When I first have seen those colorful pictures of Salvador I told to myself: “I have to visit this place!” When I went to read more about it on the internet I was like: “No way I am going there! My life is still too precious to me!” If you google world’s most dangerous cities it would be somewhere in the top 20 (together with many more Brazilian cities and the rest of Latin America). But then I went on booking.com and checked hotels’ reviews. And I thought: If thousands of tourists from different countries go there and write positive comments, then it can’t be that bad after all? =)
On the 25th of July we have landed in sunny Salvador! We took a taxi and went to our nice hotel in the historical center, in the district of Santo Antonio. The guy on the reception has welcomed us with memorable words about his hometown:
“It’s not a paradise, it’s more like a hell. But a good hell!”
Well, very promising! Then he has shown us a map and circled the area where we could go, the rest outside the circle should have been avoided by all means! We were good tourists and were very much willing to follow the rules. So we only walked around marked streets and never went looking for adventures… It worked fine for us, no incidents, no disappointments ^^
The city of Salvador was founded in 1549 and was the first capital of Brazil. It was as well the first slave port in the Americas and thus has become a center of Afro-Brazilian culture. Being a wealthy colonial capital for 250 years it has gained very beautiful architecture, that can be enjoyed in the historic city center called Pelourinho. These colorful houses were just amazing, so bright and so exquisite in their decor. I literally wanted to take a picture with every building
but I didn’t have my selfie stick with me !
The main square is fantastic
We have spent one day just walking around and enjoying this beauty. We have bought some souvenirs and witnessed impressive bargaining skills of Sasha! While walking around in Salvador you have to be careful with “tourist attractions” like capoeira dancers or “baianas” (black ladies wearing traditional dresses). Don’t take out your camera unless you are ready to pay for it! Just a glimpse at them (let alone a photo) and they are right there demanding their tips. They are very insistent and once you’ve taken that photo you can hardly get away without paying at least 5 reais (which is a bit more than a euro).
On our second day we went to the lower town (the city is divided into 2 parts: the upper town with historic center and the lower town with port and beach).
In the afternoon we were in a hurry to get to the Senac restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet (closes at 3 pm). It’s a buffet with a big variety of bahian specialities. Great opportunity to try all kinds of local seafood made in different ways!
In the evening we went to a bar to relax and watch beautiful sunset. We stayed for several hours drinking some overpriced cocktails, talking to random people and enjoying magnificent view!
Last bahian breakfast and we were leaving for the island …
Morro de Sao Paolo
When I was researching the information about Salvador, a lot of people were mentioning Morro de Sao Paolo – a tropical paradise for beach vacations. It is around 2,5 hours boat ride from Salvador (don’t forget seasickness medicines as the sea can be rough) and we decided to go there for 2 days to chill and swim in the Atlantic ocean. We bought the tickets the day before and around 9am next day were ready to travel to the island.
It was pretty much as expected: the paradise!
The water was warm and the sun rather strong (in the middle of local winter!), so some of us got burnt without using the sun block. A lot of Argentinians and Uruguayans around coming for holidays or for work (the latter ones). I had some nice chats with people in Spanish and it felt so good to be in Latin America… Fun all over!
We had some great seafood for lunch&dinner. Moqueca is a local speciality – fish/seafood stew with coconut milk, vegetables, spices and I don’t know what else. We had it twice and it was delicious! Highly recommended!
View from the top of our hotel and our tiny swimming pool.
2 nights were definitely not enough! If you come here, stay longer! I wish I had spent here 2 more days (or at least 1 day) that I have lost on Sao Paulo =)
Our way back was very rough! This time we didn’t go by boat to Salvador, because the schedule was not convenient for us (we had to be at the airport by 1pm, and the boat was leaving at 11.30). So we have taken a small boat to the mainland (20 mins), then a bus (2 hrs) and then a big boat again (1 hr). All of that was organised by one company, so we only bought our tickets once. The first small boat was a nightmare! It started raining very heavily… really really heavy tropical shower like a wall! And it was a small boat for like 15-20 people with a simple motor, the roof had many holes and the water was dropping on us. The boat itself was skewed to one side and I was preparing for the worst! The only reassuring thing was that I could see the mainland and that it was relatively warm, in case it would eventually sink… hehe.. Nothing happened in the end and we arrived safely, but I was scared I have to admit. =)
Our second boat was much better and gave a lot of opportunities for people watching.
If you are still in doubt whether to go to Salvador and Bahia, do it! Beautiful place with great culture and wonderful beaches!
More about Brazil: