Prestigious town in Chapada Diamantina.
A small but prestigious town in this protected nature park. It was one of the areas we wanted to visit during our trip to Bahia last summer. Using the Internet we found inspiring information about “Chapada Diamantina”, a vast area that takes its name from diamond mining, which was exercised there in the near history.
Still, the area is particularly rich in precious rocks and crystals. About diamond discoveries in modern times we have heard nothing. Today, the collection of mineral resources in the Chapada Diamantina is prohibited. Other ways of making money came into place, such as accommodation rentals, guided tours, entrance tickets to attractions, restaurants and more services to the tourist industry.
This is a very logical development, given the natural beauty which Chapada Diamantina has to offer to its visitors. It is a beautiful and richly varied landscape of green mountains, often in unusual shapes, lush valleys with waterfalls, rivers, lakes, caves and more.
We traveled there without reserving accommodation, by bus from the main bus station in Salvador. We found Pousada de Hélia, not far from the Lençois town center on the other side of the river. This Pousada is operated by a very nice couple. Trajano, the man of the house, is a certified tour guide and a music lover.
This particular man made a deep impression on me. He radiated a great love for traditional Brazilian music. With utmost respect and very colorful he told me about the origins of this music. The day he was our personal guide to the special places in the area is unforgettable. A bond grew between us. I personally rate meeting this couple as the best experience we had in Lençois. Maybe we were very lucky with meeting Trajano and Hélia – his wife – perhaps all original Chapada Diamantina residents are equally friendly, but we enjoyed a very good time in Casa de Hélia, Lençois, ChapadaDiamantina.
From Lençois we headed back to Salvador de Bahia and stayed there a few days as a conclusion of an outstanding journey of six weeks through Bahia, Brazil.
At the mouth of the Contas river in Bahia lies the charming town of Itacaré. Tranquility is the first word that springs to mind when you arrive at this pleasant town surrounded by lush, tropical forest and which is home to spectacular wildlife, from exotically colorful birds to the little macaque monkeys.
The Bahia area is a vast region of unspoilt land edged by an astonishing 700 miles of Atlantic coastline with beautiful sandy beaches making up most of it. The area has become a boom area in terms of property investment. The Brazilian property market is expanding really fast as the Brazilian people are benefiting more and more from the country ‘s spectacular economic growth. Most of the property investment is taking place along the coastal areas, with the Bahia region possible the most popular in all of Brazil.
That is not only because of the exceptionally pleasant climate which brings good weather all year round but also because the area has seen substantial investment by the government in its transport infrastructure.
Itacaré ‘s tranquility is bound to suffer some disruption from the ever-increasing number of tourists and developments, but you only have to move a short distance inland to feel a world apart from the flourishing new developments directly on the coast.
Traveling along the Contas river towards the village of Taboquinhas, you can still see people using the river as their main livelihood. The river is teeming with brightly colored tropical fish while along the banks the birds try to outdo the fish by flashing even more intense colors. In Taboquinhas, a new project, limited to 5 dwellings, is coming on stream and looks like providing a wonderful investment opportunity. This is an ideal location to explore the rapids further up the Contas, to visit spectacular waterfalls or just marvel at the wildlife and vegetation.
Taboquinhas gives you complete tranquility while still being close enough to the beaches and attractions of Itacaré, giving you the best of both worlds. Itacaré has some truly beautiful, natural beaches like those at Concha -where there are lots of bars and facilities-, Resende, Tiririca and Ribeira.
Whether you just want to chill out and spend your time sunbathing or you would like a bit more activity, these beaches are an excellent option. They are never too crowded and the active-minded will find plenty of opportunities to go surfing. The area also has a number of walking and backpacking options available for which hiring a guide is highly recommended. Moving a little further away from Itacaré, it is possible to find many completely deserted beaches.
