Regions to discover
SALVADOR & BAHIA
Bahia, one of the largest Western Brazilian states, was the colonization centre of the country, and the main reason for the fights between the European powers for two centuries to control and exploit the wealth of Brazil.
The name of Bahia is from the Bay of all the Saints (Bahia de todos os santos), where was erected the city of Salvador (its complete name is “Salvador da Bahia”). Salvador is an city to visit absolutely for its energy, its sublime historical centre and its incandescent carnival monopolizing all the attention and the honor.
It would be unfair to describe this region by only its important urban center. Bahia also includes many other sites to discover.
The coastal wilderness and the very fashionable spots are mixed in total harmony.
On the North, the Coco Coast and its string of famous beaches: Arembepe, Imbassai, Costa do Sauipe and especially the overdone star, Praia do Forte.
On the South, the islands of the Camamu bay.
You can feel the effervescence of Morro de São Paulo in Tinharé, the most fashionable resort now, while on Boipeba, our favorite, you can enjoy the natural energy and beauty.
The Recôncavo spreads further inland with the agricultural area matching the contours of Todos os santos Bay. The elements of the flourishing economy of this area are simply cattle raising, a bit of tobacco culture, some vegetables and large quantities sugar canes.
Many traces of the past can be seen in these different cultures, in Cachoeira, São Francisco de Paraguaçu, São Felix…A trip through the Recôncavo feels like time travel.
The Northern coast is one of the less economically developed area. The backcountry (known as the sertao) is really dry and the population had to exode to the coast. It is however on this land, from the Leçois to Fortaleza, that the nature is present in many different aspects.
The main attraction is the desert of the Lençois Maranhenses, a large space of dunes with many fresh water lagoons, a breathtaking landscape.
The Parnaiba delta further West is also of great interest, with a sanctuary sheltering thousands of birds! Or also the beaches, all different and surprising, including the Jericoacoara beach with its small village, where surfers pass horse riders and where you can watch great capoeira shows...
Last but not least, two treasures are hidden further inland for the most curious, which are the Ubajara and Sete Cidades national parks. They are real fresh air oasis in the middle of the sertao where you can find caves, waterfalls and surprising rock formations.
The Northern coast contains a great variety of landscapes... and of cities: the colonial São Luís, the elegant Jericoacoara, the modern Fortaleza. Off the beaten track, by 4WD, by small wooden boat, by plane or by foot, you will feel the adventure in this remote and wild place with great chance of encountering a friendly and welcoming people.
If Rio is the heart of Brazil, then Salvador is its soul, a definitely African soul. Hot blooded, smells of acarajés, tropical sweat, and ocean mingle… During the day, the sun lights up Salvador, the capital of the Bahia state, with its perfect mix of modern and authentic culture. During the night, the sound of drums vibrates the cities.
From the alleyways of the old Pelourinho area come the powerful rhythms of capoeira, maculélé, macumba or candomblé, and thus begins the swinging of ebony colored bodies.
From the heights of the city you can enjoy the view over the "Bahia de todos os Santos", discovered on November 1st, the All Saints day (which is where the name comes from), by Amerigo Vespucci.
This is where the Portuguese founded in 1549 the first capital city of their settlement. During the following centuries, Salvador became certainly the most important city in the country. Mainly sugar but also tobacco, cattle breeding and diamonds ensured the economy of this city, which decorated beautiful churches and superb colonial buildings which delight the tourists.
The city had hosted the colonial government until the decline of the sugar industry and was dispossessed of its status as the Capital city by Rio in 1763. Despite losing its economic and political importance, Salvador has nevertheless developed a great fame as the centre of the Afro-Brazilian culture. The musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, the writer Jorge Amado and the sculptor Carybé, Bahian brothers from an exceptional generation of artists, are the most famous sons of this city.
Fortaleza (fortress) the largest town of the coast is mostly known for the beaches, those in the city (over 30) as for those in the surrounding areas. Views of the city and visits of the beaches do Futuro (100 bars!) in Meirelles, Iracema and Mucipe are a must. Most of the hotels, businesses and restaurants are concentrated on the avenue stretching along the sea front forseveral kilometers, and the real centre of life of the Cearense people.
