Salvador Things to Do

  • The beach right outside Salvador
    The beach right outside Salvador
    by georeiser
  • Look at 'em go!
    Look at 'em go!
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  • Fallen Cross Monument
    Fallen Cross Monument
    by DSwede

Most Recent Things to Do in Salvador

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    Church, Convent and 3rd Order of São Francisco

    by DSwede Written Jun 9, 2012
    Sandstone facades of S��o Franciso
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    Located right in the heard of the historic center of Pelourinho, the cluster of buildings sharing São Francisco's (St Francis) name are lovely pieces of architecture, history and culture.

    If you are walking the historic area, you will likely pass by here many times. It is worth the few minutes to go inside.

    The original church was built in 1587, but was destroyed by the Dutch. The current church was rebuilt during the early 1700's, incorporating the Baroque style. The interior of the church is mostly dedicated to São Francisco, with painted Portuguese tiles and artwork depicting everything from his birth to his death.
    Open daily 8am ~5:30pm.
    Tuesdays from 8am ~ 2pm.
    Sundays from 1pm ~ 4pm.

    The Third Order of São Francisco has the only sandstone sculpted facade in South America. The museum on the 2nd and 3rd floor (no elevator for handicapped) has lots of religious artifacts, ceremonial robes, and baroque furniture.
    Open daily 8am~5pm. Entry is ~B$3

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    • Historical Travel
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    Igreja Nosso Senhor do Bonfim

    by DSwede Written Jun 9, 2012
    Igreja Nosso Senhor do Bonfim

    The Igreja (church) Nosso Senhor do Bonfim is a very famous church within Brazil. The 18th century church is not as grandiose as the rumors I heard about it, but the interior of the church is still very impressive near the altar areas. The outside of the church is rather simple, but has the typical two tower symmetrical shape.

    It is located on the top of the small Monte Serrat about 15 minutes north of the town. Maybe in the historical days, it would have given travelers a nice view but today, it is encapsulated within the city. The church was/is a pilgrimage point for wearily travelers looking to rejuvenate, sick people to heal and for people about to set out on their journeys as a place to receive blessings for safe passages.

    Today, the fences are adorned with ribbons placed by visitors hoping to get their wishes to become reality. Nearly all people who have been to Bonfim can be identified by the similar ribbons tied around their wrists. When put on, the wearer makes one wish for each of the three knots tied. When the ribbon naturally wears/breaks off (can take a year or more), the wishes will come true.

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    Abelardo Rodrigues Museum & Solar do Ferrao

    by DSwede Written Jun 9, 2012
    Music Instruments at Solar do Ferrao

    This museum focuses on the sacred art and local history. Abelardo Rodrigues, who the museum is named after, has amassed the largest private collection of religious art in Brazil. There are just short of a thousand pieces on display.

    The main entry level of the museum has temporary displays which change throughout the weeks. They typically have local themes, paying homage to the Brazilian, Bahian and indigenous people. For example, when I was there last, the display was on local musical instruments.

    The building which plays home to the museum is the Solar do Ferrao. It is a well maintained colonial age building in central Pelourinho.

    Open 10am to 6pm.
    Closed Mondays.

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    Fallen Cross Monument

    by DSwede Written Jun 7, 2012
    Fallen Cross Monument

    The Fallen Cross Monument is an outdoor monument in the plaza between the elevator and the Placa da Se.

    The original Cathedral da Se was the first Holy See Cathedral in South America. Although it was a valuable and historical pieces, built in 1553, it was ultimately demolished in 1933.

    The monument is built near the still-visible ruins of the foundations. The small plaza offers nice views of the Cidade Baixa, the port and sunsets.

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    • Hiking and Walking
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    Casa do Comercio

    by DSwede Written Jun 7, 2012
    Casa do Comercio

    The Casa do Comercio (or Commercial Trade House) is in the center of Pituba. It was built in the late 1980's, so it relatively modern, but has a rather unique style.

