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The very best of Brazil all in one place


Itacaré is a charming "Little Brazil." The region is blessed with absolutely stunning beaches, a tropical climate, warm water all year long, and extremely consistent waves. The area also hosts some of the best preserved dense Atlantic Rain Forest areas in Brazil, with great tropical flora & fauna.

The lively 18th century town mixes traditional exotic Afro-Brazilian culture with that from recent Brazilian and foreign immigrants, surfers, and travelers form all over the world.

The Town of Itacaré

The town of Itacaré (South Bahia) was, at one time known as a notorious hideout for pirates. Today, it consists of colonial buildings and tons of small village charm. Although mostly inhabited by local fishermen and surfers, it is also home to native Brazilians & foreigners looking to establish a life closer to nature. With a population of approximately 27,000, our town is a district capital offering a stable infrastructure to both the local and tourist population.

The beginning of Itacaré

The beginning of Itacaré

The harbor of Itacaré
São Miguel church in Itacaré

Originally inhabited by Indians, Itacaré was settled by European Jesuits in the early 18th century.

Many African slaves were brought into the region when settlers discovered the value of cocoa and the saw the potential growth in the region.

Some of the earliest buildings, such as the São Miguel church and the House of Jesuits, still define the town's appearance. However, the intense cocoa boom during the late 19th and early 20th century can be credited with the majority of historical development here. During that time, Itacaré became the main Bahian harbor for export shipments of the cocoa (also know as "planted gold").

 

The changing history of Itacaré

The changing history of Itacaré

Fishing culture
Witness of historical glory

In the 1950's, Ilhéus began to overshadow Itacaré due to a decline in the world market demand for Brazilian cocoa and the fact that Ilhéus was a more convenient port with highway access from the country's interior.

Then in the 1980's, a disastrous fungus disease plague spread like wild-fire through-out all the cocoa plantations in the region, totally destroying crops and marking the end of Itacaré's strong cocoa period.

Fishing started to represent Itacaré's main income source since the decline of the cocoa culture, and the formerly famous port was used exclusively by small, local fishing boats.

 

Itacaré today

Itacaré today

Rebuilt historical building
Let's groove...

With the construction of a paved road between Ilhéus and Itacaré in 1998, and the more recent construction of a bridge over Rio de Contas in 2009, Itacaré has re-opened its doors to the world with a strong shift toward tourism as its main commercial activity.

Itacaré has obtained a county government status and further developed its infrastructure to include a hospital and court building. However, the locals here maintain one philosophy for life: no hurry + reggae roots.

During New Year's and Carnival, Itacaré hosts a good number of Brazilian party-goers. The streets become filled with Axê music, samba and beer while bands play all night long and swinging hips and smiles can be found on every corner.

Some advice about your stay

Some advice about your stay

Money

Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, supermarkets, and restaurants. There are currently two ATMs providing Brazilian cash for international travelers. You can officially exchange USD and EURO in Itacaré at reasonable exchange rates. Keep in mind that it can be difficult to exchange foreign currencies other than these. Expect to get very low exchange rates for traveler checks.

Eating, drinking & shopping

Itacaré has plenty of supermarkets, bakeries, retailers for fruits and vegetables, small fish markets, a weekly market for fruits and vegetables, beach apparel stores, pharmacies, stationary, "handicraft" shops, restaurants, bars and beach restaurants/bars. For a basic hot meal (fish/meat/chicken with beans, rice and salad) expect to pay about US $8.00. The most expensive dishes are about US $25.00 per person.

Clothing

Travel light! A few pairs of Bermuda shorts and t-shirts, plus a pair of solid sandals with straps that can stand a 20-minute walk trough the jungle will do the job. All necessary clothes can also be found in Itacaré at reasonable quality and relatively low prices. In the winter months from June to September, we recommend bringing one pair of light long trousers and a light pullover. A light rain coat is also a good idea.

Safety

Itacaré is a relaxed place and you won't find too much crime here. However please note that at least 60% of the population lives in severe poverty. Therefore, any foreign tourist is considered very rich by local standards. Locals have received EasyDrop clients with great friendliness for years. But you should take care when going out at night because wherever the party is, there will mostly be some "rats" around. So use common sense and don't display valuables.

Itacaré town map

Itacaré town map

Click map to take a closer look

The surroundings of Itacaré

Itacaré is surrounded by a vast and dense area of Atlantic Rain Forest that contains rivers, waterfalls, and a variety of endemic flora & fauna species. In fact, the southern region of Bahia retains the most significant portion of Atlantic Rain Forest in all of northeastern Brazil. We truly believe that besides the stunning beaches and consistent surf conditions, nature is the most precious tourist attraction Itacaré has to offer.


About UNESCO in Itacaré

About UNESCO in Itacaré

Inside the forest of Itacaré
Another forest river
Sloth
Mico-Leão-Dourado

The Brazilian Atlantic Rain Forest is considered by the scientific community to be one of the most diverse & richest ecosystems on the planet, and the second-most endangered.

That is why in 1992, UNESCO elevated the Atlantic Rain Forest to the status of Biosphere Reserve. In other words, this region is one of today's top three highest priority areas for biodiversity conservation on the planet.

Two natural preserves have been established with these concerns in mind, the Environmental Protection Area "APA Itacaré-Serra Grande" and the Estate Park "Serra de Conduru." A scientific study carried out by the Botanical Garden of New York identified 456 different species of trees in one hectare of Serra de Conduru, a world record!

The reason for the exceptionally high incidence of preserved rain forest in this region is due to the fact that Southern Bahian coastal river valleys provide ideal growing conditions for cocoa which is grown in the shade of large trees. Therefore, although not primary rain forest, the region has preserved huge areas of forest due to its main commercial use, the cocoa culture.

The downfall of the cocoa culture provoked by a devastating fungal disease ("vassoura da bruxa") together with the decline of the cocoa trade prices on the world markets, most of the landowners have abandoned their properties. This was followed by pressure in the area for deforestation, converting the forest into timber, settlements and plantations.