Praia do Forte
Praia do Forte Travel Blog› entry 22 of 35 › view all entries
November 2nd, 2006 – by: worldcitizen
After awhile, a bookstore opened so went to browse some Brazilian magazines. There were a couple of magazines devoted entirely to plastic surgery. It seems that plastic surgery is popular in Brazil and they don't try to hide it! When it was finally time to leave, we found the right bus without much difficulty.
When we arrived at Praia do Forte, there were hardly any people and we saw nothing resembling a fishing village. We stopped at what seemed to be a tourist office and the woman working told us we could either walk through town or take a taxi (a golf cart) to the main attractions. It wasn't far, so we decided to walk but we stopped at a shopping/eating center for a bathroom break and to get something to eat. There were no other vistors and most business were closed.
There was only one restaurant open so we decided to check it out. We ordered pineapple juice and they pretty much stuck a pineapple in a blender. It was very chunky and thick. Long after we finished our pitcher of pineapple puree, the waiter took our order. And then he came back out a few more times to change our order because they were missing ingredients or to confirm our orders and ask questions about how we wanted our food. Restaurant service usually takes time in Bahia, but it's not typically that slow and disorganized. By the time we got our food, we were very hungry. It turned out to be pretty good though. When we were done, they told us that it was they had just opened the restaurant that day and we were their first customers. Ohhh!
After lunch we head through town towards the coast. It was a really cute town. From what I'd seen, it seemed like it could be better living a simple life in the villages than it would be living in the favelas of the larger cities. Of course, I don't really know. We eventually ended up at the beach and it definitely had an upscale Central California coast town vibe.
One of the main attractions that draws people to Praia do Forte is Projeto Tamar. It's a very successful sea turtle conservation project that has one of its bases and tourist centers in Praia do Forte. It's like an outdoor aquarium on the beach with pools of various types of sea turtles and other marine animals. They had an informative video on the history of sea turtles, what they are doing to help conserve them, and information on how to "adopt" a sea turtle. It was very interesting and educational but to be honest, my favorite attraction at the center was the bathroom. It was obviously inspired by the turtles- it had an interesting round shape and it was covered with beautiful mosaics.
After the sea turtle aquarium, we wandered down the main road through the "Vila" which was full of shops and vendors. It's mostly stuff you'll find in Salvador but there are a lot more turtle and fish inspired crafts. There were shops and restaurants on both sides so you didn't get a view of the coast while you were strolling down the road. So we went back to the restaurant on the beach at the Projeto Tamar sight and sipped Guarana while we enjoyed the view. There are many other things to do in Praia do Forte- treks, horsebacking riding, etc., but we were low on funds so we decided to head back to Salvador. We walked back through town to the place where we were dropped off. There were a lot of guys with vans that were trying to get us to use their services rather than the bus. We weren't sure if this was shady or not, so we decided to stick with the regular bus and we headed back to Salvador.
I would have to say that Praia do Forte was my least favorite out of the places I saw in Bahia. I liked the atmosphere inside the town, but the coastal tourist part seemed too polished and a bit contrived. It just seemed to lack the spirit and character of the other places I'd experienced in Bahia. Praia do Forte seemed comparable to Carmel-by-the-Sea. I always enjoy trips to Carmel or Monterey and it's a beautiful area, but I'm the type of person who prefers the more unique atmosphere of Santa Cruz. Some of the other volunteers really liked Praia do Forte though, I guess you just need to go and see it for yourself!
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