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To enjoy the sea in Salvador, there are several options. In the eleven days I spent there on Easter Holiday 2014, I had no doubts. I enjoyed the most. At Barra, where I was staying, there are two beaches: Porto da Barra and Farol da Barra (Lighthouse). Both have easy access, has plenty of people during the weekends.
Praia do Forte has the biggest waves and the sea is agitated, perfect for surfers. There are some rock formations. In the morning, when low tide, there may be pools in the sea.
At Lighthouse Beach the sea is another. Calmer, but deeper.
Sombrero (sunshade): BRL$ 3-10
Chairs: BRL$ 5
Coconut water: BRL$2.50 to 3
Acarajé: BRL$ 7
Can of beer: R$5
Stan up Paddle 1 hour: BRL$ 20-30
30 minutes of guided Snorkeling: BRL$ 130
At Barra, you can take the bus S002 Airport /Praça da Sé to the beach Buracão in Rio Vermelho Neighborhood. The beach is less frequented by tourists. Or you can continue to Itapuã, where, by contrast,the beach is quite crowded.
In Itapuã, you can take a bus to Flamengo beach. from the Barra is an hour and a half trip. My recommendation is to leave early in the morning and spend the day at Praia do Flamengo, coming back in the afternoon. The beach is bigger, but the depth of the sea is less, you can walk a few meters inside the sea.
If you do not have much money to spend, you better bring something to eat and drink. Prices in Praia Flamengo are a bit more expensive. There are two restaurants (Barracas) known in the region. The Barraca do Loro e Barraca Pipa. There you can eat typical dishes between BRL $35 and BRL$75. Another economical option is across the street, next to the Barraca Loro, there serve Hamburguers and Toast for about BRL$ 7.
In restaurants there are toilets and showers that can be used without any problem even if you do not consume anything.
Umbrella with 2 chairs: BRL$15 – 20
Coconut water: BRL$ 4 -5
Acarajé: BRL$ 8
Beer Can: BRL$ 8
Fruit juice (300 ml): BRL$ 8
Caipirinha: BRL$ 13
There are other options of beaches in Salvador. One is the island of Itaparica and ilha dos frades (island of Friars). However, this is a more expensive option because you have to hire a tour which costs around BRL$ 45 -. 65 the boat leaves from the Ferry Terminal (at the back side od Mercado Modelo) and goes to the ilha dos frades, there, you can stay two hours and then goes to Itaparica where to stay another two hours back to the terminal in the late afternoon.
There is also the Morro de São Paulo. the trip cost BRL$ 70 and takes two hours. Not a good idea if you suffer from motion sickness at sea.
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 the city by walking, approaching the view of local people (read here) and I was in Praia do Forte, an amazing place (check here).