Salvador and Bahia
The former first capital of Brazil, Salvador is one of the oldest, yet most magnetic cities in the country. The air is filled with the pulsating beats of African drums, whilst dancers fiercely leap in to the air as they perfect the art of the Capoeira. The streets are decorated with cobbled stones, gold-laden churches, and pastel hued buildings.
It’s a city of passion, energy and life intertwined with a fascinating history and colonial charm; a result of the cities blend of European, African and Amerindian culture. A visit to Salvador is a must!
Considered as the Afro-Brazilian capital, African heritage dominates the vibrancy of Salvador. The pace and rhythm of life, the cuisine, the mysticism, and dance are largely of African origin.
The energetic neighbourhood of Cidade Alta is an excellent way to absorb and appreciate some of the arts and culture of Salvador. The centrepiece of this barrio, is the Pelourinho church which is surrounded by cobbled streets and a collection of old brightly coloured colonial buildings from the 17th century and ornate churches. Whether it’s a Capoeira display, samba dancers or musicians, day or night, there is always something going on. Further deep rooted in Salvador is a spiritual religion from the Youruba African tribe (Condomble) where it’s possible to witness ceremonies and watch followers reconnect with the African gods.
The wide range of Bahian cuisine is a real festival for the senses, well known for its distinct and delicious flavour heavily influenced by African cooking techniques. Due to its proximity to the sea, meals are predominantly focused around seafood. Particular highlights are acarajé (peeled peas deep fried in palm oil) and large moqueca (salt water fish stew in coconut milk). The best way to experience these delicious delicacies is by taking a cooking class with one of the local chefs.
When you have exhausted wandering the colonial streets and perfected the art of African drumming, right outside of Salvador lies miles and miles of palm-fringed beaches; the perfect antidote after revelling in one of Brazil’s most exciting cities. For a family friendly stay, Tivoli Eco-resort is an outstanding choice for those wanting a splash of luxury mixed in with a gorgeous coastline and plentiful activities to choose from.