An enchanting stretch of coastline

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May 27th 2014
Published: September 12th 2014
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From Salvador to... Arraial d'Ajuda!From Salvador to... Arraial d'Ajuda!From Salvador to... Arraial d'Ajuda!

Joel and Jeremy Chiron are in BRAZIL!!!!
Our cycling adventure along the coast of Bahia is getting close to an end already. From Porto Seguro (big town), we caught a boat across Rio Buranhem to get to Arraial d’Ajuda, a peaceful tourist village surrounded by tropical vegetation. We cycled around town and enjoyed the narrow cobblestoned roads, shady plazas, colorful facades and old churches on top of the hill. From up there the view over the coastline is amazing and well-worth the steep climb on our bikes!

In the winter time, Arraial d’Ajuda seems so calm and still. Most restaurants only open in the late afternoon and everyone seems to be taking a siesta at home. Arraial is a popular vacation spot for well-off Brazilians and Argentinians and the beach there was the busiest one we saw in 3 weeks in Bahia, but it was still very relaxing. The water at Arraial is very clear and blue and we relaxed in the sun, and looked at people walking by. The narrow beach goes on forever (kilometers!) and there are many cafes and restaurants along it. So we got to see all kinds of tourists and hippies selling their crafts at the terraces. We bought some coconut cakes from a lady and it was good but so sweet! (I sound Chinese, don’t I?!) We met a young waiter there who said he was going to ride his bike from Arraial to Brasilia for the World Cup (more than 1300km on a road that goes pretty much straight from Porto Seguro to Brasilia… What a big country!). We hoped he had better bikes than ours!

After a few hours on the beach and a pleasant afternoon tea (coffee) at a big local bakery (lots of pastries!) we decided to hit the road and try to find a place to camp along the coast. It was only 42km to Trancoso but there were a few nice beaches to check out on the way. In Brazil every time we asked for directions, emphasizing that we wanted to ride on the small roads, people could never tell us how to get there. I guess the locals only drive on the main roads and they’re not familiar with the unpaved ones along the coast. So… we followed the trails and we quickly realized it wasn’t going to be easy: big puddles (with all the rain that had fallen in the previous weeks), muddy hills and some steep climbs (see photos): more adventure! We couldn’t find a single place to pitch our tent. We were surrounded by thick bush, but it was either too muddy, too wet, or not sheltered enough, or the road was lined with wire and big “private property, stay out” signs. So we kept going…

It was after 5 o’clock and we both knew we only had a few minutes left before the sun went down. We were only a few kilometers away from Trancoso and we had seen many turn offs for big hotel resorts up in the hills or closer to the beach, but they had huge gates everywhere and guards. And then we rode past a swamp and there was a narrow dirt road that seemed to take us towards the beach. We gave it a try and after 200 meters here it was, the perfect spot: flat and shady, surrounded by enough trees to hide our tent from the road. We didn’t know it then but we would end up spending several nights here.

Trancoso was great! What a laid-back town with beautiful/peaceful beaches (looooooong
MWA! Salty kisses!MWA! Salty kisses!MWA! Salty kisses!

At Arraial d'Ajuda, May 2014
stretches of fine sand!), lovely restaurants up the hill along the green plaza (that turns into a football pitch at night!) and of course, like every town built by the Portuguese in Bahia, a church at the very top with stunning vistas over the blue coastline. Actually Arraial d’Ajuda and Trancoso pretty much look the same: pristine sand + old clifftop village with brightly painted facades and charming open-air restaurants.

We found a local eatery where the boss knew how to prepare a tasty Carne de Sol (salted meat, grilled), fish or Prato Feito (ready-to-eat hot meal) and make it look beautiful at the same time. My Dad and I are very loyal customers: when the food is good and the beer is cold, then we love coming back! The chef’s mom grew fond of us and after the 2nd meal, she made strong coffee just for us. So dark! Still my Dad was asleep before 8pm that night! ;-)

I hope you enjoy our photos of Trancoso. We liked the place very much so we decided that, after we’d visit the tiny village of Caraiva (40km south) we’d ride back to Trancoso and
Hello Trancoso!Hello Trancoso!Hello Trancoso!

Bom Dia Bahia!
stay here a couple of days before heading back to Porto Seguro. This would be the end of our cycling adventure).

We left Trancoso in the afternoon and rode off to Caraiva… Guess what? The road was unpaved, bumpy and sandy… Argh! All the way! But if that’s what it takes to see picturesque beaches, we’ll do it! Check out where we camped on our way to Caraiva: in the jungle! There were hundreds of fireflies at night! It was like being in a fairy tale!

Petit blog rapide sur 2 jolis villages touristiques du sud de Bahia: Arraial d’Ajuda et Trancoso. En raison de sa proximité avec (la plus grosse ville de) Porto Seguro, le village d’Arraial d’Ajuda s’est un peu plus develope, et beaucoup de jolis maisons et hotels se sont implantés le long de la plage. Le plage demeurre tout de meme idyllique avec des kilometres de sable fin et blanc et une mer chaude et claire. C’est un bel endroit a savourer au soleil ou a l’ombre d’un des nombreux arbres tropicaux qui longent l’etroite plage d’Arraiail.

Le village d’Arraial d’Ajuda a ete construit par
on the way to Trancoso...on the way to Trancoso...on the way to Trancoso...

We wanted to take the small roads... We got it!
les portugais sur une butte qui surplombe le littoral. Ils y ont construit de petites eglises qui dominent la nature environnante. La petite ville est entourée de foret tropicale et comme vous le verrez sur les photos, l’environement au sud de Bahia est on ne peut plus vert. Les quelques rues du village sont toutes pavées, ce qui donne beaucoup de charme a l’endroit mais qui ne nous a pas rendu la tache facile a vélo! Avec ses facades aux couleurs vives, ses restaurants en plein air, et ses grandes places herbeuses, Arraial est une charmante destination de plaisance.

Apres notre precedentes mésaventures sur les petites routes le long du littoral, nous aurions du nous douter que le chemin qui relie Arraial a Trancoso ne serait pas de tout repos… Nous avions pourtant le choix avec une belle route goudronnée que tout le monde utilise ici… mais pourquoi faire simple quand on peut vivre une aventure! A chaque fois que j’ai questionné les gens pour savoir si nous étions dans la bonne direction, ou comment accéder a la petite route le long de la cote, les bresiliens nous ont toujours répondu qu’ils n’en avaient aucune idée et qu’on ferait mieux d’emprunter la voie rapide. Tetus et confiants (meme pas peur!) nous nous sommes engagé sur un chemin de fortune qui s’est vite avéré etre impossible: au menu du jour (sans surprises!): grosses flaques, boue, rudes montées, et du sable… Apres tout ce qu’on a vécu depuis notre depart de Salvador, ces péripeties nous ont faire rire, et je crois que, de Bahia, on se rappellera autant des chemins impraticables que des jolies plages. Nous ne nous attendions pas a rouler autant le meme jour, mais comme nous ne trouvions pas d’endroits pour piquer la tente (trop de boue, trop de vent, trop de buissons, trop de maisons, trop de barbeles le long de la route…) nous nous sommes retrouvé a quelques kilometres de Trancoso juste avant le coucher du soleil. Et finalement nous avons trouvé notre bonheur au milieu d’un bosquet, au bord d’un chemin qui mene a la plage. On aurait dit que l’endroit avait ete preparé pour nous: paisible, plat, entourré d’arbres pour nous camouffler, et a 5 minutes de la plage. Bonne nuit les cyclistes!

Et pour ceux qui aiment la plage et la tranquilité il faut venir a Trancoso, Bahia! Des kilometres de jolie plage, des palmiers, des cocotiers, peu de monde (en hiver), de bons restos, de delicieuses patisseries, et une ambiance des plus decontractées = un superbe endroit! Je vous laisse regarder les photos qui parlent d’elles-memes. Ca sentait la fin du périple, et nous étions déjà en mode farniente! En tout cas, l’endroit nous a tellement plu qu’on a decidé d’y revenir après la visite de Caraiva, un tout petit village indigene a 40km au sud de Trancoso… A suivre dans le prochain blog. L’aventure continue!

Additional photos below
Photos: 128, Displayed: 28


Shade or sunshine? Shade or sunshine?
Shade or sunshine?

Arraial d'Ajuda
Argh... it never stops!Argh... it never stops!
Argh... it never stops!

This must be why people don't even know of the existence of these small roads!
on our way out of Trancoso... sunset over the fieldson our way out of Trancoso... sunset over the fields
on our way out of Trancoso... sunset over the fields

Forest has been cut down to give place to pasture.
Good morning General!Good morning General!
Good morning General!

Ready to take the tent down. we camped a few meters from the road, in the forest.
byebye Porto Seguro!byebye Porto Seguro!
byebye Porto Seguro!

on the boat to Arraial d'Ajuda! It's gonna be a great day!
on our way to Arraiail d'Ajudaon our way to Arraiail d'Ajuda
on our way to Arraiail d'Ajuda

Beautiful day in Southern Bahia (May 2014)

14th September 2014
Trancoso Beach. Not bad either... ;-)

Un bon voyage!
Great to have so many panoramas--it was like watching a film! Ah, Brazil--gorgeous beaches, too-sweet cakes, friendly people and those cute churches on hills--you bring back such lovely memories, though cobblestones are killers on bikes and feet. How fabulous that one of your last nights was illuminated by magical fireflies. Excellent adventure!
14th September 2014
Trancoso Beach. Not bad either... ;-)

Brazil is magical!
I just discovered the panorama option on this blog... better late than never! ;-) What's your favorite part of Brazil?
14th September 2014
Trancoso Beach. Not bad either... ;-)

faves of Brazil
My very favorite was Paraty on the south coast--colonial, pedestrian small city with great beaches nearby and lots of day trips by cheap bus or bike to hiking spots. I would also have loved nearby Ihla Grande, but it was pouring, but beaches and hikes (always my faves). Second fave would be Ouro Preto and surrounding towns--gorgeous churches and colonial buildings on millions of hills (cobbled streets). Then beautiful, but big city Rio--beachces, hikes, culture and a 2-week international film fest that I stayed for. Of course, Iguasu, but you also really need to see that from the Argentine side too. I was only there for 6 weeks because it was so expensive, so I only saw 5 very worthwhile towns. Great parks and museums in Sao Paulo and train ride through mountains and jungle to the coast from Curitiba rounds out my trip. I'll be following to see where you two go. Ciao!
15th September 2014
Trancoso Beach. Not bad either... ;-)

You're gonna like the next few blogs!
They should bring back fond memories! ;-)

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