Santa Cruz de Cabrália is a historic city of great importance

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Praia de Coroa Vermelha em Santa Cruz Cabrália
Praia de Coroa Vermelha

Santa Cruz Cabrália in Bahia is quieter than its neighbour Porto Seguro and has a lot to offer tourists.

On the Costa do Descobrimento, Santa Cruz Cabrália’s main tourist attractions are its beaches – especially Coroa Vermelha – as well as its historic centre.

Santa Cruz Cabrália is located 23 kilometres north of Porto Seguro.

As is typical of the southern coast of Bahia, it has crystal-clear, calm waters protected by reefs.

Monumento do Portal de Santa Cruz Cabrália
Santa Cruz Cabrália Portal Monument

Situated in the extreme south of the state of Bahia, right on the coast of the discovery, where Pedro Álvarez Cabral landed. Here Friar Henrique de Coimbra celebrated the country’s first mass in Santa Cruz de Cabrália (a brazilwood cross marks the spot). Santa Cruz Cabrália Portal Monument[/caption]

The descendants of the Pataxós Indians who attended that mass still live in the region, selling handicrafts.

On April 21, 1500, after sighting the Monte Pascoal, Pedro Álvares Cabral anchored in a bay that would take the name of Cabrália. On April 26, the first mass was said on the islet of Coroa Vermelha, where a cross was erected to symbolize the possession of the land.

Santa Cruz Cabrália - Bahia
Santa Cruz Cabrália

See the map of Porto Seguro beaches

After the division of the territory into hereditary captaincies in 1534, the grantee Pero de Campos Tourinho founded the village of Santa Cruz, which still preserves colonial buildings today.

View the map Costa do Descobrimento

From the upper town of Santa Cruz de Cabrália, where the Historic Center is located, you can see the estuary of the João de Tiba River and Coroa Vermelha, where the Pataxós Indigenous Reserve is located.

Videos about Santa Cruz de Cabrália

Santa Cruz de Cabrália

1. History 

Brazil’s first mass was said there, more specifically at Coroa da Vermelha Beach, on April 30, 1500, four days after the arrival of Pedro Álvares Cabral.

Visual da orla em frente ao centro histórico de Cabrália
Visual of the waterfront in front of the historic center of Cabrália

On May 1, Pedro Álvares Cabral had the Cross erected with the royal arms and currency of Portugal. The first settlement on the site appeared in 1567, known as Santa Cruz.

In 1933, it was renamed Santa Cruz Cabrália and on March 30, 1938, the village was emancipated from Porto Seguro, becoming a city – with approximately 28 thousand inhabitants. With the completion of the BR-101 highway, the city began to attract tourists in 1973.

2. Tourist Spots

From the small town of Santa Cruz de Cabrália, which has a good lodging structure, boat trips depart along the river and to the marine parks of Recife de Fora and Coroa Alta.

mapa da Costa do Descobrimento na Bahia
map of the Discovery Coast in Bahia

The beaches of Santa Cruz de Cabrália are preferred by those who want to know the Discovery Coast escaping the hustle and bustle of Porto Seguro.

Santo André Beach, on the other side of the river, is accessible by ferry. Busy, it has inns.

Nearby Santa Cruz de Cabrália is Paraíso Island, a stopping point for most schooner trips, where there are restaurants, a craft shop and kiosks selling local products.

The other villages that make up the municipality of Santa Cruz de Cabrália are on the way to Belmonte, north of the city, to which they are connected by ferry and BA-001.

Calçadão da Feirinha de Coroa Vermelha
Coroa Vermelha Boardwalk

They are Santo Antonio and Guaiú, with beautiful beaches such as Jacumã, Tartarugas and Bobocas, also known as Dolphins. All these beaches are semi-deserted, but there are inns and some food and drink stalls.

Schooner trips to Coroa Alta and Recife de Fora depart from Arakakaí and Apuã beaches.

To the south are the beaches of Lençóis, Mutari, Coroa Vermelha and Ponta do Mutá, served by bus lines that connect Porto Seguro to Santa Cruz.

2.1. Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Barroca

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Barroca - Santa Cruz de Cabrália
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Barroca

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Barroca, from the 18th century – Behind it is an old cemetery and the ruins of a Jesuit college..

2.2. Casa de Câmara e Cadeia

Casa de Câmara e Cadeia em Santa Cruz de Cabrália
Casa de Câmara e Cadeia em Santa Cruz de Cabrália

The building dates from the late 18th century.

2.3. Coroa Vermelha

The historic site, where the first mass was said in Brazil, houses an indigenous art center.

Cruz na praça de Coroa Vermelha
Cruz de Coroa Vermelha – Santa Cruz Cabrália

A huge cross and an open square mark the spot on Coroa Vermelha Beach where the first mass in Brazil was said. The historic event took place on April 26, 1500, four days after the discovery of Brazil.

Participating in the mass, presided over by Friar Henry of Coimbra, were the crew of the boats of the squadron of Pedro Álvares Cabral.

2.4. Marine Park of Recife de Fora

There are corals and a great variety of fish, which can be seen in the pools during low tide, and sea turtles.

