Pancada Grande Waterfall

The Cachoeira Grande River drains the forest hills of interior and then crashes over the escarpment creating 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 thousands of visitors every year. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall is ideal for swimming and there is a pier from which one can get excellent views and take photographs. At sunset hundreds of great dusky swifts (Cypseloides senex) circle above the falls and then dive into it, miraculously breaking their dive before crashing into the rocks behind the water 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.

Visitation hours
The waterfall in open between 8am and 5pm 365 days/year. Only people with physical deficiencies are allowed 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 at the waterfall during the visitation hours; one at the parking lot and the other at the waterfall.

Infrastructure
There is a basic bathroom open during the visiting hours and a snack bar 150 m back from the waterfall open during the summer months.

Security
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:

  1. Only enter the water if you know how to swim;
  2. Do not climb on the rocks;
  3. Children must be accompanied at all times;
  4. There is a limit of 10 people on the pier at a time;
  5. It is prohibited to jump off the pier;
  6. Place trash in the designated receptacles;
  7. If you plan to picnic, do not do so on the pier or in other places where people access the water;
  8. Playing recorded music is not permitted; discreetly playing acoustical instruments is permitted;
  9. In case of emergency contact the staff on duty and they will solicit help; our staff wear uniforms and are clearly identifiable.

Fees
Entrance to the waterfall is free.

Other attractions
The 172 ha Pancada Grand Forest is open to the public during the waterfall visitation hours (see map). There are no staff on duty in the forest, however, so only enter if you are secure enough to walk unaccompanied; it is best not to enter the forest alone. There is a maintained trail network (as illustrated on the map) with 9 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 Rumo Trail should be avoided unless you are interested in the forest edge and the adjacent agricultural lands. 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 including 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), not to mention innumerable insects, 68 species of amphibians and more than 30 species of snakes.

Things to remember:

  1. This is a strict protection forest (RPPN Ouro Verde) in which it is prohibited by federal law to remove or cause damage to any organism. The federal penalties are rigorous;
  2. Do not walk alone;
  3. Do not leave the trails;
  4. Be careful on the bridges as they can be slippery;
  5. When in doubt about direction, walk back the way you came. Print and carry a copy of the trail map before visiting the forest;
  6. Carry a basic First Aid kit, a flashlight, and water, and wear adequate clothing, including covered shoes (remember the snakes!) and preferably long pants (remember the insects!). Bring insect repellant;
  7. Do not drink stream water;
  8. Carry a cell phone with either Claro or Vivo services; while cell reception is generally good in this forest, remember that not all points in the forest have cell reception; so if you need to make a call, keep walking and try at different places, especially on the hills.

Cachoeira da Pancada Grande

Cachoeira da Pancada Grande

Cachoeira da Pancada Grande

Pancada Grande - Ilha Tombador 2

Cachoeira da Pancada Grande

Cachoeira da Pancada Grande

Cachoeira da Pancada Grande

Cachoeira da Pancada Grande