Bahia Holidays: an Overview

The State of Bahia is known as 'the land of the drum'. It is one of the most historic regions of Brazil, with a number of important cultural attractions, as well as endless miles of beautiful coastline.

Bahia's capital, the colonial city of Salvador, is considered the country's cultural capital. Salvador is home to the ancient art of capoeira, a martial art developed by the Bahian slaves under the guise of dance movements. You'll also see the Candomblé; an African dance performed by women, with graceful hand movements and swaying hips.

Explore the streets, sample the Afro-Brazilian cuisine, and browse the markets at leisure or let Original Travel arrange lessons in samba dance, drumming or capoeira.

In the interior of Bahia lies a Lord of the Rings-esque land of underground rivers, cacti and table-top mountains. Based in a charming colonial village here in the heart of the Chapada Diamantina, you can explore the scenery on foot or by bike with an English-speaking guide. Breathtaking hikes and mountain-bike trips are interspersed with dips into the many crystalline streams and pools that are safe to drink from as you swim. There are underground caves to explore and for the more adventurous, diving deep into the caves is an option.

On the coast, Trancoso is fast becoming one the hippest beach destinations in South America, attracting celebrities aplenty. The village overlooks perfect palm-fringed beaches and colourful former slave houses cluster around the large main square known as the Quadrado, where everyone gathers to sip caipirinhas and browse in the antique shops, boutiques and local stalls. The atmosphere is one of sophisticated relaxation and flip-flops (havaianas, naturally), linen shirts and kaftans are the order of the day.

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People Practicing Capoeira
If You Do Three Things
A Capoeira Class

If you've ever wanted to try the acrobatic twists and kicks of capoeira dancing, Salvador may just be the best place to do it. In a city known for African soul, you'll visit a dedicated school to try your hand at this mesmerising traditional martial art. Feeling brave? Take your newfound moves onto the cobbled streets where the pros perform at dusk.

Candomble Priestress
If You Do Three Things
A Divine Experience

Visit a Candomblé house of worship where you can watch an authentic religious ceremony unfold. A local guide will take you to one of the city's neighbourhood terreiros (Candomblé temples) where you'll see Bahia's unique religion first hand, with its rich melange of Afro-Brazilian culture and spiritual influences. Watch soulful rituals of singing, dancing and drumming which enable orixas, or deities, to possess the bodies of its white-dressed participants.

Colourful Houses in Pelourinho
If You Do Three Things
Walking Salvador

Stroll around the cobbled streets of the postcard-worthy Pelhourinho, with its colourful old-world mansions and richly-adorned baroque churches. Combine this with a walk along the breezy boulevards and a visit to the historic sea-facing Mercado Modelo. In the late afternoon you'll hear the rhythmic drumming of impromptu capoeira as the smell of frying shrimp fritters fills the streets.

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Map of Bahia

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A Note on Price

Brazil is the most expensive country in South America to visit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t represent great value for money – but it’s still one of our absolute favourites. A two week itinerary starts from £3,500 per person including flights – but if you’re hoping to cover a lot of ground, expect to pay a lot more.

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