We awoke in our Ibis hotel in Salvador, like daisies springing from a freshly mowed lawn in Summer. The room ceased to spin and my stomach had finally stopped doing backflips. Finally, it was time to go on holiday. (If you’re behind the times we were horribly ill for like 5 days and now we are finally seeing the light… of health, not death… *cough*)
It was bright and early in Salvador, the capital of the glorious state of Bahia in Brazil, and we packed up everything ready to head to Itacaré (where we should’ve been the night before). We rushed to get back to the airport, only 10 minutes away, to pick up a rental car to begin our 5-hour journey. A small town on the coast of Bahia, south of Salvador, Itacaré promised beautiful white-sanded beaches, un-adulterated nature, tropical food and, overall, a tranquil paradise – the very words two very sick people needed to hear.
A five-hour journey might seem like a crazy journey, but throw in a peaceful ferry ride in the sun, a smooth road flanked by tropical forests and palm trees for miles, and a bunch of snacks and good music, and you got yourself the perfect road trip, baby.
A ferry leaves the port of Salvador every hour, so we caught the next one possible and soaked in the sea breeze for an hour to get to Ilha de Itaparica, a small island on the other side of a stretch of water. From there on it was easy sailing in the rental car, pumping up the tunes and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Bahian countryside.
Road-side settlements came and went, giving us a glimpse into the lives of those living off the land. Occasionally, tables and creatively constructed shelves emerged on the roadsides, selling local goods, from crabs to bananas to coconuts to dende oil – a kind of palm oil from this area in Brazil, made from the fruit of an African Oil Palm which is actually native to West Africa. Bahian cooking without dende is unthinkable, being an essential part of the traditional Bahian flavour profile, and so in Bahia, we saw an abundance of this ingredient.
Bottles of dende oil on colourful makeshift shelves.
Directions painted on a wall in the most nearby town.
From the ferry, it was only 3 to 4 hours driving to the coastal town. Upon arriving, we drove through a colourful road lined with slightly dishevelled colourful terraced houses – the road had apparently been a very historic place to inhabit local fishermen. Now, perhaps also still housing fishermen, the houses seem to fill ordinary locals and families, those of which spilled out on the road and doing a manner of weekend activities. It was a bit of an obstacle course to find and get to our Airbnb as a result.
We turned a tight left from the colourful road into a secluded little area, where our super cute lodging was, with a massive palm tree in front and windows covered by wooden shutters looking out onto the area. Staying in the Airbnb really gave us the local perspective of Itacare, instead of staying in a sterile tourist pousada along the beach-front, not to mention the price was an absolute steal.
We had little time, sunset quickly approaching and dark rain clouds closing in on us. We transformed into our bathing suits, grabbed our beach gear after rummaging violently in our bags and headed to the first of one Itacaré’s many stunning beaches.
Even with the horribly dark sky, it was STUNNING. After driving through the colourful cute town we reached Praia Resende, the first of the four main beaches that sit pretty much next to each other on the coast of the town. When you get there, you reach what looks like a garden of palm trees on which at the far end is the postcard-perfect Resende beach. With deck chairs available to use and a tiny wooden shack selling coconut water on the sand, you didn’t need much else.
(THERE ARE WAY MORE BEACH PICS IN THE NEXT BLOG POST)
To the right and onwards is Tiririca beach, which is a busier beach compared to the secluded cove of Resende but more open and still just as beautiful. It’s definitely a hotspot and a must for any surfer! We walked on a makeshift ‘footpath’ from Resende onto and over some large rocks that were battering the waves, dividing the two beaches, to get to Tiririca. But alas our luck ran out; the rain came pouring down. With a positive mindset (and kind of no other option) we ran to a large wooden shack, housing a bar and restaurant at the side of some beachfront pousadas at the back of the beach to wait for the rain to stop pouring. Guaraná and fresh calamari was of course our snack of choice whilst we waited…
We managed to get into the water eventually as the sky shockingly cleared after thirty minutes or so, plopping our belongings to the back of the beach area and running into the sea. Waves rose and crashed violently amongst feeble swimmers and we thrashed and splashed wildly in the extremely salty water – I actually had to take multiple breaks for my senses to return. Surfers surfed freely in the water, us mere swimmers on high alert for stray flying surfboards. Despite my burning eyes and nostrils and lips, the fun was immense. Just don’t be a doofus like me and swallow the water every time a wave hits you.
Walking back to Praia Resende to get to the car…
Horse going to yoga.