Trancoso is a little piece of paradise discovered by hippies in the 1970s that still preserves its idyllic essence.
This small village – founded by the Jesuits in the 17th century – sits on a plateau in front of a beautiful sea.
The life of the place develops around the Quadrado, a large lawn where the Church of St. John (1656) is located.
The village of Trancoso, 26 km south of Arraial d’Ajuda, has its origin in the Jesuit mission of São João Batista dos Índios in 1586, when the church was built on top of a hill.
The village, which developed next to the temple, among mango, almond and jackfruit trees, still retains its original shape, known as Quadrado or “Corner of the World”.
Trancoso is a quiet and preserved village, frequented by people of all nationalities.
Located in the region called Costa do Descobrimento, on the south coast of Bahia, it was founded at the beginning of the Portuguese colonization by the Jesuits.
A few years ago it ceased to be just a rustic and isolated village, to become one of the most charming and sought after tourist destinations in the country.
The Quadrado, the heart of the village, surprises by the magic of its colorful houses, with the Church of São João Batista in the background, housing restaurants and stores under the shade of the leafy centenary trees.
Trancoso enchants with its beaches of warm and transparent waters, cliffs, coconut trees, mangroves, rivers and the mixture of races and creeds.
In the 1970s the place became famous for having become a stronghold of the “peace and love” generation.
The hippies were joined by artists and alternatives from many parts of the world. Despite the tourist boom on the Costa do Descobrimento, Trancoso retains its peaceful and tranquil atmosphere, with deserted beaches that invite the practice of naturism.
Mountain biking, surfing, kite surfing, free flight and capoeira are also on the rise in the region.
Video about Trancoso in Bahia
History of Trancoso
The history of Trancoso begins when the squadron of Pedro Álvares Cabral landed on April 22, 1500, exactly at the mouth of the Rio dos Frades, taking possession of the new land for the king of Portugal.
The native population of Trancoso is descended from the people who first inhabited and founded the Jesuit village, formerly called São João Batista dos Índios, which was founded in 1586.
Most of the time, from then on, Trancoso was just an unknown spot, living only from fishing and a few plantations around the village, until it was finally discovered by hippies in the 1970s.
At that time, Trancoso was still just a set of houses around a large lawn, called “Quadrado” by the local population, with a church in the background framing a beautiful landscape, with a panoramic view of the sea.
The Quadrado, today called Praça São João, is currently the Historic Center of Trancoso, where houses from the colonization era can be visited, with administrative buildings already deactivated, but mostly still well preserved.
With the increase of tourism by the government of Bahia and the construction of paved roads and, mainly, the airport of Porto Seguro, the small village of Trancoso became internationally known, undergoing a vertiginous growth and receiving tourists from all over the world. But the history of Trancoso needs to be more widespread to bring even more knowledge to all who visit it.
Beaches of Trancoso
1. Praia do Espelho
Approximately 20 km south of Trancoso is the Praia do Espelho.
It is not close to the village or the Quadrado, so you need to rent a car or get a tour through the local tourist agencies – it is also worth negotiating the price with cabs, especially for those in a group.
But you can be sure that the destination is worth the work to get there. For those who prefer to enjoy a little more this paradise, there are options of inns in Praia do Espelho.
The beach is considered by many the most beautiful in Bahia, and rightly so;
For those who are lucky enough to catch a sunny day, the sea surface is mirrored in an unbelievable way, forming a breathtaking scenery.
The length of the sand is not very large and the coast is formed by cliffs and many coconut trees.
There are kiosks and bars supporting tourists, but keep an eye on the price and the minimum consumption required to avoid unpleasant surprises.
2. Rio da Barra Beach
Quiet, excellent for swimming and fishing. The mouth of the river offers a beautiful view with coconut trees and a mangrove.
3. Praia dos Nativos
The other beach from the center of Trancoso is Nativos, heading north on the sand from Coqueiros. There is also a descent from the Quadrado directly to it, going down to the sand and following to the left when you see the sea.
