City Guide
City Guide


SALVADOR IS THE LARGEST CITY of the nine states of the Brazilian Northeast which contain nearly 39 million inhabitants and some of the world's most beautiful beaches. For the first half of its 500 year history, it was the capital of the New World's southern hemisphere. You can still live this history with its unrivaled collection of colonial architecture as you wander its labyrinth of hills and narrow streets. Until the 19th century, the city of Salvador boomed as a port city with a lucrative local sugar-cane industry supported by a large slave population, and as an international trade broker with easy access to nearby gold and diamonds.
NativesToday, Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, is considered a renowned center of Afro-American culture and spirituality. The list of Salvador's fastest growing exports should include Capoeria, Candomblé and Carnaval, three products for the soul which refuse to be bought and sold like traditional goods and services. Like most art forms, they succeed best when you first give to them. A pilgrimage to this City by the Todos os Santos Bay is a great place to start.
Salvador's Carnival is arguably now Brazil's biggest. The ability to fully participate in high energy events as well as a complete integration of the city's rich and central Afro-American art, culture and music means Salvador's hotel rooms will sell out before Rio's for the Carnaval season. How the huge Rio Carnaval responds to this challenge can only be good news for us. While year-round spontaneous joy and celebration is a natural consequence of the Carnival culture, the summer months of December through February offer many special ceremonies and festival highlights for visitors. A new Salvador Carnival encore festival occurs six months later in October.
Journey from the lower district to the historic Upper City in the morning on the Lacerda elevator, enjoy a bounty of beautiful sights, return to the water in the afternoon before you immerse yourself in the alchemy of Bahia culinary and cultural treasures for the evening. Remember, Bahia is the land of happiness and unforgettable discoveries (particularly for those who plan well).
Also consider before and after Carnaval, there are many beautiful beaches calling your name.
|| Coconut (north) coast || Dende (just south) Coast || Cocoa (Ilheus) Coast || Discovery (Porto Alegre) Coast
Not going for Carnaval, consider getting into the rhythm with another Bahia Event.

As the first capital of Brazil, from 1549 to 1763 Salvador is the gateway to the early and most compelling history of the blending of the cultures which best defines the Americas. No state of Brazil has a greater treasure of history and ecology to protect according to UNESCO's World Heritage list for Brazil

The City

Best City Guides   featuring the insightful commentary of local Randy Roberts  Helpful partnerships for booking places to stay and abadas for trios electricos & tickets to camarotes should keep bahia-online a fresh deep visitor resource for years to come. Good forum for year round event info.

  Salvador by frommer's Well done if not too deep with 14 restaurant reviews and 10 attraction descriptions. By Shawn Blore from the APR-2004 edition.

 Emtursa - Empresa de Turismo S/A English & Espanol  [F] EMTURSA City of Salvador Visitor Information Stands (9)
 Official Salvador City Visitor Site Emtursa's main office (Tel.: 243-6555) is at Largo do Pelourinho 12.  || [F] BahiaTursa Service Centers in Salvador (8) & the state (17)
The main tourist office of Bahiatursa (Tel.: 241-4333) is in Palácio Rio Branco, Rua Chile 2. The office is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm 

The Rest

Officially endorsed by Bahiatoursa as City of Salvador webguide in '97 & '98 providing excellent on-line maps and some listings.
Salvador by Turisnet
Beaches, Churches, Culture and a pleasant year round climate have created one of Brazil's largest pools of hotel rooms

Salvador, Bahia Introduction || Salvador, Bahia part 2 at
By Lonely Planet Brazil - A Travel Survival Kit by Andrew Draffen, Chris McAsey, Leonardo Pinheiro, Robyn Jones,.  (last update Jan. '96).

