Chapada Diamantina – Poço Azul and Poço Encantado
Attempting this itinerary from Lençois makes for a long day, but both Poço Encantado and Poço Azul are must-sees in Chapada Diamantina. That being said, if it’s at all possible for you to rent a car or do a tour independently I would suggest this. I joined as the ninth person of a group and still had to pay R$ 175, which is the normal going rate, though I consider it a rip off. This is mostly on account that we spent almost the entire day driving and we arrived late at the second location, spoiling any opportunity for a cool photo… I know it’s also about experience, but we were only had about 15 minutes in Poço Azul and I know the guide could have planned the day out better for us to arrive in both locations with plenty of time.
Timing. That’s the thing with these two locations. Chapada Diamantina has this amazingly clear and saturated blue water in several of the caverns, two of the most spectacular being Poço Encantado, as enchanted as its name implies, and Poço Azul, equally magical I’m sure (though I was unable to be there for the exact moments the water lights up). I knew what the effect I was waiting for was and new that it wouldn’t come, having seen it the other day in Gruta Azul.
We had to wait in line for nearly forty minutes before we could put on the helmets and headlights before descending into Poço Encantado – the enchanted pool — because all the tour groups arrive roughly at the same time; we were the last since I was the only one who took the 8am sharp meeting time seriously. It was only about a ten minute descent, including the time that it took to get to the cavern entrance. Here you can see the opening that allows the light to stream in from the outside. Once you’re in the cave everything becomes dark, but after a short while there’s an ethereal blue glow that grows as you go deeper.
And once you make the last turn, an fantastical lake opens up before you. If the timing is right, as it is in these photos, the sunlight radiates onto the water creating this magical effect. There’s so much light coming in and being reflected even a simple camera phone can do a decent job of capturing the effect.
We didn’t arrive at Poço Azul till the sun was already sinking and consequently wouldn’t be shining on the water. You do get to swim in this crazily clear water though, for all of ten minutes. In order not to contaminate the water everyone has to take a shower before going in. It was really cool to swim in there, but I was really disappointed about the photo.
Here’s the effect that I was hoping for…
It would have been far more spectacular in Poço Azul than it was in Gruta Azul. There’s a much larger opening for the sun to stream in and a much larger quantity of water. I suspect you’d be able to see it light up all the way down to the bottom.