NORTHEAST BRAZIL. SECOND PART: SALVADOR DA BAHIA-NATAL

In this section of the route through the Brazilian Northeast coast there are lots of sensational places, such as:

 

  • Salvador da Bahia 

  • Maceió 

  • Maragogi 

  • Recife and Olinda 

  • Vale do Catimbau 

  • João Pessoa and Jacumã 

  • Natal

Salvador da Bahia

Sorria, estamos na Bahia! Yes: smile, we are in Bahia!

Well, there is little more to add. All are joys for the tourist who visits the warm lands of the capital of Bahia. Just seeing the Bahian woman on foot (considered as cultural heritage) has been worth the visit. These women with clothes rooted in African culture can also sell local handicrafts and/or prepare delicious Bahian food, one of the greatest gifts of the region (do not miss some of their specialties in the post "Brazilian food").

 

But Salvador has many other attractions. Namely: its cobbled streets; the colonial architecture; its thousand churches; some symbolic and historical buildings and places (among them the Pelourinho); the Mercado (market) Modelo, full of smells, flavors and colors; wonderful beaches in the surroundings... It is worth coming to know this incredible and varied culture.

Maceió and Maragogi

The capital of Alagoas is a monster of skyscrapers and a million inhabitants facing the most beautiful sea in the world. Its warm, transparent and calm waters are enough to come to see this great "Caribbean" metropolis.

Climbing 125 kilometers on the map, still in Alagoas, we arrive in Maragogi, a town near which very beautiful beaches extend. One is Ponta do Mangue: a beach of coconut trees that extends to infinity and beyond. Along, wide... And deep! There is an impressive tidal phenomenon in this magical point of Earth. At its peak, the tide goes down so much that you can walk hundreds of meters (I would say even one or two kilometers!) entering the sea. Up to natural pools surrounded by coral reefs. Snorkeling and diving are two perfectly matching activities with that calm sea full of fish (I even saw seahorses). You can spend the night on the beach, at the camping do Savio (Jesus). It is a bit expensive, but treat yourself because it is worth it.

Recife and Olinda

From Recife (capital of Pernambuco) I met the rodoviária (bus station) and little else. It is a big city and there are sure to be things to do.

 

Its neighbor Olinda is beautiful. So much so, that this colonial city with cobbled streets and beautiful houses facing the ocean is a Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Some of the buildings that deserve your visit are: Convent of São Francisco, Sé Cathedral, Igreja (church) do Carmo, Basilica and Mosteiro de São Bento. But, if there is something unique about Olinda, that is its artistic offer, present in every street, square and corner. Lovers of history and art will enjoy it here. Finally, Olinda is a good place to celebrate carnivals, less famous than in Rio but with a lot of tradition (or so my Brazilian friends told me).

Catimbau National Park

In the interior of the state of Pernambuco, in the sertão (a kind of desert) and among a few brave peasants-survivors, there is a Park far from everything and unexplored: The National Park of Catimbau, an area of inhospitable lands, mountains and geological formations that seem from another planet (“wind is an artist”). The biome, called caatinga, is unique to this region of Brazil. It is not found in any other corner of the planet. That should be more than enough reason to come, but there is more. Lovers of archeology have no forgiveness if they do not come here: we are talking about the second most important archaeological site in Brazil, with findings of cave paintings and prehistoric occupation dating back at least 6000 years. A visit to this incredible and dry place is worth gold. Despite the deviation and despite the heat. And it is very authentic, something that can be seen in the autochthonous population, which is not very used to receiving foreigners.

João Pessoa and Jacumã

João Pessoa, the capital of Paraíba, has beautiful buildings from the colonial period. But, once again, what is really interesting lies in the surroundings... In other words, the beaches.

 

Jacumã is about 25-30 km south of the capital and has sensational beaches. Examples are Coqueirinho and Tambaba (one of the few nudist beaches in the country). To the golden sand and the transparent waters we need to add some amazing cliffs as a backdrop.

Natal

This big city, capital of Rio Grande do Norte, offers alternative plans to the beach (which we like very much, but from time to time it is cool to do other things as well). Walk along the waterfront in the shadow of the skyscrapers; visit the Parque das Dunas (or Bosque dos Namorados, that is, the forest of lovers); visit the dunes of Genipabu (some agencies do tours on camels or buguis, but I do not support this); and, of course, eat. Regarding the latter, seafood stands out, in particular, the rodízios de camarão (prawns). That is to say, an all you can eat of prawns! You cannot imagine all the ways you can cook (and eat) prawns. Read more in "Brazilian food".

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Maceió
Maragogi
Maragogi
Maragogi
Maragogi
Olinda
Olinda
Catimbau National Park
Catimbau National Park
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