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Overview

Stretching south from Porto Seguro – the spot where Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral first landed in Brazil and claimed it for the Portuguese Crown in 1500 – Bahia’s coastline extends for hundreds of miles. Backed by red cliffs, native Atlantic forest, and mangroves dissected by rivers and lagoons, this endless strip of sand contains some of the most postcard perfect tropical beaches on the planet. Although you can skip the main access town of Porto Seguro itself – in the summer, especially, it’s mobbed by every kind of package tour imaginable – the charming fishing villages-turned-resort towns of Arraial d’Ajuda and Trancoso have ...

Stretching south from Porto Seguro – the spot where Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral first landed in Brazil and claimed it for the Portuguese Crown in 1500 – Bahia’s coastline extends for hundreds of miles. Backed by red cliffs, native Atlantic forest, and mangroves dissected by rivers and lagoons, this endless strip of sand contains some of the most postcard perfect tropical beaches on the planet. Although you can skip the main access town of Porto Seguro itself – in the summer, especially, it’s mobbed by every kind of package tour imaginable – the charming fishing villages-turned-resort towns of Arraial d’Ajuda and Trancoso have managed the tricky feat of merging sophisticated tourism (in Trancoso’s case, we’re talking global jetsetters) with a rich local culture steeped in a lingering aura of hippie-ness. Keep going, however, and things get far more primitive. Diving aficionados shouldn’t miss Marinho dos Abrolhos National Park, a live aquarium off the coast of Caravelas whose maritime diversity impressed both Charles Darwin and Jacques Cousteau.

Michael Sommers
About the Expert

Michael Sommers is the author of Moon Brazil and Moon Rio, as well as the blog Thrill of Brazil. He has been living in Salvador, Brazil since 1999.

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Michael Sommers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Temperatures are warm year-round, but summer gets mobbed by tourists between Christmas and Carnaval. Expect some rain between March and June. Diving visibility at Abrolhos Park is best between December and March while July-November is the time for whale watching.