My first day in Salvador was a very relaxing one, just sitting at the beach, getting tanned and drink caipirinha which is the Brazilian national drink made of cachaca (fermented sugarcane).
Staying at the beach was really fun as many people came to sell grilled seafood, grilled cheese on a stick (quiejo coalho), and local fruits.
The old town is called Pelourinho and it has an interesting mixture of architecture styles, narrow streets, colored buildings and many churches. Just to mention the most important: Sao Francisco Church, Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, and Our Lady of the Rosary of Black People. While having a walk there I found a group of guys dancing capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines movement of dance with music and acrobatics. Of course I took some pictures of them, and after that I went to see the ladies dressed in huge dresses which made them look very big.
You can get a great view of Salvador by taking Elevator Lacerda. It’s very cheap and you can get a fantastic view from uptown, but be prepared to wait in a long queue, and get ready because inside there is no AC.
If you are looking for budget shopping, then visit the market called Mercato Modelo. You can find many souvenirs and traditional items, and most of them are handmade and very cheap. I bought necklaces, tops, bags, earrings and even sandals. All handmade. You can find these things also at the beach, as people come next to you and try to sell their stuff, but the price will be a little bit higher than in Mercato Modelo.
Another must-do is to book a trip to Isla Itaparica, where you get to see a little bit of the wildlife, with traditional lunch and entertainment.
Some other main sites are Bahia Lighthouse, Fort of Sao Marcelo, Porto da Barra and the best beaches I found were Faro da Barra and Flamenco Beach.
Be very careful as the waves are extremely high. I saw everyday people close to drowning and even myself I had to be saved by a lifeguard.
It’s important to know that Brazil is not safe. I would suggest not wearing watches or jewelry, no expensive clothes, nothing flashy, and try to avoid going out during the night, especially in a club like I did. When I arrived there I found out that there had just been a shooting and they closed the club. At that time I was too young to realize what’s dangerous.
Even though the old town is beautiful, during the night it gets very insecure. I always used to take a taxi because I found it much faster, safer and the price is not so high, but even in taxi a group of guys tried to create problems. Favelas didn’t look very safe either 🙂
But after all I still loved Salvador and definitely wish to return to see Rio de Janeiro, the Copacabana, Sugarloaf Mountain, Ipanema and of course Christo de Redeemer plus Foz do Iguacu.