In December 2013, Paula and I had a wonderful trip to Trancoso, a small village in the northern state of Bahia in Brazil. I first read about it in a couple of different magazine articles, which talked about how it was the laid back but chic place to get away from it all in Brazil. It was originally a small fishing village, but these days has quite a few nice restaurants and arty shops around its central square, the Quadrado. You can see a full set of pictures and more details on what we did in this album.
I did quite a bit of research on places to stay, using Tablet Hotels and TripAdvisor. You can either choose a hotel in the village or a hotel on the beach. While the village is close to the beach, it’s just far enough to most of the beach hotels that you probably don’t want to walk back to them after having dinner in the village, it’s better to take a taxi. We decided to spend a few days staying in the village and a few days at the beach, and chose Etnia Pousada and Villas de Trancoso respectively. Both were wonderful places, and it was good to get the different experience of staying both in the village and at the beach. We got a great rate at Etnia through Expedia, roughly half of what we paid at the Villas. And I liked Etnia slightly better – I preferred the more rustic and interesting design of the place, and I liked being just a couple of minutes walk from the Quadrado. We still went to the beach every day from there, to their sister property Etnia Clube de Mar. That was about a 40 minute walk in total though, 20 minutes to get to the beach and then a further 20 minutes along the beach. Or you could take a taxi which would take 5-10 minutes, but we enjoyed the walk. If you wanted to be right by the beach then obviously that’s a point in favor of the Villas or other beach hotels.
One day, while at Etnia, we rented a car and drove to Praia do Espelho, Mirror Beach, which is the most famous beach in the area. The staff at Etnia organized the car for us, which was done with a refreshing lack of paperwork and bureaucracy! The drive to get there is along a very bumpy dirt road, which ended up being a fun adventure. I’d be wary about driving along it if there had been a lot of rain on the previous few days, though. The beach was beautiful, but the highlight was having lunch at Silvinha’s, a wonderful little restaurant on the beach with just three tables and no menu – you just got the meal of the day. The food is Thai with local influences. You had to book in advance, and again the folks at Etnia took care of this for us.
We had a wonderful time in Trancoso – the beaches and both hotels were beautiful, the Quadrado has a very unique laid back vibe , and people were very friendly. One drawback if you’re coming from outside Brazil is that it is a bit of a pain to get there. There aren’t many flights in a day from Sao Paulo to Porto Seguro, so I ended up having a 5 hour layover after arriving in Sao Paulo from the US, and then it’s a two hour flight and an hour and a half drive before you’re in Trancoso. So it ended up being a 27 hour trip for me from leaving home in Denver to arriving at the hotel in Trancoso, which is much more than it takes us to get a lot of other nice beach destinations in Mexico or the Caribbean. But I guess on the positive side, that probably helps keep the number of tourists manageable! The majority of the other guests that we met were Brazilian.
All in all it’s a wonderful place to get away from it all and relax – as one of my Brazilian friends said, time stands still in Trancoso!