Salvador was the first Colonial capital of Brazil and is one of the oldest cities in the New World. Known also as the “Capital of Happiness,” Salvador is famous for its stunning architecture, lively outdoor festivities, and warm, easygoing inhabitants.

History provides some of the answers as to why Salvador is so very different from other Brazilian cities. Founded in the mid-sixteenth century by Brazil’s first Colonial governor, the city was established on an escarpment, dividing it into the High City, where most of the residences and government buildings are located, and the Low City, where forts, docks, markets, and warehouses are found. As the political, economic and administrative center for the burgeoning Portuguese colony, its halcyon days were firmly set in the 18th century during a time of untold wealth from gold and sugar. Geography provides some more clues, as the city was aptly located in one of the safest natural harbors in the immense All Saints Bay, a vital link between Europe and the trade routes of the New World. Key though is the ethnic mix that was to form this cauldron of influences between the African, European, and indigenous people.

This mix of cultural influences spawned a local culture unlike that of any other region in Brazil. Samba, Brazil’s national dance began here, as did the breezy Bossa Nova. No other regional cuisine is as diversified as that of Bahia either, as exemplified by the moqueca, a gumbo-like dish of seafood. Plus, with four parks, including one of the few ecological parks in Brazil located in an urban area, and beautiful sea views, fans of the outdoors are sure to take delight in the countless activities Salvador has to offer. The recently-renovated Historic Center, often known as the Pelhourino, offers shopping and sightseeing opportunities galore, and the city’s All Saints Bay address provides access to excellent beaches and the longest coastline of any city in Brazil.

Contact a Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant about including Salvador in your next South American adventure itinerary.