Ilha de Itaparica and Nazaré das Farinhas near Salvador, Brazil

From the Cidade Baixa, the Trem do Leste (train) leaves Calçada for a 40-minute journey through the following bay-side suburbs: Lobato; Plataforma, which has canoes and motor boats for Ribeira on the Itapagipe peninsula; Escada, with its 17th-century church; Praia Grande; Periperi; and Paripe (take a bus for the 17th-century church at São Tomé de Paripe). The train runs Monday to Friday only; the same trip can be made by bus - a more comfortable journey but less picturesque.

About 36 km south of the city is the
Museu do Recôncavo
(
Museu do Vanderlei do Pinho
). The museum is based in the old Freguesia Mill (1552) and houses artefacts and pictures of the economic and social life of this region, going back three centuries. The
Casa Grande e Senzala
(the home of the landowner and the combined dwelling and working area of the slaves) is still intact. It is a peaceful way to spend an afternoon, but difficult to get to by public transport.

Ilha de Itaparica

Across the bay from Salvador lies the island of Itaparica, 29 km long and 12 km wide. The town of
Itaparica
is very picturesque and well worth a visit, with a decent beach and many fine residential buildings from the 19th century. The church of
São Lourenço
is one of the oldest in Brazil, and a stroll through the old town is delightful. In summer the streets are ablaze with the blossoms of the beautiful flamboyant trees. From Itaparica town, take a bus or
combi
along the coast road (Beira Mar), which passes through the villages of
Manguinhos
,
Amoureiras
and
Ponta de Areia
. The beach at Ponta de Areia is one of the best on the island and is always very popular. There are many
barracas
on the beach, the most lively is
Barraca Pai Xango
. There are many
pousadas
in
Mar Grande
and at the nearby beaches of
Ilhota
and
Gamboa
(both to the left as you disembark from the ferry). The beaches at Mar Grande are fair but can be dirty at times.

Ins and outs

The island is connected to the mainland by bridge or boat. The main passenger ferry runs from the São Joaquim terminal in Salvador to
Bom Despacho
. A catamaran service for Bom Despacho departs twice daily.
Mar Grande
can be reached by a small ferry (
lancha
) from the Terminal Marítimo, in front of the Mercado Modelo in Salvador. There is a bridge on the southwest side of the island. Buses from mainland towns such as Nazaré das Farinhas, Valença and Jaguaribe (a small, picturesque colonial port), arrive at Bom Despacho.

From Bom Despacho there are many buses,
combis
and taxis to all parts of the island. The best beaches are at Ponta de Areia, Mar Grande, Berlinque, Aratuba and Cacha Pregos.
Combis
and taxis can be rented for trips around the island but be prepared to bargain.

Nazaré das Farinhas

On the mainland, 60 km inland from Itaparica, Nazaré das Farinhas is reached across a bridge by bus from Bom Despacho. This 18th-century town is celebrated for its market, which specializes in the local ceramic figures, or
caxixis
. There is a large market in Holy Week, particularly on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. From here buses run to southern Bahia. About 12 km from Nazaré  is the village of
Maragojipinha
, which specializes in making the ceramic figures.

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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