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Salvador da Bahia and the Chapada Diamantina: Fact file

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When to go

Salvador is an all-year destination, hot and humid with most rain falling from Mar to Jul. The Chapada Diamantina is also hot (27-32°C) all year round with most rain Nov to Mar. Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times, and will be busy in Salvador and on the beaches.

Language

Brazilian Portuguese, a more languid and musical version of Portugal’s mother tongue.

Getting local currency

Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs of Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC using a UK credit or debit card. There are international ATMs in the Pelourinho, the beach at Barra and at the airport. There are ATMs in Lençóis. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.

Time difference

GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from Oct to the end of Feb (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.  

Getting there

There are flights from UK to Salvador with a change of ‘plane in Portugal. You can also get to Salvador with a change of ‘plane in the USA. Average flight time is 12 hours 40mins. It’s a 2 hour flight from Rio de Janeiro.

Combines with

The up-and-coming, chic beach resort at Trancoso, close to the port of Porto Seguro (1 hour 10mins flight south from Salvador); Recife and Olinda (675 km, 1 hour by air).

Key events

Carnival: 5 days in Feb/Mar, variable: 28 Feb – 4 Mar2014. The second largest in Brazil, with street processions, live bands playing Bahian pop music (axé and pagode), costume balls, over-indulgence and general frivolity.
Festa de Iemanjá: 2 Feb annually, Praia Rio Vermelho just outside Salvador. The biggest festival of candomblé (mix of African religious beliefs and Catholicism) with boat processions and live music.
Football World Cup: 12 Jun-13 Jul 2014. Cities all over Brazil are hosting matches, Salvador is one of them.

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