Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

Gem-stone Bahia

View of Pai Inácio Hill
The plateaus of Chapada Diamantina seen from the top of Morro do Pai Inácio.
About Pai Inácio Hill
Brazilian couple are studying a deep canyon in the Chapada Diamantina.
At the base of Chapada
Low meadow covers one of the canyons of Chapada Diamantina.
pretend jump
Guia Negão pretends to jump after telling visitors the legend of Pai Inácio.
Swimming in crystal clear water
Visitors swim in Pratinha, a lagoon with a marine view despite being more than 300km from the Atlantic Ocean.
natural arch
Visitors bathe in a pond on their way to the Sossego waterfall.
vacation yoga
Forasteira exercises yoga poses in Ribeirão do Meio.
Millennial wall
Old rock formation in front of Pai Inácio Hill.
Native changes tiles of a typical house in Igatu.
Igatu street
Colorful houses in the mining village of Igatu.
Angel sculpture at the entrance to a cemetery in Igatu.
twilight catinga
Sun sets over the capinga of Chapada Diamantina.
Guia illuminates the entrance to the Lapa Doce grotto.
Until the end of the century. In the XNUMXth century, Chapada Diamantina was a land of immeasurable prospecting and ambitions. Now that diamonds are rare, outsiders are eager to discover its plateaus and underground galleries

The walk proves to be much shorter than we expected.

Favored by his thinness and the training of countless climbs, Negão reaches the top without gasping, settles down on a rounded stone and leaves us at ease to explore the nooks full of cacti on the plateau.

From there, we had the first of several 360º panoramic views of Chapada Diamantina and the inaugural notion of its unexpected magnificence. A canyon covered with meadow stretches as far as the eye can see, well marked by the slopes of the small opposite plateaus.

Other elevated canyons of the vast Sertão announce themselves in the distance in a sequence that seems to have no end. Scenarios of this type are almost always sculpted by high intensity erosion.

Chapada was no exception.

View from Morro Pai Inacio, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia Gem, Brazil

The plateaus of Chapada Diamantina seen from the top of Morro do Pai Inácio.

The Geological and Diamond Genesis of Chapada Diamantina

More than 600 million years ago, long before the fragmentation of the supercontinent Pangea, this region was adjacent to the current zone. Namíbia, still today one of the most important diamond reserves in the World.

Local diamonds were crystallized in that area, mixed with pebbles and dragged into the depths of the sea that covered what is now hiinterior of Brazil. Over time, the sea receded.

Its bed turned into a layer of conglomerate stone that trapped the gems. Later, this layer was raised by tectonic movements and exposed to intense wear that deposited the diamonds in the riverbed, waiting for the lucky pioneers.

Ancient rock, chapada diamantina, bahiagem, brazil

Old rock formation in front of Pai Inácio Hill.

A little drier – perhaps in a season of rare rain – the scenery we have before our eyes could have turned out to be perfect for hosting scenes from “spaghetti westerns”. The Chapada Diamantina region has remained a true “western” for centuries on end.

During this period, it was populated by the Maracás Indians.

These, attacked the adventurers and settlers who arrived attracted by news of the first of the riches found, the gold.

Later, with the discovery of diamonds, it didn't take long before thousands of pioneers and prospectors, merchants and settlers, Jesuits, smugglers and prostitutes from the most varied origins flocked there.

Villages without king or law appeared with dimensions and a growing concentration of inhabitants.

roof repair, chapada diamantina, bahiagem, brazil

Native changes tiles of a typical house in Igatu.

The bullets resolved any conflict that arose.

Accordingly, the colonels with the most influence and the jagunços at their service concentrated power and imposed their will by force of violence and torture.

The Story Told Times Account of the Slave Father Inácio

The episode that Negão tells the visitors of his smoothed mound comes to us as a theatrical proof of the rudeness of that era. The tone of your sentences is warm. The accent, from the hinterland of Bahia: “Hi guys, gather there near the cliff to hear that the story is good!”.

