We’re in Lencois, a tiiiiny little town known for gold and diamond mining in the 1880s, in inland Bahia (still Brazil). We decided to escape from Salvador after seeing a flier for the Chapada mountains with photos of scenic hiking and views and outdoorsy shit and just !!!!nature!!!!, basically.
We were tired of cities.
So we took the overnight bus (a first for us) for 6 hours. A couple notes about the buses: 1. They are nicer than airplanes. 2. They keep those things colder than a freezer. I suffered, in a very comfortable seat, with frozen, goosebumped, sunburnt skin.
We’re staying in a really adorable hostel that’s actually just the attic of someone’s house. Also, we’re the only guests. Yesterday and today we broke in our hiking shoes and filled our lungs with fresh air at some forests, streams, waterfalls, rocks, mountains, and caves. Also, I think we saw Jeff Bridges on a trail romancing some Israeli college girl.
Speaking of Israelis, a couple of dudes from our hostel in Salvador showed us a natural waterslide, aka a bumpy 50-yard-slope in the river that you can climb up and ride down. I am not really the type to rave on about nature/hiking/outdoorsy/whathaveyou stuff, but that shit was super fun. It felt wholesome and old-timey to slide down a waterfall. In related news, it was not a smooth ride and my bum is quite sore. Somewhat related: Because of the minerals in the stones here, the water is the color of Brooklyn Lager, so there’s that.
We did a bunch of other hiker-y crap but the highlight was Moro de Pai Inacio, this amaaaaazing cliff/mountain that we climbed to the top of at dusk. For starters, photos of this thing were the reason we even came out here. Secondly, I think it was the most breathtaking view I’ve ever seen. (Close second: Banff and Lake Louise) (Close third: the World’s Largest Ball of Yarn)
So after skipping around all day with a tour guide who wouldn’t stop yelling “LOOK OVER HERE ISN’T BRASIL BEAUTIFUL??!” and who also continually forced my “boyfriend” Travis and I to take romantic photos at every freaking vista, we hit up Pai Inacio. But because we had spent too much time snuggling an adorable golden retriever puppy at the previous vista, we were in a bit of a race against dusk. I can’t describe the car ride there as anything but Fucking Terrifying. The roads here can barely call themselves that and the axles on our 1992-ish hatchback Volvo were almost certainly bent from bashing into potholes. Yet Tourguide Li just barreled on, passing semi trucks illegally and hugging dirt road curves that definitely shouldn’t be hugged, all the while reminding us of HOW BEAUTIFUL BRASIL IS AM I RIGHT YES?! Having not slept much this week on account of a certain someone’s snoring, I tried to use sleep as a coping mechanism. Eventually my head hit the window so many times I think it just knocked me out.
When we returned to Lencios, we had to fill out a questionnaire that asked if our driver “used prudence.” I wrote “sortof,” because we didn’t die, and because I must concede that we got there with haste.
But all of that is to say I really wish we had more time to stay in Lencios as there are so many more badass-looking adventures to be had. Also the town is great: it’s all brightly painted (but faded) colonial buildings and small cobblestone streets with very few cars. It’s quiet, safe, simple, not touristy, not rife with poverty, and pretty inexpensive.
Also! They have acaraje here. I ate two for dinner knowing it’ll probably be my last chance. We’re heading outta Bahia and back to Rio tomorrow.