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  • Coastline Falls and forests, beaches and big cities
  • Coast life Out of Africa

A melting pot of African, European and Indian cultures, the state of Bahia, up in the north of Brazil, is as indefinable as its ethnic make-up.

Home to bustling cities – Salvador de Bahia, Ilhéus, Camacari – with a distinctly African vibe, stylish seaside resorts such as Trancoso and Arembepe, and a gorgeous forested interior, it offers everything a visitor to South America could possibly require. And more. If you want to party, the state is hedonism central. Home to capoeira, that leg-spinning, body-whirling dance-cum-martial art, Bahia sparks into life around Carnival time in February. Don’t miss it.

Do go/Don’t go

There’s never really a bad time to go to Bahia as temperatures are high all year round. The summer months of December to February are probably the most fun, as Bahians build up to the big Carnival celebrations; though winter is lovely and sedate, and you won’t have to jostle for space on the beaches.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes The state’s main international hub is at Salvador de Bahia | around 20 miles outside the city centre. European flights tend to arrive via Lisbon in Portugal | while US travellers generally have to change planes in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo. Flights from Lisbon also land at Porto Seguro in the south of the state.
  • Trains Brazil’s rail network suffers greatly from a lack of investment, so it’s not the most reliable way of getting around Bahia. However, journeys – especially along the coast and through the interior – can be beautiful.
  • Automobiles If you want to get a real feel for the state | then hiring a car is absolutely essential. Buses outside the major urban hubs are irregular and frustrating | so it’s much better to have your own wheels. Make sure you ask for air-conditioning.
  • Taxis Cabs are abundant and cheap in the big cities and major resorts, but much harder to find in rural areas. Ask your hotel to book them for you.