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The Cachoeira Grande River drains the forest hills of interior, falling over a sheer escarpment to create the beautiful 61 m Pancada Grande Waterfall, flanked on both sides by Atlantic rainforest. Pancada Grande is the tallest waterfall on the Bahian coast and is the symbol of the region, attracting 80,000 visitors every year. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall is ideal for swimming and a pier affords excellent views. At sunset hundreds of great dusky swifts (Cypseloides senex) circle above and then dive into the falls, miraculously breaking their dive before crashing into the rocks where they find protection for the night. It is worthwhile to visit the waterfall even if just passing through region.
Location - How to get there
The road leading to the waterfall is signposted along highway BA-001 approximately 1 km south of Ituberá and 8 km north of Igrapiúna. Follow the road along the north side of the Cachoeira Grande River (a.k.a. Serinhaem or Mariana River) for 2 km at which point there is a road junction. To reach the waterfall continue along the river for another 250 m to the parking lot (this road is also signposted). Park your vehicle in the parking lot and walk 300 m along a dirt road to the falls. The roads are passable all year long. Note that the entrance road at the turn-off from BA-001 is on a dangerous curve, so take caution when leaving the highway, especially if coming from the south.
The waterfall in open between 8am and 4:30pm 365 days/year. Only people with physical deficiencies are permitted to drive to the falls; otherwise, one must park in the parking lot and walk the final 300 m to the falls. Michelin retains a staff of two people trained in first aid and aquatic rescue at the waterfall during the visitation hours, one at the parking lot and the other at the waterfall.
There is a bathroom open during the visiting hours and a snack bar 150 m back from the waterfall open during the summer months.
Michelin is not responsible for lost or stolen articles, so please do not forget to lock your cars and do not leave valuables unattended. While the river is shallow, (4 m at its deepest in the pool below the falls) and there are no dangerous currents, people have drowned here in the past, so we advise that people do not let children swim unattended and that people with health problems do not enter the water. Under no circumstances should people who are unable to swim enter the river. The rocks are slippery, so do not climb on them and do not attempt to climb out on the rocks at the top of the waterfall. We do not allow repelling at the falls.
Rules of conduct
The Pancada Grande Waterfall lies within the Michelin Ecological Reserve and is open to the public as a courtesy, so we ask that people respect the following rules of conduct:
Entrance to the waterfall is free.
The 172 ha Pancada Grand Forest is open for environmental education visits if scheduled in advance (contact the REM for more scheduling visits). REM staff must accompany all groups. There is a maintained trail network (see the map). with 12 km of trails and several possible loops, the longest of which takes 2-4 hours to complete.
While the River Trail is the most scenic, the Morro Trail is the best for observing wildlife. The best hours for observing wildlife are between 8-11 am and 2-5 pm. Although this forest was heavily logged between the 1950s and 1970s, it harbors a diverse fauna and flora. These include remnant old growth trees and animals such as the Bahian masked titi monkey (Callicebus melanochir), collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu), red-rumped agouti (Dasyprocta leporina), puma (Puma concolor) and rusty-margined guan (Penelope superciliaris), innumerable insects, 68 species of amphibians and more than 30 species of snakes.
Things to remember: