Towns, Beaches and the Abrolhos Archipelago in the far south of Bahia

Whoever thinks of whales in Brazil immediately thinks of Abrolhos, a well-known Marine Park, and it is precisely in front of the archipelago that the cities that are part of this route are located.

Tourism along the coast includes the towns of Prado, Alcobaça, Caravelas, Nova Viçosa and Mucuri, and began to be explored just over a decade ago, which guarantees a well-preserved nature and many empty beaches.

The Abrolhos is a great place to visit.

The humpback whales, known for their docile temperament and average size of 13 metres, leave Antarctica, swim for about two months, arrive on the Bahian coast in July and stay until the end of October, beginning of November. But throughout the year the region offers attractions for visitors.

mapa da Costa das Baleias no extremo sul da Bahia
map of the Whale Coast

Starting with the colonial villages, churches and sobrados with tiled fronts of Portuguese ceramics, passing through mangroves, waterfalls and endless beaches until reaching the sea, which offers islands and beautiful dives in coral reefs, where it is also possible to see sea turtles.

In Prado, with 50 kilometres of fine white sand, the sea is green.
In Prado, with 50 kilometres of fine white sand and greenish sea, there is no shortage of beaches. The best are Tororão, Paixão, Cumuruxatiba, Barra do Cahy and Flor do Caribe, but it is also worth taking buggy rides through the dunes and boat trips to Recife do Guaratiba, where you can dive and snorkel.

For those seeking adventure, in Alcobaça the dive is to see two shipwrecks, submerged at 27 and twelve metres, in the Parcel de Paredes coral reef.

With a well-equipped centre and a choice of restaurants by the sea, two beaches stand out for their structure: the one that bears the town’s name and Farol. If you are looking for peace and quiet, Coqueiro, Zeloris and Barra do Itanhém, where the river enters the sea, are the options. From the city it is possible to reach some waterfalls, taking the road towards the border with Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo.

Caravelas is a small town in the centre of Brazil.
In Caravelas is the visitor centre of the Abrolhos National Park, some historic mansions, and from its port several boats leave for tours and diving. On the beaches of Iemanjá and Grauçá there are some stalls and more movement than in Barra do Sul, which is more deserted.

To see churches and buildings from the 18th century, Nova Viçosa is the best destination. The parish church, of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, was built in 1733 and is still in the same place; there is also the church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, Ajuda, São Benedito and São Sebastião, all in good condition. The old railway station is also a point of interest.

A city that was born with coffee plantations, Mucuri has history and two attractions that make it unique in the region: the Praia da Costa Dourada, with cliffs and natural pools, and those of Malvinas and Pôr do Sol, with bases of the Tamar Project and sea turtle nesting points.

Cities and beaches in the far south of Bahia

Mucuri

Mapa Turístico de Mucuri na Bahia
Tourist Map of Mucuri in Bahia

At the extreme point, south of the Costa das Baleias, is Mucuri, which has two beaches. The small town has rustic houses and bars along its 11 kilometres of seafront.

Among the main tourist attractions are the Passeio da Gigica, the Blue Lagoon, the Costa Dourada beach and the river that bears the same name as the town.

Guia Turismo de Mucuri na Bahia

The chapel dedicated to St Joseph, today the patron saint of Mucuri, and the town was officially renamed Mucuri.

Formerly a fishing village, fishing and agriculture were the subsistence.

Mucuri has 35 km of urban and virgin beaches with cliffs and numerous coconut trees. It is currently awakening to tourism, receiving, for the most part, gold miners, Goianos and Bahians.

Its name comes from the Tupi language and is the name of an abundant wood in the place. The beaches: Praia da Barra, Praia da Cacimba do Padre, Praia da Jacuriba, Praia da Vila, Praia de Malvinas, Praia de Mucuri, Praia do Pôr-do-Sol, Praia do Sossego, Praia dos Coqueiros and Praia dos Lençóis.

There, in the southern part, is a base of the Tamarar Sea Turtle Project. In town there is a pousada and a regional food restaurant. There is also a regional airport near the town.

Praia da Costa Dourada em Mucuri na Bahia
Praia da Costa Dourada in Mucuri na Bahia

.O acesso é via BA-698: 66 km, saindo de Teixeira de Freitas, no noroeste, na BR-101, ou saindo de Nova Viçosa, a 31 km ao norte, na mesma estrada.

1. Nova Viçosa

mapa de Nova Viçosa na Bahia
map of Nova Viçosa in Bahia

The last town along the Costa das Baleias is Nova Viçosa, where there are seven beautiful beaches and the island of Coroa Vermelha – good for snorkelling. Two of the beaches – Pau Fincado and Lugar Comum – are popular, especially with beach volleyball players.

The last two beaches – Sabacuí and Costa do Atlântico – are somewhat deserted and good for bass and prawn fishing. In Costa do Atlântico, there is a small fishing village.

Nova Viçosa na Bahia

About two hours by boat from Nova Viçosa, there are coral reefs in the sea that are good for snorkelling. A little to the north is Ilha da Coroa Vermelha, a deserted island with spectacular underwater views. This offshore area is on the way to the Abrolhos Marine Park.

1.1. Tours

1.1.1. Archipelago of Abrolhos

Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos
Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos

The first man to mention the archipelago, Américo Vespúcio, the sage of the nautical arts who guided the expedition of 1503 led by Gonçalves Coelho, was already concerned with recording the dangers in the area. It was he who wrote in a letter: “When you approach the land, OPEN YOUR EYES” – the name Abrolhos came from a corruption of this warning, with a good dose of Portuguese accent.

On 06/04/1983, 480 years after its discovery, the first National Marine Park in Brazil was created, Abrolhos.

It is undoubtedly a place blessed by God, a paradise here on earth; it has a great diversity of marine fauna, with countless species of fish, molluscs, corals, sponges, sea turtles and more.

In addition to some birds (atobás, thirty-kings, frigate, grazina and benedito), where in a certain period of the year (July to November) you can observe the Humpback Whales, which seek the region to reproduce.

1.1.2. Coroa Vermelha Island

Small sandy island, located 1h30 by schooner from the port of Nova Viçosa, very attractive with its peculiar formation of coral reef deposits, top of an old crown reef, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ilha de Coroa Vermelha na Bahia

At low tide, there is the appearance of several pools, which provides the visualisation of exotic marine species with colourful fish, algae, starfish and turtles, among others.

1.1.3. Barra Velha Island

An unforgettable encounter with nature, formed by mangroves, sandbanks and Atlantic Forest.

Ilha de Barra Velha em Nova Viçosa

It is a 15-minute boat ride along the Peruípe River, contemplating the famous mangrove islands, with a great variety of birds and rich marine fauna. Safe option for those who enjoy hiking, trails and privacy.

1.2. Beaches

1.2.1. Common Place Beach

Praia do Lugar Comum em Nova Viçosa
Praia do Lugar Comum em Nova Viçosa

Urban beach, point of young people, with weak warm waves, beaten and white sand, with green coconut trees. One of the most frequented by tourists and the community.

1.2.2. Pontal da Barra Beach

Praia do Pontal da Barra em Nova Viçosa
Praia do Pontal da Barra em Nova Viçosa

Near the centre of Nova Viçosa, on Avenida Beira Mar, is this quiet beach, which has an anchorage for small boats. The waters are murky because of the Peruípe River that flows into the sea.

1.2.3. Praia do Pau Fincado

Praia do Pau Fincado em Nova Viçosa
Praia do Pau Fincado em Nova Viçosa

Straight beach, located in the urban perimeter, with weak waves and beaten sand. One of the most popular, it has snack stalls and some wooden handicrafts.

1.2.4. Atlantic Coast Beach

Praia da Costa do Atlântico em Nova Viçosa
Praia da Costa do Atlântico em Nova Viçosa

Deserted beach with strong waves, many coconut palms, far from the urban centre, a refuge for sea turtles. Good for sea bass and shrimp fishing.

1.2.5. Sabacuí Beach

Praia Sabacuí em Nova Viçosa
Praia Sabacuí in Nova Viçosa

Located 2 km from the headquarters, it has clean water and clear sand. Cove with gentle waves, extensive, with whelks on fine sand and loose. Sabacuí river meets the sea, forming large sand deposits (dunes). It has tents that work in high season.

2. Caravelas

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It is 870 km from Salvador and 36 km south of Prado, on the BA-001, on the banks of the Caravelas River, which meets the sea there.

Along the coast near the town are beautiful beaches, Kitongo, Grauçá and Iemanjá in Barra de Caravelas.

The town is known for its religious festivals, which attract thousands of devotees.

Founded in 1,503, it became an important commercial centre in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, this charming colonial town and its neighbouring beaches are ideal places for leisure, where many tourists converge.

To get to know the area, the best option is to take a boat trip to Coroa da Barra located on the banks of the Caravelas River in front of Barra de Caravelas, to the south to see the mangroves of Cassumba Island to Nova Viçosa and Coroa Vermelha, a small island of coral origin 12 nautical miles from the city.

Caravelas is one of the three departure points to visit the Abrolhos Archipelago and Parcel das Paredes where from July to November it is possible to see humpback whales.

Caravelas can be reached by car, bus or aeroplane. Its airport used to serve the region, with departures from Salvador and Belo Horizonte, the capital of the neighbouring state of Minas Gerais, and charter flights from São Paulo, but today it no longer receives tourists. The city has comfortable hotel accommodation and good restaurants.

3. Alcobaça

It is a small town in the south, 26 km away from Prado, where there are five beautiful beaches – one excellent for surfing – Coqueiro – with very strong waves, one good for fishing – Barra – and three suitable for swimming – Farol, Alcobaça and Zeloris.

Alcobaça na Bahia

Alcobaça is home to the Visitor Centre of the Abrolhos National Marine Park and one of the three exit points to visit the park in the archipelago. The town has small hotels and some good restaurants.

4. Prado

Prado is located in the extreme south of Bahia, Prado is strategically located in the region called Costa das Baleias, due to the occurrence of Humpback Whales, and in the Costa do Descobrimento, because Barra do Cahy, in Pradenses lands, was the first anchorage of the Portuguese squadron in 1500.

Guia Turístico de Prado e Abrolhos

The centre is flat, with old houses and cobbled streets, which provides cycling for all age groups, in a pleasant and inland climate.

On the city’s street corners, tourists discover what Baiana has to offer: with their lacy dresses, turbans and colourful necklaces, they serve everything from “spicy” acarajés to delicious cocadas.

With its 84 km of beaches still little explored, we can appreciate beautiful cliff formations, in a gradient of colours that vary between ochre, beige and red; streams that wind along almost the entire coastline and beaches with calm, warm and inviting waters.

Monazite sand, much sought after for its medicinal properties, is found on numerous beaches (Areia Preta, Cumuruxatiba, Japara etc.).

The boat and schooner trips show all the beauty of the meeting of the river waters with the sea (Barra do Jucuruçu and Barra do Cahy) and, leaving from Cumuruxatiba, it is possible to make the same route as the Portuguese Squadron in 1500.

Diving enthusiasts or those who just want to relax cannot miss the reefs of Guaratibas, Timbebas and the Ponta do Corumbau, where the sandy tip advances more than 1 km into the ocean when the tide is low. It is a spectacular sight. At its back, stands the imposing Monte Pascoal, which from the top of its 530 m quietened the hearts of the navigators in 1500.

Far from everything – this is the meaning of the word Corumbau in the language of the Pataxós. Away from all worries would be the most complete expression.

Diving in the reefs, kayak, canoe and schooner trips… walking along the beaches, horse riding, visiting the Indian reserve, the National Park, are the charms of this ecological paradise and the magic of the place.

In the north of the Prado area, there are eight beautiful beaches, good for trekking by land, since most of them are formed by high and steep cliffs. In the south direction, there are five more beautiful beaches. For bathing, it’s best at Novo Prado, Prado and Barra, while for fishing, it’s best at the two furthest south – Quati and Guaratiba, the former rich in octopus and lobster, while the latter has an extensive bay where sea bass are abundant.

Prado can be reached by the BA-489, 47 km from Itamaraju, 200 km from Porto Seguro and 812 km from Salvador. Prado has a regional airport. The town has some 16th-century buildings and a variety of hotels and inns.

4.1. Praias de Prado

The frame is similar on most of Prado’s beaches – cliffs, coconut palms and creeks. There are more than 80 kilometres of coastline with options for all tastes.

Quati beach, without any infrastructure, is constantly quiet. On the beaches of Paixão, Prado and Novo Prado the buzz is guaranteed due to the tents and kiosks. In the middle ground is Tororão, quiet and with a single kiosk.

4.1.1. Praia de Prado or Centre

Praia do Centro in Prado

Very busy in high season, the central beach offers music stands, coconut palms, soft golden sand and plenty of waves. Shows enliven the area in summer.

4.1.2. Novo Prado Beach

Praia Novo Prado em Prado
Praia Novo Prado in Prado

At 1 km from the centre, the highlight is the coarse sand. They are the most frequented, due to the excellent infrastructure of beach huts, which offer delicious snacks, cold beer and, of course, lots of frozen coconut.

Novo Prado is full of pousadas and holiday homes scattered along dirt roads. There is a lot of traffic in the summer due to the tents. The beach has an extensive strip of coarse sand, good for walking.

4.1.3. Praia da Paixão

Praia da Paixão em Prado
Praia da Paixão in Prado

Paixão beach is very popular for its good infrastructure framed by cliffs, rocks and streams. The coastal road that connects Prado to Cumuruxatiba begins there and has a beautiful view, with huge cliffs, full of coconut trees.

A small river, parallel to the shore, separates the strip of sand from the area where the tents are located. It is 13 kilometres from the centre.

4.1.4. Barra Beach

Praia da Barra em Prado
Praia da Barra in Prado

The name comes from the meeting of the sea with the Jucuruçu River, which forms extensive coves. The highlights are the coconut trees, the strong waves, the long strip of sand (good for walking) and the refreshing waters of the river. It is three kilometres from the centre.

4.1.5. Guaratiba Beach

Praia de Guaratiba em Prado
Praia de Guaratiba in Prado

Access via a condominium leads to the long sandy beach, dotted with kiosks. From there, boats leave to take you to the reefs, perfect for snorkelling.

The beach is a meeting point for foreigners, especially Italians. It is 14 kilometres from the centre.

4.1.6. Viçosa Beach (da Amendoeira)

Praia da Viçosa em Prado
Praia da Viçosa in Prado
 
Between the beaches of Paixão and Farol, the small cove is quiet and protected by reefs. In the scenery without tents, there are coconut palms, a solitary almond tree, cliffs and a stream. It is ten kilometres from the centre.

4.1.7. Praia das Ostras

Praia das Ostras em Prado
Praia das Ostras in Prado
 
The left corner offers a beautiful view of the cliffs. The calm sea and the natural pool formed by the river Oysters are great for swimming. It is 20 kilometres from the centre.

4.1.8. Praia do Farol

Praia do Farol em Prado
Praia do Farol in Prado
 
The most colourful cliffs in the region are on Farol beach – from the top of them, next to the Navy Lighthouse, you can enjoy the best view of the entire Prado coast. Extensive and full of coconut palms, it is seven kilometres from the centre.

4.1.9. Tororão

Praia do Tororão em Prado
Praia do Tororão in Prado
 
The main attraction of Tororão beach is the freshwater waterfall that falls on the beach. The scenery is further enhanced by reefs, cliffs and calm sea. It is 18 kilometres from the centre and has a hut that serves snacks.

4.1.10. Lagoa Pequena and Lagoa Grande

Lagoa Pequena e Lagoa Grande
Lagoa Pequena and Lagoa Grande

Lagoa Pequena beach, to the south, has a small strip of sand and a few stalls and restaurants. To the north, at Lagoa Grande beach, you can also swim in fresh water – the dark lagoon joins the sea at high tide.

