International football will remember the American run in the 2014 edition of the World Cup. Team USA plays Belgium in the round of 16 in the beautiful Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. Many consider this city to be the birthplace of Brazilian culture. It is also the third largest in Brazil, and the capital of the Northern state of Bahia. Salvador offers travelers many attractions. Check out our top 10 things to do.
Visit Salvador’s Historic Downtown
Stroll the Historic Downtown. Visit the Rio Branco Palace or walk the Rua Chile. UNESCO registered Salvador’s Historic Pelourinho as a World Heritage Site in 1985. The district is unique for its colonial architecture, ancient monuments, and dance academies. Salvador was once the colonial capital of Brazil. It preserved the vestiges of the early Brazilian history for visitors to discover.
Overlook the Bay of Saints
From the “top” of Salvador, you have a panoramic of the scenic bay of Baía de Todos os Santos. The perfect spot to apply some of the great photography tips we learned. I say top because the city has 2 clear divisions: an upper town and a lower town. To connect both levels, take the Lacerda elevator, a 140-year-old 236-feet-high elevator. With less than a dollar a ride, it is a must-try attraction.
Cultivate your mind
Learn all about the contemporary Afro-Brazilian art visiting the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia. The 17th- century fazenda that houses the museum is gorgeous by itself, as it overlooks the sea. The walk across the sculpture garden and the atmosphere of their basement café add to the attractiveness of this place. As the old Brazilian capital, Salvador da Bahia kept much of its past glory.
Check out the tropical Harlem
Visit Africa through Brazil. As one of the oldest cities of the Americas, Salvador was an early port for the slave trade. Today, it is the Afro-descendent capital of the Americas. Liberdade is one of the largest Latin American “black” neighborhoods. Albeit, an exotic Harlem, famous for its Carnaval heritage.
Eat like a Soteropolitano
Salvador’s cuisine is seafood-based. One of the most popular dishes is the grilled Badejo fish and the acarajé. Be sure to also try the Abara: a wrap of bean paste, palm oil, spices, and onions cooked in a banana leaf. Stroll the Terreiro de Jesus to sample authentic Baiana delights from street stalls.
Party from dusk till dawn
Be part of the moment. Brazil’s capital of happiness is reputed for its countless starlit parties and celebrations. Seat in the French Quartier or the Sankofa African Bar, 2 venues famous for their live jazz and samba music. Savor a Caipirinha made from Bahia’s finest cachaça. Although Minas Gerais is reputed to make the best cachaça, Abaira is reputed to produce Bahia’s finest.
Dance with stars
Bahia is the cradle of Brazilian Samba. Do not miss the chance to hear its authentic beats first hand. Salvador’s impressive carnival is one of the biggest in the world. Tourists could either watch from a distance or gear up and join the fun parades. Too bad the Outlaws traveling with the Yanks will not be able to enjoy these wild rhythms. This street celebration only takes place for a week in the beginning of February.
Hit the beaches
Whether, you like calm waters or ride each wave like the Big Kahuna, Salvador’s beaches will seduce you. Praia Porto da Barra, Jaguaribe, Piatã and Itapoã, offer calmer waters frequented by locals. Praia do Farol da Barra, Flamengo and Stella Maris are the most popular beaches among tourists and upper class locals. They have the perfect tourist accommodations and that rough water that surfers crave.
Jump off that cliff
There is a jumping spot in Barra, the neighborhood at the tip of the peninsula. See, Salvador seats on a peninsula that separates the bay from the rest of the Atlantic Ocean. Barra is famous not only for its beaches, but also for its lighthouse and nightlife.
Explore the Lost World of Brazil
Escape Salvador’s busy cultural life, head for the Chapada Diamantina region. The National park is a popular destination for backpackers and other adventurers. Marvel to the awesome 300-feet-high waterfalls of Morro do Pai Inácio. This spectacular site is a 5-hour bus ride away from Salvador da Bahia.
Check this awesome guide on how to explore tour the city in 36 hours. Oh Yes! When you are at it, visit the Arena Fonte Nova. It is so far the most prolific stadium of this World Cup. So even if you are not a Soccer fan, there will be reasons to cheer. Even more if you are in Salvador. Enjoy. And Go Yanks!