Getting There TOP
"SSA Salvador,
 ....The City is over 30 km (45 minutes) and a taxi is fixed at US $28 the executive bus marked  Praça da Sé/Aeroporto bus is less than than US $1.
Bus station or Rodviária is 5 km from the city centre and costs about US$4.50 by taxi from Praça da Sé.  It is next to Salvador's largest shopping centre Iguatemi.
There is further info available from Bahiatursa at both locations
 [F] Bus Companies of Bahia (Salvador locations)
Tours TOP
Private Guides: At the Pelourinho you will experience many private guides who will be showing you their ID cards. 
Silvia Vannucci Chiappori is President of Guide Associantion.of Salvador phone: 245-2047 fax 235-2047
Offering several tours w\ hotel pick-up inc.\  beaches and historic
Tatu Tours
Conner O'Sullivan's agency specializing in cultural and spiritual tours, boat trips and countryside excursions phone 247-9322 fax 237-7562 Avenida Centenário 2883, Edifício Victoria Center, sala 105, Barra.  They rent flats for Carnaval too
LR Turismo
Largest agency w\ 9 types of multilingual tours phone 247-9211
Itaparica Turismo
Avenida Manoel Dias da Silva 1211, Pituba (Tel.: 248-3433)
Amaralina Viagens Barra (Tel.: 336-1099)
Itapemirim Avenida 7 de Setembro 1420 (Tel.: 321-6633)
Tapoan Turismo Campo da Pólvora 21, Centro (Tel.: 321-0141)
Turbahia Avenida Estados Unidos 60, Cidade Baixa (Tel.: 243-8598)

Organized Tours

Where To StayTOP

Salvador, Bahia by
Lists Star Category, Rooms, Daily Rates, Telephone, Fax for over twenty hotels Porto Seguro has over 80 listings if your considering an extra leg to your trip.

Food & Drink TOP
FOOD has had a central place in Bahian culture since colonial times when the Baihianas, who now proudly display their freshly made dishes on street corners, dominated the kitchens of slave owners.
Bahian cooking uses an abundance of West African ingredients like palm oil and potent peppers. Look for Vatapá: a kind of porridge made from rice flour, ground nuts,, ginger, mint and palm oil or Xinxim: chicken prepared with onion, garlic, shrimps and pumpkin. Bahian dishes are plentiful and served w\  side dishes like forofa de dendé : manioc flour fried in palm oil.  Moquecas (stewed fish, shrimps and other sea foods very spicy), bobó de camarão (stewed shrimps with manioc sauce), sarapatel (made with little pieces of pork)  are some of the most famous dishes served in specialized restaurants. You cannot miss the chance of eating a delicious acarajé, typical delicacy from Salvador. With their cooky sheets placed in the sidewalks, baianas prepare this little cake with beans paste, vatapá, shrimp and hot pepper.

& find dozens sorted by categories

Restaurants by frommers - 14 reviews

The Flavor of Brazil
 "Where cuisine is king and dessert is a treasure." A history of Brazilian dessert from Godiva chocolate, recipes included. Bahia grows 95% of South American chocolate.
 [F] Improving Sidewalk Food Vending: Anvisa

Getting Around TOP
Orienting yourself to Salvador's hilly narrow one-way streets is not an easy task. There is a good bus system which your hotel host may help you to use. Know where your hotel is located, so can always use a taxi should you become inclined. Acquiring  a Map is always a good idea. The Lacerda Elevator connecting the high and low City runs daily form 5am to midnight.   There are 2 others
Bus: Rodoviária or main bus station is 5km from the City center.

Praça de Sé is the busy bus stop near the Pelourinho center at the top of the Lacerda you will get to know. Praça de Sé is also the name of the bus to take to visit the Atlantic Beaches as far as Praia Famengo and Avenida da Franca
Taxis: Are plentiful as is the usual advise about negotiating in advance if you don't see or trust the meter
Renting a car is best left to the locals unless your doing a day trip.

/bahia/airports/ is our transit guide page for both state & city.

