To the south : Trancoso, Corumbau and Itacare
In addition to the young shrimp in its mangroves and the bold bright macaws of its tropical jungle Trancoso, 450 miles south of Salvador, is home to another rare species : the jet set. Everyone from Robert De Niro to Steven Spielberg, Naomi Campbell to Princess Lalla Salma, has fallen for this typical Bahian village, which 30 years ago had no running water or electricity, but is home to some of the best beaches in Salvador. While villas now stand alongside the fishermen's huts, they are inspired by their neighbours' discreet rustic charm, and blend in with the environment. In the shade of mango trees, a very bohemian chic atmosphere lingers over the Quadrado and its bright-coloured facades. This green esplanade overlooking the ocean gives the village its pulse. Totally dead at siesta time, the pace accelerates in the late afternoon around an impromptu football game in front of the small Portuguese church. Then, the enticing scent of red palm oil wafts from the shops, lanterns illuminate the terraces, and the sound of bossa nova rises: Trancoso is in full swing. It makes it hard to leave the eco-chic haven Uxua : 9 restored houses in the heart of a botanical dream. Trancoso's true treasure, however, remains its beaches, emerald jewels set at the foot of an ochre cliff, in the shadow of the jungle. The first one is a ten-minute walk, while the others can only be reached by miles of track.
Still further south, the ocean laps a nine miles-long strip of sand: Corumbau - 'far from worries' in the Pataxo language - another tranquil hideout for humpback whales and fishermen. This is a well-deserved slice of paradise after a few hours of trail or boat.
Nearest to Salvador (249 miles) : Itacare. This village, buried in the Atlantic forest, where efforts are being made for its protection, has 15 beaches (Resende, Tirica, Hawaizinho...) which are revered by surfers and others.
Offshore: Boipeba and Morro de Sao Paulo
93 miles south of Salvador, in the protected archipelago of Tinhare, the island of Boipeba lies on the estuary of the Inferno River. It's a name that was no doubt intended to discourage visitors from landing on this paradise lined with pristine beaches, lobsters and coconut palms. The same scenery can be viewed on the nearby island of Tinhare, which is accessible by boat from Salvador : Morro de Sao Paulo, a hill surrounded by beaches and natural pools, which first attracted pirates before it was stormed by partygoers from around the world.
To the north : Praia do Forte
Its about nine miles of white sand, dotted with natural pools formed by the reef, and which attracts VIP guests from September to March: sea turtles. These tranquil swimmers, who lay their eggs in the fine sand, have been supported for nearly 30 years by the Tamar project (tartarugas marinhas). The members of this organisation - often former fishermen – ensure that the spawning grounds are protected. You can follow their work between a surfing class, a riding trip to Sapiranga Reserve and a whale-watching trip to sea.