Ó-paí-ó! Welcome to Salvador!
Salvador, the old colonial capital of Brazil, lies between broad beaches and tropical hills on the bay of Todos os Santos in the north-eastern part of the country. Known as Brazil's capital of happiness, Salvador is characterised by its happy-go-lucky people, open air parties and, essentially, Carnival. The urban part of Salvador is also the most affluent in the whole of Bahia, reflected in its impressive architecture and quality Salvador hotels and Salvador pousadas.
Salvador's colonial legacy and strong African influences give the city a distinct and exciting atmosphere.
With almost 2,250,000 people, Salvador is next only to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in terms of population, and it is the eighth most populous city in all of Latin America. It's an artistic city filled with churches, culture, great local cuisine, and a number of great places to stay. Most of the pousadas in Salvador and Salvador hotels offer great value for money and are run by friendly locals.
Culturally, Salvador has a strong African influence, and almost 80% of the metropolitan area of the city is African. This Afro-Brazilian culture is more than evident in everything from the spicy food, which still retains its African names, such as caruru, vatapa and acaraje, to religious ceremonies which fascinatingly combine African and Catholic traditions. Even today the capoeira schools in Salvador teach a traditional form of African martial art.
São Salvador da Baía de Todos os Santos was the historic name for the town, which in English means ‘the Holy Saviour of All Saints' Bay'. Todos os Santos being a natural harbour, grew as a major port and was so named because it was discovered on 'All Saints' Day. Salvador itself is a triangular peninsula which separates the bay from the Atlantic. Between 1500 and 1815, diamonds and gold from the mines of the southeast and sugar from the northeast were traded in Salvador. In addition, the rich agricultural past of the Bahia state which falls in the Recôncavo Baiano region with fertile flat lands and rolling low hills contributed to trade in Salvador.
It was during these heydays of business and cultural exchange that Salvador developed its uniqueness, and today there is much to see and do in Salvador. Baroque churches and houses with rich gold decorations, the town squares and the characteristic hand-chipped paving bricks were constructed then, and today form Salvador's legacy. The Pelourinho, or the colonial centre and heart of the city, is filled with architectural marvels from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. Taking a Salvador tour of the historic centre is one of the many highlights of a Salvador holiday.
The mountains also lent their characteristic charm to Salvador, which is built on two levels - the upper city or Cidade Alta and lower city or Cidade Baixa. The houses, administrative blocks and the cathedral can be found in the Cidade Alta, while the ports, warehouses and dock were constructed by the beach in Cidade Baixa. In fact, an elevator, the first in Brazil and locally called Elevador Lacerda, connecting the two sections of Salvador was built way back in 1873. You can use our Salvador map to choose which part of the city you'd like your Salvador hotel to be in, so that you're close to what you wish to see.
Security is an issue in every big city, and Salvador is no different; cases rarely occur, but there is no need for major concerns. Shoulder bags, backpacks and other such articles that seem to attract the vagrants should be avoided and it is best to travel light once you are there. Avoid carrying valuables at any cost, and steer clear of the beach at night. Never venture out at night by yourself and avoid being alone in downtown Salvador. Although there is a road from the old town to the harbour, it is wiser to take the elevator, even during the day. Pelourinho, which has always been notorious for crime, is patrolled heavily and has a strong police presence.
The best way to move around Salvador is in groups and in the daytime. The other option would be to find someone local who can guide you through the city. However, don't let this put you off as most that visit or take a tour in Salvador never have a problem and have a safe and enjoyable Salvador vacation.
With a charming Old Town, vibrant musical scene and popular Carnival celebrations, Salvador is considered one of the birthplaces of Brazilian culture and a fascinating place to experience. Let us help you have the perfect Salvador holiday with our locally recommended Salvador accommodations and tours in Salvador.
A welcoming atmosphere awaits guests at Casa das Portas Velhas. All kinds of carefully chosen antiques give this Salvador hotel a comfortable and stylish environment.[more info]
From: R$ 200
Such an interesting name creates expectations of a unique Salvador hotel, and that is exactly what Cocoon Lounge Hotel offers. A fusion between inter-galactic and tropical themes, the Cocoon Lounge Hotel is a perfect balance of architecture and nature, with modern amenities and ethnic decor that is sure to enhance your stay in Salvador.[more info]
The Pousada Des Artes is a XVIII century mansion was restored by artists and architects from Salvador. The Pousada Des Artes values Bahia's culture through its concern for preserving the past, mixing art, elegance and tradition.[more info]
From: R$ 623
A restored historical convent equipped with the best in luxury and technology, the Pestana Convento do Carmo also has several attractions that are available at the surroundings. It is the perfect choice for those interested in a combination of tradition and comfort during their Salvador holiday.[more info]
From: R$ 385
The Villa Bahia Hotel is a painstakingly renovated 18th century mansion located in the heart of Pelourinho, next to the spectacular São Francisco church. Here history, impeccable taste, style and comfort are perfectly balanced to make Villa Bahia one of Salvador's premier properties.[more info]
From: R$ 213
The Pousada do Pilar is a charming colonial building nestled in the Historic Centre of Salvador! In the Pousada do Pilar Hotel you enjoy a warm atmosphere with comforting nights in their carefully decorated rooms, and begin the day in Salvador with a delicious breakfast on the hotel’s terrace, with a great view of Baía de Todos os Santos![more info]
From: R$ 195
Hotel Villa Santo Antônio is located in the historic center of Salvador, the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is set in a colonial mansion recently restored and carefully decorated to create a perfect harmony with modern designs and provides a delightful atmosphere.[more info]
Ó-paí-ó! Welcome to Salvador!
We are Rota Tropical, your local connection in Salvador. We are professional and experienced and with us you get more than online reservations, you get a warm welcoming human touch as well. We look forward to showing you our amazing city, a real part of Brasil![more]
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Mrs Annejifke M. - Australia