I’m one of those who believe that by walking through a place you can see the gist of it . Therefore, in the 11 days I was in Bahia, I walked a lot and took the opportunity to meet people and see how the locals see and move around the city.
From the Barra, where I was staying, it is possible to reach the center by walking. No doubt about it. I did it. You´ll spend 40 minutes. Enjoy this time. Take it easy and enjoy various interesting places in town.
From Barra lighthouse, you can walk up the Avenue September 7, toward downtown. You’ll reach the Corredor da Vitoria, a street known for luxurious buildings, house of several celebrities from Brazil. On this street you will find the Carlos Costa Pinto Museum and the Art Museum of Bahia. If you have a little time between the Geological Museum of Bahia. Downstairs you will find a cinema with a beautiful outdoor café, decorated with stones. Well worth stopping to rest and drink something.
Continuing along the avenue you’ll reach Campo Grande. There, you will find the Campo Grande square and Castro Alves Theatre. In the same region, find the Vila Velha (old town) Theatre. It is a good viewpoint to the city and the sea, also, has a large green area with old trees. You will also find the Casa d’Italia, Praça da Piedade and finally Castro Alves Square. Another great viewpoint of the Cidade Baixa (lower city). In front of the square, there is a cinema of Itaú bank, the entry is released on the terrace and the view is even better there.
Walking over a block, you will arrive at a square where the Lacerda Elevator, Rio Branco Palace (don’t miss the exhibition of art at this point) and Thomé de Souza Palace are. All of them with architecture worthy of admiration. And now a very important tip: at the entrance of the elevator there is a tourist information point, there you can ask for maps of Salvador and Pelourinho.
Next to the tourist information point, are the Cuban ice cream (sorvetes da Cubana). It’s the best fruit ice cream I’ve ever tried. I highly recommend the coconut flavor (a ball BRL $ 6.60 – BRL $ 7.50 two balls). If you’re looking for a more economical option, at the square you can buy a fruit popsicle for BRL $ 1.25, are also very good. Strongly recommend the açai flavor!
To go to the Mercado Modelo (Market Model), you have to take the elevator (BRL$ 0.15). Take pictures of the Lower City while in the square because the elevator is closed and not panoramic, as people believe. Leaving the elevator, across the street you’ll find the market. There you can buy crafts, ethnic foods and all kinds of souvenirs of Salvador and Brazil in general. Take the opportunity to buy the ribbons of Senhor do Bom Fim (12 -14 ribbons for BRL$ 1). Elsewhere you will pay more.
In Cidade Baixa you can go to the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia (MAM). It is a 20 minutes walk from the market. However , the authorities do not recommend tourists to walk that path. Not alone because it is dangerous. It also has no bus stop there. So either you can take a taxi or be stubborn (like me) and walk. Personally I didn’t find it dangerous, but keep your eyes open.
The MAM has a “private beach” which is open to visitors. You can enter in the sea there. Saturdays has a Jazz show at 18h (free admission). Down the stone path to the parking lot, you’ll find one of the best spots to see the Sunset in Salvador.
Returning to the market, you can take a taxi to the church of Senhor do Bom Fim.
A short break to talk about taxis.
The taxis have a meter with two flags. The first is for working days from 6h to 21h, and flag two begins on Saturday at 14h until Monday at 6h, and also applies for transfer to the airport and during the month of December.
Resuming, taking a taxi from the market to the church, on a Saturday afternoon out around BRL$ 24.
Some people say that isn’t worth it going to this church because it is far away and have to take a taxi. Really, once you get there, of course, there’s nothing more than a church (for some people this has no meaning at all). If you have limited time in Salvador, might be a good idea to leave it out.
On the other hand, the church is part of the traditions of the city, and if you are the person who likes to know all the attractions of a place, can’t miss this one. Don’t forget to make your requests to Senhor do Bom Fimby tying a ribbon on the railings of the church. Are three nodes and a wish for each node. If you forgot to buy the ribbons on the market, I recommended you to buy them in the religious stores next to the church, because they are cheaper than the tends in front of it. In addition, in these stores you can find everything related to Candomblé.
Returning to the market and up the elevator, you can enter in the historical center (Pelourinho). Full of color and a beautiful baroque colonial Portuguese architecture was recognized as a World Heritage place by the Unesco. Popularly known for being the setting of the clip of Michael Jackson “They Do not Care About Us” with the Block Olodum.
Also, don’t miss any little street in Pelourinho, all very worthwhile. However be careful at night because some of them are dangerous. Walking just beyond the Igreja Do Carmo, come to Forte de Santo Antonio. From there you can see the current Port of Salvador.
Up in front of the Casa de Jorge Amado, you can take a lemon juice with coconut (cup BRL$ 3 and BRL$ 5). It is so good that became famous all over the city. Don’t miss it! You can also take a cocoa juice (BRL$ 7) at Cafe Brazil in the street Alfredo Brito.
At the Terreiro de Jesus, in front of the Afro – Brazilian Museum, has a typical bar of Cachaça called o cravinho (The Clove). The specialty is the cachaça of clove and cinnamon. Very good!
As for food in Pelourinho, there are several à la carte restaurants and some Buffet per kilo. At the Terreiro de Jesus, you´ll find Cantina da Lua, recognized restaurant in the city, attended by the famous Clarindo Silva (defender of black culture friend of famous Brazilian singers who played their music here). The buffet per kilo costs BRL $ 2.80 / 100g and PF (made dish) BRL$ 15. The Typical Bahian food is delicious. However, you may have a headache at the time to pay, because the system of “comandas” is confusing even for employees. I waited 20 minutes in the line to pay. Definitely not good if you have no patience.
Ahead, in the street Castro J. Rabelo , there is another restaurant by Kg (BRL$ 1.80/100 g). If you want to save even more, before entering the historic center, there are several restaurants with PF (ranging between BRL$8 and BRL$10) on the streets around the Lacerda Elevator .
If you want to know a little more about my fantastic and inexpensive dining experiences read specific post here, moreover , used the public transportation system to lower costs( read post here), met amazing beaches ( read here ) and I was at Praia do Forte, an amazing place (check here) .
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