North of Salvador are the lovely fishing villages and beaches of the Coconut Coast, including Arembepe, Imbassai and the more upscale Praia do Forte, which borders the Sapiranga Ecological Reserve. The reserve protects one of Brazil's last areas of ancient Atlantic Rainforest. Itaparica, a lush island, 19 km southwest, has several nice beaches and a great view of Salvador across the bay. Every hour, the São Joaquim Ferry makes the 45-minute crossing. A high-speed launch also makes the trip in 15 minutes.
Located just north of Lauro de Freitas, which is just north of Salvador, Buraquinho is located where the river Joanes flows into the sea. It is a charming area of beach houses and well-built barracas and the beach has a lot of coconut trees, strong waves and yellow sand. There is a seaside beach, and a surf-protected riverside beach (salt water) perfect for kids.
This is a very beautiful beach in a town with the same name that was an isolated fisherman's village until the 1970s. In the urban areas the waves are low and have natural pools for swimming.
To the north the sea becomes rougher. In this direction, 1 km away is Caratingui village, which became a hippie hideout in the 70s and today there are some ex-hippies living there.
This beautiful beach has strong waves and clear sand. It runs parallel to the Barroso River separated by a dune, making it possible to swim in either fresh or saltwater. The site is 1 km away from Linha Verde (Green Line), with a dirt access road.
Praia do Forte:
This very beautiful coconut tree-lined beach is 14 km long, where a tourist village has replaced one that used to be inhabited by fishermen, and is located 80 km north of Salvador. It has strong waves, coral reefs, clear and loose sand. The beach is excellent for snorkel diving and other nautical sports such as sailing, swimming, and wind surfing.
It's the national headquarters of the Tamar sea turtle project that nurses the just hatched tortoises, later to be released into the sea. The nursery is a Worldwide Fund for Nature project, open to the public with a small admission fee to cover some of the costs of the facility. During the summer months, December - February, the baby turtles, when they are a couple weeks old, are taken to the beach at night to swim out to sea. The village is part of an urbanization project that seeks to preserve the primitive flora and fauna found in the area. Around the village are lagoons, small streams and waterfalls.
On a hilltop overlooking the village are the ruins of the only medieval castle built in South America; Castelo dos Garcia d'ávila, dating from 1556.
The castle was the home of Portuguese settler Garcia d'ávila, who brought the first head of cattle, mango and coconut trees to Brazil for his farm. Due to the castle's strategic location, allowing for an excellent overview of the sea for many kilometers around, the castle served as a lookout point for schooners sailing towards Salvador. If an unidentified vessel appeared offshore, a horseback-mounted runner was dispatched to Salvador to alert the city of its approach.
Sapiranga Ecological Reserve:
At the time of Brazil's discovery in 1500, the Atlantic Rainforest extended from the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte to the southern cone of Rio Grande do Sul, and then occupied a total of a million km2. Today, the Atlantic Rainforest has been carved out at various points of the country, one of such points being the Sapiranga Reserve.
Extracted as part of the Environmental Protection Area of the Northern Coast, it has the status of "rigorous preservation zone". As it is, its importance is not limited to its great diversity. Some major Brazilian coastal eco-systems, like sandy creek and marshland, depend greatly on the preservation of this zone.
The Sapiranga Reserve is replete with various vegetation species, like orchids and bromélias. There are also various species of endangered animals, like the star-faced monkey with white whisks, coati, king-toad and many others.
The most famous island in Bahia, Itaparica Island is divided into 2 districts: Vera Cruz and Itaparica, which means "stone circle". The island is surrounded by coral reefs and great natural tide pools in the Atlantic Ocean. Itaparica boasts tropical vegetation and a rich cultural and natural heritage. The beaches surrounding the 240 km2 of shoreline offer great diving, walks, horse riding, biking and kayaking, among other activities.
Peru Travel Links:
Inca Trail Reservations