South Bahia, Brazil #2: Caraíva

January 27, 2020

This is the second of a series of 4 posts about the little paradises we found during our recent trip along the coast of Southern Bahia in Brazil. Caraíva is one of our favourites. The other three are Trancoso, the only one that is a bit more known (at least in Brazil), Algodões on the Península de Maraú, and Boipeba, all of them absolute secrets and wonderful discoveries.

Location: South Bahia’s coast, certainly one of Brazil’s most beautiful and untouched coastlines, if not in the whole world. It stretches over 700 km from just under the city of Salvador, Bahia, to the border of the state of Espírito Santo. The most beautiful places include Caraíva, Boipeba & Moreré, Península do Maraú, Serra Grande and Ponta do Corumbau. Also wonderful, but already more famous, are Trancoso, Itacaré, Morro de São Paulo and Barra Grande.

Caraíva lies about 36 km south of the town of Trancoso (also worth visiting) and about 70 km from the airport of Porto Seguro (when using the ferry to cross to Arraial da Ajuda).

Drive to Caraíva

The picturesque village of Caraíva is located about an hour’s drive south of Trancoso on the southern coast of Bahia in Brazil. About 36 km of dirt track. Reaching the river you will need to park your car (15 to 20 BRL per day) and continue the journey by canoe (5 BRL per person). You can also take a taxi from Trancoso or all the way from the airport (about 400,00 BRL one way)

Caraíva’s main port and sole entry point.

The village is surrounded by the ocean on the eastern side, the river Caraíva on the western shore and the Pataxó Indian Reserve in the south. No cars are allowed, with the exception of a few beach buggies operated by the Pataxó Indians.

Looking forward to our canoeing trip through the mangrove forests. The night before we enjoyed a live pagode and samba evening with the locals in the Toca do Sirí (left of the blue house).


Try a canoe trip up the Caraíva river through endless mangroves until Prainha, a small river beach. The guy renting the canoes can usually be found in front of the Cachaçaria. Ask for “João do Barro”, 60 BRL per hour for 2 persons, 2 hours 100 BRL for 2.

Main Street. Most of the life in Caraíva plays along the river shore. It is here where you will find most of the shops, bars and restaurants.

Caraíva, the only way to get around is on foot, horse carriage and a few beach buggies run by the Pataxó indians

Walk to Praia do Satú (40 minutes each way)

Just at the end of the small peninsula of Caraíva, ask one of the guys with the canoes to take you across the river Caraíva (5 BRL per person) and then walk along the beach for about 3 km. At the end, another beautiful bay will come into sight, the Praia do Satú. Beautiful, protected beach, coral reefs, two hidden sweet water lagoons and half a dozen beach bars to cater for thirst and hunger. Wonderful.

One of the carriage horses “going to work” on its own, across the river Caraíva

Where to stay:

Pousada Fulô – a bit outside of the centre, near the football field and the church. Cozy place with nice rooms and a fabulous little pool on the roof. Moderately priced.


Pousada Vila do Mar – small and young pousada with a great pool, full beach front, yoga and much more.

Pousada Thayna – Cozy little pousada, directly on the beach. Wood and thatch cottages and rooms. Not very cheap.


Maison d’hôte Casa da Natacha – fabulous luxurious bed & breakfast right on the beach – 5 rooms – Moderately priced.

La Villa – Close to the beach, it is the perfect place for participating in mind-refreshing yoga, but also enjoy the vibrating energy around the Pousada


Côres do Mar – Little cottages in front of the sea

Casa da Praia – pousada with a nice swimming pool and cozy rooms

Pousada Flor do Mar – 5 unique suites, each beautifully designed,  providing a terrace with a hammock and incredible view over the beautiful garden or horizon


Where to eat and go out:

Culinária Central – about 200 metres from the river – very good local sea food and fish – the lagosta gratinada, moqueca and bolinhos de feijão are all excellent – price $$

Boteco do Pará – towards the point of the peninsula – best place to have “pasteis”, deep fried pastries filled with various savory fillings like ray (fish), cheese, shrimp, hearts of palm or ground beef, at the end of a day on the beach or for a small lunch – price $$

Manga Rosa – good Moqueca – seating next to the river and in a lively atmosphere – price $$$

O Quintal – mixed Italian and Brazilian menu – price $$

Patioba – last small restaurant before the point of the peninsula – price $

Acarajé – the best place to try this typical Brazilian street food is at the stall “Posto” on Fridays and Saturdays near the point of the peninsula

Toca do Sirí – live music, bar and drinks on most days of the week. Next to the football field and the church

Beco da Lua – small side street off the river lane with bars, restaurants and shops

Breakfast at Pousada Flor do Mar

When to go:

To avoid the rainy season from April to June, as well as the crowds in summer, we recommend travelling between the ends of August until just before Christmas.

How to get there:

The best connection is flying into Salvador, Bahia or also Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais and from there on to Porto Seguro. Most flight connections go through São Paulo, but this means quite a detour and more flight hours. From Porto Seguro take the car ferry to Arraial da Ajuda and then south to Trancoso (about 35 km) and on to Caraíva for another 36 km this time on a dirt track. You will come through the village of Itaporanga where you will find a few handicraft shops run by Pataxó Indians. They have some really nice things at low prices. 

Safety:

You hear a lot about safety problems in Brazil, but I must admit that we felt completely safe during our whole 900 km trip through Bahia and did not encounter a single situation worth mentioning, on the contrary. Precaution though is always good, meaning don’t walk around with valuables shown openly or go through unattended dark streets or alleys if you don’t have to.


If you need any help or advice with planning a trip to Caraíva, then we can help you! Just contact us at www.secretplaces.com, by email to info@secretplaces.com or by phone +351214647430 (PT), +442032864643 (EN), +498913072855 (DE), or +34902430310 (ES).