After my adventures in the remote lodges of the Pantanal I headed to the busy & hot city of Salvador, the capital of Bahia state. In fact Salvador was the 1st capital of Brazil back in 1549 to 1763, the birthplace of a nation & now the 3rd largest city in Brazil. Due to its history with the slave trade today Salvador is the most African city in the Western Hemisphere. Samba started here & the city has the largest carnival in the world.
I loved Salvador & will go back again to spend more time there to enjoy the shops, restaurants etc. It is a colourful city & for me the highlight was the Historical part – Pelourinho section. Here I visited some wonderful boutique Hotels, my particular favourites were Villa Bahia, Solar dos Deuses & Casa do Amarelindo. As I visited them I was sure that so many of my clients would really enjoy staying there. I unfortunately stayed @ 2 of the larger more international hotels- very comfortable but did not have the atmosphere of these small boutique hotels.
From Salvador I had a day trip 50 miles north to Praia do Forte, to do lots of hotel inspections – & did manage to fit in some Havaianas (flip flops) shopping. Praia do Forte is a very popular beach destination, once a sleepy fishing village there is a range of accommodation options. At the top end is the wonderful Tivoli Eco Resort – I had a lovely lunch here & fell in love with the property. They have 3 swimming pools, the beach is gorgeous, large 24 hour gym & they have an award winning spa. My only slight grumble was that they charge for use of the wifi, which I think nowadays is unnecessary. Tivoli is a 2.5km walk from the village but there are tuk-tuks outside that can save the walk.
Closer to the main village centre there are also many smaller boutique hotels. Some are on the beach others are a short walk. My favourites were Via dos Corais, Farol das Tartarugas & Pousada Porto da Lua.
My biggest tip for visiting Praia do Forte would be to try & avoid staying at weekends- the Brazilians arrive en masse & it’s very busy.
My next stop was via a small private plane to the Marau Peninsula & the Kiaroa Eco Resort. I was the only arriving guest that day so had the plane to myself- the views of the coast line were lovely & it was a very pleasant 40 minute flight. The landing strip is by the reception area & after checking in I was taken to my out of this world Malindi bungalow. I only had 1 night @ this property & really wished I could have had longer. The pool & beach were stunning.
After my lovely night @ Kiaroa I then went by road to Itacare, to have what should have been my final night in Brazil @ the Txai Resort. En route I stopped off to visit a lovely, small hotel called The Butterfly House. This is such a beautifully designed & unique property- it was lovely & on a lovely beach. Each room had a theme & Chloe the owner has a fantastic eye for interior design.
I finally arrive @ Txai Resort & similar to Kiaroa I had the most amazing bungalow. This is a Relais & Chateaux property but also a high end real estate development. The pools & beach are great but I did find the service not as good as it should have been & there seemed to be no personal touch. It seemed very popular with couples & especially honeymooners. They offer a shuttle bus service in the evenings into the small town of Itacare. It was a popular surf town with many restaurants to choose from – & I got some more Havaianas ?
The next day I was flying from Ilheus to Salvador to connect with a flight to Rio de Janeiro to then connect with the BA flight that night. I was doing what I would never book for my clients- 2 domestic flights to connect with an international flight, it is a disaster waiting to happen & of course this happened to me. I had wonderful weather when I was in Salvador but on my flight from Ilheus to Salvador a bad storm hit – a 50 minute flight took over 6 hours- stopping at 2 other airports to see if the weather would improve & the captain could land @ Salvador. Eventually we got to Salvador but I had of course missed my flight to Rio & the BA flight had also left Rio by this time.. So I had the extra night in Salvador I had said I ideally would have liked – but I arrived too late at night & the weather was terrible. ?
The next morning I took a flight to Rio de Janeiro, & as I had time to kill in Rio our lovely ground agents sent a car to pick me up & I visited them in the office- which is located in a shopping centre – yes more Havaianas were purchased ? . I was very grateful to my lovely driver Alex for finding the shop for me & patiently waiting whilst I shopped.
We successfully got me away from the shops & back to the airport where I checked in for my flight & made it home- a day later than planned but there you go- these things happen & it is better it happens to me rather than to my clients.
I had a great trip to Brazil & even though it was the usual hectic schedule, I learnt so much & cannot wait to go back & see more.
For our nature lovely clients I cannot recommend the Pantanal enough- it was an amazing area. Culture & beach was also fab in Bahia. So a great all round trip I would say.
If you would like any more information or like to discuss a trip to Brazil with me please call me on 01202 232335 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org