    There may not be the biggest draw for most people, but for those who like architecture and oddities, it is worth a visit. Visits for public are possible and there is a Bahia style restaurant there, although we did not try it.

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    Lacerda Elevator in Salvador

    by georeiser Written Aug 27, 2010
    Lacerda Elevator in Salvador
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    Salvador is constructed in a typical Portuguese way with a lower and an upper area. The Upper city is built on a hill about 70 metres above the lower City. A pedestrian lift was built in 1873 to make it easier for the people to move between the two areas. They called it Lacerda Elevator, and it became the main gate between the upper and the lower city. This lift was replaced with a new system in 1928. The elevator is in daily use and carries more than 50,000 passengers.

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    Explore culinary taste, be prepared for "outcomes"

    by Julissa2007 Written Oct 21, 2007

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    Cheap eats comes with a price at times. It's usually the cheap cocktail drinks out on the streets made in some cart that will have you running for the bathroom every 10 minutes... BEWARE of those seriously.

    Salvador is filled with endless options for ones tastes bud. Vegetarians and meateaters alike will not be spared the unwanted "outcome" that everyone experiences upon their arrival. Its unavoidable, at one point or another it will happen, soooo TRY THE CHEAP EATS, use your judgements on the obvious visible details, hygine, fairly clean cooking paraphanilias, are they propted up against a garbage dump, has anyone bought anything in the past 30 minutes you've been contemplating on approaching the stand, you know the basic common sense stuff.
    Once you get past that you'll need to worry about signing up with a weightloss program upon your return but , hey come on you're on vacation right now so ... live a little. And make sure you send me an update on what became your favorite.

    Here's mines (my post vegetarian stage now),
    Capiroska, acaraje with shrimp, sururu soup (oysters broth with spices) and a cocada for the bus ride home.
    Head to the beach and select a Barraca with music and vibe that suits your budget and taste. Beer can be purchased from 2,00 r to 2,50, a bottle. Capirihnas and roskas from 2,50r to 3. Acaraje w. and without dried shrimp (a typical bahiano dish, consisting of flour, tomato salada, okra mush, hot pepper, and dried shrimp) from 2,00r to 3, 50. Along with the usuals fish, soups, oysters, meats, and treats. Fruit drinks, juices, and the million and one things can be purchased on the beach. I had a teen try to sell me a restaurant deep fryer on the beach no joke.

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    Bale Folclorica da Bahia

    by oceania26 Written Jan 1, 2007

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    Everyday except Tuesdays from 8:00pm to 9:00pm the San Miguel Theatre holds a performance for $R 25 (more than worth it). This an amazing show by really enthusiastic and athletically gifted performers and I highly recommend it.

    A small intimate crowd can see 6 dances that are specific to the Bahian culture:

    Orixas Pantheon
    Fire Dance
    Fisherman Dance
    Macuelle
    Capoiera
    Samba de Roda

    You can find amateur dancers all over Pelourinho performing Caporiera but seeing things young men perform was just incredible...mesmerizing. I never heard of Caporiera until I started researching about Salvador and I'm now hooked on it.

    Go the theatre in advance to buy tickets...about an hour before at least, earlier during peak season.

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  • carnaval of carnavals

    by coolcolin Written Feb 4, 2006

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    In February the transvestites of Brazil hold their National carnival here in the city that has been Brasils capital for longer than any other city. Rio de JANERO HYPE IS TOURIST TRAP LAND.This is the original and much copied.
    Also apart from being the cultural capital the city was strongly influenced by black people brought from Africa as slaves in colonial times.Salvador is considered the most African city in South America, so there is a magnificent mix here.
    Why it makes such a great carnival is a mystery to me but its atmosphere is much more for the locals than rio who seems to pander to the tourists a tad too much.

