Forte Santa Maria is located at Porto da Barra, only 500 metres from the Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra (at the lighthouse).
It is uncertain when the fort exactly was built, but it was during the government of D. Diogo Luís de Oliveria (1627-1635). The fort existed during the second Dutch invasion of Salvador in 1638, and was a part of the city defences. Forte Santa Maria has an Italian style design and was built in stonemasonry.
You can see the fort from Av. Sete de Setembro or from the Praia do Porto da Barra.
Porto da Barra is the beach that attracts many local people and foreigners. It's the closest to the city centre and easy of access with the public transport from Pelourinho and other parts of the city.
The beach is set within the bay and the water is much calmer than on the oceanside beaches. It's good for swimming. There are several barracas (stalls) that provide you with a necessary cold drink. You can get everything from beer and water to caipirinha. In addition, food and bevarage vendors circle on the beach all the time, offering ice cream, agua de coco (coconut water), grilled chees, home-made sendwiches and other snacks.
On weekends, especially Sundays, it can get very crowded and you have to keep watching for your stuff. It can dissapear in a moment, quite often by innocent-looking kids playing around in the sand near you.
During the 1960's the beach was a hangout for Tropicalistas Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and others. It continues to be very much of a hangout today.
This is the closest beach to the city centre, and it is almost like the town centre, small and crowded, loaded with vendors and half locals and the other half visitors. The water is clean, clear and warm and the people watching is fantastic!
On countless occasions I sat on the beach at Porto Barra at around 5 am or 6pm to watch the sunrise/set.
So many beautiful colours.
You take it for granted whilst you are there but miss it when you are gone.
How I miss the myriad of colours enveloping me as I listened to the waves lap against the sand.
If you want to book a trip be sure to check out this travel agent place in Porto Barra on Sete De Setembro.
I booked my trip to Mangue Seco from here, after my friend met the owner on a plane. The offices are very nice and plush which helps and all the information is current and up to date. anywhere you want to go he will try and get you there! Ask for Reginald and tell him the English folk sent you!
the beach, porto da barra, is a bit dirtier than those out of the city, but for me, who was raised in bahia, there is nothing better than that beach to feel the true spirit of the people. you'll be missing out if you don't go. just bring your towel and a few reais for a caipirinha or guarana, and enjoy the bahianos!
This beach is locaded in Barra. As it is a kind of bay, there are no waves, that´s why many pepole go there to swim.
At this beach you find many tourists, because Barra is a tourist neigborhood. But you also find people from Salvador, specially students. Almost forgot: It is possidle to practice diving here (i´ve never tried!).
Its it one of my favourits.
As it has already been said by many VT members, Barra is a nice area in Salvador, if not for the prices, for the nice views, lighthouse and beaches...
Comme pas mal de membres de VT l'ont deja dit, Barra, c'est sympa : si les prix sont un peu eleves (je pense au centre commercial), les vues, le phare et les plages valent le detour !!
Since I had just been in Rio de Janeiro, I couldn't help thinking about the Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio from Corcovado.
Well, this Christ statue that overlooks the ocean side from Barra isn't nearly as large or impressive, but it's not a bad spot to relax and enjoy the view. Unfortunately, when I was there, the wind was blowing so aggresively that I was being pelted by sand whipping up from the beach. I didn't know sand could sting like that!
I would definitely recommend staying in Barra when visiting Salvador since it's a short cab ride to the main sights in the historic center of Pelourinho and since if the weather cooperates, it's a great physical setting. As I said before, sunsets are actually a major attraction here in Barra. The town itself has a laid-back, slightly ramshackled, surfer's attitude type of feel. There are some pousadas and hostels, some interesting shops, good restaurants and great views over the Bay of All Saints.
BEACHES - I
Porto da Barra
Perfect for families of for those who love swimming of for those who like to see the hillarious spectacle of brazilians and tourists mingling together. On sundays it's crowded to its most. Good for jogging, swimming, bading, flirting, relaxing, seeing the sunset, seeing the sunrise. Go there anytime - by night it's illuminated.
The best thing about Porto da Barra though is that it's a baby bay closed to such a point it's pratically a salty swimming pool. You only have tiny waves by the shore. 2 meters after that you can simply float and forget about your life. If you should wake up 2 hours later you'd still be in the same beach. Perfect for kids and people who like to swim and meditate or have a special link with the ocean. Let me tell you one thing - surfers won't bother you there! ;)
Also it's a very clean water. There's a stream crossing the bay that sweeps all kinds of possible trash to the other side of the rocks. Being in a residential area, Porto is also very well taken care of. There are periodical diving contests there in wich wins he who's able to collect the biggest amount of trash from the ocean. The salesman by the shore are also always cleaning everything up.
In Salvador, specially on the beaches of the Barra region (the short shore ones, with no huts) the salesman who rent sunchairs, sun umbrellas (?) and sell coconut water, beer and soda have the very funny ritual of watering the clients. Yes! They get a flower waterer, fill in with water from the sea and come water the clients' feet. If the client allows them to, they can water the whole person up!
Almost hidden away between the new town one can still find the oldest fort of Salvador, Forte de Santo Antonio da Barra dating back to 1598. The fort houses a small nautical museum.