A Schooner Trip Across the Bay
An excellent way to spend a day here is to take the schooner trip...
Schooners leave from the Terminal Marítimo, on the water behind the Mercado Modelo, at 9 a.m. They cross to the Ilha dos Frades (Monk Island, so called because two monks, according to local legend, were killed by the island's Tupinambá Indians when they went to convert the Indians to Christianity) at the north end of the bay, a voyage of around an hour and a half. There is live samba on board the boat, several guys playing, simple, real, good, and drinks -- water (3 reais for a small bottle), soft drinks, beer (4 reais for a small bottle) -- and snacks are available.
The beach at Ilha dos Frades is lovely, absolutely clean and hassle-free. The barracas (beach cabanas) serve drinks and petiscos (snack food) at reasonable prices. Although picturesque, the island (as so much in Bahia) was involved in the slave trade, serving as a landing point for Africans destined for the sugarcane plantations of the Recôncavo.
After an hour and a half or so the schooner reembarks for the island of Itaparica across the water, a voyage of around half an hour or so, where lunch is served buffet style, all you can eat, good food, in the open air, on the beach, under tiled canopies to protect from the sun.
There is no pier here so a skiff ferries passengers from the schooner to the beach (and back), and the last few meters are waded in (and out).
Departure is at 3:30 p.m., with arrival back at the Terminal Marítimo around 5:15 p.m.
Ilha dos Frades (Isle of the Monks)
Beach on Ilha dos Frades
View of beach from 17th century church on hill
Church on hilltop
Beaches, Villages, Towns, and
Etc. Within Range of Salvador
Running up and down the coast, and inland into the heart of Bahia,
are a number of beautiful and interesting places. So, I'm going to
divide this page into 1), places organized by geographical position
with respect to Salvador, and 2), places within the Recôncavo (the fertile, crescent-shaped region surrounding the Baia de Todos
os Santos). I'm also including places across the bay.
The buses referred to leave from the Rodoviária (bus station),
easily reachable by city bus or taxi. Tickets can be bought at either
the Rodoviária itself, or at various and sometimes more convenient
Ticket prices rise with time, and some of the prices listed below
may be outdated. You won't pay much more than the prices quoted though.
Bus schedules (and lots of other information) not listed can be had
by dialing Telemar's (that's the phone company) InformaçãoTuristica (Tourist Information) -- 131. Information is available
in English and Spanish. A telephone card is required if one is calling
from a public telephone.
I'm adding information as time permits, and places with pages devoted
to them are linked in red.
To the North of Salvador
Running north from the Farol (lighthouse) de
Itapoan are hundreds of kilometers of wonderful beaches. These beaches
are accessible via the Linha Verde (Green Line), a (toll) road
(kept in excellent condition) running parallel to the coast, with
access roads leading off to the coast itself.
The road runs along dunes of snow-white sand, and the
coast itself is an almost unbroken line of coconut palms. The communities
along this coast range from primitive fishing villages to sophisticated
Praia do Forte.
north of Lauro de Freitas, which is just north of Salvador, Buraquinho
is located where the river Joanes flows into the sea. A charming
area of beach houses and well-built barracas. There is a seaside
beach, and a surf-protected riverside beach (salt water) perfect
Busca Vida: Just
north of Buraquinho. No barracas here, the beach is lined by private
Jauá: Just north
of Busca Vida.
Arembepe: The so-called Aldeia
dos Hippies (Hippie Village). Bus company Santa
Maria - Catuense (450-4004). Ticket price (one-way) is
R$4.26, and the journey takes one hour. Buses leave at 5:40 a.m.,
8:50 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 6:30 p.m., seven
days a week.
do Forte: A fishing village which has become a well-developed
resort. On the route of bus company Santa Maria - Catuense (450-4004). Ticket price (one-way) is R$7.40, and the journey
takes one hour and forty minutes. Buses leave at 5:40 a.m., 9:45
a.m., 12:10 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 6:30 p.m., seven days a week.
On the route of bus company RD Turismo (450-5149).
Ticket price (one-way) is R$6.30 and the journey takes an hour-and-a-half.
Buses leave at 6:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m, and 5:45 p.m.,
seven days a week. They are comercial, which means no
Diogo: Several kilometers north of Imbassaí. A very small and primitive village, with a pristine beach accessible only via a lovely trek over dunes of snow-white sand.