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    Igreja NS do Bonfim

    by cimc Updated Aug 18, 2005

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    Wax casts in the Sala de Promesas

    This 18th century church is located in the Cidade Baixa to the north of the centre of the city. If you have been wondering what the ribbons are all about you will be delighted to have the mystery solved because this is where they come from and they are souvenirs of this church. Nosso Senhor do Bonfim (Jesus) is closely related to the Orixa Oxalá Candomblé’s highest deity so this church is closely associated with Candomblé. Make sure to see the Sala de Promesas (or Milagres) where the faithful place photographs, personal objects or wax casts of limbs and heads as representations of their prayers. The view back to the city and across the bay is beautiful as the church is on a height. Bomfim means good arrival and this is where people came/come to, to pray for successful journeys and to give thanks for safe arrival.

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    Farol da Barra

    by cimc Updated Aug 18, 2005

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    Farol da Barra

    The real name of the lighthouse is Forte Santo Antônio da Barra but it is universally know as Farol da Barra or Barra Lighthouse. It was originally built in 1598 and was the first fort in Brazil put up to defend settlers against indigenous tribes and later the Dutch (who were in possession of it a one point). Inside there is a nautical museum with displays of model ships, archaeological finds from recovered shipwrecks in Todos os Santos, old lighthouse paraphernalia and some ancient looking maps (which all turned out to be reproductions unfortunately). There is a great view of the bay and down along the coast to the statue of Christ from the restaurant.

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    • Museum Visits
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    Olodum

    by e_crowe Updated Nov 6, 2004

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    Olodum is a wonderful Samba-reggae band that you'll probably find in Pelourinho on a Tuesday night! Pelorinho is packed full of fun on Tuesday nights. There's food, music, and lots of people.

    If the entertainment isn't free it's very cheap!

    **This concert cost us $5US

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    • Music

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    Pelourinho is a MUST!

    by e_crowe Written Nov 6, 2004

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    Pelourinho is a a part of Salvador that has a great history. Colonial buildings still stand and there a several museums to visit.

    Among the deep cultural history that is embedded in this part of town you'll also find restaurants, shops, and capoeira.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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    CARNIVAL IN SALVADOR

    by IIGUANA Written Nov 27, 2003

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    My friends an I in our bloco

    Some say that Rio's got the most amazing carnival. If you consider the customes, then I'd agree. But the party is DEFINATELY in Salvador.
    I could write pages and pages of my experience for the Carnival in Salvador. I just want to say that it's great. It's the best party you'll ever have.
    There are 3 ways to "live" Salvador's carnival. These are my recommendations.
    1. BLOCO (the safest and most wild): a bloco consists of 2 trucks and a whole bunch of people. In the first truck there will be a band playing. In the second truck, a bar and bathrooms. And the people, all around the trucks. The thing is that they travel all around town, dancing. You've got to pay the fee (usually a 3-day fee or a 6-day fee) and you can wear their uniform. This is the safest way to experience the Carnival.
    2. CAMAROTES: These are parties overlooking the streets where the blocos pass on. They're more expensive, and boring. They have this cocktail first, then they'll spend hours wathching the blocos pass by, dancing at their rhytm, and then there will be a private party. Quite safe, and more expensive than blocos. Recommended for people that don't want to party a lot, and for the ones that get tired easily. Not for me.
    3. STREET: You can always watch the blocos go by behind the cordeiros. It's quite crowded and quite dangerous. Most of the poor people don't have access to pay the bloco fee, so they party outside. If they see that you're a tourist, they'll probably try to steal something from you.
    Anyway, after the whole walk, the bloco leaves, and you'll end up in the street. But everyone else will do the same, so it'll be safer. By the time the bloco gets to the end, you'll be wasted, so all you want will be a bed.

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    Baianas

    by IIGUANA Written Nov 27, 2003

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    A bahiana cooking acaraj��

    This women wear traditional clothing and you will be able to see them in Pelourinho. Take a picture with a real one (the ones selling food) and not the crazy women following you all over for one picture.
    They usually sell acaraje, a fried pumpkin bread that it's quite good. They also have cocadas, which it's kind of coconut cookie. Those are amazing.

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