Composed of the audience, the narrator says that in bygone times, a slave lived in Chapada whom they called Father Ignatius. Father Inácio was secretly dating his master's daughter.

Yoga pose, chapada diamantina, bahiagem, brazil

Forasteira exercises yoga poses in Ribeirão do Meio.

But this one did not take long to find out about the case. He sent several henchmen in pursuit of the offender who had to take refuge on the same hill we were on.

Only someone informed the henchmen at the hideout. When he least expected it, the slave found himself between the persecutors and the abyss. The situation called for a drastic, preferably brilliant, exit. Pai Inácio lived up to the demands.

Under the pressure of rifles and pistols, he shouted that he would rather die in freedom than be slaughtered at the master's hands.

He opened his umbrella, jumped off the hill and continued his flight, unharmed, never to be seen again.

Negão always took his work to heart and at a certain point, the narrative already asked for something to illustrate it. The guide found an artifice to match the outcome of the soap opera.

When he reaches the climax of the action, Negão throws himself down and leaves the audience awestruck.

Salto Negao, chapada diamantina, bahia gema, brazil

Guia Negão pretends to jump after telling visitors the legend of Pai Inácio.

Moments later, some of the visitors approach the precipice and discover that the jump (repeated several times a day) ended in a ledge a meter or two below that the group could not see.

According to legend, the slave was gone for good.

He left Chapada to his increasingly soulless prospecting.

Feno meadow, chapada diamantina, bahiagem, brazil

Low meadow covers one of the canyons of Chapada Diamantina.

Diamonds and Prospectors that Subsist in Chapada

In the riverbeds, browned by iron, greedy miners found gems in surprising quantities.

They opened new paths to previously inaccessible areas around the towns that were growing before our eyes: Sheets (from Bahia), Mucugê, Palmeiras and Andaraí, among others of equal colonial elegance but lesser size and importance.

We descend from the hill and head towards the narrow valley of Mucugêzinho. There, we have the first contact with the beds still filtered by the most persistent prospectors in the region.

At Poço do Diabo, the water reveals iron-like gradations of orange. In that and other tight flows, we passed by miners.

sossego waterfall, chapada diamantina, bahiagem, brazil

Visitors bathe in a pond on their way to the Sossego waterfall.

They work leaning over the banks, stirring gravel over their sieves, like souls semi-retired from the world, moved as much by social disengagement as by the hope of getting rich and contradicting the past.

Success stories are rare. Most Chapada residents prefer bets with higher odds of success. At the moment, tourism proves to be the most assured.

In 1995, under pressure from the same environmental groups that managed to create the national park and waged long-standing destruction of the local ecosystem, the government banned non-traditional diamond mining.

Although not everything is still perfect, nature has come to be treated as the most precious asset in the area.

And Brazilian and foreign visitors and travelers flocked to Chapada Diamantina in large numbers.

Casal Canyon, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia Gem, Brazil

Brazilian couple are studying a deep canyon in the Chapada Diamantina.

The New Touristic Paths of Chapada Diamantina

After the long period of stagnation, migration and poverty that followed the end of mining, the local population welcomes this new invasion, in competition with other parts of the coast of Bahia such as the Morro de São Paulo.

He also wants to profit from the revelation of his blessed homeland.

Pratinha lagoon, chapada diamantina, bahiagem, brazil

Visitors swim in Pratinha, a lagoon with a marine view despite being more than 300km from the Atlantic Ocean.

On the days we dedicate to it, we walk dozens of kilometers a day.

We arrive at the most emblematic places in Chapada: Ribeirão do Meio, the Lençóis river and the Primavera waterfall, the Salão de Areias, the Sossego waterfall, the Lapão cave and the Marimbus swamp and its Quilombo Remanso.

Other adventurers try even harder.

They follow exhausting but rewarding guided itineraries such as the one that leads to the Fumaça waterfall, the longest in Brazil, 420m high, which they reach three days after departure.

Or they surrender to the Grand Circuit, which covers 100km, completed in five days, eight, if you want to investigate the old diamond-producing village of Xique-Xique Igatu.

