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Salvador de Bahia
Travel Guide


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Salvador de Bahia at a glance

Salvador de Bahia is the heartland of Brazil’s rich African culture, which is in many ways as deeply rooted in Brazil’s history as its Portuguese heritage. Brazil’s link to Africa originated with the arrival of slaves from the far away continent, who were brought to Brazil to work in the sugar and coffee plantations that proliferated in this coastal region of the country’s northeast. Salvador beats to the rhythm of Africa, and its music and dances are heavily influenced by its African background, as are its food, clothes, religious beliefs and customs, which are infused with local habits to create a unique melting pot of culture that can only be experienced in Brazil. Salvador is alive with movement and energy, and pretty much everywhere you go you will encounter the drums of live samba bands with locals shaking their hips in the streets, witness beguiling Candomblé rituals and be captivated by the twirling limbs of people practicing capoeira, a peaceful martial art native to this area of Brazil.

Experiences around Salvador de Bahia

What not to miss

Salvador de Bahia is the largest city in the region with a population of 2.9m people, and it was originally the first capital of Brazil after it was founded by the Portuguese in 1549, making it one of the oldest colonies in the Americas. As well as still being an important port, Salvador has a rich architectural heritage which has a distinctly Renaissance feel, with brightly coloured stucco houses characterising the old town. Make sure to check out the Elevador Lacerda, a public elevator that connects the lower city to the upper city and offers amazing views out to sea. Beyond Salvador’s vibrant centre, you will find some of Bahia’s most amazing beaches that stretch along the 50km coastline, that draw both locals and foreigners from all over the world to their shores all year round to relax in the calm waters that are sheltered by the inlets and bays that are formed by the land. One of the most popular beaches is the Porto da Barra beach, which is enclosed by small fort at one end of the bay and a church at the other. Further south of Salvador lie some smaller coastal enclaves such as Morro de São Paulo, Itacaré and Trancoso which are less populated and have a more rugged feel. Visitors to Salvador will be charmed by its liveliness and the fascinating mix of cultures and worlds old and new. It is also a popular destination in which to experience Brazil’s famous Carnaval, which takes place in March and offers a different but no less exciting celebrating of this iconic festival.

Folkloric Show & Dinner Top

Tonight you’ll immerse yourself in the mystery and vibrancy of Bahia’s nightlife while watching a Folkloric Show in Salvador da Bahia. Considered as the heartbeat and jewel of Brazil’s Afro-Brazilian heritage, many of the cultural aspects such as the rhythms and music are still very much alive and will be on show for your enjoyment. As you sit down to dinner, you’ll be treated to a folkloric show which will include a number of traditional dances from the region such as Samba, Puxada de rede, Maculele, Capoeira and Orixa.

Historical Tour of Salvador Top

This tour takes you to visit some of the highlights of the city of Salvador which was once the capital of Portugal’s New World colony and is simply steeped in history. You’ll start exploring Salvador at Barra’s lighthouse and fort at the entrance to All Saints Bay, which marks the geographic limit between Todos os Santos Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The tour then continues through the squares and narrow streets lined with Salvador’s characteristic colorful colonial buildings, to the Pelourinho. Situated at the heart of the city you’ll see the colorful, colonial charm of Salvador at its best and experience why the city is known as the Capital of Joy. Some of the highlights along the way include the Dique do Tororó where you can examine the Orixás sculptures created by the Bahian artist Tati Moreno, the popular Fonte Nova soccer stadium, a stop at the Mercado Modelo craft market where you can you browse for souvenirs, and the ornate Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos Church. Following your tour, we recommend going to the 236ft. tall Lacerda Elevator which connects the upper and lower city and where you can enjoy exceptional views over Salvador’s bay.