At Praia dos Nativos the waters are calm and the coconut trees also dominate the landscape, and the strip of sand is wider, but also taken by stalls in many spots.
And the best part of the Nativos beach is the meeting of the Trancoso River with the sea.
The scenery is beautiful and yields many photos. It is common to see many bathers stopping there to spend the day, and others walking along the sand to one side or the other, just enjoying the landscape of the south coast of Bahia.
The place is also a good opportunity for a river bath to get the salt water out of the body and vary a little.
4. Coqueiros Beach
What can be considered the main beach of Trancoso, Praia dos Coqueiros is practically in front of the Quadrado. Just take the path to the right next to the little church and go down to the sand, following south on it.
There are several tents there as support points for bathers, with good structure to serve everyone between one dive and another. As it could not be otherwise, seafood is their greatest specialty.
In the nearby region there are also many beach clubs, resorts and hotels with a lot of comfort and amenities for those who stay there – there is the possibility to pay for day use to use the facilities of some of them.
It is the glamorous side of Trancoso, which attracts many famous people to the village. And the contrast that gives it charm: the rustic atmosphere of coconut palms and fishing boats at sea mixes with the luxury and animation of some establishments there.
5. Praia do Rio Verde
A little after Coqueiros beach in the south direction, Praia do Rio Verde is less than 2 km from Quadrado and is easily accessible by car – or even walking, as it is not so far away.
And the setting is similar to that of the entire nearby coast: native vegetation taking over, short strip of sand and that climate of isolation that only the Northeast knows how to provide.
The sea is very beautiful, with clear waters and strong waves, and there are bars nearby that guarantee snacks and entertainment.
In general, Rio Verde Beach is ideal for relaxing, to get away from the hustle and bustle that exists in Coqueiros and Nativos due to its proximity to the center.
6. Itapororoca Beach
Walking 2 km south of Trancoso along the same strip of sand you can reach Itapororoca Beach.
Despite its proximity – you can also go by car in about 10 minutes – it is not among the most famous in the district.
Itapororoca Beach is practically deserted, has little space between the native vegetation and the sea and only one entrance for those coming from the road, very rustic and charming, formed by several tree trunks side by side.
The waters there are usually rough, and the few visitors go to Itapororoca to enjoy the privacy and isolation from the busiest parts of the center, near the Quadrado.
During the winter, however, the beach becomes a surfing spot.
For those who want to stay closer, inns and even a hotel are present in the region. It is certainly one of those unforgettable corners in the south of Bahia, perfect for those who want peace on vacation amidst a breathtaking scenery.
7. Ponta de Itaquena
Ponta de Itaquena is 8 km south of Trancoso, almost arriving at Praia do Espelho. And it is located in a nature reserve, the Rio dos Frades Wildlife Refuge.
You can already imagine that nature is the boss there, right? And really the preservation can be seen and felt in every bit, with the vegetation taking over and very few people on the sand. And at low tide, the natural pools draw attention.
The sea at Ponta de Itaquena beach is rough, but its waters are crystal clear and of great beauty. Some fishermen usually stop there, but in general it is practically deserted.
There is no structure of tents or kiosks, so it is good to bring your own food and drinks if you are spending the day. For those who are willing, you can even walk from Trancoso to there, but it is good to prepare your breath.
8. Barra do Rio dos Frades
For those who go from the road, it is about 5 km from the Quadrado, and a beautiful bridge surrounded by greenery on all sides to reach the sand.
For those who go through the Nativos beach, a moderate walk in a paradisiacal setting is enough to reach Rio da Barra Beach.
At Praia do Rio da Barra, the Trancoso River meets the sea and, besides being a place for a nice freshwater swim, the river also provides an incredible view for those who like to take pictures.
There is a luxury resort nearby and a restaurant, but in general the options are few compared to the beaches of the center and the Quadrado.
Kayaking or stand up paddling along the river and the sea is a good option.
For the less sporty, just walking from Nativos to there is definitely worth the effort!
Bahia.ws is the largest travel and tourism guide for Bahia, Salvador and the Northeast.