Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

A multicultured, multifaceted place, discover brilliant beach life, airy colonial plazas and infectious samba rhythms as you explore this Brazillian melting pot. Sat on a scenic peninsula, idyllic beaches coat the city on three sides, and a historic fort sits just offshore, watching the waters menacingly. One of the world’s biggest carnivals is thrown towards the end of February, but don’t worry if you miss it – there's always an excuse to celebrate something in Salvador de Bahia. The old town – with its lemon and duck egg blue colours - rises above the city, peppered with gold-leaf flourishes and carved historical churches. Pelourinho street is one of the town's most dazzling - a picturesque gathering of bright hues and uneven cobbled streets. Bahia’s capital and largest city was Brazil's first capital, built on the backs of slaves imported from Africa. Since then the cultures have fused to create a vibrant Afro-Brazilian cocktail. Moqueca is the local flavour here, a slow-cooked stew of coconut milk, seafood and bell peppers, its a creamy and delicious indulgence with a chilli kick. Enjoy a spot of relaxation on the city's beaches - and see a relatively rare phenomenon in Brazil - sunset dipping over the sea's waves, on the sands of the westerly facing Porto da Barra. Or, escape the crowds and recline below swaying coconut palms on the golden sands of beaches reaching up to the north, which are some of Brazil’s most picturesque and secluded.

tour 1 Discover the culture of Salvador de Bahia

Experience the many faces of Salvador de Bahia during a scenic and informative sightseeing tour of this historic city. Founded in 1549, Salvador was the capital in the heyday of the slave trade. The legacy remains today and the resulting culture in many ways outshines the rest of Brazil; in music, many of the greatest names from the mid-20th century to the present hail from Salvador.

Salvador de Bahia Depart the pier via coach with your English speaking guide for an approximate 20-minute scenic drive via the Ladeira da Montanha hill, offering great views of the immense All Saints Bay, to the Campo Grande Square and continue through the elegant tree-lined Vitoria Avenue with its towering condos towards Barra district. Barra Lighthouse Descend the Barra Hill passing the Yacht Club to Porto da Barra beach, site of the landing of the first governor general in 1549. Continue along the bayside boulevard to the Farol da Barra Fort and Lighthouse where bay and ocean meet, one of the city's most important landmarks. Continue along the coast road to Rio Vermelho, the city's bohemian district. Nestled at the northern end of the Rio Vermelho beach is the Casa de Yemanjá, a shrine to the African deity of the sea, one of the most revered deities of the Candomblé pantheon.

Ceasinha Market - from photos looks very much your average market. Ashort drive takes you to the bustling Ceasinha Market, favoured by locals when purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and other sea foods, plants and flowers, coffee and chocolate from Bahia. After a short stop, rejoin the coach and head towards the lower city via Vasco da Gama Avenue where Brazil´s oldest Candomblé temple is located. The Tororo lagoon is located at the end of the avenue and it is here that the wonderful sculptures of the Candomblé pantheon by leading artist Tati Moreno located midwater. Pass the Fonte Nova soccer stadium at the opposite end of the lagoon and wind your way to the lower city. Pass the work of another great local artist Bel Borba and his magnificent sculpture of Irma Dulce, Brazil´s next saint.

Sorveteria da Ribeira The iconic Sorveteria da Ribeira (established in 1931) offers a mindboggling choice of tropical ice creams and sorbets. Make a brief stop here to enjoy a refreshing ice cream and taste this local flavor of Brazil. Bonfim Church View a touchstone of Brazilian Catholicism and undoubtedly the country's most famous church of pilgrimage and deeply connected with Oxalá, the African deity of creation. Built in 1745, the holy structure sits on a peninsula outside of the city center, now famous for its power to affect miraculous healing cures-transforming it from a rather ordinary church into a popular shrine. Re-board your coach after your church visit and return to pier, approximately 30-minutes away.

tour 2 Birdwatching Salvador

Take an excursion to see the incredible birdlife waiting for you in the Vale Encantado, one of these few remaining pockets of Atlantic Forest located in a residential suburb of Salvador. This enchanted place lives up to its name, with an area of more than 2,000,000 square meters that is home to dozens of different endemic bird species. Vale Encandado is part of the Atlantic coastal region, which is home to the magnificent Atlantic Forest. Along 17 states in Brazil, only 8.5% of Atlantic Forest are covered by significant stretches of forest. This section of the great forest contains a towering forest as well as the shrubby, low growth, more open, restinga vegetation growing on sandy soil, providing two ecosystems under the one canopy. The Vale Encantado is a favored spot for local birding enthusiasts in Salvador. Access to the birding area is granted via a residential gated community. In the park alone, there have been identified 130 different species from a total of 228 in all ecological areas of Salvador.