Casario Igatu, chapada diamantina, bahiagem, brazil

Colorful houses in the mining village of Igatu.

Certain natives don't need to go to this trouble.

Scientists have come to the conclusion that part of the water in the Amazon basin, placed under pressure against the Atlantic Ocean, ends up finding and excavating alternative paths.

It feeds aquifers that reach the Brazilian Northeast. This water is released.

It irrigates the Chapada more than the surrounding area because the characteristic rock there is almost impermeable but conducive to the formation of “structural” breaches.

Incursion into the Underworld of the Lapa Doce and Torrinha Caves

As a matter of probability, the entrances to some of these gaps are found in the “sites” of lucky residents. We ended up following two of these promoters into the depths of Lapa Doce and Torrinha.

They lead us through these gigantic galleries, in the light of a robust Petromax-style lamp that they move from one shoulder to the other.

Cave, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia Gem, Brazil

Guia illuminates the entrance to the Lapa Doce grotto.

At the same time, shy and somewhat pressured by the weight of their new profession, they give us newly memorized encyclopedic information and the name of each underground section: “Here, you can see the Sugar Loaf.

This one is the “Curtain” and now we have the “Living Water”.

When we return to the surface, a blazing sunset ridicules the dim light that had revealed that piece of underworld.

It reddens the landscape and darkens the silhouettes of the “mandacarus” cactus forest of the great Sertão, plant forms characteristic of the Chapada Diamantina.

Sunset, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia Gem, Brazil

Sun sets over the capinga of Chapada Diamantina.

Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

The Swampy Freedom of Quilombo do Remanso

Runaway slaves have survived for centuries around a wetland in Chapada Diamantina. Today, the quilombo of Remanso is a symbol of their union and resistance, but also of the exclusion to which they were voted.
Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

Lençóis da Bahia: not Even Diamonds Are Forever

In the XNUMXth century, Lençóis became the world's largest supplier of diamonds. But the gem trade did not last as expected. Today, the colonial architecture that he inherited is his most precious possession.
Chapada dos Guimarães, Mato Grosso, Brazil

In the Burning Heart of South America

It was only in 1909 that the South American geodesic center was established by Cândido Rondon, a Brazilian marshal. Today, it is located in the city of Cuiabá. It has the stunning but overly combustible scenery of Chapada dos Guimarães nearby.
Goiás Velho, Brazil

A Gold Rush Legacy

Two centuries after the heyday of prospecting, lost in time and in the vastness of the Central Plateau, Goiás esteems its admirable colonial architecture, the surprising wealth that remains to be discovered there.
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Polis in the South American Pyrenees

Mines of Nossa Senhora do Rosário da Meia Ponte were erected by Portuguese pioneers, in the peak of the Gold Cycle. Out of nostalgia, probably Catalan emigrants called the mountains around the Pyrenees. In 1890, already in an era of independence and countless Hellenizations of its cities, Brazilians named this colonial city Pirenópolis.
Fazenda São João, Miranda, Brazil

Pantanal with Paraguay in Sight

When the Fazenda Passo do Lontra decided to expand its ecotourism, it recruited the other family farm, the São João. Further away from the Miranda River, this second property reveals a remote Pantanal, on the verge of Paraguay. The country and the homonymous river.
Serra Dourada, Goiás, Brazil

Where the Cerrado Waves Golden

One of the types of South America savannah, the Cerrado extends over more than a fifth of the Brazilian territory, which supplies much of its fresh water. Located in the heart of the Central Plateau and the state of Goiás, the Serra Dourada State Park shines double.
Pirenópolis, Brazil

Brazilian Crusades

Christian armies expelled Muslim forces from the Iberian Peninsula in the XNUMXth century. XV but, in Pirenópolis, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, the South American subjects of Carlos Magno continue to triumph.
Passo do Lontra, Miranda, Brazil