Service with a smiiiile, on the beach in Diogo...
To the South of Salvador
de São Paulo: Boats to Morro de São Paulo leave from
the Centro Náutico da Bahia, the beautiful blue-and-white
building on the water behind the Mercado Modelo. Tickets can be
purchased at the L.R. Turismo window (telephone:
216-7045) in the lobby. One-way is R$45.00 to R$50.00 reais. A
launch leaves daily at 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., and a catamaran
leaves daily at 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. The journey takes two
hours for both type of craft.
Another choice is to go by air. Aerostar (3204-1335 or
3377-4406) has flights from the Salvador Airport to a landing strip
near Morro de São Paulo's Third Beach. The trip is twenty
minutes in duration, with planes leaving daily (including weekends)
at 8:00 a.m and 12:30 p.m. Depending on demand, aircraft seating
five, nine, or nineteen passengers are used. Ticket price is R$135.00
either way, or R$270.00 round-trip (no price break).
- Boipeba: A jewel, certainly one of the most beautiful places on earth; exuberant nature -- jungle and beach -- leavened with civilized comforts.
Beach at Velha Boipeba, at the confluence of the estuary and the Atlantic
Beach at Moreré, on the Atlantic side of the island
Back window of restaurant Santa Clara's kitchen
On the way out for evening fishing on Camamú Bay
Looking inland (across the peninsula) from the lighthouse at Taipus de Fora
The other direction from the lighthouse at Taipus de Fora -- out over the Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon) to the Atlantic Ocean
Porto Seguro: On
the route of bus company Águia Branca (450-4400).
Ticket price (one-way) is R$66.10, and journey takes 10 hours.
Buses leave at 9:00 p.m., seven days a week. The buses are air-conditioned,
so dress accordingly. Water and coffee are available for free
on the bus. For a small charge and upon request, tickets will
be delivered to anywhere in Salvador (it's R$2.50 for delivery
to Barris, in the city center, for example).
Westward: Into the Great
Lençois: On the
route of bus company Real Express (3450-9310).
Ticket price (one-way) is R$33.41, and the journey takes around seven hours. Buses leave at 7:00 a.m. on Monday through
Saturday, and at 11:30 p.m. seven days a week. The morning buses
don't have air-conditioning, but the night buses might. The air-conditioning
on these buses is usually turned up full-blast, so dress accordingly
The Recôncavo Region
Cachoeira: On the
route of bus company Santana (3450-4951). Ticket
price (one-way) is R$8.62, and the journey takes two hours. Buses
leave, from Monday through Saturday, at 5:30 a.m./6:30 a.m./7:30
a.m./7:50 a.m./8:30 a.m./9:20 a.m./10:10 a.m./10:50 a.m./ 11:40
a.m./12:30 p.m./1:50 p.m./2:10 p.m./3:40 p.m./4:30 p.m./5:20 p.m./6:10
p.m./7:00 p.m./and 9:30 p.m. On Sundays, they leave at 5:30 a.m./7:30
a.m./8:30 a.m./9:20 a.m./10:50 a.m./12:30 p.m./1:50 p.m./2:50
p.m./4:30 p.m./6:10 p.m./7:30 p.m./and 9:30 p.m.
The railway, automobile, and foot bridge connecting Cachoeira and São Felix, across the Paraguaçu River.
Across the Bay
Mar Grande: Pequenas
lanchas (small boats; small only by comparison to the big
ferry boats, really) leave the Centro Náutico da Bahia, the blue-and-white building on the water behind the Mercado Modelo,
every half hour, seven days a week, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.,
then there's one last boat at 6:40 p.m. Coming the other way,
from Mar Grande to Salvador, they likewise leave every half hour,
from 5:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The trips (which are fun) take a half-hour
or so either way. The price is R$2.00 Monday through Saturday,
and R$2.80 on Sundays and holidays.
Tickets for bus companies Águia Branca,
Bomfim, Itapemirim, and São Geraldo, as well as the Ferry Boats and
Catamarans to Itaparica, can be bought at the two Ticket Center outlets, one located at Piedade (across from Shopping Piedade), on
Rua Junquiera Ayres, 148, telephone 3329-5433, and the other located
in Shopping Iguatemi on the second floor, telephone 3450-0144.