While there are plenty of opportunities to listen to local music at night in various lively bars in the coastal area, the entire region is still fairly tranquil and has only become a popular area with visitors since the upgrading of the highway in 1998. Ilheus is the nearest airport and is about an hour ‘s drive from Itacaré. The nearest international airport is at the Bahian capital, Salvador, which is about 4 hours drive away. Connecting flights are available from Salvador.
If you are looking for an opportunity to buy a getaway home in a beautiful and tranquil area that is not too far from fantastic beaches with lively pubs and restaurants, then the plan of a limited exclusive development near Taboquinhas in the Itacaré area is certainly worth to watch out for.
The beauty of Bahia has become a major tourist attraction in Brazil, the largest country of South America, containing a impressive number of touristic top locations. It is the 2nd largest state of Brazil and contains numerous popular destinations with overwhelming culture, friendly inhabitants and more importantly, a heavenly landscape, tempting for visitors and inhabitants. Have a closer look at the natural interior of the state Bahia, where people with African roots represent the majority of the population. By the way: Cacao Coast -Itacaré / Ilheus- is the favorite destination of writer of this article.
Bahian Tropical Beaches
Bahia is popular for it’s comfortable climate round the calendar. Water, suitable tropical temperature and plenty of sunlight together, made this state a relaxing place for all. Summer starts in October or November and the sun reigns almost 9 months in a year. Some great beaches of Bahia with perfect tourist-ambience include: Praia de Apa-Fogo, Praia Itapua, Praia do Forte and don’t skip the more than twenty gem beaches surrounding Itacaré to mention a few top destinations.
A number of rivers flow by and around the state. The rivers are calm and the sea waves are charming. With 40 ravishing islands and more than 15 rivers the state attracts millions of tourists from around the world. The Bahian heritage is preserved in many historical structures. It certainly represents the best of colonial Brazil with its cultural treasures and welcoming population. Popular rivers and waterfalls in the region can be named: Água Branca waterfall, Buranhém River, Caraiva River, João de Tiba River, Vaza Barris River, Contas river. And some most popular island tourist attractions are: Bimbarras, Boipeba, Bom Jesus, Fantasia, Fontes, Atalaia Islands etc.
Waterfalls, Lagoons, Grottos and Caves
Across the state of Bahia there are many natural waterfalls, mesmerizing lagoons and caves. These destinations are adventurous, distant from the central places and amidst the beauty of unique flora and fauna. Visitors enjoy each moment of their adventurous trip to these natural beauties throughout Bahia. Natural waterslides and bathing in waterfalls, the fresh lively ambience in the surrounding, friendly inhabitants and the beauty of green landscapes encircling created many small and cheerful havens of enjoyment in Bahia. There are some audacious caves, only explored by small numbers of tourists. These are unique places within a spellbinding natural setting.
Top 6 destinations in Bahia | Opinions of travelogue editors and pro-travelers
Salvador de Bahia at ‘All Saints Bay’
This is one of the oldest discovered bays of Brazil. Italian navigator Vespucci discovered this big and stunning bay. Salvador, former Capital City of Brazil, overlooks the bay which is encircled by some amazing sceneries. Government has declared All Saints’ Bay as environmental protected area. This area features lovely sea water with numerous beautiful islands. As a whole, the place simultaneously signifies historical importance and immense natural beauty. Heading southbound (Cacao Coast) towards Itacaré through Atlantic Rainforest which is considered by the world’s scientific community as one of the richest combined ecosystems in terms of it’s diversity of animals and plants species in the world. It is also considered as threatened with extinction. Because of this the UNESCO elevated the Atlantic Rainforest to the category of a biosphere reserve and today it is one of the three major conservation priorities in the world.
The principal conservation areas in this region are the APA of Itacaré – Serra Grande and Serra do Conduru State Park. This Environmental Protected Area (APA) is considered a “Heritage of Humanity” and is bordered in the north by the mouth of the Contas River, in the south by Sargi Creek and in the east by the Atlantic Ocean; with an area of approximately 16,000 hectares (40,000 acres) comprising of rich fauna and flora.
