Salvador de Bahia is a great example of Renaissance Urban Town planning, adapted to the colonial origine. Most interesting part of Salvador, tourists wise, is Pelourinho. The old upper city overlooks the lower city where commercial activities revolve around the port. Here is where colonial Salvador started to evolve. The density of monuments makes it the colonial city par excellence in the Brazilian Northeast.
Salvador was the first historic capital of Brazil since Governor General, Thome de Souza, made it the seat of the royal administration in 1549 in the orders of João II of Portugal. It played a leading economic and political role until 1763, when the seat of administration was transferred to Rio de Janeiro.
Salvador is build against a vast bay, named ‘the Bay of All Saints’, with 1,100 square kilometers the largest in Brazil, and upon a ridge parallel to the Atlantic coast, to make defence possible, such as against Spanish (1580) and Dutch attacks (1624). Amerigo Vespucci discovered the bay in 1502. The north and lower city with the port, lost their pristine character due to population growth, which has been particularly fast since 1966, owed to industrial developments in the region. As result is the historic city enclosed by a very dense urban zone. The historical centre itself, which revolves around the Pelourinho quarter, is characterized by its fidelity to the 16th-century architectural plan, the density of its monuments, and the homogeneity of its construction on a hilly site. The urban scenery is embellished by steeply falling and ascending views of incomparable beauty. Pelourinho is characteristic for the colonial city. Its many streets lined with bright multicoloured houses, often decorated with high-quality stucco are a very special experience for lovers of post colonial culture.
Salvador Itaparica Island
What one sees on the other side of the bay is the island of Itaparica. It is the largest of the 56 islands in the bay. There are two ways to get there easy. The ferryboat or the small boat (pequena lancha). The pequena lancha is a pretty way, unless you want to take a car with you.
Transportation on the island is available in the form of kombis, probably a word of German origine, usually Volkswagen Vans which tend to cluster at disembarkation points. They stop anywhere along their routes to drop off or pick up anyone. There are also various quality levels of big buses, running from Bom Despacho, the island’s landing point for the big ferry-boat. Buses in Brazil offer a comfortable way of traveling, such as the VIP buses, used for longer distance travel. A very cost friendly and enjoyable possibility to cover distances.
The beauty of Itaparica island
Well known Brazilian writer João Ubaldo Ribeiro considered the island as “heaven on earth”. It has a wild beauty, a never ending beach, calm sea, natural swimming-pools, mangroves, two small towns, being Itapariac and Vera Cruz, several pretty villages and everything set in lush nature. Both Itaparica town and Vera Cruz have a view on Salavador across the bay. The village of Aratuba is a pretty fishermen’s place on the Atlantic facing side of the island with beautiful sandy beaches. You can have a walk by the seaside, a good sunbath on the beach, with a swim on intervals, sipping a cool drink and waiting for the magnificent moon rising. Or you can have a tasty “moqueca” a wellknown fish dish because the island is famous for its fish and seafood, take a restful nap on the hammock or simply be in love and profit the best of life.
Mentioned already is the tasty “moqueca” but also worth mentioning are the sea food soups called “caldos”. In case you aren’t a lover of these Brazilian specialties, you can always find an alternative dish nearby on the island, because many foreigners found their way to Itaparica island, bought their home in tropical surrounding and discovered that mixing with the island inhabitants is just one of these pleasant things in life.
From the moment of its discovery by Americus Vespucius, the Bay of all Saints has proofed to be an exceptional attractive place on the Brazilian coast. On one side of the bay Salvador has developed its rich cultural blend within awesome colonial architecture and on the other side offers Itaparica the tranquility of an island in lush nature, with peace and quietness to unwind in manners always appreciated since mankind exists. No wonder why so many people like to have their place under the sun on the Itaparica island.
The state of Bahia is the fifth largest in Brazil, and is located in the nation’s northeastern fringes, along the Atlantic coast. Its capital city, Salvador, is the fourth most populous Brazilian city and is located at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of All Saints.
The state of Bahia has for long been a mecca for both suave Brazilians as well as for seasoned international tourists due its myriad of sophisticated attractions. This Eden-like stretch along the country’s northeast coast is a veritable utopia that offers music, culture, and arguably the best beaches on the continent. The city of Salvador is also historically significant for being the first landmark on South America to be officially sighted by European sailors in 1501.
Today you can fly directly into Salvador from any international hub, and most hotels can conveniently arrange to meet you at the airport upon your arrival. After transferring to your pousada, or traditional hotel room in the historic center of the city, you can easily book excursions to take capoeira and drumming lessons, participate in classes on preparing local cuisine, or head to one of the state’s numerous beaches.
Endless Travel and Leisure options in Bahia.
You could also go to Salvador’s bus station to board a bus for an inland tour of the state, which may see you traversing large sugar cane plantations to the town of Lencois in Chapada Diamantina National Park. On arriving at your destination, you will be at leisure to participate in hiking excursions that will take you directly into the park. These activities have been tailored in varying degrees of difficulty to cater to the participants’ diverse physical abilities, and can be booked in advance on your behalf.
You could also visit the Cachoeira da Fumaça waterfalls located within the park, and which was until recently believed to be Brazil’s highest at 353 meters. Most of Bahia, especially the region surrounding the park, is attractive to thrill seekers from around the world due to the large number of caves and waterfalls that are just begging to be explored.
The resort of Corumbau is a secluded destination located 30 miles from any town or airport, which provides some of the most lavish accommodation’s in Brazil which are complemented with gorgeous beach views.
If you are so inclined, you could choose to just wander the cobbled streets of historic Salvador, Bahia’s capital, and the oldest city in Brazil. Salvador was historically the main point of entry for slaves imported to work the sugar plantation. This can be attributed as the main reason behind the city’s vibrant African culture. You could tour the neighborhood of Pelourinho, where the main slave market was located, and which is now a UNESCO- heritage site.
The Mercado Modelo, is a large Bahian arts and crafts market where hundreds of vendors ply their trade in an old converted slave warehouse. You should include it in you tour itinerary while in Salvador since it is not only full of interesting items that can be had at cheap bargains, but it is also a colorful and fun place for observing the local culture at its best.
You may also simply opt to just enjoy a coffee or caipirinha in any of the several charming cafes and coffeehouses dotting the city of Salvador, or to spend your day sunbathing and relaxing on the lovely beach at Praia do Forte.