The city has been in constant repair mode to bring back some of the original luster to the old Baroque neighborhoods. However, there is still a very visible line of what is nice and what is not.
Much of the city and even the back streets in the historic area are very run down and not so safe in the dark hours. There are police present 24-hours a day in the principle tourist areas like the plazas and primary streets. However, if you go back even one or two streets from there, you will likely encounter dilapidated buildings, homeless people and various degrees of trash.
It was recommended to me, and I'll reiterate it here, particularly after the main bar crowd goes home (~2am), stay to only the main streets. Taxis are good ideas and having at least one guy in the group is a plus.
Don't stay at Barra Guest Hostel at Rua Recife,234 Barra - The English owner RUSSELL JAMES CHAMBERS and CRIS - his lady - take guests to Pelourinho where they are robbed. Then if you ask for help, very strangely CRIS SAYS NO, it's not the hostel problem and wants to leave you behind - strange, isn't it?? After a scandal that CRIS made in the middle of the street, RUSSELL JAMES CHAMBERS, the English owner of BARRA GUEST HOSTEL took us with them by taxi. Arriving at the hostel, another argument as CRIS wanted to charge an absurd for the taxi -we were just robbed!!!when my girlfriend tried to talk CRIS SAID SHE WAS GOING TO BEAT MY GIRLFRIEND - a typical lady who was covered by RUSSELL JAMES CHAMBERS the English owner of BARRA GUEST HOSTEL. He was useless, CRIS IS A NON GUEST - they forbid you to bring non guests and RUSSELL JAMES CHAMBERS, the English owner of BARRA GUEST HOSTEL brings his own lady into the hostel putting ALL THE GUESTS IN DANGER!!!
It was a trap we got caught and other guests complained about RUSSELL JAMES CHAMBERS, the English owner of BARRA GUEST HOSTEL behaviour, taking his mistress out with guests. End of history: WE WERE ROBBED, OFFENDED, ALMOST INJURIED FISICALLY, ATACKED BY CRIS his mistress - and had to ran away from this crazy place in the middle of the night.
Stay somewhere else and have a good time. It was a nightmare for us, the hollyday became a bad dream.
The North-eastern part of Brazil is the most impoverished regions in the country. Many of Salvador’s residents are poor and the city suffers from high levels of unemployment and crime. You should exercise caution when moving around at nights.
A street child throw a big stone against me and hit my earlobe when I was eating in an outdoor restaurant in the Baixa area. I was unharmed, but have learned not to sit with my back against people walking in the street.
Be extremely careful when exiting cruise ship terminal. Do not display cameras or cellphones. Do not wear expensive jewelry or watches. Crowds of people wait outside the terminal and frequently grab cameras, camcorders out of the hands of unsuspecting tourists.
Most Bahia beaches have strong currents except Porto da Barra and even so at times and pending what season it may be you may find yourself in "hightides". Lifeguards are present but scarce. They have to cover large areas under difficult conditions. Play it safe regardless of whether you won the swim team's championship way back in school, if you're way cool and "Hang-ten" with your surfboard, or if your want to show off your water ballet training from the gym after kicking back a few beers on the hot beach. No one will want to view vacation pictures of you being dragged out of the waters unconcious.
Below is a link to the Salvador Lifeguard training center. They have a helpful illustrations.
Check who you are going home with. Make sure its not a working lady and, please, make sure its a lady.....