Bahia is divided into 13 tourist zones, and among the state’s 417 municipalities, 154 have attractions for travellers, according to the agency.
Of the 417 municipalities in Bahia, 154 have attractions for travellers, practically one in three cities. The climate in the state favours travel throughout the year. Whether for beach destinations, waterfalls, historic cities.
Practically one in three cities in Bahia can attract visitors. “Note that, for those who think Bahia is just sun, beach, olive oil and carnival, we present business tourism, adventure sports, culture…. In Lençóis, for example, besides the landscape, we have the Winter Festival.
We have beautiful caves in Barreiras. We have waterfalls and over two thousand river springs in Iguaí, in the south-west of the state. You can even take a catamaran ride in Feira de Santana.
Tourism in Bahia with its tourist zones stands out for the state being one of the main tourist centres in the country.
Its beaches on the vast coastline, the colonial historical sites, the natural beauty and the rich culture are a constant attraction for visitors from all over the world.
Bahia is the state with the longest coastline in Brazil, totalling 932 kilometres.
The state capital, Salvador, stands out for its local carnival, which attracts around 2.7 million revellers over six days of partying. Among the tourist attractions, the Baia de Todos os Santos, the Farol da Barra, located on Barra beach, the Elevador Lacerda and Pelourinho.
On the coast of Bahia is the district of Costa do Sauípe, Brazil’s largest tourist complex, designed from the outset for tourism and filled almost entirely with hotels and resorts.
The Archipelago dos Abrolhos is a tourist area in Bahia and stands out for having an excellent area for scuba diving and free diving in addition to attractions such as the season of the humpback whales, which begins in July.
There are also many other coastal locations sought by tourists: Praia do Forte, Guarajuba, Itacimirim, Prado, Itacaré, Santa Cruz Cabrália, Camamu, Ituberá, Alcobaça, Morro de São Paulo, ilha de Itaparica, among others.
In the metropolitan region of Salvador, the Bay of Aratu stands out, an immense inlet that houses the Port of Aratu, a shipyard, as well as two of the ten most luxurious marinas in Latin America (Aratu Yacht Club and Marina Aratu) and the Aratu Naval Base.
Also notable is the Baia de Camamu, Brazil’s third largest bay. The coast of Bahia still has other very touristic places such as Arraial d’Ajuda, in Porto Seguro, site of the discovery of Brazil, Morro de São Paulo, Praia do Forte and Maraú.
Bahia has been divided into tourist zones, each of which has been given the characteristic name of its main physical and thematic identity.
Maps illustrating the tourist zones of Bahia
1. Baia de Todos os Santos in Bahia
Baia de Todos os Santos in Bahia is the main gateway for tourists visiting Bahia, this tourist area involves the state capital (Salvador), as well as the municipalities of Cachoeira, Itaparica, Jaguaripe, Madre de Deus, Maragojipe, Nazaré, Salinas de Margarida, Santo Amaro, São Félix, São Francisco do Conde, Saubara and Vera Cruz.
Rich in traditions and popular festivals, the Bay of All Saints is a true cultural melting pot that uniquely combines European, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian elements.
Gastronomy, music, theatre and a vast historical heritage are some of the attractions of this tourist area, which is also home to natural beauties such as islands covered with native vegetation and preserved mangroves. The Bay itself, which lends it its name, stands out as an element of integration and access, offering excellent conditions for navigation and leisure.
The Bay of All Saints is served by Salvador International Airport, which is authorised to operate aircraft of any size, and by an airport for single-engine aircraft, in Itaparica. It has a seaport for passengers in Salvador and terminals for ferry connections between Salvador and Itaparica. It also has regular air, road and sea transport services.
2. Coconut Coast in Bahia
Costa dos Coqueiros is one of the tourist areas and is formed by municipalities located north of the Bahian capital (Camaçari, Conde, Entre Rios, Esplanada, Jandaíra, Lauro de Freitas and Mata de São João), the Costa dos Coqueiros is one of the most sought-after tourist areas in the state, housing well-known destinations such as Praia do Forte, Costa do Sauípe (the largest set of resorts in South America), Imbassaí and Mangue Seco.
Served by Salvador International Airport and the Linha Verde ecological road (parallel to the coast), the Costa dos Coqueiros has easy access, being served by several flight options. With electricity, drinking water, sanitation and telecommunications services, this region has been attracting hotel developments integrated with high standard residential condominiums. In its small beach villages there are inns, restaurants, shops and other services to support tourism.
In addition to the vast coconut groves that adorn its almost 200 kilometres of coastline, the Costa dos Coqueiros is rich in stunning landscapes, framed by rivers, lagoons, small waterfalls and mangroves, forming a rich and diverse ecosystem.
