Salvador, Brazil: A Photo Diary


South America

Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, is also Brazil’s capital of Afro-Brazilian history and culture. Known for its historic colonial center, the African influence in its cuisine, and its gorgeous coastline, Salvador is one of Brazil’s most vibrant cities. It was also the country’s first capital! While studying abroad in Rio, I spent a week in Salvador with my exchange program. I would have loved to stay longer and get to know Bahia better, but it was enough time to make me feel connected with the people and places I was able to see. Here are a few snapshots from this amazing city.

Welcome to Salvador!
Bahia is the Portuguese word for "bay." Across the water you can see one of the largest favelas in Salvador.
One of the first things I noticed about Salvador is that there's a church on practically every corner.
The area of the historic center called the Pelourinho is where enslaved people used to be brought for public punishment. Today, these cobblestone streets are full of celebrations that symbolize Black resistance.
The Pelourinho
I love that Salvador has both modern and historic areas.
The beautiful arts ad crafts sold on the street will have your heart feeling full and your wallet feeling hella empty.
Speaking of art, we were invited to a lecture at the apartment of a prominent graffiti artist. This is the view from his bathroom window! (Oops, is that creepy?)
There's nothing like a Bahian sunset over the Porto Da Barra beach.
One more!
The beach is just as beautiful during the day.
This is another historic center in the town of Cachoeira. It reminded me of Havana!
This colorful market in Santo Amaro sold everything from fruit, to handmade cigars, to the local dendê cooking oil.
This was a spot we drove past many times. The figures in the water are Orixás, deities from the Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé. These statues serve as a reminder of Candomblé's rich history and its strong presence today. You can't fully understand Salvador without learning about Candomblé and its resilience.
This is the view from the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, the most famous Catholic church in Salvador. According to tradition, you tie these bonfim ribbons around your wrist, make a wish, and once it falls off your wish will come true.
Salvador is also known for its Carnival! Bahians will tell you it's the best one in Brazil. I took this photo at the top of the city's Carnival museum.
At the end of our trip, we visited a self-proclaimed hippie town outside the city. This is our group, channeling our fiercest hippie vibes.

When you’re ready to start planning your trip, check out this New York Times article about what to do with 36 hours in Salvador.

What’s your favorite picturesque city?

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