The Chapada Diamantina is around 412km west of Salvador de Bahia in the heart of Bahia.
Only for the wealthy and carbon-profligate perhaps. A charter or air-taxi from Salvador to the little airport near Lençois is your only option at the moment.
From Salvador it’s a 5-6 hour journey by car via Feria de Santana and then west along a variety of roads ranging from smooth to quite pothole-y. There’s a busy section where you join the main highway to Brasilia with lots of trucks, but mostly it’s fairly quiet.
In our experience, this is the way to go. It takes a little longer than a car (about 6.5 hours), but the coach is clean, comfortable (good reclining seats) and air conditioned. The bus’ suspension also deals with the potholes and lumps better than a car’s. There’s a conductor as well as driver aboard.
Depending on season, there may be one or two services every day between Salvador and Lençois.
Salvador’s bus station may be a little daunting, but Pura Aventura always arrange a guide to meet clients or travel with them.
The bus “station” in Lençois is very un-daunting and within 2 minutes walk of the town centre (across the bridge) or the very comfortable Hotel Canto dos Aguas.
There are no useable roads into the mountains, which is one of their attractions, but there are roads joining the main towns around the edge of the National Park.
The main roads are mostly good, though to the north west and anywhere off main roads, a good 4×4 is needed, which is one of the reasons that using a good local guide is essential. The journey from Lençois around the north to Guiné on the western side takes about 2 hours and it would be easy to get lost or stuck.