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Places To Visit In Salvador, Brazil

While Rio de Janiero is where most tourists in Brazil head, Salvador, Bahia is the place to truly experience the rich culture of the biggest country in South America. The food, music, and people in Salvador are completely unique to the region. Here are a few places to visit if you’re heading to Salvador, Brazil.

Pelourinho

The Pelourinho (pillory) is where the slave trade came in through Brazil, and it’s the historical district of Salvador. The area, featuring traditional colonial Portuguese architecture and dozens of beautiful churches, was renovated in the 1990’s, and is truly the cultural heart of the city. Stroll around the Pelourinho for a little while and you’re almost guaranteed to see some live drumming and capoeira (Brazilian dance and martial art) happening in the square. The Pelourinho is loaded with restaurants specializing in real Bahian cuisine, or you can just buy an acarajé from a Bahiana off the street.

This district is the perfect place for souvenir shopping. The cobblestone streets are lined with artwork, drum shops, clothes boutiques, and more. As a tourist, you’ll be swarmed with local children and adults alike trying to sell bracelets and other knick-knacks- Brazilians aren’t shy! The Pelourinho is also the place to catch some great live music, including Olodum, Brazil’s most famous samba reggae band.

Mercado Modelo

After the Pelourinho, take the Elevador Lacerda (giant outdoor elevator) down to the Mercado Modelo. This market used to be a slave warehouse, and was rebuilt after a fire in the early 1970’s. Now the Mercado Modelo is the place for barter shopping, where you can find everything from arts and crafts, clothes, CDs, DVDs, jewelry, etc.

Beaches

Salvador is known as the destination for Brazilians who live in Rio and need a vacation! As a bay city surrounded by ocean, Salvador has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Some of the most popular are Barra, Piatã, and Flamengo, but there are tons to choose from. Check out this site for more detailed info on all the beaches so you can choose based on what you want to do- sunbathe, swim, or water sports. Wherever you go, you’re sure to find white sand, clear blue water, and tons of barracas selling food and drink.

Carnaval

Many tourists head to Rio’s famed Carnaval celebration, but it’s Salvador that hosts the biggest and best street party in the world every Feburary! In Salvador, you don’t watch Carnaval- you are Carnaval.

During the week of Carnaval, the city more than doubles in size. All day and all night, the streets are packed with revelers enjoying the many parades featuring bloco afros and trio electricos (giant trucks with live bands). If the streets are too crowded, you can purchase a ticket to a camarote, enormous stands built onto the sides of buildings, fully equipped with bars and even restaurants. Camarotes are a great way to see several bands as they pass without roaming the streets.

São João

Can’t make it to Carnaval? The second biggest festival in Brazil, São João, is in June. During this festival, Brazilians head out to the country to spend a few days eating and dancing. The popular music during São João is called forro- the Brazilian version of country music which uses drums and accordions. As always, Brazilians love to dance, and the traditional forro dance resembles square dancing.

Salvador is a beautiful city with friendly people, great food, and some of the best beaches in the world. If you’re looking for a relaxing place to visit, Salvador, Brazil just may be the best destination for you.

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