Calendar TOP
Includes a listing of venues w\ phone hombres and addresses.
Our guide to annual events
In the evening, Salvador's cool winds and outdoor cafes become most inviting. The Pelourinho, in particular has tremendous variety of night time activity....The folkloric shows here are more authentic with very talented musicians and dancers....It is easy to bar hop in the Barra and some of the most happening spots will be on Avenida Setembro de 7. One of the best places to see contemporary bands is the beach neighborhood of Rio Vermelho. Teatro Castro Alves is home to the Bahian Symphony Orchestra and the Balé (ballet) de Castro Alves and the occasional concert. Teatro Vila Velha is a famous place to catch a show.


What's happening by bahia-online
Weekly list & a few special events

nightlife & clubs by frommers
Tuesdays are known in Pelourinho as Terça da Benção (Blessed Tuesday). It's the day parishioners of the São Francisco de Assis Church give out bread and donations to the poor. Somehow, this simple act of charity has grown into a happening street party that kicks off every Tuesday after the 6pm Mass.

"Girls from Bahia have the fame to be fairly hot and sexually quite accessible. Try flirting with regular, non-prostitute girls...Use a local guide, to avoid muggers and straying into bad neighborhoods"  

Sex in Salvador in our aforum (for straight males)
Compiled from postings from the savvy world sex guide postings including tips on safety & places to stay.

Bahia Interior TOP
Diamond Mountains || Chapada Diamantina Maps & Guides

Estado da Bahia (Official State web site)
The state's tourist industry is booming providing many new culturally oriented opportunities
West of Salvador, Bahia by LonelyPlanet for
In depth info about Feira de Santana, Chapada Dimantina, Lençóis and day trips from the highly recommended town plus the story of the 3160-km Rio São Francisco which has been the lifeblood of the region for Nordestinos since the drought prone expanse was farmed.
Taming of the São Francisco river by
Using the waters of the São Francisco river to irrigate the Northeast is an old idea that may be coming soon. ||
A beautiful mountainous region identified with the town of Lençóis. The park was established in 1985 and the town is named after the sheets the diamond miners used for tents which once sprinkled the fascinating landscape. About 7 hours by bus from Salvador      
The main City of Bahia's interior at the crossroads of BR-101, BR-116 ^ BR-124 2 hours by bus from Salvador.... The town produces one of the biggest replays of Salvador Carnaval in April. The 60+ year tradition is called Mircareta and lasts  5 days with plenty of wild partying while featuring the best of Salvador Carnaval and numerous local blocos, samba schools and folklore groups. A major Carnaval of interior Bahia
A town of 50,000.

Bahia Coast TOP
State of Bahia enjoys Brazil's longest coastline and includes some exceptional beach resorts. has a huge site with most of it available as an English version

Elsewhere in the Northeast TOP
The nine states of the Northeast are:
Alagoas & Sergipe || Bahia || Ceará || Maranhão || Paraíba || 
Pernambuco || Piauí || Rio Grande do Norte.

Northeastern State of Sergipe by Lonely Planet for
Located 519 miles north of Salvador w\ the NE's major International airport the city boasts a spectacular high-rise beach resort of  Boa Viagem and further out are the unspoiled beaches of Tamandaré, São José da Coroa Grande, Maria Farinha and the famous Porto de Galinhas.
O Povo produces an excellent >  [F] Natal
Cleanest air, closest to Africa, growing international community and miles of deserted sandy beaches to dune buggy.

 [F] Recife-Olinda Brazil's 3rd great Carnaval Region

 [F] Fortaleza Most northern and modern
 [F] São Luís  Where the northeast meets the amazon. reggae capital and home to the spetacular Bumba Meu Boi festival.

Talk About It TOP
Brazil Forums at Frommers

  [F] Internet Cafes in Salvador

Bahia Travel Questions at

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Aforum
Regulars to  know that you can find the freshest information and contributions from others in our

Photos TOP
Weather TOP
Salvador has a year-round tropical climate. The city lies between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator and has an average temperature of 78°F (26°C) year-round while in the summer (DEC-FEB)  you can expect 85°F to 100°F. With over 2,220 hours of sunshine a year, there is little precipitation; most of it falls between April and August .Summer clothes can be worn year-round, and fashions are very casual. City coasts feature warm waters for inviting swims. High season is OCT-APR.  While the sea breeze and lower humidity generally keep things fresh don't think you can do without the sun block lotion.
 [F] Weather Salvador
Maps TOP
practicus-salv.gif (3687 bytes)

Thank you for the excellent on-line maps to the 7 main districts  of Salvador.