The Flooded Brazil of Passo do Lontra

We are on the western edge of Mato Grosso do Sul but bush, on these sides, is something else. In an extension of almost 200.000 km2, the Brazil it appears partially submerged, by rivers, streams, lakes and other waters dispersed in vast alluvial plains. Not even the panting heat of the dry season drains the life and biodiversity of Pantanal places and farms like the one that welcomed us on the banks of the Miranda River.
Manaus, Brazil

The Jumps and Starts of the former World Rubber Capital

From 1879 to 1912, only the Amazon River basin generated the latex that, from one moment to another, the world needed and, out of nowhere, Manaus became one of the most advanced cities on the face of the Earth. But an English explorer took the tree to Southeast Asia and ruined pioneer production. Manaus once again proved its elasticity. It is the largest city in the Amazon and the seventh in Brazil.
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Ride of Faith

Introduced in 1819 by Portuguese priests, the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Pirenópolis it aggregates a complex web of religious and pagan celebrations. It lasts more than 20 days, spent mostly on the saddle.
Kolmanskop, Namíbia

Generated by the Diamonds of Namibe, Abandoned to its Sands

It was the discovery of a bountiful diamond field in 1908 that gave rise to the foundation and surreal opulence of Kolmanskop. Less than 50 years later, gemstones have run out. The inhabitants left the village to the desert.
Miranda, Brazil

Maria dos Jacarés: the Pantanal shelters such Creatures

Eurides Fátima de Barros was born in the interior of the Miranda region. 38 years ago, he settled in a small business on the side of BR262 that crosses the Pantanal and gained an affinity with the alligators that lived on his doorstep. Disgusted that once upon a time the creatures were being slaughtered there, she began to take care of them. Now known as Maria dos Jacarés, she named each of the animals after a soccer player or coach. It also makes sure they recognize your calls.
Curitiba, Brazil

The High-Quality Life of Curitiba

It is not only the altitude of almost 1000 meters at which the city is located. Cosmopolitan and multicultural, the capital of Paraná has a quality of life and human development rating that make it a unique case in Brazil.

Florianopolis, Brazil

The South Atlantic Azorean Legacy

During the XNUMXth century, thousands of Portuguese islanders pursued better lives in the southern confines of Brazil. In the villages they founded, traces of affinity with the origins abound.

Morro de São Paulo, Brazil

A Divine Seaside of Bahia

Three decades ago, it was just a remote and humble fishing village. Until some post-hippie communities revealed the Morro's retreat to the world and promoted it to a kind of bathing sanctuary.
Ilhabela, Brazil

Ilhabela: After Horror, the Atlantic Beauty

Ninety percent of the preserved Atlantic Forest, idyllic waterfalls and gentle, wild beaches live up to the name. But, if we go back in time, we also reveal the horrific historical facet of Ilhabela.
Ilhabela, Brazil

In Ilhabela, on the way to Bonete

A community of caiçaras descendants of pirates founded a village in a corner of Ilhabela. Despite the difficult access, Bonete was discovered and considered one of the ten best beaches in Brazil.
Brasilia, Brazil

Brasília: from Utopia to the Capital and Political Arena of Brazil

Since the days of the Marquis of Pombal, there has been talk of transferring the capital to the interior. Today, the chimera city continues to look surreal but dictates the rules of Brazilian development.
Itaipu Binational Hydroelectric Power Plant, Brazil

Itaipu Binational Hydroelectric Power Plant: Watt Fever

In 1974, thousands of Brazilians and Paraguayans flocked to the construction zone of the then largest dam in the world. 30 years after completion, Itaipu generates 90% of Paraguay's energy and 20% of Brazil's.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
A Lost and Found City
Architecture & Design
Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas

As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.
Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
Australia Day, Perth, Australian Flag
Ceremonies and Festivities
Perth, Australia

Australia Day: In Honor of the Foundation, Mourning for Invasion

26/1 is a controversial date in Australia. While British settlers celebrate it with barbecues and lots of beer, Aborigines celebrate the fact that they haven't been completely wiped out.
Fort de San Louis, Fort de France-Martinique, French Antihas
Fort-de-France, Martinique