Depart the pier and drive 30 minutes to the gated area of the reserve. Enjoy two hours of free time along the trail for birdwatching, where you may see endemic species such as the Rufous-tailed jacamar (Galbula ruficauda), Saíra beija-flor (Cyanerpes cyaneus), Saíra-pérola (Tangara Cyanomelas), Rabo-branco-rubro (Phaethornis ruber), Brazilian Tanager ( Ramphocelus bresilius), Violet Capped Woodnymph (Thalurania glaucopis), Sooretama Slaty Antshrike (Thamnophilus ambiguus) and a species threatened with extinction, the elusive Speckled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata). Departing the trail, enjoy a well-earned snack. Drive to Rio Vermelho, home to a local popular square for a tasting of the acarajé, a fritter-based sandwich made with shrimp and other delicious fillings. Return back to the pier with a full heart and stomach (20-minute drive).

tour 3 Botanical Gardens and African Roots

 

tour 4 Canoeing Through History

Discover the importance of the Bay of All Saints, from colonial times to the current day, on land and aboard your canoe as you travel the bay's calm waters. Take your watercraft near the shores that are teeming with local nature as you learn the history of the largest Bay in Brazil and the crucial role it plays in preserving the natural environment and the well-being of its people. This same beautiful Bay used to be a waterway of attacks on the once Portuguese-dominated land. Depart the pier for a short drive to arrive at Porto da Barra beach, featuring a small cove of peaceful waves and water. Visit the local fortifications of Santa Maria and Sao Diogo (exterior only), where military force used to work together by crossing fire in order to mutually protect themselves from potential intruders. The fortresses are both from the XVII century and were built to defend the Bay of All Saints from the landing of any enemy in that access to the South of Salvador, such as the Dutch attack led by the Count Mauricio de Nassau in 1638.

Next, transition to canoeing to learn a little more about what unfolded in the city throughout the times since the colonial era. Walk to the beach and board a millennial canoe after some introductions, and set out to explore the surroundings. Row down the waters passing by the rocky coast of Vitória neighbourhood with its imposing buildings, and the dwelling of many local artists. Pass by the community of Gamboa that guards the history of black enslaved Africans, Indigenous and ancient fishermen. Also pass by the ruins of the Sao Paulo da Gamboa Fort, until you reach the waters in front of the Museum of Modern Art, where there is time to stop for a nice swim. Continue your journey via canoe to return to the Porto da Barra Beach. Lucky guests may spot sea turtles or even humpback whales that visit the region from July to October. Before your tour concludes, stop in to one of the fortresses for a taste of coconut water and a tapioca snack to replenish after your time out on the water. Return to the ship.

tour 5 Cycling the Atlantic Shoreline

tour 6 Sail Boat & Cooking Expedition

Explore the largest bay in Brazil aboard a sailboat on this full-day tour. The Bahia is home to an ecosystem of stunning biodiversity throughout its mangroves, Atlantic forest and coral reefs. Based on a number of ongoing environmental projects, the bay has been declared a protected area, and all the activities must be in harmony to preserve it. Enjoy the chance to appreciate the bay's natural beauty while learning of its simple local cuisine, using the best fresh seafood for an exclusive meal.

Depart the pier and walk to meet your sailing boat to begin your navigation of the bay. Before the culinary portion of the tour, learn about the importance of this waterway to the commerce during colonial Brazil. This wide and deep bay enchanted Portuguese navigators and was considered attractive to settlers for its natural anchorage. Trade has flowed into large exports and also resulted in the largest traffic of enslaved Africans to the new world.

After your history lecture, have a cooking lesson in the ship's little kitchen. Your chef teaches you as they prepare your delicious lunch featuring the freshest seafood around. Head back on deck to enjoy the nice breeze (and eventually, lunch!) until reaching your destination, one of the local Islands. Take a swim or relax on the island's beach, or spend some time walking on the island to learn about the local community. Then it is time to head back to Salvador, with a splendid panoramic view of the city before you. Return to the ship.

On to Porto Seguro

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