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The bus from Salvador to Ilheus took seven hours, from 0900 to 1610. The 'Plus Service' coach of the Aguia Branca line was comfortable, with a clean restroom and a snack service (coffee, bottled water, and cookies) in the rear. Passengers were allowed to debark for a 30-minute lunch break -- at Sao Antonio de Jesus -- and for 10-15 minutes at three other towns.
Though I speak no Portuguese, buying the ticket -- at the Salvador rodoviaria -- was a snap, as I had printed out exactly what I wanted on my computer. ('Rodoviaria,' by the way, is pronounced 'roe-doe-vee-are-zhu.')
I sat in a seat, elevated, directly behind the driver and had a superb view of the road ahead and of the countryside (including remaining portions of the Atlantic rain forest). The fare was a mere R$56,20 (about US$19.60).
By contrast, my return flight to Salvador, on VASP, took barely 45 minutes (in the air) but cost R$531,60 (about US$185.23).
Incidentally, Salvador's rodoviaria is a long way from the center of town, near the huge Iguatemi shopping centre. I took a bus to get there; it cost only R$12 for the 65-minute trip. On the way back I took a taxi: $80, with tip, for the 20-minute ride.
Updated Aug 4, 2004
What to buy: Everything you can imagine from hammocks, purses, hats using banana straw to beautiful landscapes paintings on tiles.
What to pay: not much if you are bringing foreign money.
Written Jan 19, 2003
Address: Iheus down town