GUIDE TO BARRA GRANDE, BRAZIL
BOM DIA! I’m back from my Brazilian vacation and I’m so excited to tell you about it. The first half of our trip was in Barra Grande and WOW, it was F***ING incredible! WARNING- you may never want to leave; seriously.
Barra Grande means big spit or sandbar. It’s a very fitting description for this piece of land on Bahia’s long coast that pushes up between the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Camamu. Barra Grande is an off-the-beaten-path type place that’s secluded and far away from the hustle and bustle of any Brazilian city. It’s a little piece of paradise on the south coast of Bahia.
HOW TO GET THERE
Full disclosure, it’s not an easy or quick trip; three different means of transportation are required to get there, but it’s COMPLETELY worth it.
AIR: The closest airport is Ilhéus but there are no direct flights. You first fly into Salvador or Sao Paulo and then catch a connecting flight.
LAND: Once you arrive in Ilhéus, you’ll need to take a car to Camamu. There is a road to take you all the way to Barra Grande, but the roads closer to the village are TERRIBLE and it takes much longer. You can just grab a cab from the airport and they will take you to the boat launch.
SEA: The final leg of the trip! Once you arrive in the city of Camamu, you take a boat launch to cross over to Barra Grande. The ferry takes about an hour or so to get there. Once you arrive, you can grab a taxi and head to your final destination. (Camamu adventure is the ferry we took)
TIP: Make sure to start your travel day early so that you arrive in Camamu while it’s still light out because the ferries close when it gets dark; my boyfriend and I learned this the hard way…
WHERE TO STAY
My boyfriend surprised me with the most magical Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in. The house is nestled into the beachfront of an amazing remote beach on the Peninsula de Marau with our own private path that led directly down to the ocean. We woke up every morning to the sound of the ocean waves and the gentle ocean breeze; it was heavenly. And the décor; think boho chic, Moroccan perfection. Everything about this place was unbelievable.; including the fresh coconuts on our doorstep every morning. We love staying at Airbnb’s when we travel because we love to cook. And it’s so much fun when you’re in a different country because you can experiment with all their native ingredients! The host, Alex, taught us how to make homemade coconut milk; it was SO delicious.
(Note- this Airbnb sits within the Nirvana Beach Hotel as the owners are best friends. We were able to use the hotels’ amenities if needed and the staff helped us too! The hotel offers five honeymoon suite rooms that overlook the beach. My favorite part is that all the ‘rooms’ are surrounded by lush Brazilian jungle so you truly feel like you’re on your own private island. I highly recommend this hotel! It’s romantic, beachy and relaxing; what more could you ask for?! There are also plenty of beachside pousadas (more or a less your typical B&B), hotels and bungalows dotted along the coastline)
THINGS TO DO
The list of activities on the island is endless. Days are filled with quad-bike tours to far off beaches, boat trips to hidden waterfalls, bathing in freshwater pools, live music, delicious food, sunset happy hours and beach yoga. there are countless restaurants and bars that line the coast and are all in walking distance from most of the hotels/homes.
SUSHI BARRA: We found this place while walking around in the center of town on our first night in Barra Grande. The sushi was DELICIOUS and the atmosphere was great! Highly recommend.
SOL DO MUTA: One of our favorite restaurants on the beach. It was a quick walk along the beach from our Airbnb. It’s the perfect spot to lounge during the day, have lunch and drinks, and watch the sunset. The atmosphere is super relaxing and the music is great. And their caipirinha’s (traditional Brazilian drink) are to DIE FOR!
OH! BAR: Right next door to Sol do Muta. It’s the perfect place to spend the day. They have lounge chairs, hammocks, sofas, you name it; it’s the ultimate relaxation right on the ocean. The food and drinks are delicious too. We loved spending the afternoons here and watching the sunset!
MOQUECAS: In the opposite direction of Sol do Muta and Oh! Bar, just another short walk along the beach from our Airbnb, we stumbled across this local restaurant. It’s super simple, but the location is incredible. The tables literally sit at the waters edge under the palm trees. We spent the afternoon here and had lunch one day. The food was delicious and everything was super inexpensive; definite bang for your buck. We also tried a local Brazilian food called farofa which is a toasted cassava flour mixture. Farofa is traditionally served alongside the main course and is sprinkled on the food or can be eaten as a rice. It’s DELICIOUS.
VILLA CAFÉ: Obviously I found the ONLY coffee shop on the island in the center of the town, and it’s absolutely adorable. They had the most delicious coffee and the employees were so sweet. NOTE: café gelado is NOT, I repeat NOT, iced coffee. My boyfriend and I order two of these thinking that it was and instead we received more or less a frappuccino that had Nutella drizzle, a scoop of ice cream, and was topped with whipped cream…. Google translate really failed us on that one!
TAIPUS DE FORA BEACH: This beach is a hidden gem known for its natural rock pools that form at low tide. It’s basically a natural aquarium that you can dive into and swim with the fish; I’m pretty sure I saw Dory 😉 But this is a definite to do!
And finally, the most important part of the trip; the sunsets. Words will never be able to express how incredible every sunset was during our stay. No matter how many we watched, we were speechless every time. Every day for the sunset, we would go to one of the bars that sat on the beach and would grab a drink. We would walk along the endless sandy beach, watching the waves come in and just enjoying being there in that moment.
My boyfriend and I are already trying to figure out the next time we can get back there. It truly was a trip of a lifetime!
Stay tuned for my next post about the second half of our trip in Rio de Janiero! Enjoy your weekend xx