For those who had seen enough of the beach, the town offers other attractions:
The Metal Bridge also called the English bridge facing the Iracema beach. It was built in the twenties and was used for a long time as a trading port.
The José de Alencar theatre is a superb architectural steel and glass monument built at the end of the twentieth century.
The lighthouse of Mucuripe in homage to the slaves of Princess Isabel (it houses the Museum of Jangadeiro).
We also recommend the Centre Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura, with exhibition of the best of the Ceara culture. These building shelters, among other, the Museu de Arte do Ceará and the Memorial da Cultura Cearense.
Don’t miss a walk to the craft market, installed in a former prison. All the craftwork of the Northeast is present here, especially textiles (clothes, napkins, curtains)...
And for the gastronomy the favourite is of course the sea food and shellfishes.
On March 15th 1987, the Washington Post published a list of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world. The Brazilians were surprised to see an unknown beach on the Western coast of Ceará at the top of the list. It had a rather strange name: Jericoacoara. From then, adventurers arrived from all over the world to this distant island paradise. And the flow of tourists has just increased, transforming "Jeri" (its short name) into a real legend. Nevertheless, it cannot be compared to other touristy beach resorts. Jericoacoara is still a fishermen’s village, with no big buildings, no asphalt and the telephone communication is still difficult…
Surrounded by dunes and coconut trees, the sunset seen from the largest dune in Jericoacoara is superb. It’s an exceptionally romantic place.
It is a sight to be enjoyed in all its serenity every day, when this ball of incandescent fire plunges into the silky waters of the ocean. Yes, it is as beautiful as a postcard. Hard to resist the temptation of days between the beach and the hammock…
And if Jericoacoara is too animated for you, you wont have to go very far to discover perfection, in Tatajuba for example, a beach populated by a handful of fishermen. If you do not like to move from a place to another often and would like to spend days sipping coconut juice in peacefulness, this is THE place to come.
A legendary Portuguese sailor, Nicolau de Resende, in an ongoing search for a treasure that would have sunk the hold of his ship, discovered instead a most unexpected wealth: the Parnaíba Delta. Saved by the Tabajaras natives after a shipwreck, he sent a letter to the King of Portugal, praising the exotic beauty of the site, trying to imagine for how long this natural wealth would be spared from man’s ‘progress’. Many centuries later, the Parnaíba Delta (also called Delta of the Americas) continues to be as beautiful and magnificent as in the distant past.
Formed by 85 islands covering an area of 2700 km², located between the States of Piauí and Maranhão, the Delta of the Americas is a combination that you could only find on the Nile or the Mékong. Within the same ecosystem, exist contrasting landscapes: rivers, lagoons, gigantic dunes, and waterlogged areas, deserted beaches with the whitest of sand and different kinds of mangroves, typical to the region. Not just fauna, crocodiles, monkeys, turtles, crabs and different species of birds (notably herons or guarás or red ibis which are typical to the region).
L’ilha do cajú (cashew island) is one of the most admirable place regarding the diversity of the delta das Americas.
Originaly occupated by the dangerous Tremembés indiens, the island pass under the control of the Jesuit on XVII century, then it was put under auction after there expulsion of Brazil.
The island pass afterward from hand to hand until 1919, the date of the arrival of a bristish contractor as James Clark.
These descendants, saw the true value and the fragility of their tresor as well, and then they created at the end of the XX century a reserve witch preserved the ilha do cajú, witch stay until today a private property.
Today it is a real ecological sanctuary which reach only privileged persons who get a reservation in the only pousada on the island.
São Luís (Saint-Louis) has had a long multicultural history since it was founded in 1612 by a Frenchman, Daniel de la Touche, during the reign of Louis XIV (for why the city was named Saint Louis) and proclaimed capital of Western France. The city was then quickly conquered by the Dutch, before falling under the control of the Portuguese some decades later .
Successive populations arrived during the following centuries - black, indians and europeans - and gave the city his contemporary mestizo face mainly black.
With a great cultural and historical heritage, São Luís was classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.
