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In 1822 a precious-stone frenzy began with the discovery of diamonds in riverbeds around the town of Mucugê. Hordes of people hoping to make their fortune flooded into the region. This golden age lasted until late in the 1800s, when gems ran out. What remained were towns such as Lençóis, Igatu, and Mucugê, where cobblestone streets are lined with 19th-century colonial houses. Because
of the historic and architectural importance of the region, buildings are being restored to give travelers a taste of what life was like in those heady days.
The largest community in the Chapada Diamantina area, as well as the gateway to Chapada Diamantina National Park, Lençóis arose from the hundreds of makeshift tents of white cotton fabric built by garimpeiros (gold- and precious stone-seekers). (Lençóis means "bedsheet"). The settlement quickly became an important trade hub for precious stones, attracting merchants from as far away as England, France, and Germany. Many fortunes were made, but the golden age ended in 1889, when most of the stones had been hauled away, and the city was forgotten.
The municipality of Arraial starts just across Rio Buranhém from Porto Seguro. The town is about 4 km (2½ miles) south of the river. It was...
With few direct transport links, Boipeba's pristine white sand, turquoise waters, and virgin forests have remained something of a Robinson Crusoe...