Visit Sea Turtle Project Top

After you’re picked up from your hotel, you’ll begin by traveling along the scenic Estrada do Coco (Coconut Road) on the north seaside. You’ll see the glistening sea on the Oceanic Avenue and until Itaipu Beach. Arriving at Abaete Lagoon you’ll stop to take photos of the picturesque scenery before continuing to Fort Beach which is one of the most famous beaches in the area. Here you’ll visit the TAMAR Sea Turtle Project which has a network of about 23 bases throughout Brazil has its headquarters in Praia do Forte. Enjoy a guided tour of this incredible conservation center where if you’re lucky enough to be there during the breeding season, you will be able to watch the hatchlings scurry into the warm waters of Praia do Forte for the first time. It’s then time to relax on Guarajuba Beach, where you can swim and enjoy the warm waters or have a leisurely lunch.

Historical Tour of Cachoeira Top

Cachoeira is a historical town 121 kilometers from Salvador, and known for its Baroque architecture. On the way to Cachoeira, you will stop in Santo Amaro to visit its church and see a variety of tropical fruits and how manioc flour is made. In Cachoeira, you will visit the Matriz Church, Nossa Senhora D’ajuda Church, Boa Morte Sisterhood, Santa Casa da Miseric rdia, Nossa Senhora do Monte Church, and the railway station. You will then continue to Sao Felix going over Pedro II bridge.

Swim & Snorkel Schooner Cruise Top

Enjoy a full and varied day trip exploring Baía de Todos os Santos. Swim, snorkel, relax and/or catch some rays while bathing in the warm waters around the Ilha dos Frades and Itaparica. A family friendly adventure from Salvador in the exotic wilderness of Brazil! This schooner trip to the islands of All Saints’ Bay includes music, bar service and an experienced guide. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the warm and crystal clear waters around the Ilha dos Frades. This small, primitive island offers lush tropical vegetation and beautiful beaches.Then visit Itaparica, the most famous island in the bay and if you feel like it take an optional tour of the colonial town of the same name. Alternatively, its beaches and calm tide pools allow for a perfect diving adventure. You can also hike the trails or ride horses, as well as many other (optional) leisurely activities.

Fast Facts on Salvador de Bahia

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Salvador de Bahia.

When to go

Salvador’s tropical climate means that the weather is fairly consistent throughout the year, meaning it is usually hot and humid. Temperatures usually sit around 86˚F (30˚C), and this heat is punctuated by occasional tropical storms that are most common from March to July. The summer months from December to March are the best time to come to indulge in the many festivals and celebrations that take place in Salvador, not least Carnaval in February/March, which rivals Rio’s street parades and festivities, with many people choosing to come to Salvador instead of Rio to experience Carnaval first hand. Smaller festivals take place throughout the year, meaning that any time is a good time to take a trip to Salvador.

How to get there

Salvador’s Deputado Luis Eduardo Magalhães International Airport (SSA) is the main airport for the Bahia area. It receives some direct flights from Europe, but most international flights will arrive to either Rio or Sao Paulo and then connect to Salvador from there. Most Brazilian cities are connected to Salvador, but the flights can be longer as the plane makes some stops in other cities. We will arrange all internal flights and transfers for you as part of your itinerary, so just speak to one of our travel experts and they will advise you on the best route.Salvador’s Deputado Luis Eduardo Magalhães International Airport (SSA) is the main airport for the Bahia area. It receives some direct flights from Europe, but most international flights will arrive to either Rio or Sao Paulo and then connect to Salvador from there. Most Brazilian cities are connected to Salvador, but the flights can be longer as the plane makes some stops in other cities. We will arrange all internal flights and transfers for you as part of your itinerary, so just speak to one of our travel experts and they will advise you on the best route.

Infrastructure

Salvador is more than equipped to cater for the large volume of both local and international tourists it receives throughout the year. There is no shortage of hotels, ranging from luxury resorts to 5-star colonial mansions and budget accommodation. The city is famous for its unique local cuisine, that mixes Brazilian food and ingredients with African styles and flavours. It is preferable to use taxis to get around, as Salvador has no metro system and the buses can be slow and crowded. If you would prefer a private driver for your time in Salvador, just tell one of our travel experts and we can arrange that for you. It is not advisable to hire a car, as the geography around the city is perilous and local drivers are more equipped to deal with the traffic.

Tour Packages to Salvador de Bahia

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