Our image server.

Find some simple district blow-ups and lots of resource links. See Beaches above for English.

Tourist Regions of Bahia by bahiatursa ||

Coastal Maps of City Locations by bahiatursa
Map Coqueros Coast Northernmost Coast of Bahia
Map Baia de Todos Santos: Salvador
Map Do Dende: Valenca to Itacare
Map Cacau Coast Itacare - Ilheus - Belmonte
Map of Descombrimento: Belmonte-Porto Seguro-Prado
Map of Baleias Southernmost Coast: Caravelas, Abrolhos


Monuments & Attractions
It is often said that Salvador has a church for every day of the year in truth there are about 165 and many of the best are within walking distance from each other near the historic town center or Pelourinho.    highlights include 34 colonial churches; the Museu Afro-Brasileira, which is dedicated to Black culture; and the Elevator Lacerda, an Art Deco structure with clanking electric elevators which truck up and down a set of 85m (279ft) cement shafts in less than 15 seconds and carry over 50,000 passengers daily between the port and the hilly historic section of the city.
 [F] MUSEUMS of Salvador

 [F] Churches in Salvador 

 [F] FORTS of All Saints Bay

by the posada
illustrated highlights

& (15) Find hours, addresses & phone numbers

Salvador Churches, Attractions, & Museums, & Festivals & Entertainment by Lonely Planet
Elevador Lacerda, Pelourinho, Mercado São Joaquim, Praça Tomé de Souza, Museu de Arte Sacra da Bahia, Cidade Baixa, Igreja Nosso Senhor do Bonfim are a few of many topics covered.

Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Salvador's most visited and famous churches. Built in 1745, the City   knows it as the shrine where wishes are expressed and miracles happen.

Beaches TOP
Salvador Beaches by
Boa Viagem
Boca do Rio  Corsário 
Jaguaribe / Piatã


Farol da BarraFlamengo Itapuã_ Itapoan
Jardim de Alá
Ilha de Tinharé
Islands in the Bay
Lagoa de Abaeté
Pedra da Sal  Piatã
Porto da Barra
Rio Vermelho
São Tomé
Stella Mar

City of Salvador
Barra, the famous highrise hotel section of Salvador where  Carnaval  parades is also the first beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The Bay of Saints is host to the new Salvador Bahia Marina (est. 2000) Also recently opened near Salvador is Porto do Cais Marina (est.1999), adding space for over 1000 boats. 

Itaparica is the large lush island at the center of the Bay only 12 miles from Terminal Turistico Maritimo. Crossing takes about 45 minutes.
Itaparica Island, All Saints Bay by Lonely Planet on

(10) - 6 free.

Safety & Tips TOP
Disque Turismo (dial tourism) Tel.: 131; Pronto Socorro (first aid) Tel.: 192; and Polícia Civil (police) Tel.: 197.
You should not hesitate to use taxis particularly at night. Don't carry more cash than you need and don't hesitate to give it up if confronted. Don't leave your money where pickpockets can get at it in crowded locations. Don't leave anything on the beach you would miss. Carry a photocopy of your passport and don't expose a valuable camera outside the Pelourinho.
According to Lonely Planet "The Lacerda Elevator is renowned for crime, especially at night around the base station" Still its much better to take the elevator than attempt to climb the stairs.
Arts & Culture TOP
Every Baiano has the potential to be an artist. As the saying goes, "O baiano não nasce, estreia" -- a Baiano isn't born UFBA Universidade Federal da Bahia
Indian Culture TOP
The nearly 200 distinct Indian societies represents one of the greatest cultural treasures of the world.
Afro-Brazilian Connections TOP
documentation and advisory service about the crossroads between Christianity and black religious tradition. Since 1992, by in Salvador, Bahia (Brazil).
Aging collection of articles, ideas & links.
The racial cul-de-sac
By W.J. Nelson for 6/96. The current state of black & white in Brazil contrasted with the U.S.A. .
Zumbi Dos Palmares
By Nei Lopes. Zumbi's colonial story is a great one which has parallels to the Afro-Brazilian cultural movement today.
AfricanStud.gif (13298 bytes)African Links by sas.UPenn.edus || Travel || Arts || AfricanStudies || Black/African Resources || Africa Links by Country || maintained by Ali B. Ali-Dinar Phd.
The web's #1 guide at University of Pennsylvania, receiving almost 150,000 visitors per month.
Portuguese colonizers mixed with the native Indians and African slaves (mostly of Yoruba and Quimbundu origin, corresponding to modern-day Nigeria Benin and Angola). Dutch and French colonization also took place in the Northeast.
Museu Afro-Brasileiro
a fascinating insight into afro-Brazilian culture, with sections on candomble, capoeira and Carnaval.

