Linha Verde and the northern coast Linha Verde and the northern coast of Brazil

Heading north from Salvador airport, the BA-099 coast road, or Estrada de Coco (Coconut Highway), passes many coconut plantations and 50 km of beautiful beaches. From south to north the best known are Ipitanga (famous for its reefs), Buraquinho, Jauá, Arembepe, Guarajuba, Itacimirim, Castelo Garcia D'Ávila (where there is a 16th-century fort) and Forte. North of the smart mini-resort town of Praia do Forte, the road is called the 'Linha Verde' (Green Line), which runs for 142 km to the Sergipe state border. The road is more scenic than the BR-101, especially near Conde. There are very few hotels or pousadas in the more remote villages. Among the most picturesque are Subaúma and Baixio; the latter, where the Rio Inhambupe meets the sea, is very beautiful. Buses serve most of these destinations.

Arembepe

Some 45 km north of Salvador, this former fishing village is now a quiet resort. There is an 'alternative' village of palm huts, 30 minutes' walk along the beach, behind the sand dunes, with a café and swimming. The best beaches are 2 km north of town. A music festival is held on the following Carnaval celebrations.

Praia do Forte

Some 80 km north of Salvador, is this pleasant mini resort town much beloved of wealthy people from Salvador. Praia may no longer be a fishing village but it still feels low key. Aside from the town's main street, Alameda do Sol, most of the streets aresand. Much of the area around the town is protected, with turtle-nesting beaches, remnant coastal
restinga
forest, and a small area of marshland, which is home to a large number of birds, caymans and other animals. Birdwatching trips on the Pantanal wetlands, which is home to many species of wading birds, spectacled caiman and capbybara, are rewarding and can be organized through the town's large-scale 'eco' resort.

The
Projeto Tamar,
www.tamar.org.br
, is a national project that studies and preserves the sea turtles that lay their eggs in the area. Praia do Forte is the headquarters of the
national turtle preservation programme
and is funded by the Worldwide Fund for Nature. There is a visitor centre at the project. The coast here is ideal for windsurfing and sailing, owing to constant fresh Atlantic breezes.

Praia do Forte takes its name from the castle built by a Portuguese settler, Garcia D'Avila, in 1556, to warn the city to the south of enemy invasion. He was given a huge area of land, from Praia do Forte to Maranhão, on which he made the first farm in Brazil. He brought the first herd of cattle to the country, cleared the virgin Atlantic forest and brought the first coconut and mango trees to Brazil.

Imbassaí

About 14 km from Praia do Forte is the simple village of Imbassaí, which has a beach at the mouth of the Rio Barroso. Other nearby beaches are
Praia de Santo Antônio
, 4 km away, with sand dunes and a small fishing village, and
Porto Sauípe
, 22 km north, which has recently been transformed into an ugly and old-fashioned mega-resort modelled on those which infected southern Spain in the 1980s. It caters almost exclusively to the worst kind of national and international package tourism.

Sítio do Conde

Situated on the coast, 6 km from Conde, Sítio do Conde is a site for
Projeto Tamar
. The beaches are not very good but its an
ideal base to explore other beaches at
Barra do Itariri
, 12 km south, at the mouth of a river, and has fine sunsets. The road passes unspoilt beaches; the best are
Corre Nu
and
Jacaré
. You can also go to
Seribinha
, 13 km north of Sítio do Conde. The road goes along the beach through coconut groves and mangroves; at Seribinha are beach huts serving cool drinks or food.

Mangue Seco

The last stop on the Linha Verde is Mangue Seco. The town was immortalized in Jorge Amado's book
Tieta
. A steep hill rises behind the village to white-sand dunes that offer superb views of the coast. The encroaching dunes have caused the mangrove to dry up.

The peninsula is connected to Pontal in the state of Sergipe by boat or canoe on the Rio Real (10-minute crossing). Buses run between Pontal and Estancia twice a day. The ferry across the river usually leaves in the morning.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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