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Route of Cocoa

Route of Cocoa,
Salvador to Porto Seguro.

The beginning of the Route of Cocoa, Porto Seguro, is near where the first Portuguese ships arrived in 1500 to establish the European origins of Brazil. Your starting point, Salvador was founded soon after, and as a city encapsulates the ethnic mix and character of Brazil: Aboriginal, African, and European.

The ‘Bahianos’ have a special harmony with nature; they know how to enjoy life without destroying their environment. However, colonial Brazil survives just below the surface in Bahia.

As the first capital, Salvador’s old town has many buildings reflecting its Portuguese heritage. The Dutch, attracted by the riches that were exported from here, also coveted this piece of the Brazilian coast, so you will also find their influence. The Historic Centre of Salvador, frequently called the “Pelourinho”, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

However, Bahia’s soul is undoubtedly African. The rounds of capoeira (a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music) form opposite the Mercado Modelo or in the Pelourinho itself.

Bahian music and its rhythms are reminiscent of African drums, and are in display during the Bahian Carnival which contrasts with Rio’s Samba influence. The colour and smell of the food draws from the recipes of Africa, with Dende oil, cassava, and okra. Beliefs in the spirit-based Orixas and Macumba religions have their origins with Africa.

Lovers of luxury beach tourism will be attracted to the trendiest and highest quality resorts on the Brazilian coastline – famous names like Trancoso, Comandatuba Island, Praia do Forte, Costa do Sauipe, Itacare and Morro de São Paulo. The range of possibilities is enormous, ranging from multinational hotel chains to small and charming Eco-resorts, all of very good quality.

Plenty of beaches include surfing spots, fishing spots, and many places with calm waters and idyllic scenery. Coexistence with nature is always there and you do not have to look far to find it. The lush Atlantic Forest with its luxuriant flora and fauna surrounds the traveler, together with the cacao, another African exotic imported to Bahia.

On the Route of Cocoa to Porto Seguro you can stop in Itaparica, Morro do Sao Paulo, Boipeba, and Marau (Barra Grande). Include Ilheus for some history and architecture, and Itacare for surf lovers.

Once in Porto Seguro, you should leave time to go to Arraial D’Ajuda, Trancoso and maybe Caraiva, a day or more for each, and perhaps for a visit to Porto’s old town, a fazenda (estate farm) or an Aboriginal Reservation.

Whatever your interests, this area of Brazil will satisfy.

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