The bright architecture of the early 20th century and oddly angled streets lend a vibrant and rather playful air to slightly rough-around-the-edges Ilhéus. Ilhéus is the main city along what is known as Brazil’s “Cocoa Coast” located approximately 450km south of Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia. The town itself dates back to the early 1500s. The town’s fame comes from its history as a prosperous cocoa port, as well as being the hometown of Jorge Amado, the famous Brazilian novelist, who used it as the setting for one of his best novels “Gabriela, clove and cinnamon”. Though not a primary tourist attraction, the city is worth a quick stopover.
Ilhéus with its municipalities of Comandatuba, Itacaré and Canavieiras is a true ecological and tropical paradise. Dozens of kilometers of nearly deserted beaches and seemingly endless coconut groves share the coastline with a lush variety of vegetation from the native coastal rainforest to vast mangroves and stately cacao plantations, some of which have been used as settings for films and “soap operas”.
For a heavy dose of both seclusion and understated luxury head to Itacare, 70km north of Ilhéus. If Itacaré were a song, it would carry the bass line of the hottest funk rhythm, the melody of a beautiful love ballad and the lyrical prose of your favorite Bob Marley tune. Itacaré is well preserved by time. From the entire coast of Bahia, it is the only one with rocky mountains that hide, in their secluded coves, small and delicate fine sand beaches surrounded by dreamy coconut groves.
Itacaré attracts adventure seekers, eco-enthusiasts and urban dwellers alike. Whether body surfing in the warm ocean water, riding a barrel, or practicing yoga on the beach, Itacaré is animated during the day and veers into overdrive after midnight.