Praia do Forte is a coastal village in the Brazilian state of Bahia, 82 km north of Salvador. Despite being overpriced and tourist-oriented without any disguise, it is probably one of the most beautiful and pleasant spots of the Northeast of the country, and a good way to relax from the noise and crowds of Salvador.
The main attraction in Praia do Forte is the "Projeto Tamar" turtle sanctuary . The sanctuary has pools where you can see several varieties of turtle and various kinds of fish and is worth a visit. Entry fee is 7 reais. At first sight the town of Praia do Forte may seem to exist mainly for tourists to buy turtle-themed items but it is an interesting area with a nearby ecological reserve and there are several good pousadas, as well as apartments that can be rented for longer periods.
Lighthouse from the beach at Praia do Forte
Praia do Forte is 1.5 - 2 hrs on a bus from Salvador.
You can get the bus from Calçada (near the bottom of the Lacerda lift) or from the rodoviária bus station). The bus costs 6.5 reais (May 2006).
Salvador's airport is to the northeast of the town, giving easy access to Praia do Forte if you want to by-pass Salvador itself. Car rental is available from several companies. Buses leave from the airport at 10.30 and 14.30 for Praia do Forte.
From where the bus drops you off, you can walk anywhere in town. The path to the beach and to Projeto Tamar is lined with shops and restaurants.
Projeto Tamar is a successful environmental project in Praia do Forte. TAMAR stands for Tartarugas Marinhas (Sea Turtles). The Project is a non-profit organization with its main objective being to protect sea turtles from extinction on the Brazilian coastline. Praia do Forte is one of 22 bases of the project along the Brazilian coast, which have now released close to 10mn turtles into the Atlantic.
A Turtle in a tank at Projeto Tamar
Shopping - There are many nice boutiques and they don't just sell bikinis, t-shirts and other turtle-themed souvenirs.
The Beach - The beach is very nice. When the tide is out there are tide pools that are full of sea life. Farther down on the beach, past Projeto Tamar there is a great place for swimming. There are a lot of fish and you don't even need a snorkel and mask to see them. After seeing Projeto Tamar, spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean or exploring the tide pools. It's not uncommon to see a whale surface past the breaking waves.
Sapiranga Ecological Reserve. Atlantic rainforest area just a couple of km from Praia do Forte. Lots of interesting plants and birds, but rather spoilt by the 4-wheeled motorbikes that are the latest invasive species.
Horse riding. Available on the beach and for trips to Sapiranga reserve.
Bicycle hire. Several good trails are available.
Surfing and paragliding.
Capoeira You can train for example with Grupo Esporão with some great teachers as Contra-Mestre Fuampa or Professor Macaco.
Loja Brasil Açu, Avenida ACM. Carvings, sculptures, and other works of art from Bahia.
Loja Mulher Rendeira, Avenida ACM. Local handicrafts and women's clothes
Sancy Brazil, Avedida ACM, Praça da Música, . Precious stones and jewelry.
Castelo Garcia D'avila, Praia do Forte (Very near Praia do forte, on the way in, take first turning right and go to end of the road.), . A wonderful 500 year old ruined castle, one of the first Portuguese colonial settlements in Brazil. It has been very well excavated and has a little museum. It also has fantastic views of the coast and offers great photographic opportunities. If you are going to Praia Do Forte, you should not miss this, as it is so close, about a 10 minute taxi ride. For some reason, it is not well publicized and many people never go there, so you will pretty much have the place to yourselves.
Boutique do Sorvete, Alameda do Sol. 10.00 to the last customer. Great ice cream shop, where you can buy by weight. All sorts of toppings.
Kasato, Alameda do Linguado, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Brazil has more Japanese than anywhere except Japan. So expect its Japanese restaurants to be good.
O Terreiro Bahia, Alameda do Linguado (near the parking area), ☎ (71) 3676.1754, . Recipes from around Brazil with an emphasis on those from Bahia.
Cafe do Forte, Alameda do Sol 180, . A selection of 50 wines; some nice sandwiches and snacks to go with them, and some good coffee to finish.
Tango Cafe, Alameda do Sol, ☎ (71) 3676.1637, . Cakes, ice creams, snacks, sandwiches, and good music.
Bar do Souza, beginning of Alameda do Sol, ☎ (71) 3676.1129. Bar famous for its fried fish balls.
Many of the hotels and pousadas in this area seem reluctant to quote their rates on their web sites. Use the booking service on the web site to get a quote.
Church by the sea at Praia do Forte
Pousada Solar das Estrelas, Alameda das Estrelas 31, ☎ 36760274, .
Praia do Forte Hostel (Albergue), Rua da Aurora 3, ☎ (71)36761094 (email@example.com), . Dormitory R$40: double R$100-140, extra for air conditioning..
Sobrado da Vila, . Good quality pousada in the middle of the village, with 25 rooms. Sun deck with small pool. R$320 a night for a double with breakfast.
Refugio da Vila, . Attractive pousada with excellent decor. 100m from the sea in the village.
Hotel Eco Atlantico, (On the southern edge of the village.), .
Hotel Porto da Lua, . the only hotel right on the beach.
Pousada Ogum Marinho, Alameda do Sol (Streets have no numbers but a distinctive sea horse painting on the wall tells you when you have arrived), ☎ 71 3676-1165 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . One of the first pousadas in the village. R$250 for a double.
Praia do Forte Eco Resort, (500m before you get to the village of Praia do Forte), . Expensive resort but one of the nicest in Brazil. Lots of things to do, many with an ecological orientation. On the beach, lots of space and many nearby walks. Popular with birdwatchers. Excellent club for children up to 11. Vast quantities of food at breakfast and dinner buffets.US$370 for a double inc. breakfast, dinner and most activities. If you have flexibility try negotiating by phone when you arrive in Brazil.
Iberostar Bahia, (just north of Praia do Forte town.), . Massive, new hotel on the beach with 632 rooms. Already receiving good reviews. All-inclusive rates, including the entitlement to raid the mini bar.US$250+ for a double.
Salvador. Some people fly in, stay in Praia do Forte for a week, fly out again and never see Salvador. It is only an hour and a half to downtown and to miss Salvador would be a big mistake.
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