Latitude: 14° 16′ 36” S
Longitude: 38° 59′ 56” W


Itacaré is a town in the Costa do Cacau (Cocoa Coast) of the state of Bahia in Brazil, south of Salvador. It is located 70 km north of Ilhéuswhere the Rio de Contas, which comes from the Chapada Diamantina, meets the Atlantic Ocean. Itacaré has about 27,000 residents. Out of these, approximately 50% live in the rural interior. A mixture of races – Amerindian, black and white – can be seen in the features of the natives, called “nação grapiúna”, who Jorge Amado affectionately referred to as “the captivating people of this land”. Itacaré was founded as a Portuguese colonial settlement, originally called São Jorge dos Ilhéus, in 1532. The town was a notorious hangout for Dutch and Portuguesepirates during the early colonial period and later became a hub for the cocoa planting and a port for whalers. It was officially given city status in 1881.

After a massive blight of Vassoura de Bruxa (Witch’s broom) which devastated the region’s cocoa crops in the 1980s, Itacaré has depended mostly upon tourism. It is a popular destination for surfers, hikers and ecotourists. The town has a series of beautiful small cove type beaches and other picturesque beaches further along the coast. Itacaré is on the edge of a national park, one of the last large expanses of Atlantic rain forest left in Brazil.

The change from sleepy agrarian town to tourist hotspot has not been an easy one, however. Locals recently won a hard-fought campaign to stop land owners who wanted to charge for access to the beaches.

Access to one of the most pristine beaches, Prainha, had been blocked by a hotel/condominium development called Sao Jose Eco Resort. Both Prainha and Sao Jose beaches are now accessible by foot, free of charge.

Despite development in the area, it remains a hub of Bahian culture. Many tourists visit Itacaré to take part in the local Capoeira circles and eat traditional Brazilian food. The town is flooded with revelers during New Year’s celebrations and Carnival.

Itacaré has been mentioned as one of the world’s top 10 best small towns.” ¹

NEW: Explore Itacaré in 3D with Google Street View!

The photos you are about to see were taken in 2006 during a short stay at the idyllic site. If the weather was not favorable for several days – short periods of daily rain – the spectacular scenery makes one easily forget the downside of things and plan for a return to further explore the area. This is my case. I was particularly impressed with the light and contrasting colors, ideal for photography. And what a formidable nature with remnants of the exuberant Atlantic Rain Forest, turquoise seas, white sand, endless stretches of uninhabited (!!!) beaches, emeraldrestingas (mangroves) adorned by blue skies, bays of stunning beauty, rivers, waterfalls, lagoons, birds and high biological diversity with large numbers of endemic species. Unforgettable. This presentation lacks more photos and I have TWO things to say about it: 1) I lost a card full of shots! 2) Isn’t it a good reason to return?

Best, Oscar

¹ Wikipedia

Photos by Oscar Ribeiro

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