05.02.2012 - 09.02.2012 35 °C
After spending a few days in beautiful Salvador, we followed some of our new found friends from our hostel to Capão. Capão is a small town in the national park Chapada Diamantina, about a seven hour bus ride inland from Salvador. And when I say small town, I mean small town. This place wasn't even mentioned in our Lonely Planet guide (aka The Traveller's Bible), and to get there you have to get in a jeep for another 45 minutes after the last bus stop. Be sure to bring cash, the closest ATM is at the bus station.
Capão's main street
Because this literally is in the middle of nowhere accommodation was a lot cheaper than the rest of Brazil. Nevertheless, we still made the effort to find the cheapest place in town, and it wasn’t even that bad
Most people come to Chapada Diamantina to hike. There are a million different treks you can do ranging from day trips to several days in the wilderness. Still there appear to be a lot of people just hanging out in this sleepy town doing nothing or taking classes at the local circus. Yes, circus. We decided to stick to the hiking, and our first trek was to Fumaça, Brazils highest waterfall.
The crew, minus Jason; Kane, Morten and Anne
Morten is one of those people who find everything absolutely amazing, and his positivity and enthusiasm is very contagious. You cannot help smiling around this guy. Also, he came to Brazil to practice capoeira, which he has been doing for years, and was needless to say in better shape than us. Our other co-hiker was Kane, a laid back Australian who had been on the road for a while and had a lot of good stories to tell. A gentleman with a big mouth, much like Jason
Up, up, up for an hour or so
The hike up the mountain is a little hard at times, we were all sweating like pigs in the heat, and I at least was pretty happy when we reached the plateau at the top. Fumaça is 420 m high, and most of the water coming off it evaporates before it ever hits the ground. After spending about three hours getting there (we only got lost once) it was glorious being hit by cool water blowing off the fall.
After taking in the scenery for a while, we made our way back down the mountain and into town. Thinking ahead for once, we arranged the next days activities that evening; a trip to some of the caves in the area. As we were all fairly tired after a long day, we headed to bed after a few beers.
The team, minus the Big Fin photographer
The trip took all day, and we visited three caves; Caverna Torrinha, Gruta da Pratinha and Gruta Azul. At Caverna Torrinha we took a tour of the cave which lasted about two hours. It was a little creepy at first, squeezing through narrow rock passages, but you got used to it. We saw loads of stalactites, stalagmites and crystals that had formed in the cave over thousands of years.
Ready to explore some caves!
Cave Bob Marley
This crystal is the only of it's kind in the whole world!
From Caverna Torrinha we went to see Gruta da Pratinha and Gruta Azul. Both of these caves are filled with water and at Pratinha you could swim inside the cave if you were willing to pay. Just outside this cave is a beautiful little lake with crystal clear water. We spent a couple of hours here, swimming in the lake and relaxing in the sun.
Gruta da Pratinha
The crew at the lake Lia, Morten, Jason, Anne, Kane and Santeri aka The Big Fin
Getting eaten by fish!
When it got close to sunset we all got in the car again and headed for a mountain which was supposed to be a good spot for seeing the sun go down. We drove most of the way before hiking to the top in about 15 minutes. Here we enjoyed the view of the surrounding valley while we waited for the sun to set.
Waiting for the sunset
We ended the day at the local bar, where after a few beer, Kane decided it was a good idea to switch to cachaça. Cachaça is a very popular local brew in Brazil, the spirit used in caipirinhas. The local Capão bar is not the kind of place where you would find cocktails of any kind, so we ended up with a glass of straight cachaça each. It was less than tasty. We should have realized that this was a bad idea when the bartender initially refused to serve it to us.
The next morning we made our way to a nearby swimming hole where we spent the day.
All reinvigorated from the clean fresh air and nature we headed back to the coast. Morten decided to come with us, while we left Kane, Johnny and the Big Fin behind.