Freedom, Bipolarity and Tropicality

The capital of Martinique confirms a fascinating Caribbean extension of French territory. There, the relations between the colonists and the natives descended from slaves still give rise to small revolutions.
Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
Manatee Creek, Florida, United States of America
Florida Keys, USA

The Caribbean Stepping Stone of the USA

Os United States continental islands seem to close to the south in its capricious peninsula of Florida. Don't stop there. More than a hundred islands of coral, sand and mangroves form an eccentric tropical expanse that has long seduced American vacationers.
Miniature houses, Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Volcano, Cape Verde
Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fogo

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Christiansted, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands, Steeple Building
Christiansted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

The Capital of the Afro-Danish-American Antilles

In 1733, Denmark bought the island of Saint Croix from France, annexed it to its West Indies where, based at Christiansted, it profited from the labor of slaves brought from the Gold Coast. The abolition of slavery made colonies unviable. And a historic-tropical bargain that the United States preserves.
Network launch, Ouvéa Island-Lealdade Islands, New Caledonia
Ouvéa, New Caledonia

Between Loyalty and Freedom

New Caledonia has always questioned integration into faraway France. On the island of Ouvéa, Loyalty Archipelago, we find an history of resistance but also natives who prefer French-speaking citizenship and privileges.
Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon
Winter White

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

Almada Negreiros was born in April 1893, on a farm in the interior of São Tomé. Upon discovering his origins, we believe that the luxuriant exuberance in which he began to grow oxygenated his fruitful creativity.
Efate, Vanuatu, transshipment to "Congoola/Lady of the Seas"
Efate, Vanuatu

The Island that Survived “Survivor”

Much of Vanuatu lives in a blessed post-savage state. Maybe for this, reality shows in which aspirants compete Robinson Crusoes they settled one after the other on their most accessible and notorious island. Already somewhat stunned by the phenomenon of conventional tourism, Efate also had to resist them.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Van at Jossingfjord, Magma Geopark, Norway
Natural Parks
Magma Geopark, Norway

A Somehow Lunar Norway

If we went back to the geological ends of time, we would find southwestern Norway filled with huge mountains and a burning magma that successive glaciers would shape. Scientists have found that the mineral that predominates there is more common on the Moon than on Earth. Several of the scenarios we explore in the region's vast Magma Geopark seem to be taken from our great natural satellite.
St. Paul's Cathedral, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines
UNESCO World Heritage
Vigan, Philippines

Vigan: the Most Hispanic of Asias

The Spanish settlers left but their mansions are intact and the Kalesas circulate. When Oliver Stone was looking for Mexican sets for "Born on the 4th of July" he found them in this ciudad fernandina
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches, Catarata
Montezuma, Costa Rica

Back to the Tropical Arms of Montezuma

It's been 18 years since we were dazzled by this one of Costa Rica's blessed coastlines. Just two months ago, we found him again. As cozy as we had known it.
Kirkjubour, Streymoy, Faroe Islands
Kirkjubour, streymoy, Faroe Islands

Where the Faroese Christianity Washed Ashore

A mere year into the first millennium, a Viking missionary named Sigmundur Brestisson brought the Christian faith to the Faroe Islands. Kirkjubour became the shelter and episcopal seat of the new religion.
Serra do Mar train, Paraná, airy view
On Rails
Curitiba a Morretes, Paraná, Brazil

Down Paraná, on Board the Train Serra do Mar

For more than two centuries, only a winding and narrow road connected Curitiba to the coast. Until, in 1885, a French company opened a 110 km railway. We walked along it to Morretes, the final station for passengers today. 40km from the original coastal terminus of Paranaguá.
A kind of portal
Little Havana, USA

Little Havana of the Nonconformists

Over the decades and until today, thousands of Cubans have crossed the Florida Straits in search of the land of freedom and opportunity. With the US a mere 145 km away, many have gone no further. His Little Havana in Miami is today the most emblematic neighborhood of the Cuban diaspora.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.