The so-called Costa de Cacau, or Cacao Coast, is a jaw-dropping beautiful destination for any tourist visiting Brazil. Located on the southern coast of the northeastern state of Bahia, the region is steeped in the history of Brazil’s cacao production, as well as being surrounded by the stunning native Atlantic Forest.
Spanning from the town of Ilhéus and 120 kilometers down the coast to Canavieiras, the Cacao Coast is characterized by its stunning beaches, incredible biodiversity and historic cities, as well as all of the modern state-of-the-art tourism infrastructure to host visitors from all over the world.
Ilhéus: the land of Jorge Amado
Ilhéus, one of the oldest settlements in Brazil and today home to little over 150,000 people, is the self-professed capital city of the Cacao Coast. Its architecture is superbly well conserved, giving a look at what the region was like during the primordial days of Brazil as a nation.
Ilhéus was also the setting of many of the novels of legendary modernist Brazilian writer Jorge Amado, including Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, widely regarded as one of the finest romantic works of its era. Much of Amado’s vivid descriptions of the town and the charm of the local people can still be seen today.
North of Ilhéus lies the beach paradise of Itacaré, a small town with almost completely untouched vegetation, surrounded by stunning hills and exquisite beaches. The waves at Itacaré are also sought after by surfers from all around the country, known for being the best in Bahia. For those looking for relaxation, there is plenty to be found, with the stunning waters remaining warm all year round, even in winter. There is plenty of tourist infrastructure around town, and a good selection of restaurants, bars and clubs for when the sun goes down.
History of the Cacao Coast
Further south is the town of Canavieiras, which has a little bit of everything: gorgeous beaches, wildlife-spotting, fishing, rivers and waterfalls, and plenty of history of Brazil's cacao trade. The very first cacao tree of the region was planted in Canavieiras, making the town a great place to learn more about this important stage of Brazil’s development. Fishing is also a main attraction, being known as the region's “crab capital”, as well as being home to a number of competitive fishing events.