The capital of Brazil’s north eastern district, Salvador is home to natives who speak with a heavily regionalized and accented version of Portuguese, and live in rustic, pastel-colored buildings that make up a patchwork city. With the cultural influence of Salvador’s old-world trade slave still apparent, the city has an exciting blend of South American and African cultures, a mix that’s produced many of the best local musicians of the past century.
Despite its undeniably quaint and local outlook, Salvador is actually the third largest city in Brazil, and split in half by the overpowering cliffs that dominate much of the bay district of the city’s skyline, towering more than 100 meters above the lower city. You can easily transfer amongst the parts of the old city – which transcends the two areas – by jumping in the towering elevator or riding the cable car.
The city revolves around two sizable squares, each of which has astonishingly endearing, almost Mediterranean architecture and often hosts markets and even late night gatherings. In the Mercado Modelo Market you can pick up hand crafted souvenirs and watch locals practice the regional martial art, Capoeira, which is half dance, half combat style, while in carnival season, Salvador arguably tops even Rio for shine, and certainly does for size. For most visitors the annual celebration is the party of a lifetime.
The seas here are pretty perfect, too, with the pollution spreading into the water from the city seemingly minimal, though you’ll have to head a little way out of town before seriously contemplating a dip. If you prefer a more stark watery experience, the bizarre Abaete Park has become famous for the picture-perfect clash between the pale sand of the abundant dunes and the dark water they sit against. A photographer’s haven.
While Salvador might not conjure up the exotic images of some of its counterparts – Rio and Sao Paulo definitely outdo the city in terms of international notoriety – it’s one of the more exciting corners of Brazil, with cultural variety and an alternative feel adding to the allure.
Praia do Forte is a popular eco-resort town in the state of Bahia. It is about an hour and a half drive from Salvador and easy to get to by bus or car. The main attraction is the Tamar Projec…