The city on the Atlantic coast of Brazil was our first host in South America. And we chose well – although it’s very big with app. 3.5 million people, the city centre is manageable on foot. Because of jetlag we started very early. We walked to the Centro Historico, visited the Catholic Church of the Ordem Terceira de São Francisco (fee: 5BR=1,35€) when finally the tourist information opened. They don’t speak almost any English or Spanish, but you can get free maps.
From there we walked to the football stadium Fonte Nova, which is open only on weekends. So learn from our mistake. 😉
Just right next to the Stadium is the Dique do Tororo lake with twelve sculptures of the “Orixás” (African deities).
Walking to the ocean was pretty exhausting, because we underestimated the distance and we couldn’t find any exchange office. Finally at the ocean, we were disappointed by the beach we found. It was small and dirty. We continued to the Mercado Modelo, where you can buy souvenirs, leather goods and clothes. From there you can take the elevator “Lacerda” to the “upper town” for just 0,15 BR=0,03€. Finally again at the old town, we had lunch in a mensa-like restaurant (you choose the dishes and pay by weight – 1 kg is 30 BR=6,8€).
We spent the afternoon walking around in the historical centre, having a beer and doing some people watching.
It reminded us of Cuba – on one hand of Havana, because it’s so big and with all the colourful facades, on the other hand of Trinidad, because of the historic centre. We’ve been warned for several times to watch out for our belongings, not to carry a camera on display or big jewellery.
If you drive approximately 30 min by bus out of the city, you will be greeted by wonderful, wide sand beaches – this is what we’ve been looking for. All the way it’s a nice promenade, drink sellers, outside gyms and palm trees.
How to get from and to the airport? Easy – there’s a local bus driving from the airport directly to the city centre (last stop, so don’t run to the driver every time you think you’re there like we did) and back. Cost: 3 BR=0,7€.
Sleeping: If you want to enjoy the beach, choose a hotel near the airport – there are the big nice beaches. If you want to stay in the city, we can recommend the Laranjeiras Hostel – it’s right in the heart of centro historico with nice rooms (private and dorms) at good prices.