DMC & Incoming Tour Operator to Brazil and all of South America BIT 25 Years

Salvador

It is affectionately said that "when Bahians are not actually participating in a festival they are rehearsing for one." The people of Bahia, a fusion of Africans, Native Americans and Europeans, are always looking for a good time. Now imagine this with colonial architecture and marvellous beaches...they call it "the land of happiness".

 

Discover more about Salvador

The City

Salvador is an unique place, where a magical air intermingles with reality to form an unique harmony. It begins with the religious syncretism that unites all the saints and orixa. Equally fascinating is its striking setting of narrow winding streets and steep hills that divide the city in two: the Upper City and the Lower City. Connected by the famous Lacerda Elevator that carries passengers in four cabins, there is a distance of 72 meters that separates the two cities, which is also bridged by the Goncalves and Pilar trolleys which run on inclined planes, and modern avenues that contrast with the historical aspect of the old city.
Founded by Tome de Souza in March of 1549, and blessed with sunshine almost all the year round, this city maintains unaltered by the passage of the years the enchantment of its churches, townhouses, mansions, fortresses and architectural ensembles. The Pelourinho area - one of the most important vestiges of Brazil's colonial architecture - forms the heart of Salvador's Historic District, which extends from the Terreiro de Jesus to the Praca dos Quinze Misterios. The most important relics of Brazil's rich heritage are in this area, such as the Sao Francisco Church, also known as the Gold Church, and the Basilica Cathedral.

The regions perfect climate, rich folklore and fertile environment have had a nurturing effect on Bahia's people; the" baianos" are warm, strikingly handsome and deeply creative.

Their love of spontaneity, joy and beauty sets the atmosphere of their streets and the tone of their religious ceremonies and festivals. In Bahia, each and every day is a cause of celebration.

Salvador is also known as the "Land of Todos os Santos" (all Saints) , or the "Land of the Orixas" (the gods) brought from West Africa by the "Yoruba" slaves. Despite the city's pride in having a church for each day of the year, throughout the city there are hundreds of "terreiros" - Candomble houses. With its dynamically colored clothing and necklaces, rhythmic drumming, dancers in trance and singing summoning the gods and saints, Candomble, among all the expressions of Afro-Brazilian religion, is in a class by itself.

Another outstanding expression of Bahian folklore is the "Capoeira", a combat/dance, popular among young men, based on the movements and gestures of African dancing. It is practiced with the musical accompaniment of the "berimbau", a wooden "gourd" attached to a wooden bow strung with wire, and plucked with a coin. In Brazil, the slaves transformed these movements and gestures into a form of hand-to-hand combat. Today, "capoeira" is once again a dance and its blows have become solely symbolic gestures sliding harmlessly past the opponents body.

Not to be forgotten are the beaches and islands facing the city of Salvador, where one can find the calmness of kilometers and kilometers of white sand on weekdays and the gaiety and typical happiness of the locals during the weekends on famous beaches as Itapua and Piata.

History

Salvador da Bahia was, according to tradition, founded on All Saints' day (Nov. 1) 1501, giving rise to the naming of the bay as Bahia de Todos os Santos. In 1549 Portuguese settlers arrived to found a defensive city at the mouth of the bay. Salvador da Bahia became the capital of the new colonies of Brazil and remained so for the next three centuries.
The city's wealth initially came from sugar cane export followed closely by tobacco cultivation. Cattle raising in the interior and diamond and gold mining, increased the city's richness. Today the results of this affluent period can be seen in the numerous examples of luxuriously decorated churches and other colonial buildings.

The first slaves were brought to Salvador early in the 16th century from the west coast of Africa. Slave numbers increased rapidly giving the city the largest African population of Brazil. The slaves that arrived in Bahia guarded their culture and traditions under the guise of different catholic rituals. This careful preservation of African traditions has led to a rich cultural diversity in the region. Bahia is called as the Soul of Brazil or the Africa of Brazil. Traditional Bahian cuisine includes many of the ingredients that you might find in any West African country.

Other African traditons that have survived into present day life include Candomble and other religious rites, Capoeira, a dance style combat form and many musical rhythms.

The seat of government was moved to Rio in 1763 as the decline of the sugar industry and the increase in coffee production in the more southern states moved major economic activity to the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Nowadays Salvador is a monument to the colonial history of Brazil, as well as the centre of Afro-Brazilian culture.

General Info

TELEPHONE AREA CODE
071/

CLIMATE
Salvador lies within the tropics and enjoys a year-round temperature between 20o and 30o Centigrade. In the summer it is not as humid as Rio for instance, as soft winds blow in from the Atlantic. Unlike other northern states, Bahia has regular periods of rain. It is not uncommon to have rainfall for several days in a row.

CLOTHING
Light weight clothing is suitable all year round. Casual clothes are the norm here.

ELECTRICITY
110 V

AIRPORT
The capital has an international airport, about 30 km from the centre. Most hotels can be reached driving along the beach road from the airport.

HOTELS
Salvador has a wide range of hotels catering for all kinds of visitors from businessmen to sunseekers, low-budget to luxury.

BUSINESS HOURS
Most offices and stores are open from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday. Stores are also open on Saturday from 10am to 1pm, while most of the large shopping centers, open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 10pm. Salvador has a number of 24-hour convenience stores, many of which are located at, or close to, main gas stations. Banks are open Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm.

TAXIS
Salvador has an extensive fleet of taxis which can be hailed in the streets, as well as a series of special taxis operated by licensed companies, which can be found at the airport, hotels or booked by phone. From the international airport and the main shopping centers most of the special taxis work on a fixed rate by area, which is paid in advance at the company's own desk above, which the price must be displayed.

How to get there

The international airport, 2 de Julho, is situated 30km north of the city.