This 53km long road along the coast attracts locals and international tourists since 1960’s. The road cuts along the north coast of the state, connecting several major cities and directs among others to well known Praia do Forte. The road was later refurbished and inaugurated in 1993, extended to 192 km at that time. Tourists love the beaches in this area for the calm waves and warm seawaters. The coastline is also known for some stunning lagoons and calm rivers. Nautical sport lovers consider it as a suitable place for participating in various sports. Garcia D’Ávila Castle, a historical monument is another major attraction of this coast.
This is one of the compact natural ecstasies in the state of Bahia. The area features vast tropical forest, plains, mountains, rock walls, caves, waterfalls, rivers, grottos and stunning fauna and flora communities. The place was actually inhabited by Maracas Indians. Later traders, Jesuit priests, foreigners and migrants moved to the vicinity and populated it. The place is known for 50 unique species of orchids, flora and fauna. Chapada Diamantina national park is still one major attraction for the local adventurers. It is located just around the center of the state and considered as an attraction for naturists and cultural tourists.
Pathways to Jiquiriçá
Jiquiriçá basin is located at a distance of 150km from Salvador city. The area is considered as the economic base of the state and it depends primarily on agriculture. The city is basically a city of business and trades for the local people but the natural beauty of this area compels tourists to include it on their explorer list. There are a number of waterfalls, hills, flora, exuberant animal life which attract visitors. The region is also known for some adventurous sports like trekking, fishing, horse riding and canoeing. People living here are friendly; they welcome tourists and explorers and try to help them by all means. The socio-cultural status and festive occasions represent the real imagery of Brazil.
Sao Francisco river and tributaries is a must see in Western Bahia. The region is known for it’s crystal clear water, some amazingly beautiful waterfalls and caves. The region is encircled by a few major cities, such as: Bom Jesus da Lapa, Corrente river valley and Barreiras. The zone is equally attractive for adventure appreciating tourists and people who love to relish peace, natural satiety and quietness.
Bahia currently undergoes renovation, remapping and restating for attracting tourists from around the world. Brazilian Government has declared the region as tourist development zone. The entire area is consolidated and the cities in this region are undergoing major renovation works. Casa Nova, Juazeiro, Curaca and other major cities are preparing to become the upcoming tourist hubs of Bahia.
FIFA 2014 World Cup
Currently Rio De Janeiro prepares for FIFA world cup 2014. Bahia also sponsors football besides Carnivals as it’s native culture. People in Bahia are preparing to provide a grand welcome for tourists and football lovers in the upcoming years. If you’re expecting to attend the event in 2014, don’t forget to reserve your visit to Bahia. And if you’re looking for a natural excursion, you have to know that Bahian beaches, rivers and waterfalls are waiting for you to deliver the experience to never forget.
For those who consider to experience the beauty of Bahia, Brazil, as backpacker or bargain lover, it might be a good idea to visit the CheapOair flight booking site.
Rainforest, Rivers, Waterfalls along Route Taboquinhas.
Because of our land near Taboquinhas, are we there every now and than and each time it is a delight to look, feel, hear and smell what nature has to offer. Many beautiful spots, waterfalls, fantastic river life, abundance of flowers, fruits, birds and more remarkable animals.
Itacaré and Taboquinhas are close, a visit a must
People there love their river, providing for a huge variation of fish, which plays an important part on the menu over there. Above Taboquinhas is the river Contas a rafting paradise. Below Taboquinhas is the river basically the best infra structure as a solution for to and fro travel between Itacaré and Taboquinhas. Not really organised at the moment, but it need to be in the future in my opinion.
