Chapada Diamantina, in the Salvador hinterland, is one of Bahia's most beguiling national parks. Trekking and horse riding are two popular activities in the lofty ‘Diamond Hills' - as Chapada Diamantina means in Portuguese, named after the diamonds discovered there in the 19th century.
Walking trails pass dramatic escarpments and waterfalls such as Cachoeira da Fumaça (Smoky Falls), Brazil's second highest at 340 metres tall, which billows across the surrounding terrain in a wispy, smoke-like spray. Other trails lead to the park's caves and canyons, which are best seen on a guided walking tour. Another prominent feature is the Morro do Pai Inácio, an imposing plateau in the northern half of Chapada Diamanta National Park.
The colonial town of Lençois sprung up during the diamond rush and retains a pleasant colonial air, with fine Baroque churches, pastel coloured houses and pretty squares. It's now become an ecotourism hub from which to explore and enjoy Chapada Diamantina. Multi-day hikes, horse riding and abseiling can all be done nearby, while bird watching is another popular activity in the park.