3. Dendê Coast
Located south of Salvador, in an area continuous to the Bay of All Saints, the Dendê Coast is composed of the municipalities of Cairu, Camamu, Igrapiúna, Ituberá, Maraú, Nilo Peçanha, Taperoá and Valença. As its name suggests, this is where the cultivation of palm oil, which gives rise to one of the basic ingredients of the appreciated Bahian cuisine – palm oil – is concentrated.
Due to its geographical formation (jagged coastline), the Dendê Coast presents ideal conditions for the practice of a variety of nautical activities aimed at leisure and sport. Filled with deserted beaches, archipelagos, historical heritage relics and small villages, the region preserves unspoilt natural landscapes, as well as significant folkloric manifestations and handicraft production. Among the natural scenery, more than 100 km of beaches, three large islands and Camamu Bay stand out.
The Valença Airport allows the operation of Boeing 737 aircraft, and there is also an airstrip for single-engine aircraft in Morro de São Paulo and another in the Maraú Peninsula. Other modes of transport such as road and sea transport are also regularly offered in the region, which has electricity, drinking water, sanitation and telecommunications services in several locations.
4. Cocoa Coast in Bahia
Cacao Coast comprising the municipalities of Canavieiras, Ilhéus, Itacaré, Santa Luzia, Una and Uruçuca, this region became world famous through the stories of love and adventure told by Jorge Amado.
Producer of the fruit that gives rise to chocolate, the Cocoa Coast, which for a long time stood out for its wealth and prosperity, is still home to considerable architectural heritage from the golden age of cocoa farming. The model of cocoa exploitation – which used native vegetation to provide shade for the cocoa plantations – also contributed to the preservation of significant remnants of the Atlantic Forest, which are now part of Environmental Conservation Units.
In addition to 200 kilometres of clear sandy beaches and warm waters, the region’s scenery is complemented by rivers, lagoons, waterfalls and caves. It also preserves distinctive popular traditions.
The airports of Ilhéus and Comandatuba (private) have the capacity to receive Boeing 737 aircraft and Canavieiras allows the operation of small aircraft. The region also has the Ilhéus Sea Port and paved roads that serve several neighbouring locations. Regular air and road transport services, electricity, drinking water, sanitation and telecommunications are offered.
5. Discovery Coast in Bahia
Discovery Coast is considered the cradle of Brazilian history and civilisation, the Discovery Coast – formed by the municipalities of Belmonte, Porto Seguro and Santa Cruz Cabrália – offers an unparalleled set of historical and natural attractions.
The second largest tourist destination in the state, it has the most extensive hotel network in Bahia. The region is home to a preserved historical-architectural complex that dates back to the early days of Brazilian history, as well as stunning ecosystems and landscapes, including beaches, cliffs, mangroves, rivers and remnants of the Atlantic Forest. In this region, there are three national parks – Descobrimento, Monte Pascoal and Pau Brasil – as well as environmental protection areas and indigenous reserves. Indigenous handicrafts and traditions such as reisado, pastoral dances, mast pulling and mandus are preserved elements of the rich and diverse local culture.
The Discovery Coast has an international airport located in Porto Seguro, as well as paved roads that connect the main locations in the region and allow regular air and road transport services. It is supplied with electricity, drinking water, sanitation and telecommunications in several locations.
6. Whale Coast in Bahia
Costa das Baleias is composed of the municipalities of Alcobaça, Caravelas, Mucuri, Nova Viçosa and Prado, the Costa das Baleias has as its main tourist attraction the annual phenomenon of humpback whale migration to the coast of the extreme south of the State, which can be observed in the Abrolhos National Marine Park.
This beautiful spectacle is combined with the extensive and diverse underwater geography of the region, ideal for scuba diving and other water sports, as well as other terrestrial Conservation Units and folkloric traditions of Portuguese influence. The region also has other attractions, such as the National Park of Discovery, the region of Barra do Cahy – place where Cabral’s squadron made its first landing for water supply – and the Franz Krajcberg Ecological Museum, a cultural space located in Nova Viçosa.
The Costa das Baleias has a basic infrastructure that includes airports in Caravelas and Teixeira de Freitas (for small aircraft), roads, electricity, water supply and telecommunications services, as well as companies that cater for nautical tourism and ecotourism.
7. Chapada Diamantina in Bahia
Chapada Diamantina is divided into four circuits – Chapada Norte, Circuito do Ouro, Circuito do Diamante and Chapada Velha-the Chapada Diamantina is one of the most extensive tourist areas in Bahia. Located in the central region of Bahia, the municipalities included in these circuits have their history related to important moments in national life, such as the exploration of mining in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
The scenery of this region, world famous for its rich biodiversity, is formed by landscapes of mountainous relief, free falls, underground lakes, as well as a large number of springs, rapids, canyons and caves that make it an excellent place for the practice of adventure tourism and ecological tourism. Its main attraction is the Chapada Diamantina National Park.
