Table mountains just outside Lencois
Lençois is a little hamlet on the edge of one of Brazil's pretty national parks. As sleepy as much as it is of interest to tourists, the hotel representative that picked me up when arriving by bus at 5am was quick to point out that the town is very different from Salvador: "no crime!".
Excellent value for money, too. Overlooking the rooftops of the town from my balcony, in a climate that's decidedly more mellow, with an extensive buffet breakfast to welcome me and a cobbled town that's indistinguishable from little mountain towns in, again, southern Italy, the town tempts to stay longer, just for its sheer natural attraction.
A nice touch: a bird feeder on the terrace of my Pousada attracts kolibris, hanging around for most of the day.
Visitors come for the nearby Chapada Diamantina, with huge waterfalls, deep blue pools and gorgeous vistas. These can only be visited on an organized tour. But, from downtown Lençois, it's also possible to walk up one of the few trails, following the town's stream in either direction, past babbling brooks, cute little waterfalls and pleasant ponds, complete with little beer stands tempting you to hang ten.
The one day tour around the park, however, is too expensive. You're driven to five sights at four locations, where only one, the birds eye view of the park from atop one of the table mountains, is really worth it. Another, snorkeling in a cave where you might be lucky to spot a few turtles is nice, but costs extra.
If you're into proper trekking, the multi day tours are said to be worthwhile.
Oh, and kittens! Kittens, everywhere!