Day 1 – Salvador
After arriving at Salvador Airport (SSA), the immigration process was a breeze and luckily I got my bag quick and I was out of the door in no time. Taxis are abundant outside the airport but don’t go with anyone asking for a taxi. Check in with the information center and they will assign an “official” taxi to you which is reliable and safe. Taxis usually cost anything between BRL 70 to BRL 90 to Praça da Sé in Pelourinho area (old town). Some taxi drivers were agreeing to BRL 60 as well.
But I decided to go with recommendations from a lot of online forums and walked past the parking garage to the bus stop behind the parking garage. From here you can catch the bus number 1001 “Praça da Sé” that takes about one hour to reach the Pelourinho area. It is not the fastest option, but the cheapest for sure. One way ticket costs BRL 3, payable to the bus driver.
[Bus 1001 outside Salvador Airport]
It was almost 11am when I reached the bus stop, which is at the south end of the main plaza. Walking to the center takes about 10 minutes, and I was informed by the hostel to take the less dangerous road (shown in green below) via Elevador Lacerda instead of the one just following the bus stop (shown in red below). The green route was a bit longer, but I definitely felt safer. Especially looking at the red route to be empty!
[Correct & safe (green) versus incorrect & unsafe (red) roads from bus stop to hostel]
After checking in to Laranjeiras Hostel, I had a quick shower before heading out for lunch. The hostel is in a side street from the main square that has the Comunidade Franciscana da Bahia church. This is a huge square with lots of restaurants, street food and street parties. Weekends bring in artists from all over Salvador entertaining the tourists with their skills or selling souvenirs.
Walking past the square, I reached Elevador Lacerda – the icon of Salvador that allows residents to easily commute between Pelourinho’s Lower Town (Cidade Baixa) and its Upper Town (Cidade Alta) by some 85 meters (279 ft).
It costs BRL 0.30 one way and is highly recommended to take the elevator to commute rather than walking the curvy street, supposedly where most muggings occur.
The first sight you’ll see in Cidade Baixa is the beach! But before heading there, make sure to visit the Mercado Modelo (Modelo Market) for gifts, souvenirs and produce. Be wary of your wallet and personal belongings while shopping there.
Having spent some time there, I returned to Cidade Alta via Elevador Lacerda to explore Pelo. Just walking around this tiny “old town” is an experience where you’ll find locals and tourists wandering around.
[Comunida de Franciscanada Bahia, with the main square of Salvador lined with restaurants and shops.]
[Old colonial buildings in the main square. This is the most photograped place in Salvador.]
[Just an alleyway in Salvador.]
[A statue of Bahia woman.]
[The old ad the new – walking towards Elevador Lacerda.]
You could find a lot of impromptu bands on the streets playing the typical Afro-Brazilian music. Dance to the tunes with the locals!
After spending the rest of evening around Pelo’s streets, I returned back to hostel, made some friends and we went for dinner at a cafeteria nearby.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = BRL 3.73 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
|Bus from Salvador Airport to Praça da Sé||$1.24||BRL 3. One way, one person.|
|Laranjeiras Hostel||$51.47||BRL 192. For two nights, double bedroom, shared bathroom.|
|Souvenirs||$30.56||Fridge Magnets (BRL 14), flag (BRL 100).|
|Lunch on street side||$4.02||BRL 15.|
|Coconut water||$2.14||BRL 8. Twice, BRL 4 each.|
|Elevador Lacerda||$0.16||BRL 0.60. Return.|
|Snacks & water||$2.68||BRL 10.|
|Total Costs||$96.39||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$96.39||Per person|