- Bahia (NE Coast)
Bahia is one of Brazil’s 26 states. Situated on the northeast coast, it is the fourth most populous state and the fifth largest in size.
Bahia’s capital city is Salvador (also known as Salvador da Bahia) and is located where the Atlantic Ocean meets the bay of All Saints. Bahia is the Portuguese word meaning ‘bay’ and this area was first seen by European sailors on All Saints Day 1501.
Bahia is an area rich in history. Sugar was a main product of the area during a period of time, but Bahia is now the main producer and export area of cacao in Brazil. This is also one of the richest states in mineral production. All of these industries are represented in the surrounding areas, with public buildings often having some decoration representing an industry.
While Rio suggests elegance and sophistication, Bahia tends to be at the other end of the spectrum. It is a heady mix of ancient and modern, all with the resounding beat of music in the background. The people here are happy, relaxed, friendly and sociable. They clearly enjoy life and so will you in this not to be missed area. This is a place where people come to chill, socialise, eat, drink, dance, surf and of course swim.
Salvador is a vibrant town which is attractively decorated by its palm tree-lined, white sandy beaches. These are tropical idylls where you can meet new friends while you soak in the sun.
For sight-seeing there is a really good bus service that can take you little further a field. You can visit older villages, a light house and also fishing villages where you can really get a glimpse into the past.
The cuisine here, as well as the music derives from strong African links. The architecture, buildings and home styles of Salvador are a characteristic which can sometimes surprise visitors. Much of the town was built when this was the economic powerhouse of South America and many of the buildings are splendid. Juxtaposed to this display of the wealth of past times, is the landscape of often unpainted clay brick houses.
Irrespective of where they live, the residents are outgoing and do not see ‘strangers’ but simply ‘friends they haven’t met yet.’
Salvador da Bahia is a tropical city and the weather tends to be glorious. There are seasonal variations and it is important to be careful in the height of the summer but you would have to go a long way indeed to find a place with a more perfect climate. Winters are gentle and not too cold, although just occasionally temperatures can dip at night. It can be rainy or sometimes humid, but this is a place where your soul is nourished by the weather conditions with average temperatures in the winter of 22°C and a wonderful 35°C plus in the summer.
Flights to Brazil are frequent and easily available. This is an eleven hour trip if you fly direct from one of the major U.K. airports. Most major European cities have very good connections via Lisbon or Madrid, to a number of Brazilian destinations. TAP-AirPortugal offers weekly flights from Lisbon to Salvador (direct), with connections available from London Heathrow, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris Orly, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Geneva, and Milan Malpensa.
Air Europa (www.aireuropa.com) has weekly direct non-stop flights from Madrid to Salvador with connection from London (Gatwick). As of this writing, if departing from North America, American Airlines was the only direct flight we could find from Miami to Salvador, an 8 hour and 10 minute trip.
Other major US and Canadian carriers fly from most major US cities in cooperation with Brazilian airline TAM and will connect first in either Paulo, or Rio de Janeiro.