Lençóis is a little, charming town in the middle of a large Natural Reserve - Chapada Diamantina National Park in the northern part of Brazil. Usually not visited by western tourists (in contrast to Rio de Janeiro), Chapada Diamantina is a proof that Brazil has much more to offer than Copacabana Beach. To get there, it is easy to catch a bus from the beautiful city of Salvador in Bahia. And then, Lençóis is usually the first step to visiting the vast swathes of The National Park. This cozy, quiet town with cobblestone streets and colonial architecture is as enjoyable as the spectacular highlights of the area: Blue Caves, waterfalls and magnificent table mountains. Especially after dark, when you can sit down in one of the restaurants or bars when you're back from the adventurous trips in the area.
How to get to Lençóis
There are several buses a day departing from the popular capital of Bahia State - Salvador. The best option is to take an overnight bus as the distance is over 400 km (250 miles). The fare is around 63 BRL (21 EUR/28 USD). To find the timetable and up to date details click here.
Another option is to take a flight from Salvador. There are 2 flights daily (on Thursdays and Sundays) to Lençois, the journey takes only about 45 minutes, but it's considerably more expensive. If you are interested, you might check it here.
Where to stay in Lençóis
There are some nice, expensive hotels in Lençóis, however I would recommend a backpacker hostel. They are extremely comfortable, clean, the staff are very friendly, and the atmosphere is so nice and relaxed. Not to mention the low price which is also a great advantage!
I met quite a few great people in the hostel where I was staying, we created a group and were traveling around which made the cost of the individual trips even lower.
There is a lot of information online about Chapada Diamantina National Park, not so much however about the Lençóis town. When you type "Lençóis" in a search engine, basically all the photos you will get are from Lençóis Maranhenses, another part of Brazil (as spectacular as Chapada Diamantina) which boasts wonderful desert-like dunes that fill up with water during rainy season.
The town of Lençóis was founded in the nineteenth century by diamond prospectors who came to the region in the search of a better life. Thus the name of the valley, Chapada Diamantina which means "Diamond Plateau". Mining was the main activity in the region and most of the people lived off it in Lençóis. Soon it was called the capital of Chapada Diamantina. The name "Lençóis", which can be roughly translated as "bed linen" or "sheet", was supposedly derived from the way the water falling down from the waterfalls was foaming. It resembled embroidered, lace sheet.
Lençóis town is cute, colorful and typical for a Brazilian countryside. It's surrounded by beautiful, lush green hills. The architecture of the main square and nearby buildings is really vivid and nice. When in Lençóis, make sure you try some local delicacies, like for example cocoa juice (which has actually nothing to do with chocolate) or acai juice that looks just like a purple pulp. It's supposed to have the properties of an energy drink but it's natural and much healthier.
The town is also visited by many hummingbirds, it's so nice to watch them eating the flower nectar while lying on a hammock in the old town hostel.
In the rainy season be prepared for very abrupt and intensive thunderstorms that can cause some local flooding. Driving is not too easy then, but when you're going with a tour company, everything will be fine.
Lencois is not the destination in itself - it is the base for exploring Chapada Diamantina National Park. There are many trips you can choose from, the more people join the cheaper it is so make sure to ask fellow hotel guests to join you. You can choose from daily tours or even go for a 5-day expedition hiking through the mountains. Be ready to get dirty, during some of the tours you will cross the ponds, rivers, walk through swamps and climb slippery slopes and rocky mountains. Don't forget about some proper shoes and raincoats. It's so much fun and you'll get one of the best natural views ever. Main things to see around Lençóis are the spectacular Blue Caves, waterfalls and the mountains.
Have a look at Related Posts section below to find out detailed info and photos about all the places we've visited from Lencois.
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