4.1.11. Quati

The setting is perfect for those who want to relax amid calm, shallow waters and many coconut trees;

4.2. Cliffs

The coastline of Prado is all cut out by kilometres of cliffs, engraved in a gradient of colours that vary between ochre, beige and red, with undergrowth covering some points.

Nature is a spectacle that fills the visitor’s eyes. No one escapes falling in love at first sight.

The cliffs dominate the environment, imposing, in a beauty without equal. The sea is a constant invitation to snorkelling.

4.3. Mangroves

An important ecosystem found in tropical and subtropical regions, resulting from the meeting of fresh water from rivers and salt water from the sea. Mangroves are true forests by the sea.

Composed of decomposing organic matter and a clay structure, mangrove soil becomes an indispensable food store for the species that reproduce in this environment. These living beings are both ecologically and economically important, forming the base of a food chain that includes, at its extreme, man himself.

Mangroves are considered to be the true nurseries of the sea. The importance of this ecosystem for our lives can be seen in the richness and variety of fish and crustacean-based foods we consume.

Prado has extensive areas of mangroves practically untouched, providing unforgettable walks, which puts you in close contact with all the exuberance of life and natural beauty of this ecosystem.

4.4. Jucuruçu River

Winding between the town and the beach, the Jucuruçu River is a stunning landscape. It is always bordered by mangroves that are practically untouched.

Green bars of woods and mangroves provide unforgettable walks. Rustic traps serve as anchorage for colourful fishing boats. Fishing is artisanal and in harmony with the environment.

5. Cumuruxatiba

The lifestyle of this cosy fishing village is defined by a phrase coined by the natives: “In Cumuruxatiba time is not in a hurry and laziness is more enjoyable”.

With beautiful beaches cut by small rivers of clean, rusty and cold waters, contrasting with the sea of warm waters and remaining areas of the Atlantic forest, framed by coconut trees, CUMURUXATIBA, has a lot of history for those who visit it, nature is a spectacle that fills the eyes of visitors, no one escapes the passion at first sight.

The PIER of CUMURUXATIBA, postcard of Praia da Vila, has become part of the landscape of the place, built in the 1950s by a German company to facilitate the access of ships to the beach to remove monazite sand. It is the second largest pier in the world, with more than 600 metres of extension.

Ponta do Corumbau
Ponta do Corumbau

The village of CORUMBAU already has a reasonable structure capable of comfortably receiving visitors.

The village of CORUMBAU has a reasonable structure capable of comfortably receiving visitors.
Further north, about 32 km along the beach, nature puts on another show, the PONTA DE CORUMBAU, a sandbank that advances more than 600 metres into the sea, with a flock of seagulls, which gives a unique beauty. Its beach with green waters contrasts with the white sand and the coca-cola colour of the river that flows on the other side.

Far from everything – this is the meaning of the word Corumbau in the language of the Pataxó. Far from all worries would be the most correct expression…. An immense beach with calm, warm and crystalline waters.

The boat and schooner trips show all the beauty of the meeting of the waters of the river with the sea, and starting from Cumuruxatiba it is possible to make the same route of the Portuguese Squadron in 1500.

At low tide you can see a point of sand that goes approximately 600 metres into the sea.

The Corumbau River meanders through the land and comes to flow into the beach, in a unique beauty. On the other side of the Corumbau River is Barra velha, a reserve of the Pataxó Indians, with their beautiful handicrafts.

Parque Nacional Monte Pascoal
Parque Nacional Monte Pascoal

This tour is done by boat, it is common to stop at the Pataxó corals, the place is good for snorkelling and underwater fishing, and also, it is where you can see the MONTE PASCOAL, it was the first Brazilian point captured by the Lusitanian lunettes.

The parcels that surround the village beach are perfect for diving with mask and snorkel. The colourful reefs of Itacolomi and the corals of Pataxó also deserve attention. Fans of snorkelling should head to the Abrolhos archipelago, 70 kilometres from the coast, with its rich marine life, caves and cliffs.

Abrolhos is a great place for snorkelling.

Cities, Beaches and the Abrolhos Archipelago of the extreme south of Bahia 

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