The Neighborhood of Porto da Barra is among the most sought after locations in Salvador, Bahia.
The Neighborhood of Lower Barra (pronounced Ba-ha) is known for the most popular beach – Porto da Barra – in the city of Salvador. It is a bit of a combination of Venice Beach, Miami and Manhattan – a bustle of beach bodies, cafes, busy streets, clustered condos and apartments, sprinkled with palm trees. However, it is distinguished by things uniquely Brazilian such as those famously ubiquitous bathing suits and the smell of familiar Brazilian flavors such as maracuja (passion fruit) and fresh cooked camarao (shrimp) wafting in between the sights and sounds. There’s a steady pulse from pre-dawn to after midnight so whether you are an early bird or a night owl, the city is ready to embrace your spirit as much as you may be ready to embrace its warmth. The weather provides a heavy dose of sun and clean air every day during the Brazilian summer (Dec- Feb), with an always ever so slight chance of a brief refreshing rain shower. Nestled in the heart of this haven for the affluent Bohemian, is a prime piece of real estate on the top floor of one of the areas tallest high rises, The Paul Cezanne at Rua Doutor Joao Ponde, 61, which provides lavish views from every room excluding the one inner guest bathroom (complete with a full size shower). The unit comes with full air conditioning but rarely needs it. Sliding glass doors open wide to a magnificent (glorious, fabulous, incredible – your favorite word choice here) city and ocean view and a steady breath of light cool wind. Every window in three bedrooms and the master bath also open to cool and refresh each room. The decor is art deco profiling tropical colors of green, red, blue, orange and shades of white mixed with a blend of chrome, glass, beveled mirrors, ceramic tiling and woods ranging in color from maple to dark red. The unit also features original artwork of local artists and of New York based artist, Glenn Tunstull (www.tunstullstudio.com). A full kitchen includes oven, microwave, full size refrigerator, pantry, kitchen table, and is stocked with everything a happy cook needs. Directly across the street from the building is a fruit stand that sells a wide variety of yellow skin fruits – from papaya to bananas to mangos and more. You might want to make this your first stop on your day of arrival to get a taste of the culture right away. Biting into fresh sweet meaty fruit is very refreshing and a great way to dive right into the Brazilian experience (we’re talking food here.) Be sure to get enough to share. Lots of seating in the living room and on the patio makes this spot ideal for small get togethers high above the city with a backdrop of that spectacular view. And it should not go unsaid, the unit is cleaned daily by a beautiful Bahian woman, with the standards of a medical institution – and she cooks too! From the gated entrance, it’s a five minute walk to the beach where you can grab a view or nibble on a local delicacy such as acaraje, queijo coalho, or a cocada (again, we’re talking food), Acaraje is a fritter accompanied by or filled with an option of several traditional fillings. Quelji coalho is seasoned grilled cheese on stick, and cocado is a sugary cake. There are a plethora of eateries. A favorite restaurant within 7 minutes walking distance is Tudo Azul, very reasonably priced and located right across from the beach on Avenida Sete de Setembro. Be sure to try the rosti with chicken, shrimp or vegetables – a kind of Swiss potato dish with a Brazilian flair that is a specialty only served here. Or you can take a taxi where it’s 5 to 10 minutes, or less than 10 Reais, to nearly any place in the city you want to go. Though you may never need one in the neighborhood.
Additional links for more information: salvadorbrazil.blogspot.com