Brazil´s northern state of Bahia is a sun-drenched and culturally exciting destination for a Brazil vacation with a beautiful coastline of white sandy beaches and tropical islands. Inland you will find the stunning Chapada Diamantina National Park, ideal for hikers and for those seeking a change from the sun, sea and sand of Bahia’s beaches. The lively state capital of Salvador de Bahia is the epicenter of Brazil’s Afro-Brazilian culture, and has great historical interest too. With its unique destinations and beautiful beaches, a visit to Bahia is a must on any trip to Brazil. Here follows a list of our top five places to visit in Bahia.
♦ Chapada Diamantina
When thinking of Bahia one usually pictures rolling surf and palm-fringed beaches, but as well as a picture-perfect coastline, Bahia also has its inland treasures. The Chapada Diamantina National Park is one such highlight. Striking flat-topped mountains rise up 1600m above sweeping forested valleys, river and cave systems and tumbling waterfalls. The charming colonial town of Lencois is a great base from which to explore the national park.
♦ Salvador de Bahia
Salvador de Bahia is a vibrant state capital with an interesting cultural history stemming from it being very much the center of Brazil´s slave trade. The city´s Afro-Brazilian culture is strong and can be seen in its music, dance and culinary styles. The old city center is a beautifully crumbling colonial relic and its cobble stone streets and brightly painted houses are always lively with music and activity.
♦ Praia do Forte Turtle Project
The pristine beach of Praia do Forte, just along the coast from Salvador de Bahia, is home to the Tamar Turtle Sanctuary. The project seeks to preserve the endangered turtles that visit beaches up and down Bahia’s coast each summer (Dec-Feb) to lay their eggs. Depending on when you visit you could get to see baby turtles being released into the waves, but a visit at any time of year is fascinating.
♦ Morro de Sao Paulo
Beautifully situated on the island of Tinhare, Morro de Sao Paulo is a laid back beach town made even more tranquil by the fact that there are no cars allowed on the island. Baggage and provisions are transported in wheelbarrows between the port, the town and the beachfront hotels. The charm of Morro lies in spending time on its beaches and slowing yourself down to match its relaxed pace. It’s also a great place for diving, surfing and snorkeling.
♦ Cachoeira da Fumacinha
The Chapada Diamantina National Park is awash with waterfalls, and at 330ft. the Cachoeira da Fumacinha has one of the most beautiful settings in all of Brazil. The walls of the canyon rise up some 820ft. and join together at the top, resembling a cathedral, from where the waterfall pours out from, dropping in a huge natural pool. The views of the waterfall are stunning and after the heat of the coast the cool rivers and waterfalls of the park are a refreshing change.