The Rio Contas is a beautiful river, a source of living for all inhabitants and creatures around and in this river. People catch their fresh food in the river, from small to really large fish, shrimps and river lobster. They swim and canoe there, refreshing themselves and their horses. Winning sand from the river bottom to sell it and make a living. A few kilometers upwards Taboquinhas is the wild water area, very well known for ‘Rafting’ possibilities. From Taboquinhas downwards the river is calmly streaming towards Itacaré and the Atlantic Ocean.
People around the river are ever so friendly. For instance: we wanted to visit a huge waterfall, visible from our side of the river. We saw a guy canoeing and gestured him to come and talk to us. He did it. We made him understand that we wanted to cross the river in order to visit the waterfall. He took the three of us with him, spontaneously acting as our guide, accompanied us on the walk to the waterfall and waited patiently until we had seen enough and returned with us to the place we started from. Adorable, didn’t ask for money, though, we gave him some. After all, he spend nearly two hours with us. Unforgettable.
Rio de Contas: a paradise river
This title tells you that the writer of this article loves the Rio Contas. Maybe it is a matter of age, but I adore the tranquil part of the river. The part from Taboquinhas until Itacaré. When this is in my power, I would organize a floating quay, a roofed flat boat with a strong enough motor and a schedule for travel times between Taboquinhas and Itacaré.
This would be a fantastic way to travel to and fro this pair of exceptional neighborhoods. Faster than the bus line, no bumping along, hardly as dangerous as a bus or -even worse- a car and with a scenery of utmost beauty. Actually we are talking about a touristic top attraction.
It’s been such a good time.
Sitting there, feeling happiness while watching the sunset makes you realise at some point that this ends. Yes, I have to break away and put my thought to the remainder of the evening, about having a meal soon, weighing the options to choose from. This also is part of having holidays, isn’t it?
Ending the day in Barra Grande
I want to say something about having a meal in Barra Grande. It is expensive. Expensive in comparison to many other touristic areas around Itacaré. Combined with being expensive is the fact that the quality of a meal is certainly not as high as the price.
We discovered an interesting Italian couple. They moved over from Milan, Italy, to Barra Grande to start a new life. Very much due to all the good things I wrote about this area. They are really friendly, deliver a high level of personalised service and… serve out really tasteful food for a somewhat less expensive price than usual over there. Good ambiance, a nice facility, but, yes a but. Their restaurant is not where most people walk. You have to have some luck to find them, or you must ask for them. Unfortunately I can’t find their business card at the moment. When I do, their address will be published here. Their restaurant bears the name “Sapori d’ Italia”, owned by Michela and Stefano.
Italian Restaurant “Sapori d’ Italia”
Michela and Stefano discovered my blog and meanwhile delivered the address in their comment on this article. Here it is:
- Rua Dr. Chiquinho
- Barra Grande
Climate wraps the area in marvelous lush
Taipus de Fora is among the most beautiful beaches of Brazil and a main attraction of the Maraú Peninsula, a half hour by a Barra Grande – four wheel drive – taxi. Taipus de Fora offers ‘clear water’ natural swimming pools and many miles deserted beach.
It was here that we took a photo of huge rain clouds in the sky. Beautiful view, standing in sunshine and cumulus clouds on their way.
We were there in Brazilian winter, a time of regular periods of rain. Not at all bothering though. Temperature is always pleasant and the sun appears every day. Some times for periods and often all day. A fruitful balance to make sure that Bahians vegetation remains fresh and green all year round. Humidity is quite high but not at all heavy to endure. We very much appreciate the climate around Itacaré.
Many people from all over the world were attracted and have chosen to live in Itacaré and Barra Grande. A cosmopolitan atmosphere evolved from the blend, relaxed, remaining typical Bahian but also very different from any other place in Brazil, as told by its inhabitants.
This coastal area is a succession of beaches and – near Itacaré – hills covered with lush tropical forest being part of a massive protected Atlantic rain forest reserve, strongly appealing to ecological tourism while surfers since long acknowledge Itacaré as a surf paradise. It’s good to be there.