The STATE of BAHIA
Bahia is one of the states with the highest potential for tourism in Brazil. In treating of natural beauty, history and attractions for tourists, it can stand at the same level of more famous and visited states, like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The state is part of the North-east region and has, therefore, a subtropical and very enjoyable climate where it never is too cold neither too hot. The summer is officially from the 21th of December till the 21th of March, with temperatures between 25 and 35 degrees centigrade, but extends beyond this period if you take in account the warm and sunny climate. The winter is characterized by more frequent and abundant rains (from May till July) but with temperatures just a little lower, normally between 20 and 30 degrees centigrade, and goes from the 21th of June till the 21th of September.
In terms of tourism, Bahia can be divided in some particularly attractive and interesting regions:
Salvador and the Metropolitan Area
See on the pages about this wonderful capital of Bahia.
That's how is called the region around of the Bay of All the Saints where historically a great part of the economic activity of the state was concentrated. Therefore, the Recôncavo offers to the tourist today some historical cities that still remember this glorious past. One of them is Cachoeira, the Bahian city that concentrates the most important architectural buildings in baroque style, and its neighbour city SãoFélix, separate only by the Paraguaçu river and connected by a bridge. From Cachoeira you have a nice view on the dam “Pedra do Cavalo”, upstream, with a great lake behind it where it is possible to practise some aquatic sports like "windsurf", "jet ski" or just make a trip on a boat or schooner. Other interesting cities are Santo Amaro, where was born Caetano Veloso, Nazaré and Maragogipe.
Click here to see more details on an unforgettable tour in this region!
Costa dos Coqueiros
This is the coastline to the north of Salvador, accessible through the road called “Estrada do Côco” (Coconut Road), and constituted by an interminable sequence of coconut palm plantations bathed by gorgeous beaches. The first beaches are well visited by the Soteropoletanos – the name given to the inhabitants of Salvador - mainly during holidays and weekends. The most famous beaches are: Buraquinho, Jauá, Arembepe, Guarajuba and Bar of Jacuípe. Arembepe has as extra attractions an area for the protection of turtles and a hippie village, that has been visited by Janis Joplin and Mick Jagger in good the old times! Do not miss a visit to “Praia do Forte”, also called the "Brazilian Polynesia", that offers paradisical landscapes, a lighthouse and another unit of the Tamar project for the protection of turtles, beyond a excellent tourist infrastructure for all tastes and pockets. The famous “Linha Verde” (Green Line) starts there, a comfortable tarred road that goes until the border of Bahia, frontier with the state of Sergipe. Here you have many natural and almost deserted beaches and a bunch of options to pass paradisical vacations. Some of them are Imbassaí, Massarandupió, which has a beach for nudism, Subaúma andMangue Seco, that became famous through the book "Tieta do Agreste" from Jorge Amado, and offers extensive dune landscapes.
Click here to see more details on an unforgettable tour in this region!
Costa do Dendê
This is the name of coastline to the south of Salvador, that owns its name thanks to the plantations of palm trees used to make the famous palm oil (“azeite de dendê”) and where you find many beautiful and famous beaches. The biggest attraction of this coast is without any doubt the island “Morro de São Paulo”, with several beaches and very good tourist infrastructure, that can be visited by boat leaving from the city of Valença. Less explored and calmer is the Boipeba island, to the south of the “Morro”, an excellent place for who prefers simplicity and the natural beauty. For the adventurers and the ecologists we still have beaches in the bay of Camamu, the third biggest of Brazil, and on the peninsula of Maraú.
Costa do Cacau
More to the south we find the Cacao Coast, with its centre Ilhéus - city of the writer Jorge Amado, land that produces cacao but also a great tourist region with great variety of beaches, waterfalls and lagoons. The best known cities are Itacaré, Ilhéus, Olivença, Tororomba, Una and Canavieiras. The region preserves true tropical ecological sanctuaries with many beaches, some almost deserted, palm tree plantations and a great variety of vegetation with native Atlantic Rainforest (“Mata Atlântica”) and mangroves and gorgeous cacao farms. We give an especial mention for the project of preservation of the “Mico-Leão de Cara Dourada”, a species of an almost extinct primate, and the Island of Comandatuba, an area of ambient protection also known by the five star hotel situated there.
Costa do Descobrimento
Descending more to the south, we arrive on the Coast of the Discovery where the first colonists of Brazil have arrived. The official place of this discovery is Porto Seguro, centre of this wonderful region and today perhaps the most visited place by tourists of all Bahia. This gorgeous coast offers around 150 km of beaches, but also coves, bays, cliffs, innumerable rivers and stream-lets surrounded by coconut trees, mangroves and Atlantic Rainforest. The most famous cities are Belmonte, Santa Cruz Cabrália, Porto Seguro, Arraial D'Ájuda, Trancoso, Caraíva, Pascoal Mount, Corumbaú, Cumuruxatiba and Prado.
Costa das Baleias
Finally, in the extreme south of the state, we have the Coast of the Whales that encloses Abrolhos, Alcobaça, Caravelas, New Viçosa and Mucuri. It is a region with many desert and paradisical beaches where one of the biggest attractions is the Archipelago of Abrolhos, the only Marine National Park of the Country, where whales come every year to practise their rituals of reproduction. It is the paradise for divers who can explore shipwrecks and submarine caves in guided divings or glimpse abundant reefs of rare chorales.
This is the region that grows most in terms of tourism in the last years and that attracts mainly the ones who love nature and ecological tourism. It is a mountainous region with exuberant nature, mounts of spectacular forms sculptured by the erosion - they remember a little the Grand Canyon in U.S.A. - waterfalls, underground caves, lagoons, a lot of 'virgin' forest, in one word, the ideal place to make unforgettable trekking. Here, nature is still very well respected and can be appreciated in the National Park of the Chapada Diamantina and in the Areas of Ambient Protection Marimbus-Iraquara and the Serra do Barbado. The most attractive cities are Lençóis, Andaraí, Mucugê, Rio de Contas, Palmeiras, Iraquara, Piatã, Morro do Chapéu, Ituaçu, Seabra and Itaité.
The most typical region that is more intensely related to the culture of the people of the North-east is the Sertão (kind of Backwoods), that is found in the Northwest of Bahia. This Hinterland is an immense barren area punished by the intense sun and the consequent impious droughts, where the dominant vegetation is "caatinga", with low trees, bushes and cactus. The most typical and interesting cities are Cipó, Caldas do Jorro, Euclides da Cunha, Monte Santo,Uauá, Canudos and Raso da Catherina. In Monte Santo, situated in a sacred place at the foot of the mount, you should go up until the top by the peregrination way and enjoy the wonderful panoramic view. Canudos was the main stage for the bloody combats of the War of Canudos (1897) and today, at times of drought, it is possible to visit the ruins of old Canudos, a city that was completely destroyed by the army of the government in that famous war against the popular movement commanded by Antônio Conselheiro, at the dam of Cocorobó. Cities like Cipó and Caldas do Jorro, are hydromineral spa's that look more like an oasis in the dry landscape of the Sertão.