The town of Lençóis is a tiny colonial gem, but it won't take more than an hour to see it all. After that, it's out into the highlands to see what the natural world has to offer. A number of excellent hikes in the area lead either to waterfalls or mountaintop viewpoints. Some of these sights are far enough to require transportation, but quite a few you can find with your own two feet.

From the bridge in Lençóis a trail leads up beside the Lençóis River to the Serrano swimming hole and Primavera Falls. An hour's walk south of town will lead you to the Riberão de Meio rock slide, a huge natural water slide flanked by many natural swimming holes. A long (8-hr.) hike up this same river leads to the Sossego canyon and waterfall.

The most famous waterfall in the park is Cachoeira de Fumaça (Waterfall of Smoke), so called because the thin stream of water slipping over the 335m (1,100-ft.) precipice fades into a fine mist before it reaches the ground.

The park is also known for its mesalike mountain formations. The most famous are Morro do Pai Inácio (located right next to BR-242 west of Lençóis), the 1,067m (3,500-ft.) Morro do Camelo, and the 1,403m (4,600-ft.) Monte Tabor (also called Marrão). All have trails to the top, and from the flat top of any one, you have the entire Chapada spread at your feet.

Caves are a fascinating aspect of the Chapada Diamantina Park. Some of the best-known ones in the area include Gruta de Lapão, a rare sandstone-and-quartzite cave over 1km (1/2 mile) long from end to end. It's located about 5km (3 miles) from Lençóis. Farther afield one finds a number of the more traditional limestone caves, with rock flowers, stalagmites, and stalactites. The prettiest cavern may be Gruta da Lapa Doce, which extends 850m (2,788 ft.) underground. In the same area is Gruta da Pritinha, where an underground river emerges into the sun. Inside there's a large pool where you can dive and swim. Nearby is the small Gruta Azul. Late in the afternoon when the sun reaches into this cave, the water glows cobalt blue.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.