But how should São Luís be described? Are we in the North or the Northeast of Brazil? Is the environment tropical, barren, marine or all three, which seem impossible... Nevertheless, São Luís is all these three aspects.
The historical center of São Luís and the 3.000 colonial buildings partly rehabilitated are a wonderful journey in the past.. The work of the painters, sculptors and other architects who had participated to the esthetic of the whole city for centuries, is amazingly homogenous. Colored facades, big mansions with large windows, a dense system of narrow streets which sometimes leads to unexpected places or to a azulejos ornamented stone fountain. São Luís has kept its monuments as well as its diverse influences and obviously its seducing colonial look.
The city get animated in the night abd different groups gather in the streets to dance or to play music. A local expression says "who fall asleep in São Luís wakes up as a poet".
Day 1: SALVADOR
Pick up at the airport and transfer to hotel.
Night at the Monte Pascoal hotel (breakfast included).
Included: transfer arrival, reception with english speaking guide, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 2: SALVADOR
Meet at the hotel at 09:00am with your English-speaking guide for the discovery of the area best representing the heart and soul of Salvador.
With the influences of its African origins, the city has built a unique identity in Latino America, with a daily life animated by capoeira rythms and the religious festivities of the candomblé. In the morning, visit the lower parts of town. Start with the farol (lighthouse) da Barra, a lonely guard at the entrance of the all saints bay, built under the order of Tomé de Souza, the first gobernador of Salvador.
Then you will head to the port area and visit the Sao Joaquim market, an authentic bahianan market. You will continue to the north and stop at the Bonfim church where you can admire an impressive ex votos collection showing the popular devotion to the Senhor do Bonfim in the "miracles room".
The visit will then take you to Ribeira, a always animated popular area. In the morning with the shouting merchants, at midday for lunch (moqueca specialty, a kind of fish and sea-fruit stew) and the night for dancing.
After lunch, visit of the higher parts of town, with the Pelourinho histrorical area. Its prestigious architectural ensemble was renovated in its original bright colors and has superb colonial houses and many baroque churches. The visit (by foot) will start in the capoieira fort where you will enjoy a wonderful scenic view over the bay.
You will ten walk up the rua do carmo until the convento do Carmo (a convent transformed in a luxurious hotel), The visit will be followed with the jewel workshop D’Klays, the house/museum Jorge Amado and the shiny Sao Francisco church with its surprising azuleiros frescos.
You will finish the afternoon at the base of the Lacerda elevador, the crossing of the lower and upper parts of the city, with a shopping time at the Mercado Modelo.
return to the hotel at the end of the day.
Option: half day visit of the " candomblé" followed with a night ceremony, check with us.
Night at the Monte Pascoal hotel (breakfast included).
Included: english speaking guide, entrance fees, transport, excursion, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 3: SALVADOR - FORTALEZA
Transfer to the airport 3 hours prior to departure. Flight from Salvador (flight time and number to be confirmed).
Airport pick up and transfer to the hotel.
Night at the Sonata de Iracema hotel (breakfast included).
Included: transfer departure, transfer arrival, reception with english speaking guide, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 4: FORTALEZA - JERICOACOARA
Departure from the rodoviara (bus station). After a 4 hour bus trip on a sealed road you will arrive to Jijoca where you will switch vehicles. There is another hour on sandy track to arrive to Jericoacoara (in a jardineira, a van adapted as a bus).
Trip in superior class.
Night at the pousada Blue Jeri (breakfast included).
Included: bus ticket, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 5: JERICOACOARA
In the morning, excursion in a dune buggy. 2 passengers with their luggage + a local driver/mechanic per vehicle. You will head to Tatajuba along a wondeful beach. You will pass Bitupitá, a remote fishing village. One of the small islands has five rivers all converging in one place. Tatajuba is the model of a peaceful beach and is recommended for those seeking peace and a good place to set up a hammock. Around you 30 km of white sand and deserted dunes will seduce you to relax. Return to Jericoacoara at the end of the day.
Note: The law of the Ceará requires that only buggeiros (buggy pilots) trained by an authorized organization can drive.