Highways are fast and the hotel areas can be reached in about 30 minutes. (Hotel Sofitel is only 10 minutes away)

Specially trained guides will receive clients with a name board and, on the way to the hotel, they will give all the necessary information about arrangements for the client´s stay in Salvador.

For those who opt not to make use of this important service, other transport is available:

There are two air-conditioned airport buses that leave about every 30 minutes; one goes to the centre (Praca do Se) and the other passes by the Rodoviaria Bus terminal, ending at Comercio. The driver will stop wherever you ask him along the route.

Important: on departure, we recommend you to take a taxi to the airport as you may have to wait up to half an hour with all your luggage and often with no shade or shelter. It is probably worth paying the extra dollars to avoid the possible hassle.

There are also taxi companies at the airport. They work on a rate fixed by area, which is paid in advance at the company's own desk, where the price must be displayed. Prices range from $US 40 - 60, but if you speak some Portuguese you could negotiate a cheaper rate, closer to that charged by the common taxis. ($US 30 - 45)

Restaurants

Bahian cuisine is a must, without any comparison. Please refer to "Related Texts"

Amado - Av. Lafayete Coutinho, 660 (Comércio), tel. 3322-3520

Soho - Av. Contorno, 1010 (Bahia Marina) - tel. 3322-4554

Casa do Benin XX $$ - Lg. do Carmo, 17 (Pelourinho), tel. 326-3127; cc: Mc, V, 11h/24h; sun.11h/18h. closed mon.

@ Uaua XXX $ - R. Gregorio de Matos, 36 (Pelorinho), tel. 321-3089; cc: all, 11h3O/15h, 19h/21h30. Closed mon.
Dona Joana runs the well organized and friendly kitchen. Beautifully located in the old part of town.

@ Yemanja XXX $$ - Av. Otavio Mangabeira (Jd. Armacao), tel. 231-5770, 11h3O/24h.

@ Agda XXX $$ - R. Orlando Moscoso, 1 / Av. Otavio Mangabeira (Praia dos Artistas), tel. 231-2851 cc: Ae, 12h/16h3O, 18h/24h. Closed Tue.

@ Dona Chika-ka XXX $ - R. Jose Castro Rabelo, 10 (Pelourinho), tel. 321-1712; cc: all, 11h/15h, 18h/23h; sun 11h/16h.

@ Casa da Gamboa XXX $$ - R. Joao de Deus, 32 (Pelourinho), tel. 321-3393; cc: all, 12h/15h, 19h/1h; sun 12h/17h.

Casa da Gamboa XXX $$ - R. Newton Prado, 51 (Gamboa de Cima), tel. 336-1549; cc: V, 12h/15h, 19h/23h3O. Closed sun.

Cantinho do Mar XX $$ - Av. lemanja, 100 (Boca do Rio), tel. 230-8346; cc: Ac, Mc, V, 11h/24h.

Bargaco XX $$$ - R. P, Qd. 43, lt 18/19 (next to Centro de Convencoes) (Jd. Armacao), tel. 231-5141; cc: all, 12h/24h.

A Porteira X $$ - R. D. Eugenio Sales, 89 (Praia dos Artistas), tel. 231-7924; cc: all, 11h3O/15h3O, 18h/24h. Closed mon.

Solar do Unhao XX $$ * - (beira-mar) - Av. do Contorno (Gamboa), tel. 329-5580; cc: all, 12h/24h. Performs very interesting folklore show during dinner. Located in wonderful setting. A touristical "must".

Night Life

A must is the Pelourinho, located within the Colonial City. Declared part of World Heritage by UNESCO, it has become the largest cultural and leisure center in the city since the majority of the area has been completely restored by the State Government. With the implementation of the project Pelourinho Day and Night a wide variety of high quality shows and attractions on a permanent basis are presented. There are even activities for children.

In Quincas Berro d'Agua, Tereza Batista and Pedro Arcanjo Squares musical groups perform a variety of styles including jazz, blues, bossa nova, "Brazilian Popular Music" (MPB), samba and chorinho. In Jubiaba Square visitors can participate in live rehearsals of local carnival groups such as "Indios and Afros". On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, musicians perform on Pelo street corners. On Sundays it is the kids' turn to enjoy themselves with a variety of activities at Terreiro de Jesus.

For those who want to enjoy the build up to Carnival, the best night-time options are the rehearsals of the Afro-Carnival groups Ara Ketu and Olodum. The rehearsal of Olodum - the group that burst onto the international scene when it recorded with Paul Simon - attracts thousands of people, and it all happens on Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons in Pelourinho Square. The rehearsal of Ara Ketu, every Thursday on Rua Chile (near the Colonial City), is a meeting place for good-looking and free-spirited people. The bands that accompany the most well-known Carnival groups perform frequently at the city's most important dance clubs.

The hottest bars and restaurants are in the Pelo, the most renowned of which are Alambique, offering an incredible range of cachacas from all over Brazil and the famous "cravinho", a cane liquor and clove infusion; and Habeas Copus, among many others operating in the newly restored squares. In the Pelourinho, there is a feeling of security since the Tourist Police Battalion are headquartered in the Colonial City, to provide safety and useful information to tourists.

Along Salvador's coast there is a wide range of bars and restaurants. The "in" crowd and intellectuals prefer Rio Vermelho, where several traditional bars and restaurants are located, with new ones opening each summer. This neighborhood is also home to the Fish Market or Mercado do Peixe, where young and old alike wind up the evening with local delicacies and ice-cold beer. Another well-known neighborhood is Barra, where an eclectic mix of hundreds of bars and restaurants attracts a considerable number of visitors. The newest night-time attractions, micro-breweries and dance houses are located in Jardim dos Namorados. In Salvador, there are at least four big nightclubs where revelers can bop until the wee hours of the morning.

See More Destinations