The coast South from Salvador has endless wide beautiful beaches and a range of different types of beach resort. Porto Seguro is a major resort town well known for it's riotious nightlife; Trancoso is more upmarket and caters towards Brazil's luxury tourism market ; the island of Morro do Sao Paulo is a barefoot getaway type place increasingly popular with younger generations; and Itacare is great for those seeking seclusion. Each of Brazil's beach resorts along this coastline is quite different - so pick your travel destination wisely. Generally speaking, it's a buzzing part of the coastline, many of the resorts having a lively nightlife scene. We'll mention the resorts as we travel South from Salvador.
Morro de Sao Paulo
The island of Morro de Sao Paulo has recently developed into one of the travel hotspots of Bahia in North-East Brazil. Morro de Sao Paulo is fringed with coconut palmed beaches and small little pousadas and hotels. As tourism is booming, the island is rapidly developing. Choose to stay in or near the main town if you're visiting for the beaches and nightlife, or if you seek greater peace and quiet head to some of the pousadas on the beautiful beaches further out of town. There's short flights from Salvador, or you can take the two hour cataraman journey.
See our extensive Morro de Sao Paulo guide (& trip report) for further advice.
Ilha do Boipeba
A couple of hours South of Morro do Sao Paulo is Ilha do Boipeba, an island similar in nature to nearby Morro, but much less developed. This is how Morro de Sao Paulo was before Brazil's tourism boom, which is now beginning to start in Ilha do Boipeba - so now is the perfect time to visit. The beaches are stunning and empty, and there are a few hotels and basic restaurants. Access is usually by boat from Morro do Sao Paulo - it's also possible to visit in a days tour from Morro.
Travel South to Itacare
Travelling South, there's a few small beach resorts before that of Itacare. The area is ideal for those seeking a more secluded beach vacation in Brazil. Itubera and Camamu both have access to fine nearby beaches. Barra Grande and the Marau peninsula have yet to see large scale resort development, but it's unlikely to stay that way for long - the entire peninsula is stringed with beautiful beaches, though access can be difficult without a 4WD vehicle.
The resort of Itacare is one of the latest discoveries on Brazil's Bahian coastline. Itacare is a picturesque fishing village that's fast developing into a sophisticated resort town. The village still remains low key and has some great upmarket and tasteful accommodation options. There are numerous lovely beaches, many of which are ideal for surfing, both North and South of Itacare and within easy walking distance. Itacare is very popular with Brazilian tourists, and can get overly busy during the local tourism season, but still sees few international travellers.
Ilheus & Around
Ilheus is a relatively large town, that also has an aiport proving easy access to many fine beaches just outside of the town itself. Just south of Ilheus, Canavieiras also has many nearby lovely beaches. From here, the road continues south to Porto Seguro, one of Brazil's most developed resorts.
The old town of Porto Seguro is Bahia's second most popular resort destination (after Salvador). There's few empty beaches or peaceful settings here here - Porto Seguro is all about nightlife in Brazil. Everything is overcrowded - lots of jet skis, coach groups and package holidays to Brazil. To the North, the town of Santa Cruz Cabralia is a little more peaceful and has a fine beach.
Arraial da Ajuda
Travel South from Porto Seguro to the resort town of Arraial da Ajuda, which is gateway to the idyllic beaches further South in Brazil. Arraial da Ajuda used to be a laid back hippy style resort - not any longer as it is now well developed with a big party scene. There's lots of bars and pousadas and hotels of all standards. The surrounding beaches are wonderful - but those closest to the town can get very crowded. Arraial da Ajuda is great for a beach based party vacation in Brazil.
Trancoso - Brazil's Chic Resort
As with most of Brazil's beach resorts, Trancoso used to be a sleepy little fishing village. Not any longer - this is one of Brazil's most chic and upmarket beach vacation destinations. There's lots of boutique shops, boutique hotels and pousadas and boutique style restaurants. Gisele Bundchen visits Trancoso frequently, plus other A list celebrities. The nightlife in Trancoso is equally trendy.
Travel South from Trancoso
Travel just South of Trancoso to Caraiva - a peaceful fishing town with no electricity, no hot water, no streets and hence no cars. There's some wonderful beaches nearby, though the area is becoming increasingly popular, despite the difficulties of travelling there. There's various cheap hotels nearby. The road South continues to Prado, with some 16th century buildings and beautiful beaches nearby. Further South still, Caravelas has fine beaches and is starting to see a tourism boom. Further South still is Marinho dos Abrolhos National Park - a great area for diving, and whale watching, though you are not allowed to sleep on the islands themselves (though you can on a boat).
Continue travelling South to find many fine beach resorts near Rio in Southern Brazil ......