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Bahia State

Bahia showing a bay or harbour and a beach

Come to this sun-kissed state for glorious beaches, a mountain wilderness, historic mining towns, capoeira dancing and one of Brazil’s most-revered carnivals.

Blessed with 621-miles (1,000 kilometers) of splendid coastline, a mountainous interior, colonial settlements and bustling cities, Bahía is a diverse and popular destination. Bahía is often called the soul of Brazil. This is the heartland of the nation’s Afro-Brazilian culture, where people follow the Candomblé religion, wear traditional clothing, perform impromptu capoeira in the streets and passionately showcase their love for music.

Salvador is the effervescent state capital, a city that blends beach life, centuries-old architecture and African and European traditions. Admire the churches and colorful mansions that line the cobblestone lanes and squares of the Pelourinho neighborhood. Pause to watch as Afro-Brazilian drummers lead locals on street processions and as capoeira dancers liven up Terreiro de Jesus square. Spend a day at beach suburbs such as Barra, Pituba and Ribeira.

Pristine islands with white-sand beaches are just a short boat ride away from Salvador in All Saint’s Bay. Step onto a schooner bound for Ilha de Itaparica and Ilha dos Frades.

Drive south to Valença, an old fishing village popular as an access point for the beautiful island town of Morro de São Paulo. Discover more beaches and opportunities to try water sports in Itacaré. Visit Porto Seguro, the place where Portuguese explorers first landed in Brazil.

Inland, the towns of Jacobina, Lençóis and Ibotirama offer insight into Bahia’s gold- and mineral-mining history. Cachoeira and Santo Amaro are well-preserved colonial towns worth visiting just a short drive from Salvador.

Enjoy outdoor adventure in Parque Nacional Chapada Diamantina, where hiking trails lead to caves, waterfalls and astonishing rock formations. Spot colorful coral, fish and turtles on diving and snorkeling trips at the offshore Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos.

Reach Bahía by flying to Salvador and then get around via intercity buses, organized tours or rented car. With mild year-round temperatures, Bahía is a destination for all seasons. Time your visit to coincide with the Salvador Carnival in February (or March). This flamboyant annual celebration attracts over 2 million visitors.