When we first pulled in to the Pousada do Capão, our base for the night after a long day of trekking in Chapada Diamantina, we were a bit perplexed. We were, quite literally, in the arse end of nowhere, despite having passed the village of Capão in the Capão Valley, which was now 3km away. This meant it would be at least a 20-minute walk, in the dark, along unfamiliar territory, to get to any form of civilisation, forcing us to eat dinner at the Pousada do Capão. We moaned (sorry reasoned) that there must be decent pousadas with rooms available closer to the centre of the village. So we just couldn’t understand why Venturas the tour company we were travelling with courtesy of Bespoke Brazil had booked us in here.
After dropping our overnight bag in our rustic but spacious (there were two double beds in separate rooms in the chalet we were booked in to) room we went off to explore. The complex, as we discovered, is deceptively big. As well as having 14 rooms, that from the outside had a kind of Spanish villa feel to them, there is also a massage area (R100 for a massage), sauna, bar and large games room complete with snooker table.
Outside is a large garden area where we stumbled across random totem poles and witnessed green and red lasers flashing, lighting up the trees like it was Christmas. This was made even more surreal as we could hear disco music playing out of a stereo in the trees – a bit weird to say the least considering we were the only guest in the resort which appeared to be manned by two older ladies. Dinner was served at 8pm and was basic – spaghetti with tomato sauce, egg for me and chicken for the rest of the group, and salad – but it was surprisingly tasty. Equally breakfast set us up for the day’s treking ahead which was lucky as I was seriously starting to flag.
It was only really when we woke up next morning all became clear as to why the Pousada do Capão is one of Chapada Diamantina’s hidden gems. We were gobsmacked as in the light of day we saw that surrounding us were mountains, wearing coats of green trees, their mist-covered peaks rising towards the clouds. The Eurotrash house music had been replaced by the noise of animals in the trees. And in stark contrast to the awkward atmosphere of the previous night we were now enveloped in a sense of tranquility. I could see how it would be easy to wile away a few days at this retreat, relaxing on the chaise lounge, book in hand while taking in the scenery.
Coupled with the compact bonfire area, circled by wooden chairs, and various stone tables dotted around the garden there was something almost primitive about the Pousada do Capão. Cheesy as it sounds, it was as if we truly had gone back to basics to be at one with nature. It may not be apparent from the off why the Pousada do Capão is a hidden gem but suffice to say we may have been reluctant to stay here but we were even more reluctant to leave.