2.5. Coroa Alta Marine Park

Popular for diving in the natural pools.

Parque Marinho da Coroa Alta - Santa Cruz de Cabrália
Parque Marinho da Coroa Alta

The Coroa Alta Marine Park is formed by a coral reef and an offshore sandbank located 2.5 km from the coast. The tour leads to the coral barriers where natural pools full of marine life are formed and includes a stop at the beaches of the village of Santo André.

2.6. Viewpoint of the historic center

Vista de Cabrália a partir do mirante do centro histórico
View of Cabrália from the viewpoint of the historic center

From Mirante da Coroa, as a hill in the region is known, you have a privileged view of the waterfront, where most of the inns are located, much more airy than those in the Center.

This hill is also home to the only Catholic church in town, Nossa Senhora da Conceição. In Coroa Vermelha live the Pataxós Indians, whose ancestors attended the First Mass.

3. Beaches

The beaches of Santa Cruz Cabrália are of special beauty, with their permanently warm waters, gentle waves and no strong current.

3.1. Mugiquiçaba Beach

On the bar of the Mugiquiçaba River, with small village. Like all the beautiful beaches north of Cabrália, it is in a region of mangroves, with a great variety of birds and fish (ecologists fight for the preservation of this stretch).

Praia de Mugiquiçaba em Santa Cruz de Cabrália
Praia de Mugiquiçaba em Santa Cruz de Cabrália

It can be reached by the road that joins Belmonte to Santa Cruz Cabrália. It is good for fishing for sororoca, mackerel and sea bass.

3.2. Guaiú Beach

Beautiful deserted beach, practically untouched (as well as the others in the region). It is located at the mouth of the Guaiú River.

Praia Guaiú em Santa Cruz de Cabrália
Praia Guaiú em Santa Cruz de Cabrália

Streams form basins in the clear sand, providing good freshwater bathing and fishing for delicious pitu prawns.

There is a coconut grove and a fishing village a little way back. Access by dirt road from the village of Santo Antonio.

3.3. Ponta de Santo Antônio Beach

Deserted, flat and open. It has weak waves and dark and beaten sand. It is on the bar of the Santo Antonio River (ferry access to Santo Antonio: 7h to 20h, 10′ crossing). The region has many coconut farms. Good for bass fishing.

Praia da Ponta de Santo Antônio
Praia da Ponta de Santo Antônio

3.4. Itacimirim Beach

Itacimirim Beach in Santa Cruz Cabrália has clear and fine sand. Reefs make the waters calm and form natural pools. It is surrounded by Atlantic Forest and good for fishing (sea bass and whiting). It has a hostel with horses.

3.5. Santo André Beach

It is on the edge of the João de Tiba River, a good point for navigation. It is a cove with part of the beach facing the river and the other towards the sea.

Praia de Santo André e a foz do rio João de Tiba
Santo André – Santa Cruz Cabrália

Surrounded by mangroves, it has clear sand and the waters are light green, very clean. Good for fishing (sea bass, whiting, mackerel, lobster and shrimp).

There are three ways to get there: by car (crossing the river on a ferry), on foot (you cross the river by boat and then walk for 3 km) or directly by boat, passing by the wonderful Paradise Island. It has guesthouses.

3.6. Arakakaí Beach

Arakakaí Beach in Santa Cruz Cabrália is a cove of greenish waters, with reefs – which form natural pools – at the tip where the João de Tiba River flows. It has a narrow strip of yellowish sand.

It has hotels, camping and restaurants.

3.7. Praia dos Lençóis

It has approximately 3 km and is ideal for long walks on the coarse sand.Praia de tombo, dangerous for bathing (it is so deep that it allows the mooring of ships).

The bar of the Mutari River is a good option for bathing (fresh water). It has inns, campsites and restaurants.

3.8. Mutari Beach

Mutari Beach is confused with Lençóis or Coroa Vermelha, it is one of the most popular. It has weak waves, good for bodyboarding and kayaking.

Praia de Mutari em Santa Cruz de Cabrália
Praia de Mutari em Santa Cruz de Cabrália

3.9. Coroa Vermelha Beach

It is known for having housed the arrival of Pedro Álvares Cabral’s fleet to Brazil, marking the discovery of Brazil by Europeans, on April 22, 1500.

Banco de areia que adentra o mar na Praia de Coroa Vermelha
Banco de areia que adentra o mar na Praia de Coroa Vermelha

In addition to having housed the first mass on Brazilian soil. The cove is quiet.

Good for windsurfing and kayaking, shallow, with reefs and thick white sand. There are kiosks with handicrafts of the Pataxós Indians. Nearby there are inns, restaurants and bars.

3.10. Ponta do Mutá Beach

One of the busiest, with boats that take tourists to Coroa Vermelha and Recifes de Fora (see Porto Seguro).

Vista aérea da Praia Mutá e a ponta de Coroa Vermelha ao fundo
Vista aérea da Praia Mutá e a ponta de Coroa Vermelha ao fundo

It is a cove with coconut palms, weak waves, white and coarse sand. It has hotels and camping.

Travel Tourism Guide of Santa Cruz de Cabrália in Bahia and Northeast Brazil

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