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Tropical climate, warm water and white sand beaches, landscapes of coconut trees and dunes, typical cuisine and the smile of the Bahian. Let yourself be conquered by the wonders of this state!
Places to visit
First sighted in 1501, Salvador was founded in 1549 by Tomé de Souza, and boasted the title of capital until 1763. Today it stands out for its calm beaches and cultural heritage. In Largo do Pelourinho you can see the colourful colonial houses, restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops, topped by N. Sra. Do Rosário dos Pretos Church and Jorge Amado House Foundation. With steep streets and a people always partying, you can get there by the Lacerda Elevator, which connects the Lower Town to the Upper one. Back to Lacerda, one goes straight down to Mercado Modelo, a building turned into a National Monument in 1966, next to the Baía de todos os Santos, where you can buy a little of everything. St. Francis Basilica, Church and Convent, with gilded interior; and the Church of the Third Order of St. Francis are other points to visit. In all there are 365 churches, one for each day of the year, but here you get along well with the mystic and profane, being natural to walk the streets and hear the berimbau play in another capoeira circle. There is a church that stands out: Sr. do Bonfim, where the colourful bracelets come from. In half an hour, visit the Ladeiras da Montanha and Gabriel, ending at Unhão, near the bay, built in the 19th century under a colonial style that houses the Museum of Modern Art. As to beaches, Ilha dos Frades is one of the best options, being surrounded by rainforest and coconut trees, and accessible on by boat.
Those who leave Salvador to Praia do Forte pass in Itapuã - a beach immortalized by the singer Vinicius de Moraes - and come to one of the main resorts in the state, where the largest hotel offer is and the village that once belonged to fishermen and now embodies TAMAR, a sea turtle conservation project, since 1982. Outside the village, Castelo Garcia D'Ávila was one of the first Portuguese fortifications in colonial Brazil, built between 1551 and 1624.
It is also suggested to visit Costa dos Coqueiros, whose beaches are surrounded by natural breakwaters, as well as lakes and rivers; and Costa do Sauipe full of wild beaches.
What to eat?
The famous Acarajé is the most common snack of Bahia. Although it can be found in any restaurant, it is from the Baianas tray - which cooks it live in the streets - that it tastes best. Acarajé is a black eyed peas cake, fried in palm oil and stuffed with vatapé, a spicy sauce made of fish, shrimp, coconut, peanuts, cashew, ginger and pepper.
You can also try Caruru, an okra stew with various ingredients; Moqueca, the typical fish, seafood, tomato and pepper stew, palm oil and coconut milk; Hauçá rice, in coconut milk and fried beef, garlic and onion; a Chicken Xinxim or the famous Shrimp Bobo.
Have it with a caipirinha and finish with a cocada, a Mugunzá (sweet corn grain) or a Bolinho de Estudante, with tapioca, coconut, sugar and cinnamon. To refresh yourself, try Picolé (Popsicle), an ice cream on a stick that delights everyone.
Did you know that Bahia’s Independence is celebrated on July 2? Just as important is the Festival of Iemanjá that takes place on February 2nd.
The church of N. Sr. do Bonfim, whose celebration takes place in January, was built between 1545 and 1754 and housed an image of Sr. Bom Jesus do Bonfim, taken from Lisbon. Here you will find the typical coloured ribbons that are tied to the wrist after asking for three wishes.
The Barra Lighthouse (Farol da Barra) - or Lighthouse of Sto. António - is 200 years old and 22 meters high and is one of the main attractions, having guided ships in what was one of the main ports of the continent.
Pelourinho, also called by locals as 'Pelô’, is a Portuguese Baroque colonial-style neighbourhood in the city's Historic Centre and is considered a UN World Heritage Site. It was in the stone column in the centre of the square that slaves were punished.
The best season to visit Salvador is between December and February / March, during the Carnival period. In 2020, Carnival runs from February 19th to 26th. New Year's Eve is also one of the most popular season in Brazil.
The strongest rainy season is between April and June.
Despite the strong police presence in the Pelourinho neighborhood, tourist robberies are common and tourists are recommended to pay attention and to be cautious.
Those wishing to observe humpback whales can do so between July and October, when they visit the Bahia coast, at the Humpback Whale Institute, Praia do Forte (Forte beach). Do you know the best panoramic view of the Baía de Todos os Santos? It is from the Lacerda Elevator which is 150 years old.
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