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 Bahia has its own distinctive style when it comes to food, music and cultural expression. With its unique destinations and fascinating cultural history, a visit to Bahia is a must.
We’ve already shared our Top 5 places to visit in the state of Bahia with you and Talita who works in the Sao Paulo office told you why Salvador de Bahia is her favorite place in Brazil. Do you remember her praying for a new boyfriend in the St. Antonio church?
Here follows a list of our top things to do in the city of Salvador de Bahia.
The Bay of All Saints
The beautiful ‘Bay of All Saints’ stretches out around the city of Salvador de Bahia in a perfect blue arc of sparkling ocean punctuated by no less than fifty-six tropical islands. Setting sail from the port for a spot of island hopping is one of the highlights of a visit to Bahia. Each island comes complete with white sandy beaches and swaying palms, and the waters of the bay and the reefs are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Bahia cuisine was developed in the kitchens of the slave trade era during the 16th and 17th centuries, and combines African elements, such as coconut milk and spices, with other local ingredients like palm oil, bananas and the region’s plentiful supply of fresh seafood. A particular favorite is moqueca, a fish stew made with onions, coconut milk, lime, coriander and chilies. Bahia’s cuisine is flavorful and delicious, but beware the hot pepper sauce!
During the 16th and 17th centuries thousands of enslaved Africans were shipped in to Salvador de Bahia to work in the gold mines of the region, and luxurious houses and churches were built with the spoils of the trade. Pelourinho, Salvador´s historic city center, is home to many well preserved examples of colonial architecture – be sure to visit the ornate gold-lined interior of the church of Sao Francisco.
Bahia is the beating heart of Afro-Brazilian culture and it is impossible to visit the region and not get caught up in a samba party or two. Bands play on the streets, on the beaches and in the bars, and African rhythms, songs and dances are everywhere. The origins of Brazil’s percussion based musical styles come from Candomble, a religion brought over from Africa, and still very much alive today.
Carnival in Bahia
Salvador de Bahia holds one of the biggest carnivals in the country and is arguably the best place to experience the world’s most famous fiesta. Troupes of highly energetic dancers and drummers parade the streets and the party goes on for literally days. Carnival takes place in either February or March each year, but if you can’t make it then, Salvador city center hosts the equivalent of a mini-carnival each Friday around the cobblestone streets of Pelourinho.
Discover the beauty of of Salvador during one of Encounter Latin America’s Salvador de Bahia Tours, which are sure to leave you with some incredible travel memories!