Known around the world for its Carnaval festivities, Brasil’s first capital city also features a breathtaking historical center. Salvador is the capital city of Bahia, a state known for its natural wonders, welcoming people, and deeply-rooted African cultural influences.
The rhythm of Capoeira – a Brazilian dance-like martial art –, the aromas and flavors of local delicacies, the religious syncretism and cultural melting pot are only a few samples of the joie-de- vivre of a people surrounded by natural beauty and who really understand the meaning of the word “alive”. The city is also home to one of the liveliest and most popular Carnaval festivities in the country.
Brasil’s first capital city also has an important historical center, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Pelourinho, featuring Brazilian Baroque churches and age-old mansions.There are over 300 churches in Salvador. One of them is the São Francisco Church, which stands out for its grandeur. Another important city landmark is the Senhor do Bonfim Church, one of the most important symbols of Bahia’s religious syncretism.
Main attraction Barra Lighthouse, Site of the most beautiful and sought-after sunset in the city. Considered one of Salvador´s historical landmarks, the Barra Lighthouse is located in the Santo Antônio Fort, at the Barra Beach, and is one of the main hallmarks of Bahia’s capital city. With a breathtaking view of Baía de Todos os Santos, the Lighthouse is a perfect spot to watch the sun set over the sea. A coffee shop is also available at the site. After the sinking of Portuguese galleon Sacramento in a sand bank opposite the mouth of Rio Vermelho, in 1668, authorities decided to build a lighthouse in that area. The lighthouse’s inauguration date (1698) makes it the oldest lighthouse in the Americas. The 22 m-high tower with a bronze lantern attracts many visitors, who climb up their spiral staircase to see the French mechanism, which is switched on at night and off again in the morning by a lighthouse keeper. Sharing the Fort building with the Lighthouse, the BahiaNautical Museum is also well worth a visit. The Museum features crockery, cutlery and personal belongings of over 400 castaways from the Sacramento galleon.
Religion In Salvador, Catholicism coexists with African religions, bringing together Iemanjá and Our Lady of Conception, Iansã and Saint Barbara, Our Lord of the Good End and Oxalá. The African culture is also seen in music and dancing, such as in the art of Capoeira. African ingredients are also very popular in the cuisine, such as palm oil, coconut milk, ginger and pepper. The acarajé, caruru and vatapá are world-famous typical dishes, served in local Bahia trays.
Salvador is a great starting point for those looking to venture into Costa dos Coqueiros, Costa do Dendê or Chapada Diamantina. Bahia holds jaw-dropping natural preserves and a wide range of charming bed and breakfast and resorts with excellent infrastructure.
Subway or Taxi? Using taxis to move around the city is cheaper and less stressful.
Nearby destinations Approximately 400 km from Salvador, the Chapada displays a scene of towering rock formations and vast plains covered with typical vegetation from the Cerrado biome. Today, the right destination for trekking lovers, the region was once occupied by treasure hunters. Hence the name, in reference to the exploration of diamonds in the region.
This phase ended in 1985, with the creation of the Chapada Diamantina National Park (152 thousand hectares), administered by the Chico Mendes Institute for environmental conservation (ICMBio). In the Park, one of the main attractions is the Morro do Pai Inácio, with a panoramic view of the entire Chapada. Hiking trails, waterfalls, caves, wells, observatories, is everything that is out there. For you to enjoy the most of it, organize your visit according to the length of stay and preferred practices. The tourism infrastructure of the Chapada Diamantina is located in thecities of Lençóis, Vale do Capão, Andaraí, Mucugê, Igatu, Ibicoara, Palmeiras, Conceição dos Gatos, Rio de Contas and Morro do Chapéu. Choose one of these locations as a base between the attractions that you will visit in the region.
Weather Salvador has a tropical climate all throughout the year. The humidity and hot temperatures, however, are relieved by the winds blowing in from the ocean. March is the warmest month, while July is the coolest.
Language The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, which is derived from the language in Portugal, but with different accent and some different expressions. Many Brazilians speak English and Spanish, and in some States, you can also find people speaking German (Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, for example), Italian (São Paulo and Paraná, for example), indigenous languages (Amazonas and Mato Grosso do Sul, for example) and other languages.
Visas to enter Brazil are granted by the Brazilian consulates abroad. Citizens of countries that are members of the Mercosul do not require visas, only a valid passport or valid identity document are required.
Health and Vaccines To enter Brazil, it is not mandatory to vaccinate against any type of illness. However, in the country there are areas with Vaccination Recommendation (ACRV), where it is recommended to vaccinate against yellow fever before your visit. Yellow fever is a disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. So, if you have never taken the vaccine, you need to take it 10 days before your trip (this period is not necessary if you have been vaccinated before).If you have any doubts, check the website of the Brazilian Ministry of Health.
Public health services in Brazil are free for foreign tourists. So, if you are in an accident or present any health problems, just call the Mobile Emergency Service (Samu) dialing 192 on the phone. The call is free.
Electricity In Salvador is 110V and the wall sockets have the shape of a well, to make contact between the finger and the electrical current more difficult and avoid accidents. The plugs have a system that avoid overloading and heating and also provide better linkage with their terminals. The adapter plugs can be easily found in construction stores or in the free shop stores at airports.
Currency and exchange Brazil’s currency is the Real (R$). Foreign currencies and travelers checks can be exchanged for Real (R$) in banks, travel agencies and authorized hotels.
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