Night at the pousada Blue Jeri (breakfast included).
Included: local guide, transport, excursion, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 6: JERICOACOARA - PARNAÍBA
The departure time for the journey from Jericoacoara to Parnaíba will depend on the tide. Following a track along the shore in your dune buggy, you will pass the tiny village of Tatajuba with its bay its dunes and its coconut tree plantations seen by many travelers as one of the most beautiful landscapes of the Ceará. The 2nd crossing by barge will be in the fishing community of Guriú beach where you will cross the Coreaú River. The little town of Camocim is on the other side. The image of the "jangareidos" fighting against the wind and the waves is typical of the North-East. The women on the shore patiently embroide lace.
A vehicle will be ready for you to drive the last 120 km to Parnaíba.
Night at the pousada Vila Parnaíba (breakfast included).
Included: transport, excursion, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 7: PARNAÍBA - ATINS
Leave in the morning to the discover the delta das Américas in a private motorboat for a good half-day long navigation. Spreading on both the States of Piaui and of Maranhão, the delta extends over 2700 square miles and includes 85 islands. It represents a complexity comparable to those encountered on the Nile or the Mekong.
Arrived in Tutóia, you will head to Caburé with your 4WD. During a 2-hour drive the track will successively take you from deserted beaches to virgin dunes, and you will cross a few modest fishing villages which seem to have been through the last 5 centuries unchanged: you will feel the so particular atmosphere of "end of the world"... You will finally arrive in Caburé, a fishing village bordered by the river in one side and the dunes to the sea for kilometers of desterted beaches on the other side. Then departure in a private boat to reach Atins on the other side of the river after a 20-minute crossing.
Night at the pousada Rancho dos Lençóis (breakfast included).
Included: transport, excursion, english speaking guide, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 8: ATINS
Transfer by 4WD to the desert door, 4 km from town (20 min or 11/2hrs by foot). An isolated restaurant where you can taste the best shrimps of the area, will be your base camp for your half day trip in the desert.
Enjoy the visit of the Lençois with its 100 km of dunes and lagoons. They seem at hand reach although you can only get there after a few minutes walking (and up to a hour depending of the lagoon visited).
Return to Atins after 4 hours spent in the desert.
Night at the pousada Rancho dos Lençóis (breakfast included).
Included: lunch (no drink), transport, excursion, english speaking guide, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 9: ATINS - BARREIRINHAS
Take advantage of the morning to discover another area of Atins (numerous options offered by the guide). In the middle of the day, follow the Río Preguiças by private motorboat, to Barreirinhas. The river shores appear in their full splendor: mangrove, igarapés (waterways), buritis, açaizeiros, coconut trees, tucunzeiros and a colorful fauna never very far: herons, kingfishers and if you are lucky, guarás (a striking red ibis typical of this area). Stop at Vassouras and at Mandacaru, a village endowed by a lighthouse offering from its top a panoramic view of the surroundings. Arrive late in the afternoon in the village of Barreirinhas on the river shores.
Night at the pousada do Rio (breakfast included).
Included: transport, excursion, english speaking guide, guide expenses, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 10: BARREIRINHAS - SÃO LUÍS
Go and discover the lagunas and dunes of the surrounding area. After an hour in a 4WD on rough sandy tracks, you will reach the desert. There everyone can stroll freely to discovery the landscape hidden behind each dune and enjoy a refreshing bath.
Return to Barreirinhas in the afternoon.
At 16:30 take the road to São Luis in a regular minibus (4 ½-hour trip).
Night at the pousada Portas da Amazônia (breakfast included).
Included: transport, excursion, bus ticket, english speaking guide, bedroom and breakfast.
Day 11: SÃO LUÍS
Transfer to the airport 2 hours prior to departure. Flight from São Luís (flight time and number to be confirmed).
Included: transfer departure.
|SALVADOR||Monte Pascoal ****||80 apartments|
|FORTALEZA||Sonata de Iracema ***||117 apartments|
|JERICOACOARA||Blue Jeri ***||28 apartments|
|SÃO LUÍS||Portas da Amazônia ***||21 apartments|
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