followers dress in white and honor hundreds of native deities in terreiros (or cult houses) all over the city, it is possible to witness ceremonies as some terreiros accept visitors as long as they dress accordingly and are respectful.
DownloadCandomble Directory by bahia-online
"addresses and telephone numbers for some of Salvador's principal terreiros de candomblé. I think that intending observers should be aware of the fact that, from their point-of-view, the ceremonies may last a long time without a lot of the dramatic highlights they may be expecting. "
Capoeira Directory by bahia-online
Find 13 mestres  
NGO's Non-Governmental Organizations  TOP
An open space for the exchange of information and documentation concerning the activities of our 19 NGOs dedicated to improving the Environmental  Educational, Social Action, and Trade Unions of Bahia
Arts & Youth NGO's of Salvador by
Featuring insightful  comments by volunteer 

loggo2.gif (4212 bytes)
Bagunçaço is an arts organization (NGO) working with children and young people in a poor part of Salvador, Bahia.

DownloadVolunteer work by bahia-online
Projeto Axé, Action for Brazil's Children (the ABC Trust), Didá, Bagunçaço, and Mãe Preta

 [F] NGO's in Salvador, Bahia

Gay & Lesbian TOP
In town, Avenida Sete de Setembro, around Praça da Sé and Praça da Piedade, as well as Pelhourino's Praça Pedro Arcanjo, are known cruising areas. Saturdays at Farol da Barra beach and Sundays at the Barraca Aruba, a beach kiosk at Praia dos Artistas.

Grupo Gay da Bahia Rua Frei Vicente 24, Pelourinho (tel. 071/321-1848 great resource for gay travelers    info on  recreational opportunities as well as on local social issues.

  •  7 days Rua Teodoro Sampaio 160, just behind the Biblioteca Nacional (tel. 071/328-6220;
  • Rua Dias d'Avilla 33, Barra (tel. 071/267-6215;  Open Thursday through Sunday;
Lists of Links TOP
By Universidade Federal da Bahia (Portuguese mostly).
bahia-flag.jpg (7760 bytes)City government at || state of 
"The phrase "cut the atmosphere with a knife" is often over used, but in the case of Salvador it is an understatement. In all my travels (109 countries on every continent) I have never visited such an electrifying city and that includes Rio. Perhaps it was the fact that it was Christmas but the city was alive with music, you haven't lived until you have heard "White Christmas" to a samba beat.
 [F] Travel Tales & Tips to epinions
Shopping TOP
Mercado Modelo
Located in the former customs building Praça Cayru, Comércio (just across from the Elevator Lacerda), the Mercado Modelo has around 300 merchants Also known as Feira de São Joaquim its a well known landmark, located down on the water just beyond the ferryboat terminal.
Sete Portas (Seven Doors)
Salvador's other primary "open air" market,
within long walk of Pelourinho via Baixa dos Sapateiros,  close to Santo Antônio.


Capoeira Angola
Entrancing CD w\ notes by master capoeistra Mestre Moraes


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Last updated Mar, 2011