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Trancoso, Bahia: The Ultimate Beach Holiday Destination

The next destination on my trip through Brazil was the Bahían beachside retreat of Trancoso; an hour’s flight and an hour’s drive down the coast from Salvador, along the ‘Costa do Descobrimento’. Tucked away on a cliff amongst Atlantic Forest, with only farms and fruit plantations for miles around, the old fishing village of Trancoso is fast becoming one of Brazil’s most popular and exclusive beach locations. With beautiful wide sandy beaches and a small grassy square surrounded by colourful fisherman’s houses known as the Quadrado, Trancoso’s secret lies in its simplicity.

After a bumpy one-hour drive from the airport, through open farmland and dense Mata Atlântica, I arrived at my hotel for the next couple of nights, the Villa Etnia. With my own villa set within the hotel’s tropical gardens, I was welcomed by the hotel’s friendly owner and invited to settle into the relaxed Bahian way of life with a caiprinha in the hotel’s candlelit poolside bar.

Like many of the people who work in the tourism industry here, he fell in love with Trancoso and decided to stay. Armed with a list of restaurant recommendations from the hotel, from here it was a two-minute walk to the square.

Seeing the Quadrado at night, it is easy to see why it has become so popular. Faintly lit by the lights of the 16th century Jesuit Church of St João Batista at the end of the square and lanterns hanging amongst the tree branches, the Quadrado looks like something out of a fairy-tale. In high season the restaurants fill up and the square is much livelier but, for my visit in May, the only sounds I heard were a musician playing Bossa Nova and the waves rolling onto the beach below.

During the day, most will follow the path down to the beach below the Quadrado, which is a wide sandy beach lined with little huts serving fresh sea food and Bahian specialities. While this beach seemed pretty nice to me, according to Brazilian standards you can do much better, which is why it is recommended to travel an hour down the coast to the Praia do Espelho. Situated between Trancoso and the remote village of Caraíva, its name refers to the mirror-like effect of the water in low tide and it is considered to be one of the best beaches in the whole of Brazil.

 In addition to exploring the miles of coastline, there is also the possibility of organising excursions to do river kayaking, bike riding, and horse riding and there is even a golf course. Often beach destinations are just a beach and little else but Trancoso, really does seem to offer everything while managing to retain its traditional laid-back charms at the same time. If you’d like to hear more about Trancoso, send us an email through our site or feel free to give us a call.