Praia do Forte is a popular beach destination 100 km north of Salvador, consisting of a charming village and a stretch of coast with outstanding natural pools.
1. HOW TO GET THERE:
By bus. The company Viação Linha Verde runs several daily services to Praia do Forte from Salvador’s rodoviária (bus station). The trip takes between 1 hour and a half and two hours. Be careful as only a few services will take you into the village. The rest stop at the main highway from where you’ll need to take transportation (a taxi or a van) to the village (some 3 km). In March 2009 only the buses leaving from Salvador at 9 am, 10 am and 6 pm made it to the village. Ticket price: R$9,80 (one way).
During the high season there are a handful of services that stop at Salvador airport on the way to Praia do Forte.
The only way of booking ahead with Linha Verde is going to the rodoviária, which is an awful waste of time. The company’s ticket office is on the first floor of the bus station.
By private transfer. If you are arriving at the internacional airport in Salvador it might be worth finding out about a private transfer to Praia do Forte. Most pousadas and hotels will give you information on the topic. As the airport is on the road that goes to Praia do Forte, it’s a quick trip of around 1 hour. Approximate price, R$120 for two (one way).
2. WHEN TO GO:
The rainy season in Praia do Forte goes from May to July. During those three months rainfall is intense. It can take the form of intermitent showers or persistent rain. The sea is quite rough during that period. From October to March the sun shines and good weather is the norm.
Humpback whales appear around the coast of Praia do Forte from July to October.
Marine turtles lay their eggs in the region from September to February. From December to March tiny turtles hatch at the Projeto Tamar.
3. CAREFUL WITH:
The relentless sun. Take plenty of sunblock with you, and pay special attention if you are going to spend a lot of time snorkelling at the natural pools, where you will sunburn with great ease.
4. WE LIKE THE MOST:
The village and the main street. The crystal-clear sea during the summer. The turtles.
5. WE LIKE THE LEAST:
The lack of supervision of the outrageous behaviour of some tourists at the natural pools. The tiring “Brazilian Polynesia” slogan (Praia do Forte is a beautiful place, but it is not the Polynesia). Expensive food and taxis. The two eyesores being built right by the church.
6. FAVOURITE PLACES:
The natural pools. The Projeto Tamar. The Alameda do Sol (main pedestrian street).
7. PIECE OF ADVICE:
- to make the most of the natural pools you need a tide chart (see point 13 below). Many pousadas and hotels have them on display. The pools form when the tide is out and the reefs are uncovered, dotted with small natural pools where fish can be seen. The best time to enjoy the pools is roughly two or three hours before the lowest tide. You need some footwear to walk safely on the reefs. If you don’t have a mask and a snorkel you can rent them in Praia do Forte. Flippers are not very appropriate for the pools.
- a visit to the Projeto Tamar (at this blog’s post Projeto Tamar we spoke about the organization) is highly recommended. Tickets cost R$10 for adults (March 2009). It is not a zoo or an aquarium, rather a succesful environmental preservation initiative. During the hatching season you can see the tiny turtles leaving their eggs at the end of the day.
- humpback whales visit the coast of Praia do Forte between July and October. During that period, and if the sea is calm enough, there are whale-watching trips. Praia do Forte is where the Instituto Baleia Jubarte is located. Entrance costs R$6 (adults) .
- Praia do Forte is not renowned for its nightlife. There are a few bars open till late during the high season, as well as musical performances during the weekends of the high season too. During the rest of the year it’s just restaurants, cafés, peace and quiet.
- ATM’s that allow withdrawals with international credit cards are found in Praia do Forte.
- the central beach, right by the beach, is no good for swimming due to the presence of numerous boats in the area.
- the Garcia d’Avila castle, a few miles from the village, contains the preserved ruins of one of the first feudal mansions in Brazil. Entrance is R$6. A taxi to get you there and back it will set you back outrageous R$50. If you do the trip on a jeep with a local agency you will pay R$12.
- the Bar do Souza is inside the Projeto Tamar. Its fish croquettes are delicious.
- there are two Iberostar hotels 3,5 km north of the village. You can reach the village from the hotels walking along the beach, but make sure you do so during the low tide.
- there are a handful of spectacularly good ice-cream parlours among the main pedestrian street.
You don’t need any vaccines if you are visiting Praia do Forte. You need to be aware of the existence of dengue fever, common throughout the region. More information on 10 facts about dengue fever in Brazil.
Full listing of hotels and pousadas in Praia do Forte.
There is a youth hostel at Praia do Forte, the Praia do Forte Hostel.
The official website of Praia do Forte has loads of information and a detailed map. Unfortunately, in Portuguese only.
11. WEATHER FORECAST:
Average temperatures and rainfall in Praia do Forte (data from Mata de São João).
Lacking a specific tide chart for Praia do Forte, at the Climatempo website look for the section Praias and select Tabua de Marés on the left-hand side of the page. There you’ll find data for Salvador by clicking on Escolha sua localidade (BA-Salvador).
14. GOOGLE MAPS:
map of Praia do Forte
15. ÁLBUM DE FOTOS:
The Praia do Forte photo album at Flickr.
[Don’t forget to check out the list of other destinations already covered in this blog, here]