Magazine article Americas Quarterly

10 Things to Do: Salvador, Brazil

Magazine article Americas Quarterly

10 Things to Do: Salvador, Brazil

Article excerpt

Chosen in November 2011 as the Afro-descendent capital of the Americas by leaders of the Encontro Ibero-Americano do Ano Internacional dos Afrodescendentes, Salvador is also the capital of Brazil's northern Bahia state. Also once the seat of national government after independence, Bahia delights tourists with its historical sites, music, architecture, beaches, cultural diversity, and the renowned hospitality of Baianos. -Paulo Rogério

1Stroll Through Historic Downtown. Salvador's historic Pelourinho district is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its architecture and unique preservation of the history of resistance by African slaves in Brazil. Walk on the famous Rua Chile to the Municipal Square and Rio Branco Palace, one of the country's oldest palaces.

2Hit the Beach. The beaches north of Salvador, located in the Linha Verde zone, are among the best in Brazil. Imbassaí beach, which means "Path of the River" in the Indigenous Tupy language, is 63 kilometers (39 miles) from Salvador. Take a bus at the central bus station directly to Imbassaí ($5).

3Dance Samba. Brazilian samba was born in Bahia. Don't miss the chance to hear authentic beats at the St. George Pub in the Rio Vermelho neighborhood. Afterwards, try the homemade codfish specialty and a world-class Cachaça-based caipirinha. Rua Borges Reis, 60.

4Ride the Elevator. Salvador is divided into upper town and lower town; the traditional way of exploring the two levels is to take the Lacerda Elevator in the historic center of town. Built in 1873, the elevator has two towers reaching 236 feet (72 meters) high, and carries more than 900,000 people per month. From the top you have a panoramic view of Baía de Todos os Santos. The nominal 80-cent fee is for maintenance.

5Shop at Mercado Modelo. At Mercado Modelo, founded in 1912, you'll find typical Salvadoran arts and crafts: paintings, dolls, musical instruments like drums and berimbau, necklaces, and other ornaments. …

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