Transportation in Salvador
Well, you've basically got three ways to go: by taxi, by bus, or by rented car. Taxis are cheap enough by U.S. and European standards (if you don't get taken to where you're going via the long route) and buses, at three reais, are less than a third of the cost of a subway ride in New York City. I'll fill you in some more and I'll start with the buses --
First, you don't enter via the front door. You get on through the back door. (The executivos, the more expensive and easily distinguishable alternatives to city buses, are entered at the front. They don't have rear doors.)
In order to get from the airport into town you can go by any of the three means above: taxi, executivo, or city bus. Taxi, of course, is the most expensive. The fare is around one hundred reais. The executivo is R$3.50, and the city bus (ônibus coletivo) is R$3.00. The advantage to the executivo is that it will accommodate as much luggage as you have.
There's also a new airport bus service costing 30 reais, running from the airport, down the seafront, through Barra to...
...the end-of-the-line for the executivo is Praça da Sé, at the entrance to Pelourinho, the old colonial city center. To be more exact, the bus stops a couple of blocks before reaching Praça da Sé (the end-of-the-line used to be Praça da Sé itself, but a public plaza was built there a couple of years ago).
Note! This page needs some updating, particularly the paragraph below! Salvador's Metrô is now, almost unbelievably, running! After years and years of graft and monumental incompetence, it's one little 6 km line, running from the Lapa central city bus station out to a bit beyond a shopping center called Bela Vista...
And, Salvador also has a Metrô! With shiny "new" cars! The shine though, unfortunately, is fading and rusting away as the cars languish in a warehouse for which the city pays 80,000 reais a month, having been purchased in 2008, while the rest of the Mêtro's infrastructure was far from complete (in spite of construction having been started eight years earlier, in 2000). The corruption in this city, state, and country is colossal and appalling! It doesn't matter who you vote for, the system is rigged! Of course it's almost more sickening that in the United States (I'm an American) corruption is completely institutionalized in the obscene form of campaign contributions (and I don't doubt that in terms of the amount of money buying influence, the U.S. is the most corrupt country on the planet; amazing blindness on the part of a lot of people!). It's a good thing that there's more to a country than its politicians and businessmen, or places like Brazil and the United States would be deserts, rather than the intricately fascinating places they are. I suppose that goes for the entire world.
Some Good & Honest Taxi Drivers
Salvador lost a good and honest man, but to a better cause...