you manage to get here, stay at the Pousada Pé no Mato. One of the pioneer hosts of the region, here one finds the perfect and harmonious union between simplicity and comfort, man and nature. Breakfast is perhaps their strongest point. The bread is made fresh, juices come straight from the fruits, there is no industrial products, recipes are regional and the quality is always organic. Come have a try! Amstel Tip of the week.