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South of Bahia, on the coast. A square which seems like a work of art: the Quadrado, the “square” in English. It is actually less square than it is rectangular, has a green lawn and the houses around it are small and colorful. An immaculate 17th century white church sits in its center and you can see the blue of the ocean in the background: Welcome to Trancoso. Here the hippies and the artists set the mood. Such a mix isn’t found anywhere else and you can feel it: Trancoso is really a unique place in Brazil…

Brazil, Bahia Trancoso - small colorful houses

Geography and climate

Trancoso is located in the state of Bahia south of the city Porto Seguro and was discovered by Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500. We are getting closer to what can be considered the southern limit of Nordeste. Rio de Janeiro is only about 1000 kilometers south of here which is a short distance on the scale of Brazil! The entire coastline which is very narrow and over 2,500 km long goes from Natal to Rio and has a humid tropical coastal climate. Average temperatures remain essentially the same all year round, between 25 and 30 degrees.

Find out more about the climate in the description of Salvador de Bahia. In Trancoso the inhabitants are even luckier than those of Salvador because they are sun-drenched two thirds of the year. The climate is pleasant and soothing with a few temporary showers that are always welcome to refresh and add color to the varied vegetation.

A few words about Trancoso

Brazil, Bahia Trancoso - Church at sunsetA paradise beach. The blue ocean, the white sand, a dense forest called the Mata Atlântica which makes Trancoso not so easy to access. Here is why this village of nearly 1,000 inhabitants is a real treasure hidden in the south of Bahia far from mass tourism and jealously preserved by its privileged inhabitants as well as by those who discover it.

This small 16th century village remained practically cut off from the rest of the world for 500 years. There were only about 50 families left in 1978, many of them having left at that time to find work elsewhere. Electricity only arrived there in 1982 when Trancoso was rediscovered by a group of hippies who immediately perceived the potential of this forgotten little square.

Today the village is a gem that is appreciated by people who seek to enjoy the beauty of Brazil in an exclusive way. You will find here some of the most exquisite pousadas in Brazil but also restaurants, shops and art workshops that have kept a charming sobriety known to Brazil. Its worldwide fame which was acquired through the visit of illustrious artists has not altered all that gives it its soul and charm. There seems to be no other place where hippies, artists, rich, less rich, tourists and locals live together in such harmony. Here everyone is equal, everyone is welcome and each individual belongs.

Our expert opinion

South Bahia, from Itacaré to Abrolhos via Trancoso

Brazil, Bahia - Arraial Ajuda Trancoso CliffsWhoever decides to go as far as Trancoso has to visit Caraíva, a small seaside village about 2 hours away to the south. From Trancoso you have to take a dirt road that takes you into the forest and cross small wooden bridges that only the locals use. You will get lost into this scenery with the curious feeling of being one with an exotic and lush natural environment… An immersion which makes it unlikely for you to be disturbed by other travelers. You then have to cross a river with a small canoe to reach the heart of the small fishing village of Caraíva. Welcome to paradise! The contrast with Trancoso is obvious: less chic, less colorful, certainly less luxurious, but boasting unbelievable charm and atmosphere.

A stay in Trancoso and Caraíva is the ideal combination for those seeking rest, tranquility and the marvels of Brazilian natural beauty.

Bahia, Brazil - Cumuruxatiba, beach and fishing boatsHere is an alternative approach: make Trancoso the mid-point of a traveling tour that begins in Salvador de Bahia and enjoy all its cultural and historical richness. Continue down to several of the most beautiful beaches of the state of Bahia, perhaps even Brazil, such as Boipeba, Barra Grande, Itacaré, Canavieiras, St André and Caraíva. Finally end with the apex in the exceptional Abrolhos National Marine Park. This is the only place in Brazil where you can observe Jubarte whales up close. This park is also paradise for divers and snorkelers. The site is famous for its two- or three-day mini-cruises for diving enthusiasts.

Why you should visit Trancoso

  • To experience the rare luxury of being able to pretend being Robinson Crusoe at will and in exceptional conditions
  • Trancoso is a must-see for those who love charming pousadas. You will find there some of the most beautiful ones in Brazil such as the Pousada Uxua or the Estrela d’Agua but also small and charming colorful houses in the Quadrado district.
  • In Praia do Espelho is one of the five most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Its name means “the beach of the mirror” because the water acts like a mirror, a heavenly beach that you can reach on foot to spend the day there.
  • The Quadrado, the most famous square in Brazil. It is impossible not to fall in love with this magical place.
  • Bahianese cuisine is known to be one of the best in Brazil. In Trancoso you will find a blend of original Bahian cuisine with modern and international influences.
  • Trancoso is halfway between Porto Seguro and Caraíva. It is therefore the ideal stopover to stay a few days before leaving to discover the south of the state of Bahia.

Information and anecdotes

O Quadrado

This “Square” deserves its capital letter. Brazil’s most chic and special place has become so famous that it is now protected by UNESCO. Depending on the time of day you arrive, the Quadrado may appear lifeless and unremarkable. However as soon as the sun sets the square comes alive and the magic happens: children play football on the lawn, young people do capoeira in front of the church, people go out to chat and embrace life; the colors dance under the light of candles that illuminate this place which prepares for another unforgettable night.