●Pousada Santa Clara – Travessa da Praia 5; 011-55-75-3653-6085; santaclaraboipeba.com.
●Itacare ECO – Praia de Sao Jose; 011-55-73-3251-3133; ier.com.br; on old cocoa farm, overlooking lovely beach.
●Warapuru – Engenhoca Beach; warapuru.com; 40 pavilions and 21 private villas.
LENCOIS – prettiest of old diamond-mining towns in Chapada Diamantina, mountainous, wooded oasis in dusty sertão; while town itself has charming, cobbled streets, brightly painted 19th Century buildings, and appealing outdoor cafés & restaurants, surrounding areas are real attraction; caves, plateaus, rivers & waterfalls.
Sights & Sites
●Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina – Lencois; diamantina.info/chapada/Diamantina/Welcome.html or guiachapadadiamantina.com.br/sobre-a-chapada/parque-nacional; Chapada means steep cliffs, usually at plateau edge of a plateau while Diamantina refers to diamonds; make sure to see “Enchanted Well” (Poço Encantado), measuring 60 ms deep, are crystal blue as result of sunlight shining on water; Prathina Cave is where visitors can snorkel & swim among fish.
●Kiaroa – Loteamento da Costa; 011-55-45-520-000; kiaroa.com.br; elegant, eco-conscious resort.
●Pestana Bahia Lodge – Rua Fonte do Boi 216 (Rio Vermelho); 011-55-71-2103-8000; pestana.com; hilltop infinity pool and sunny sea-view rooms.
●Zank – Rua Almirante Barroso 161 (Rio Vermelho); 011-55-71-3083-4000; zankhotel.com.br; boutique; sleek and modern.
Sights & Sites
●Palacete das Artes – Rua da Graça 284; 011-55-71-3117-6983; palacetedasartesrodinbahia.blogspot.
TRANCOSO (includes Caraiva & Corumbau)
Bars & Nightclubs
●Bahia Bonito Beach Club – Praia do Rio Verde; 011-55-73-3668-1565; bahiabonita.com.br.
●Capim Santo – Quadrado; 011-55-73-3668-1122; capimsanto.com.br; eco-friendly establishment.
●Ponta do Camarão – Praia da Ponta de Camarão (Caraíva); 011-55-73-9979-6269; greatsmallhotels.com/brazil; Flávio Marelim, former Rio restaurateur, and Nana Salles, fashion-business veteran, found this quiet coastline stretch hour south of Trancoso in 2000 and built dream house; 2 years later began taking paying guests at 2 bungalows; word spread beyond Brazil; reservation requests poured in; 1 smitten billionaire books entire property for 2.5 years; after he left last summer, resort reopened with 2 more rooms; both owners exuberant hosts; Marelim is exceptional cook; most produce organically grown here and seafood caught just offshore; no phone, cell phone, Internet, or satellite-TV service, and nothing to do after dinner but lie in hammock and watch moon.
●Pousada Estrela d’Água – Estrada Arraial d'Ajuda (Trancoso, Praia dos Nativos); 011-55-73-3668-1030; estreladagua.com.br; songbird Gal Costa’s vacation house; designed by architect Ricardo Salem; Relais & Châteaux member; 28-room beachfront resort retains winningly informal vibe and friendly service; tiered swimming pool and fine beach bar are reason enough to stay; Quadrado is long walk uphill; take taxis into town.
●Pousada Etnia – 25 Avenida Principal (Trancoso); 011-55-73-3668-1137; etniabrasil.com.br; stylish rooms (African tribal, Goan, Japanese, Moroccan) in 8-villa resort underline ethnic theme; excellent breakfasts served beside swimming pool.
●Jacare do Brasil Casas – historic central square; 011-55-73-3668-1470; jacaredobrasilcasas.com.br; on cliff overlooking beach with cool, modern interiors and gorgeous ocean views from pool.
●Tauana – Fazenda Riacho Grande (Corumbau); 011-55-73-3668-5172; tauana.com; Portuguese architect Ana Catarina-designed; remote resort 3 hours south of Trancoso, near village without electricity until 2 years ago; 57-acre coconut plantation had mostly mangroves and empty farmland as neighbors; 30K shrubs and trees to offset her development; 9 freestanding bungalows with ocean views; produce grown on-site; guests can take guided wildlife tours, visit Barra Velha Indian Reserve, or take boat to coral reef for snorkeling and diving.
●Uxua Casa Hotel – Quadrado (Trancoso); 011-55-73-3668-2166; uxua.com.br; 6 of 9 guest cottages scattered around garden shaded by towering jackfruit trees; 3 best rooms face square; warm, rustic elements meet sleek, mid-century Brazilian furniture and fully outfitted kitchens; take breakfast on veranda or by pool, flop into hammock.
●Villas de Trancoso – Estrada Arraial D’Ajuda 192; 011-55-73-3668-1151; villasdetrancoso.com; 6 luxury villas on golf resort.
●Bar da Costa – Estrada do Arraial (at Pousada Estrela d’Água); 011-55-73-3668-1030; after fresh ceviche lunch at this beachside hotel bar, take to daybeds overlooking surf; in main dining room, try subtle moqueca, paired with piquant pirão (tomato sauce, puréed fish, garlic, and olive oil); expensive.
●Cacau – Praca Sao Joao (Quadrado); 011-55-73-3668-1266; seafood.
●Capim Santo – Quadrado; 011-55-73-3668-1122; Quadrado fixture with French doors, paddle fans, and vine-draped courtyard; excellent fish dishes like salmon in leek sauce with black rice; moderate.
●El Gordo – Quadrado; 011-55-73-3668-1193; with blinding-white furniture and turquoise pool, this chic boîte is straight out of South Beach; bar serves 50-plus varieties of cachaça; seafood-focused menu is reliable but it’s panoramic clifftop views that bring you; expensive.
●Il Mercato – Praca Sao Joao (Quadrado); 011-55-73-3668-2250; Italian trattoria that also sells antiques.
●Sylvinha’s Restaurante – Praia do Espelho; 011-55-73-9985-4157 (reservations essential); moderate.
●Tostex – Praias dos Nativos; 011-55-73-3668-1273; place to be seen, known for summer parties and world-famous djs.
●Mangue Alto Turismo – 011-55-73-9147-3882; manguealto.com.br; owner Henrique Costa speaks fluent English and knows region well.
●Cerâmica Calazans – Quadrado (Trancoso); 011-55-73-3668-1112; ceramicatrancoso.com.br; João Calazans (Calá) is original Trancoso biribando; ceramics, shown at his studio on Quadrado, among best in town.
●Etnia Boutique – Quadrado (Trancoso, at Pousada Etnia); 011-55-73-3668-1669; etniabrasil.com.br; Osklen bikinis and swim trunks; colorful tops and dresses from Rio’s Cantão label; and good handbags and hats selection.
●Marcenaria Trancoso – Quadrado (Trancoso); 011-55-73-3668-1023; marcenariatrancoso.com.br; furniture and woodwork shop; founded by Roberto Maya; will arrange shipping (and has even broader selection online).
●Pandora Bakery – Rua 9 de Agosto 117; 011-55-73-3668-1158; in addition to pastries, sells tickets to area’s best nightclub.