The options on WhatsApp only let you export a backup of your chats to Google Drive. This is what it is told the user, but it does not mean that the information from the conversations disappears from our phone. In fact, WhatsApp keeps several files encrypted, retaining the most recent and deleting the oldest, as a local backup in case cloud sync fails.
To get to the location of the local files saved by WhatsApp, we first need to open a file manager. In our example, we will use Google Files.
We open the application and scroll down completely until we see the section Internal storage where we will have to tap:Internal storage in Files
On the next screen, tap on the WhatsApp folder:WhatsApp folder in Files
Inside this folder, we now tap on Backups:Folder containing backups in WhatsApp
We will reach the encrypted files of our conversations (even the custom wallpaper backup is saved here if you use one):Backups of the chats
Now, even if you have made it this far, you will not be able to access your conversations through these files. They have been encrypted with the WhatsApp protocols, and the only way to decrypt and read them is to use them throughout the application. It is a bit like with the Google Drive backup, which is stored in a part of our cloud repository that we cannot access by normal means (or any other).
In summary: we can find the files, but we can not do anything with them once we have done so, only restore them when reinstalling the app.