The Hikes in Chapada Diamantina
Once the epicenter of Brazil's "diamond rush," Chapada Diamantina (the Diamond Plateau) has recently found a second life as a must-visit for adventure travelers. This oasis of towering mesas and tannin-stained swimming holes six hours west of Salvador was declared a national park in 1985. It's also one of the best hiking spots in the country. Daytrips take in the gaping Lapa Doce cave, the iridescent Blue Grotto and the viewpoint at Morro of Father Ignacio. Those seeking a longer adventure tackle the five-day Pati Valley Trek, staying in old miner's huts along the way.
What you need to know: Chapada Diamantina is a vast region about the size of Holland with little public transportation and disparate sites, making a guide essential. A good option is to book with Intrepid Travel, which offers a two-week tour of Northern Brazil that includes an extended stay in the park.