06.03.2012 - 09.03.2012
We arrived in Lencois later than planned so it was dark and the truck couldn't fit through the narrow cobbled streets to take us to our campsite. We loaded up a couple of taxis with our tents and bags and made our way there . The drive through town was nice. A tiny pretty little town with a really nice vibe.
We got out tents up and organised pretty quickly and then headed into town to find the Thai restaurant that we had read about. We walked about town for a while looking for it and making friends with the locals along the way, before finally giving up and heading back to the Mexican we had seen close to camp. It was really nice, looking out over a river and selling the best frozen margaritas. Maybe I can drink tequila after all!
We had a lovely meal there and many pitchers of margaritas before heading back to camp for an early night.
Next morning we finally managed to get ourselves a little lie in before heading off at 10am with a small group of us to seek out some of the local sights. Our first stop was to be a waterfall. Instructions were easy, follow the river.
So we followed the river and found ourselves navigating our way over another load of rocks. They were really nice so it was a lovely walk although route planning was essential as some of them were pretty slippy. We saw many locals in the river washing their clothes and lying them out on the hot rocks to dry. Quite an unexpected sight as this town seemed to be a bit more modern than most that we had visited in brazil.
Some way into the walk we were faced with quite a large step across the rocks onto a curved rock. It looked a bit challenging but we decided to go for it anyway. Most of the others had taken an alternative route, but little Sarah and I were left to cross. She was first and took a giant leap at the rock. She landed with one leg on the dry rock but one leg on the wet part, which slipped out from under her and left her starfished on the rock. It felt like she was there a while before she started sliding down the rock. Then she stopped so she turned over tog et herself up but this regained her momentum so she started slipping again. She didn't stop until she was off of her rock and was stuck under another in a little crevice that was full of water. I was little help to her as I was freaking about how her she could be and how the hell I was going to cross this myself. Jarod came to her rescue and got her or of there and we eventually took an alternative route and finding the whole thing quite funny. She is now covered in rainbow bruises and can't really bend her knee too well but she is still seeing the funny slide.
We carried on our walk for a while, walking past some little pools that a couple of people were swimming in. They had little waterfalls in them and looked pretty nice. We carries on or walk though, hoping that we'd find our waterfall. Some of he locals stopped us and told us we needed to head right but that we had three hors of walking to get there. This was not part of the plan. Sarah and I have up at this point and decided to stick I the swimming holes. Some of the others carried in but couldn't find a way through so soon enough we were all back and playing in the swimming holes.
After a while we were joined by some
Locals, who we'd met the night before. They told us that we were 10 minutes from the waterfall. We'd been so close!!! We were pretty settled by then though so stayed put before heading back to town for some juice.
In the afternoon our plan was to head over to another waterfall that could be used as a water slide. The walk was pretty easy to this one, about 40 minutes through the trees on a well established path with little bars selling coconuts on the way. We arrived at the waterfall to find a nice little area to sit and chill on, a great waterfall to slide down, a pool to swim about in, a group of locals and a tightrope set up over the pool.
We all played about in the pool for a while before taking to the rocks to chill in the sun. This was when the local guys started to play about on the tightrope. They were pretty good at it and we're obviously enjoying the attention from the locals. A few of us had a go but it was pretty hard, we were useless. One of the locals was pretty funny singing us little clips I English songs and trying to help us get across the tightrope. He was doing some capoeira too which was pretty nice to watch. We sat there all afternoon. It was so nice to switch off and socialise with the
Locals a bit, and we'd see them around town a lot during our time there.
We headed back to camp for a quick clean up and then back into town for a bite to eat. We found ourselves in a little pizza bar which was owned by a really cool guy who made the best caiprinhas and they were cheap too! He'd ask if we wanted them strong or not, make them really strong and then deliver them with the bottle of cachaca to top up the alcohol more once we had made room. They were good! He challenged some of the boys to some shot races, but they failed. This guy was good!
Some of the others stayed out for more beers but Sarah and I wanted a little wander around town and Claire wanted to sober up a little. We walked around for a while stopping at a little ice cream bar along the way for acai ice cream. We found a really
Cool art shop selling some weird art that I loved. It was a bit dark and noone else liked it but I thought it was cool. I wanted to buy some of the painted blocks there but annoyingly when I went back it was shut.
We headed back to camp after that as most of us had organised a tour for the next day and with an 8am pick up we needed some sleep.
The following morning we were up and ready to go on our tour of chapada diamantina, the national park close to Lencois which was once mined for diamonds. We had a packed schedule planned for the day, visiting 5 different sights.
