Welcome to Brasil - the land of happiness ...
""When you've seen Salvador, you've seen Brazil""
...An exotic tropical city in a vast country that encompasses everything from deserts to rain forests. Near the equator and nearer the South Atlantic Ocean Salvador is what Americans are imagining when they think of the place where "The Girl from Ipanema" strolled. In fact Vinicius de Moraes who penned the lyrics to that famous tune lived in what is now the northern part of the city a neighborhood known as Itapua. There on the wide sandy beaches skimming the warm aquamarine ocean he surely sat at a thatch-roofed bar drinking cachaca and coconut water out of a ripe green shell and watching the native women--tall tan dark and lovely--frolicking on the shore. You can still do that today. (Or if you prefer you can gaze at the tall dark handsome Brasilian men in their minuscule Speedos.)
Salvador was the first capital of Brasil and holds the title of oldest city.
Its 450th birthday precedes the country's 500th in 2000 by one year. The oldest part of town (called "Pelourinho") today boasts an elevator that eliminates the steep climb from the sea level port to the buildings nestled into the mountainside. Pastel-colored houses some adorned with those famous blue Portuguese picture tiles line narrow cobble-stoned streets and wide open squares. Reminiscent of New Orlean's French Quarter Pelourinho is far older larger and better preserved. The ocean breezes sweep it fragrantly clean while the brilliant equatorial sunshine guilds the old city like glimmering Brasilian gold.
If you're a history buff there are lots of centuries-old buildings churches and even museums to tour. Yet sometimes history having never receded completely into the past reaches out to touch you in the present. For instance you may spot a "Baina do Acarage," one of the women who still practices "Candomble," the ancient African religion of her enslaved ancestors. Distinguishable from the bikini-clad natives by their traditional garb--white dresses with belled skirts and colorful head scarves connoting the spirit each Baina serves--you may encounter them selling acaraje a native sandwich of sorts that is not unlike a huge "hush puppy" stuffed with votapa and shrimp. Though a colorful element to the local scene the Bianas are not present merely to provide photo ops for tourists. Acknowledged as accurate fortune tellers they are also respected for their ability to both cast and break debilitating curses.
If you're looking for total relaxation however it seems a beach is never farther than a brief walk away. If you become bored with the city's coast line you can take a car ferry out into the Baia de Todos os Santos the Bay of All Saints and explore many more miles of sandy shore on Itaparica Island. Some are far more secluded than others and all enjoy a gentle surf because of barrier reefs that hold the pounding ocean waves at bay.
You can't truly relax on a Salvadorian beach however without a cold drink and the drink of choice is caipirinha. Served in a rocks glass over ice it's made with sliced crushed limes, sugar and a big shot of cachaca a Brasilian liquor. Just watch out: They pack a powerful (and sneaky) punch same as the sun which being much stronger so near the equator can fry a pale-skinned American hailing from the Midwest.
Despite any negatives Salvador remains the epitome of what the rest of the world believes all of Brasil to be. So if you wish to visit South America's largest country but can't spend months traveling from the African-influenced north to the very "Germanized" south visit Salvador with its palm trees white sand dunes and centuries old fort (built to keep out the Dutch). For when you have seen Salvador you have seen Brasil.
"Itaparica Island - our paradise...We love it!!!"
ITAPARICA ISLAND with 240 km2 of vegetation and countless beaches, beautiful tropical flora and a rich cultural heritage is a highlight of many trips to Salvador.
Until the introduction of the auto ferry in about 1974, isolated fishing villages lined the white beaches, planted with thousands of coconut palms. Now vacation homes occupy the stretches of beach between the fishing villages. The interior of the narrow island continues to be primarily uninhabited, as does the side of the island where the beach gives way to mangrove forests. Before decent roads to leading to the beaches north of Savador (coconut coast) were built, the wealthy from Salvador would maintain vacation retreats here.
Attractions besides the activities of diving, walks, horse riding, biking and kayaking are the São Lourenço Fortress and Fonte da Bica (Bica Fountain)
The island is a State county since Ju1y 30th 1962, comprising two villages: Itaparica and Vera Cruz. Some towns, such as Aratuba, Barra do Pote, Ponta de Areia and Mar Grande offer a good infrastructure of bars, restaurants and hostels.
At Cacha Pregos, you can rent a small boat to go to Ponta dos Garcês and enjoy the beautiful Tororo waterfall.
Ponta de Areia (Sandy Point) is a huge, wide beach close to the northern tip of the island, The side facing the ocean has a chain of coral reefs forming huge natural pools, great for bathing.
Sacatar Foundation operates at the Quinta Pitanga the first international artists' residency program in Brazil, a former girl's school and hotel the grounds are very beautiful
• Forte in the historic village - swimming, fort, near mineral water fountains
• Ponta de Areia - swimming, very calm, no waves
• Amoreiras - swimming, difficult access by foot
• Manguinhos - swimming, slight waves
• Porto do Santos - swimming, slight waves
• Gameleira fronting a village - swimming
• Mar Grande fronting summer homes - swimming, boat docking offshore
• Penha fronting summer homes - surfing, swimming, beautiful view of Salvador, coral reefs
• Barra do Gil fronting summer homes - swimming, no waves
• Coroa - swimming, difficult access by foot
• Barra do Pote - swimming, without waves, access by foot
• Conceição fronting a fishermen’s village, near Club Méditerranée - swimming
• Barra Grande - surfing, swimming
• Tairu - swimming, coconut trees
• Aratuba - fishing, swimming, fronts various condominiums
• Berlinque - swimming, cleat waters
• Cacha-Pregos fronting a village with boat building - swimming, coconut trees, boat rentals to visit nearby coastal wetlands with rivers, streams, mangroves, etc.
"Amazon Jungle - Ariau Towers Hotel (amazing place)"
The Amazon Rainforest was awarded World Natural Heritage by UNESCO status in 2000, and 2003. Next to the grandeur of the Amazon's natural giants, prepare to be overwhelmed by an unusual sense of smallness. You could also try to mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare yourself for any of the typical experiences and encounters you will have in the Amazon…However, try as you might, until, beneath the light of the moon, you watch your guide swiftly snatch an alligator our of the dark Rio Negro, grin mischeviously, then pass it to you to hold on to…no, coming from an average lifestyle, there is simply no way to prepare for such things. And that is only the beginning! Here you will learn medicinal secrets of the endangered and, in many cases, extinct indigenous tribes, snuggle sloths, drink water from the insides of trees, watch monkeys swing through the magnificent branches of "the world's lungs", marvel at lily-pads the size of your kitchen table, eat fruits you never would have imagined existed, canoe through the endless waterworld of the amazon, stopping to fish for piranhas and visit with local river dwellers, capture dazzling sunsets, and fall asleep at night hypnotized by the symphonic hum of the ecosystem. Welcome to the Amazon, your destination for adrenaline and rejuvenation.