It is served by the Lençóis Airport, with capacity for the operation of aircraft of the size of a Boeing 737, and cut by paved roads to the main natural areas.
It has regular road transport services and electricity, drinking water and telecommunications services in several locations.
7.1 Circuits in Chapada Diamantina
- Diamante: Its main attractions are the rich Historical Heritage, the Chapada Diamantina National Park, the Capão Valley, as well as the relics of the opulent times of diamond mining, waterfalls and rivers. Main destination: Lençóis
- Gold: It houses a great diversity of natural, historical and cultural attractions, such as waterfalls, natural pools, rapids, limestone caves and cave paintings. Highlight for Gruta das Mangabeiras. Main destination: Rio de Contas.
- Chapada Norte: It has a peculiar geography, with caves, waterfalls and rivers protected by Conservation Units, as well as archaeological sites, cultural traditions and typical regional gastronomy. It has low temperatures and high altitude. Main destinations: Jacobina and Morro do Chapéu.
- Chapada Velha: In addition to natural attractions, the region preserves historical characteristics and customs that are manifested in traditional regional festivals. Main destination: Gentio do Ouro.
8. Lagos do São Francisco in Bahia
Lagos do São Francisco is characterised by the influence of the São Francisco River, this tourist area is formed by the municipalities of Abaré, Casa Nova, Curaçá, Glória, Juazeiro, Paulo Afonso, Remanso, Rodelas, Santa Brígida and Sobradinho, whose main attractions are activities related to fishing and water sports in general.
Among its main attractions are the natural monuments, dams and hydroelectric plants and the culture of the sertaneja; the irrigated fruit growing centre and wine growing have been attracting agro-tourism.
In addition to these attractions, physiographic characteristics allow the practice of different types of extreme sports (abseiling, canyoning, zip-lining, bungie-jumping and base-jumping, hang-gliding, climbing and rallies, among others), which have generated a significant tourist flow to the region.
9. Paths of the West in Bahia
Caminhos do Oeste is located on the left bank of the São Francisco River, this region is composed of the municipalities of Barreiras, Bom Jesus da Lapa, Correntina, Santana, Santa Maria da Vitória, São Félix do Coribe and São Desidério.
Considered attractive for its exotic landscapes, this tourist area has been showing significant economic growth, driven by significant advances in its agro-industrial segment, notably grain production.
It is also considered one of the richest in water resources in the Northeast of Brazil, with emphasis on the Branco, Corrente, Ondas and Grande rivers.
In addition to these characteristics, it has a tourist potential that is revealed in the presence of mountains, waterfalls, caves, rivers with rapids and river beaches, favouring the development of the nature segment in its different modalities.
It has Barreiras and Bom Jesus da Lapa airports, an extensive road network connecting the main localities of the region, as well as electricity, sanitation and telecommunications services.
10. Jiquiriçá Valley in Bahia
Vale do Jiquiriçá is located about 150 km west of Salvador, this new tourist area is formed by the municipalities of Jiquiriçá, Laje, Mutuípe, Santa Inês, Ubaíra and Amargosa.
With beautiful waterfalls, rivers, mountains, exuberant flora and fauna, the Valley arouses the interest of visitors seeking contact with nature, either for simple contemplation or for the practice of nature sports, such as horseback riding, trekking, canoeing and fishing.
The historical and cultural heritage, the rich handicrafts of the region and rural tourism are also important attractions.
The region has paved roads connecting its main locations, as well as regular road transport services, electricity, drinking water and telecommunications.
Covering the municipalities of Feira de Santana, Candeal, Serrinha, Teofilândia, Araci, Tucano, Cipó, Nova Soure, Itapicuru, Ribeira do Pombal, Banzaê, Euclides da Cunha, Monte Santo, Uauá and Canudos, this new tourist zone is still in the structuring phase, although it has already been attracting tourist flows with some regularity.
It reveals a strong vocation for religious and historical-cultural tourism, notably in the municipalities of Monte Santo and Canudos, which were the scene of a social movement led by Antônio Conselheiro – an episode that culminated in the so-called “Canudos War“, whose historical importance motivated the creation of the Canudos Historical Park.
Thermalism is another strong attraction of the region, especially in Cipó and Tucano, where two hydro-mineral resorts are located.
The region has paved access between the main locations, as well as regular road transport services, electricity, drinking water and telecommunications.
Bahia.ws is the largest tourism and travel guide for Bahia and Salvador.
Tourist areas of Bahia