Unfortunately the weather was against us so we shuffled the itinerary a little to save the outdoorsy stuff for later, hoping that the sun would come out.
Our first stop was a grotto famous for its stalactites and stalagmites. The walk down to the cave itself was stunning, with amazing views across the park. We had a brilliant guide who spoke perfect english and was a lot of fun too. As we were walking down he was telling us all about the area and the flora and fauna. At one point he said "there's an animal.." and the whole group stopped to look for it, only there wasn't an animal, he was just telling us about one. Our reaction was brilliant, but his response, "calm down, not yet" was better. You probably had to be there by it was very funny. We've obviously been well trained in the search for animals on this trip.
The cave was huge and the entrance was beautiful with huge dramatic rocks made of lots of different colours. We made our way through the cave which was full of amazing stalactites and stalagmites. Some of them were huge, some long and skinny, like needles. We were shown ones that looked like goofy, dancers, jelly fish and loads more. There was one that cast a shadow of a crocodile snapping its jaws if you moved a torch around in the right way behind it. It was amazing.
When we got to the end of the cave, we all took a seat on some rocks and turned all of our torches out. It was darker in there than I've ever seen before, very weird but actually quite cool. Once we managed to silence everyone it was really nice to sit there in the pitch black with empty minds.
On the way back to our van, we saw
Some of the little animals he'd been telling us about on the way in. Like little capyburras, or big rodents. Very cute.
Our next destination was a lake to go swimming. We drove over to this spot to find a crystal clear lake beside another cave. You weren't allowed to walk in this cave but we did have the option to snorkel in there. I chose to swim outside, the sun was out and the water was so
Warm and clear, I didn't want to miss out. Some of the guys zip lined down to the lake, but having had my recent fill of zip lining in bonito, I chose to walk down instead.
When we got down there the guys who'd zip lined were already in the water and seemed to have made a friend of a labrador who was swimming with them. Only he got a bit excited, scratched chas all down his back and the next thing we know chas is being chased around the lake by the dog. Like some kind of benny hill sketch, very funny.
Anyway, we got the dog out and had a lovely swim about spotting lots of little fish and enjoying cooling off. Time for a little dry off in the sunshine before heading up for lunch. Lunch was yet another buffet which are so popular here, but this was better than the others we'd tried. We had goat and cactus and chips made from the same tree that the flour stuff they have here is made of. They were yummy!
Our next stop was the blue cave which was at the same location. We took the short walk to the cave and walked down the huge steps to the entrance. On the way to the entrance we saw a tiny little snake, which we were told was extremely poisonous. Not too scary as we practically stepped on him.
The water in the cave looks more blue when the sun shines into the cave and we didn't have the best day so our guide was trying to get us to adjust to the light so we could see it better. It worked, the water was bright bright blue. Very pretty. The walk out of the cave was also pretty special as there were lots of palm trees and hanging vines. Just how you'd imagine brazil to be.
Onwards and upwards we headed over to the next sight which was devils pit, a lovely waterfall for
Us to swim in. It's called devils pit as rumour has it that this is where they brought slaves and killed them. We just saw the nice side of this. A beautiful waterfall which you could swim up to and stand under. It was so strong, but really nice. We didn't have a lot of time here as we needed to get back and up a mountain in time for sunset. So soon enough we were walking back to the van ready for our final stop of the day.
We drove most of the way up the mountain with only 600 metres of steep uphill to walk ourselves, but it was tough. Over more rocks and very steep steps, we eventually got to the top to be faced with the most beautiful 360 views of the national park. It was stunning. We stayed up the top and watched the sunset, whilst we watched a storm in the distance which gradually made its made to us. It created rainbows and the most amazing colours in the sky. We took a lot of pictures from up there. It really was the most beautiful end to an amazing day touring the park.
We walked back down the mountain, enjoying the different colours that the sky turned as the sun finally left. All the was left was to head back home.
When we got back to town Kate, Sarah and I headed out to try to the local craze that is acai juice. It's bloody yummy. Like a really thick slushy made of acai berries. So thick you eat it with a spoon. We enjoyed the first one so much that we immediately got another, only this time with banana and granola. Soooo good!
Quick shower up before a lovely Italian dinner of aubergine parmagana and caiprinhas, before heading back to the pizza place for more strong caiprinhas. There was a little performance going on with weird dancing and some pretty cool music, so we sat and enjoyed that before calling it a day and heading off to bed.
Lencois is bloody amazing. We quickly got to know many of the
Locals and recognised most people by the time we left. A really friendly and lively little place. I'd have loved to have stayed there longer but time to move on to Salvador, for the end of another leg of this trip.