Bahia is beautiful. Miles of coastline mean big, bright beaches and rich marine life, and the region’s natural endowments lure visitors from all over the world.

Tamar turtle project in Praia do Forte in Bahia Brazil

After my flight from Rio, I started my trip to Bahia with a visit to Salvador, the first capital of Brazil and one of the most important cultural centers in the country. But Salvador wasn’t all that Bahia had to offer, and I wanted to see more of the region on my short visit.

Boat in Praia do Forte in Bahia Brazil

Fortunately I was offered the chance to do so by Tours Bahia, a company that invited me on a day trip from Salvador to Praia do Forte and Guarajuba Beach.

Guarajuba beach in Bahia Brazil

I was picked up at my hotel at 7:30am and met up with my tour bus at 8:00am. I boarded the bus and started listening to the sounds of samba that were to play over the stereo all day. From there we spent another hour picking up other people at various hotels around the city before we arrived at our first destination: a lagoon made famous by a samba song.

Lagoon in Bahia Brazil

The stop at the lagoon was a quick one, and soon we were driving off to Praia do Forte. I was particularly excited to visit the town because of the famous sea turtle conservation project there. An organization called Tamar had been working with locals for three decades to save five species of endangered sea turtles in Brazil, four of which could be found in Praia do Forte.

Tamar turtle project in Praia do Forte in Bahia Brazil

The first thing we did upon arrival was visit the turtle center. There we had free time to see the turtles swim, learn about their life cycles, and understand the conservation work being done throughout Bahia and the rest of the country. My favorite part about the visit was seeing the baby turtles testing out their flippers in a big pool.

Baby turtles at the Tamar turtle project in Praia do Forte in Bahia Brazil

After parting with the turtles I had some extra time to explore Praia do Forte. The upscale resort town reminded me a lot of Lahaina in Hawaii or Port Douglas in Australia. Pedestrianized streets were lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes, and the beach was packed with sun worshippers from all over.

Shopping street in Praia do Forte in Brazil

At the suggestion of my tour guide, Rachel, I went to a street vendor to try the local Bahian specialty of acaraje. I had been warned by a Brazilian friend that it wasn’t the most appetizing food, but I wanted to try it anyway. Made with deep-fried black-eyed peas and shrimp, it looked delicious. Unfortunately, my friend was right that it was a bit bland.

Acaraje in Praia do Forte in Bahia

What wasn’t bland was the next food I tried. Again at Rachel’s suggestion, I wandered over to Tutti-Frutti, a scoop-it-yourself ice cream shop that sold flavors by weight. I piled my bowl with all kinds of sorbets made from Brazilian fruits I had never heard of. On top of those I placed scoops of acai, pina colada, coconut, and passion fruit ice creams. The end result was delicious.

Turtles made out of stone in Praia do Forte in Brazil

Back on the bus, the next stop on our Bahia tour was Guarajuba Beach. There we found a long, wide stretch of golden sand with rows of tall palm trees on one side and gently splashing waves on the other.

Guarajuba Beach in Bahia Brazil

Along the beach were bars and restaurants selling everything from chicken dishes to caipirinhas. Having stuffed myself full of acaraje and ice cream in Praia do Forte, I skipped the chicken and went straight for the caipirinha. Full of fresh lime and cachaca, it was the perfect antidote to the sweltering summer sunshine.

Caipirinha at Guarajuba Beach in Bahia Brazil

After my liquid lunch I decided to go for a walk along the beach. The water was perfectly refreshing as it lapped at my ankles while I made my way up and down the sand.

Guarajuba Beach in Bahia

The bus was supposed to pick us up at 3:30pm to take us back to Salvador, but it arrived an hour late. It was the only hitch in an otherwise good day. Two hours of samba songs later, I was dropped of at my hotel in Salvador and my day trip in Bahia came to an end.

Praia do Forte in Bahia

I was glad to have seen a few of the highlights of the region, but knew that in a country as big as Brazil, I had barely scratched the surface on my Bahia tour. The area’s islands, inland territory, and other beaches still beckoned, but I wanted to explore the gem in the region’s colonial crown: Salvador.

11 Comments on Lady in Bahia

    • I’m glad you liked it, Andi! You should definitely go sometime if you get the chance! And the caipirinha was really good 🙂

  1. It looks so similar to the beaches in northern Colombia. The last two pictures seems so like the Piscina beach in Tayrona Park.

  2. I love acaraje!!! I have only had it in Salvador, so maybe its more “authentic” there…. You should of visited the town of Imbassai, its about 1/2 hour ride from Praia do Forte and has the best beaches I have ever seen!!!

    • Okay, I will have to try acaraje again if I make it back to Salvador! I am convinced that it should taste good! 🙂

      Imbassai sounds great, too. I will have to add it to my list of places to visit!

  3. Such a shame about the bad luck with acaraje’. I promise you the real ones are delicious, and anything but bland. Hope you have the chance to try them another time. As for beaches, I highly recommend the coast on the South of Bahia next time. If you have a whole week to spare, even better! Great photos!

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