5 Days in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
An Immersive Afro-Brazilian Adventure
by Kwin Mosby
Lifestyle: For Solo Travelers and Couples
Salvador de Bahia, Brazil’s third largest city, is the center of the country’s Afro-Brazilian culture. And it’s palpable when you step off the airplane and enter the city limits… this metropolitan hub embraces and celebrates its rich history and culture.
During Brazil’s slave trade from 1501 to 1866, Angolans became part of country’s history and multicultural tapestry by diversifying Brazil’s indigenous and Portuguese traditions. It’s impossible to leave this vibrant city without having a complete sensory overload.
Based on our Vacation expert tips, here are some of the best ways experience Salvador through five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Just click one of the icons on the right to start your Bahian adventure.
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SALVADOR DE BAHIA: 5-DAY ITINERARY
In addition to our 5 Senses, 1 City interactive, we also wanted to tell you about a few unique experiences you shouldn't miss out on when visiting this vibrant Brazilian city.
DAY 1 – Pelourinho – Capoeira Dancers in Largo Terreiro de Jesus
Head to Salvador’s historic Pelourinho neighborhood to see capoeira dancers spring to life with an Afro-Brazilian martial art form that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. Watch as men play drums as capoeiristas hypnotize onlookers in slow movements, while trying to encourage tourists to engage in an expressive faux battle. It’s an unforgettable, mesmerizing experience you must see in person. Just in case you didn’t know, capoeira was developed by Angolan slaves in the 16th century to cleverly mask high kicks, spins and other fighting techniques with what appear to be friendly gestures to normal bystanders.
DAY 2 – Pelourinho – Olodum and Balé Folclorico da Bahia
Put on your samba shoes and dance while listening to the pulsating sounds of Olodum, a samba-reggae group founded as a bloco afro – a Bahian Carnival Association that showcases African heritage through music, dance, theater and art. Black Brazilians developed the samba-reggae type of Carnival parade music. Despite their exclusion from Rio’s Carnival, Olodum rose in popularity by collaborating with famous singers, including the King of Pop, yep, Michael Jackson. Not to be outshined, Balé Folclorico da Bahia – Brazil’s world-renowned folkloric dance company – also performs traditional Bahian dances that retell the legends of deities through bursts of color, percussion music and song. Speak with a Vacation expert about where you can see these two popular groups perform.
DAY 3 – Pelourinho – Shop for Local Artwork
Bahians’ warm, friendly nature is prevalent in the art galleries located in the Pelourinho neighborhood. Locals like artist Andre Gallo go beyond encouraging pedestrians to buy local artwork, including his own, at Arelive Art 3 Gallery on Rua Gregorio de Matos. Equipped with his skill for quick-witted banter, Andre takes the extra time to offer willing tourists travel tips on what to see and do. And maybe you’ll be lucky enough to make a quick jaunt down the street with him to get a quick introduction to the owner of Chocolates Marrom Marfim and to sample a couple sweet treats. After you’ve walked away with a couple pieces of art, stop at Odoyá to sip on a glass of wine al fresco while a local guitarist serenades you as night falls. Need more sustenance? A Vacation expert help you find restaurants that serve traditional dishes such as feijoada or moqueca. É tão bom (It’s so good)!
DAY 4 – Museu Afro-Brasileiro – Explore Salvador’s History
See firsthand some of the most breathtaking exhibits to capture Bahia’s Afro-Brazilian culture. The Afro-Brazilian Museum holds the state’s most important collections, including wood carvings, baskets, pottery and other artwork and crafts linking Brazilian and African artistic traditions. And you cannot leave this popular tourist attraction without seeing the room in the museum dedicated to Argentine-born Carybé, one of Salvador’s most renowned 20th-century artist – who carved 9-feet-tall, wooden panels that depict 27 deities and the spiritual powers that followers believe they possess. The museum also showcases artifacts indigenous to Brazil including sculpture, pottery and clothing. It’s no herculean task to make this part of your Salvador trip. A Vacation expert can arrange your trip to the Afro-Brazilian Museum, Museum of Gastronomy of Bahia and more!
DAY 5 – Porto da Barra – Unwind with Beach Time
End your five-day cultural experience in Salvador with a little R&R on the beach. Get to Porto da Barra before noon if you want to claim a prime stretch of sand. This beach may not be the best place for swimming, but it’s perfect if you want to rub elbows, chat and dance with local hipsters. It’s crowded on Sunday, but watching the sun set while listening to live music makes it all worthwhile. Other beaches in the city include Praia Plata (family beach), Praia Corsario (nicest beach along Avenida Oceanica), Boa Viagem (“working class” beach) and Praia Itapua (located in an artist village). Relax… don’t stress out! A Vacation expert can do the extra legwork to help you choose a beach that suits your personality and find a convenient hotel just a few feet from the beach.
THE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Our Vacation expert tips will help you start the process of planning your sensational trip to Salvador. Take a look at these quick facts about the Salvador's weather, currency, airfare and other factors you may need to consider before booking your trip!
BEST TIME TO VISIT
- Mid-December to March is summer, high tourist season and usually the best time to visit.
- Travel between September and November (spring) to avoid crowds.
- From LA (LAX) or Miami (MIA) to Salvador (SSA)– $1,200-1,500 round trip.
- Book 3-6 months in advance.
- Consider one or more stops to lower round-trip airfare.
- Hottest: January at 82°F (28°C)
- Coldest: July at 77°F (25°C)
- $1 U.S. Dollar = R$3.20 Brazilian Real (Google Currency Converter)
Brazilian Portuguese is spoken in Salvador -- even though you can get away with speaking English here. But just in case... here's a few greetings and phrases you should know.
Hi! = Oí!
Goodbye = Tchau
How’s it going? = Tudo bem?
Good, Thank You! = Bem obrigado. (m) Bem obrigada. (f)
Do you speak English? = Você fala inglês?
How much is this? = Quanto custa?
Are you ready to travel to Salvador de Bahia? Then...
BOOK YOUR BRAZIL TRIP NOW!
Inspired to travel to Salvador de Bahia? One of Vacation’s on-call experts can match you with a Brazil specialist who will plan a vacay you will love based on this itinerary or customize one based on your allotted vacation days, interests, budget and group size.