city of Salvador, the capital of colonial Brazil for almost
two centuries, is today a city of 2 million people. The
black African culture, originating with former slaves,
is reflected strongly in the city's culture. In fact,
70 percent of the city's population is Afro-Brazilian
and ceremonies honor both African gods and Catholic holidays.
Salvador, in the state of Bahia, lies between tropical
hills and wide beaches along the bay of Todos os Santos.
The city was built two distinct levels, with residences
in the hills and office buildings below, and today it
is still divided into upper and lower cities, with an
elevator to take you from one to another.
Salvador's beaches have
been an inspiration for writers and musicians. They provide
chairs and umbrellas at kiosks selling a range of tempting
food. Many beaches are lit up at night and boast bars
and restaurants for the evening crowd.
Salvador has many plazas for loafing and strolling. The
city also has a vast number of churches, many with elaborate
decor financed years ago in wealthy Portuguese colonial
Perhaps you'll want to spend time shopping at the grand
Mercado Modelo or visiting numerous museums. Or, you could
venture out to Forte de Santo
Antonio at the tip of the peninsula, and wander through
the lighthouse or the nautical museum, or maybe enjoy
the nearby beach.
Hotel choices in Salvador are ample and range from elegant
high-rises to family-run apartments. For a treat, you
can book a room at The Transamerica Salvador, which provides
a breathtaking view of the Atlantic, the beaches, and
the city from the pool area. The view is particularly
spectacular at night. Public transportation to various
parts of the city is available at the bottom of the small
hill on which the hotel is located.
The best time to visit the city is between November and
April and the month of July (when schools are out).
Things to Avoid
It's best not to wander around at night, particularly
if you"re alone. And, of course, watch your belongings