We began our grand adventure in the city of Salvador. We flew to Sao Paulo first, spent the night and flew out to Salvador in the morning. I was a bit leery, it was chilly in Sao Paulo and I was like, I left our summer in Canada for this?
The scenery outside Salvador is really interesting- the airport is very far from the old city centre, like 1 hour and a $50 cab ride, which we were not expecting! There were favelas as far as the eye could see, horses tied to grassy medians, a bit grungy and just, well, so different.
We were staying in the old town, the heart of Salvador as I like to think of it. It’s super cool, huge cobblestones that are extremely treacherous to walk on, the streets are very steep, and there is not much traffic. The hotels were fantastic- we stayed in two and they were sooo neat. Older buildings, well kept, fairly quiet and clean and just so funky!
We stayed in the Pelhourino district, home to Brazil’s first elevator (Elevador Lacerda)- which is huge and connects the lower-town with the upper town (Pelo).
The food was fantastic- we ate fish moqueque two days in a row! It is a traditional fish stew with dende oil and shrimps. We also drank extremely strong caipirinha; a drink made of muddled sugar, limes and Cachaça. I could only drink one!
There are a lot of street vendors, but you can politely tell them to go away and they will leave you alone. The streets are deemed to be a bit dangerous at night, even in the very-touristy Pelo district, so be aware. We didn’t have any problems, but hotel doormen, taxi drivers, and restaurant staff were all warning us to be careful….So they were very wary and looked out for us a lot.
The market was a bit blah, but the beach, the fort, the restaurants, the drinks, the hotels and the scene & heat is not to be missed!! Salvador has a little bit of everything– you won’t regret visiting.
We spent 2 half days in Salvaor–landed there from Sao Paulo, and then the next day we took a trip to Morro de Sao Paulo, and then came back from Morro de Sao Paulo to finish our stay in Salvador before zipping off to Rio for the Olympics. I definitely recommend checking out the Pelo district and enjoying one of the many fine, cheap restaurants in Salvador.
The history is fascinating, and the architecture/elevator is not to be missed.