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Value Brazil: Salvador and Bahia

11 days from £1,168pp

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Value Brazil: Salvador and Bahia:
Trip Dossier

Fly to Salvador, a tropical melting pot of Afro-Brazilian culture and one of Brazil's finest colonial cities. You’ll have a walking tour of the atmospheric historic core. This multi-coloured Portuguese colonial heart of Brazil’s most exotic city throbs with drum and dance. 

Next, you’ll drive inland to the forested Chapada Diamantina, a national park studded with table-top mountains and run through with crystalline rivers: at its heart is the laid-back little town of Lençois. It is magnificent walking country and you’ll be able to explore its caves, waterfalls and rocky hills. 

On the  island of Tinharé is the village of Morro de São Paulo, accessible by catamaran, which is traffic-free and has a string of pousada-dotted beaches accommodating at one end tranquillity seekers and the other beach party fanatics.  You have three full days of leisure here: swing in a hammock, fruity cocktail in hand, or swim in the warm sea.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Salvador. Transfer to hotel in the colonial centre.

Day 2

Half day walking tour of historic Salvador da Bahía.

Day 3

Public coach to Lençois in the Chapada Diamantina National Park.

Day 4

Full day tour of Chapada Diamantina National Park.

Day 5

Full day trek to Sossego waterfalls.

Day 6

Public coach to Salvador.

Day 7

Catamaran boat crossing to Morro de São Paulo and its beaches.

Days 8-10

At leisure on the beach.

Day 11

Catamaran to Salvador, transfer to airport for international flight home.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Salvador. Transfer to hotel in the colonial centre.
 

Transfer to your guesthouse close to the Pelourinho in the historic colonial centre.

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Salvador da Bahia

Day 2

Half day walking tour of historic Salvador da Bahía.
 
The city of Salvador is the most exotic in the country, where the influence of Portuguese colonial architecture and culture blends with the African traditions imported by the slaves brought in to work on the plantations. The compact historic core has recently been renovated and is crammed full of colourful colonial mansions, churches and museums, all clustered around a large open space known as the pelourinho, which is the heart of the city. 

You’ll have a private guided walking tour of this quarter, best discovered on foot. The area is enlivened with bars, shops and restaurants, and you can expect spontaneous eruptions of music at every turn. The local cuisine is very much a product of the region and its cultural mélange: you can try out any number of dishes at the many eateries in town.

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Day 3

Public coach to Lençois in the Chapada Diamantina National Park.
 
Transfer to the bus station for a modern public coach journey (6hrs) to Lençois in the Chapada Diamantina, 420km from Salvador.  The pretty, colonial town of Lençois is set in the heart of the Chapada Diamantina, 420km from Salvador. It is a well-watered land of densely vegetated beauty set close to the dusty Sertão desert. The national park's most distinctive features are the table-like mountains which define its topography. 

It has a hot climate all year around, which makes visiting its natural pools, rivers and delightful waterfalls an even more welcoming attraction. Lençois was the centre of a diamond rush in the 19th century but since the 1980s the accent has been on ecotourism. Your hotel is convenient for visits to the many gift shops, family-style restaurants and bars in this friendly low-key little town, until recently the preserve of hippies and New Age aficionados. 

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Chapada Diamantina

Day 4

Full day tour of Chapada Diamantina National Park.
 
After breakfast there's a full day tour of the Chapada Diamantina. Drive from Lencois to the Mucugezinho river, and trek to the black lake of Poço do Diabo. From here there's a chance to visit Lapa Doce cave, which involves about an hour's walking underground. You’ll also visit Pratinha Cave, a beautiful subterranean river and lake. Later, drive to Pai Inacio plateau and walk the last 500m (20mins) for some very rewarding views.
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Day 5

Full day trek to Sossego waterfalls.
 
You’ll probably work up a sweat on this moderately strenuous guided walk to these lovely falls. There’s an uphill three-hour trek (in each direction), in part over boulders, with stops to cool off in natural pools en route. After a picnic lunch, return towards Lençois, stopping at Ribeirão do Meio, a natural waterslide. The brave-hearted can toboggan down the slippery rock surface, or swim in the lagoon below. In the event of heavy rain, the trail to the Sossego may not be possible and an alternative excursion may be offered.
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Day 6

Public coach to Salvador.
 

Take the public coach service back to Salvador.

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Day 7

Catamaran boat crossing to Morro de São Paulo and its beaches.
 

Embark on a catamaran for a trip across the bay to Morro de São Paulo.  This is a relaxed fishing village on the northern tip of the tropical island of Ilha de Tinharé.  It is surrounded by an old Portuguese fort wall which is a popular spot to enjoy the sunset or spot dolphins. There are no roads or cars as such - just a few dirt tracks, one of which leads down to the start of 4 picture postcard palm-fringed beaches fringed with coconut palms. The village has a relaxed barefoot atmosphere with numerous informal restaurants, shops and an evening crafts market. 

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Morro de Sao Paulo

Days 8-10

At leisure on the beach.

Day 11

Catamaran to Salvador, transfer to airport for international flight home.

Essential information

Transport

2 scenic road journeys (6hrs each); 2 Catamaran boat trips (2.5hrs each). 

Accommodation

We have chosen for this tour small and friendly guesthouse style properties in Salvador and Morro. These are widespread and popular in Brazil. In Lençois you have a comfortable mid-range hotel long-established in the town. All have well-equipped rooms, private bathroom and heating. 

Meals

Breakfast daily, lunch days 4, 5.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Included excursions

• Walking Tour of Historic Salvador.
• Full day tour of Chapada Diamantina National Park.
• Full day intensive trek to Sossego waterfalls.
• Catamaran boat crossing. 

Summary of nights

11 days, 10 nights: Salvador 2; Lençois 3; Salvador 1; Morro de São Paulo 4.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.

Currency

The unit of currency in Brazil is the real.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$45 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are gradually falling out of use (American Express are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. 

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

On this trip, there is a relatively strenuous hike (day 5), a couple of long public bus rides, and two catamaran boat crossings - so do bring your own sea-sickness tablets if you suffer. 

This holiday includes a couple of hikes in rocky and hilly terrain where it might be hot. You need to be fit but no special equipment or extra training are necessary. If you have a disability or other special requirements, please call us.

In the summer months of December to March the weather is extremely hot and humid, you might bear this in mind if travelling with small children or the elderly.

Climate

Salvador is an all-year destination, hot and humid with most rain falling from April to July. The Chapada Diamantina is also hot (27-32°C) all year round with most rain April to July.

The driest month of the year is January. 

Clothing and special equipment

For day-to-day wear you should take loose-fitting, breathable clothes. Comfortable walking shoes are important and sandals are useful.  A sun hat, sun block and sunglasses are necessary, and you should take a light fleece for cool nights and a Gore-Tex layer, as well as swimwear, a towel, insect repellent and a torch. 

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets.

You can also find helpful information on Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins.  Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online

This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.

Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

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