To make the most of the wonderful walking in the Chapada Diamantina, we recommend that you take appropriate clothes and equipment.
We strongly recommend that you only travel with a reputable operator such as Pura Aventura who use experienced local guides. There are many reasons for this, including dealing with an emergency, which is unlikely but vital.
So, on that basis, we recommend that you take:
Good walking shoes or boots – It’ll be hot, so light-weight and breathable is good. It may be wet, so waterproof is also good. Hiking/approach shoes are lighter than boots and in our experience are fine for the dry season, but if you need more ankle support or if you’re going in the rainy season, then lightweight boots would be better.
Proper walking socks – There are lots of specially designed socks. Smartwool, Bridgedale, Brasher and others are good. The better ones are perfectly OK to be worn for more than a day, so you can travel lighter.
Long-sleeved tops – On the high plateaux, there’s no escaping the sun and you’re up over 1000m and not far from the equator, so make sure you can cover up.
Swimming costume – There’s lots of opportunity for a swim in rivers and pools in the mountains.
DEET-based insect repellant – We haven’t felt bothered by insects in the mountains, but they are there and are worth repelling at night.
High factor suncream – You’ll need it.
A good torch/flashlight or headlamp – LED bulbs are bright and light.
A hat – A broad-brimmed hat is best. Tilley hats are excellent, but by no means the only option.
A lightweight towel – The special compact travel towels are great and take up very little space.
A comfortable small rucksack – 35l should be plenty for 3-4 days in the Pati Valley if you pack sensibly.
A waterproof jacket – It does rain sometimes, even in the dry season, so a lightweight but properly waterproof jacket is sensible.
A camera and plenty of memory cards – You’ll kick yourself if you forget it.
A fleece for the evening – it does get chilly at night.
A good sized water bottle – A 1.5l plastic mineral water bottle will do. You can refill your water from springs and at the houses you’ll stay at along the way. Take purification tablets if you’re nervous, though we didn’t bother and were fine.
Man-made vs natural
Generally, “”technical“” fabrics are likely to be a better bet (lighter, more comfortable, faster drying) than cotton. When ordinary cotton gets wet, it’s heavy and uncomfortable.
If you’re concerned about odour, then look for fabrics with impregnated silver – in our experience it works well.
Merino wool is also excellent and, in the lightest weights, suitable for hot conditions. It’s also great as a base-layer for chilly nights.