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Itacaré is a municipality of 29,000 people (2020) in Bahia, in Northeast Brazil. It is an up-and-coming vacation spot with amazing beaches, surf, capoeira and plenty of culture. The town has a series of beautiful small cove-type beaches as well as Itacarezinho and other picturesque beaches further along the coast. Itacaré is on the edge of a national park, one of the last large expanses of Atlantic rain forest left in Brazil.

Itacaré is a hub of Bahian culture. Many tourists visit Itacaré to take part in the local Capoeira circles and eat traditional Brazilian food. The town is flooded with revelers during New Year's and Carnival.


Itacaré lighthouse

The first economic activity in region was the harvesting of Brazilwood, which was used to create dyes in Europe and is where Brazil received its name. During the early colonial period the region also produced cassava flour which was sent maintain the enslaved people that worked the sugar plantations in the colonial capital of Salvador. The largest economic boom came from cacao production during the 19th and 20th centuries. Cacao was grown further in the interior and Itacaré was an important port for exporting the cocoa beans to producers in Europe. It was during this time that a number of neocolonial houses and warehouses were built along the river front that still characterize the historical center of the town. As road and railway networks expanded and the port in nearby Ilhéus was expanded, Itacaré's importance as a port diminished. Construction of two dams upriver in the 1960s also led to the port silting up, making it harder for larger ships to dock.

The final blow to the cacao industry in the region was a massive blight that devastated the region's cocoa crops in the 1980s. Since then, Itacaré has depended mostly upon tourism. It is a popular destination for surfers, hikers and ecotourists.

Get in[edit]

Igreja Matriz de São Miguel

Itacaré is 70 km north of Ilhéus on the BR001 highway.

By plane[edit]

For most international tourists the entry to Brazil will be through São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or Salvador international airports. There are daily flights operated from domestic airlines LATAM and BRA to Ilhéus which is the closest airport to Itacaré.

By bus[edit]

From Ilhéus (which has an airport) take a bus north - the ride takes less than two hours. From Salvador, you can take a ferry to Bom Despacho (50 min, R$4) and then a bus to Itacaré (5 hours, R$30, bus company "Cidade do sol", their terminal is directly behind the ferry port in Bom Despacho). There is also a bus that goes directly from Salvador to Itacaré, but it takes a lot longer than the ferry-bus combination (as it goes all around the bay of Salvador), is more expensive and only goes once or twice a week.

Get around[edit]

The town of Itacaré as well as the five surrounding beaches are easily accessible by walking. There are local (e)-bike rental services available. Since 2017, the Rua Pedro Longo is closed for vehicles after 16:00 and transforms in a lovely pedestrian zone with several restaurants, shops and tour agencies.


  • Luanda, Filhos de Zumbi and Tribo do Porto are three capoeira groups in Itacaré. You don't want to miss their shows. Their training sessions are open to visitors.


  • 1 Cachoeira do Cleandro. You can get a boat from Itacaré to bring you to the base of the waterfalls (15 min ride). There you need to pay the fee of R$15 to visit the waterfalls. There is a little shop which sells, coconuts to drink, Cachaça, chocolate, cacao beans (dried and fresh). The waterfalls are beautiful and there are several pools to dive into. Here is a video which gives a good impression of the waterfalls. R$15.
  • EasyDrop. Professional surf school with intensive video review of your daytime sessions in the evenings.
  • [dead link] SOS Itacare movement. An effort to protect local beach access for the public.
  • 2 Prainha beach. The Prainha beach can be reached by a trail leaving from Ribeira Beach passing two waterfalls. There are guides offering their service but if you have offline OpenStreetMap on your Smartphone you can easily find your way by yourself. One recommendable guide is Léo ( / +5573999301064 tel/whatsapp).


Itacaré isn't a shopping paradise, but there are some nice handcrafts and surf wear & gear. There's also a travellers' bookshop.

  • [dead link] Urso de Óculos: International Bookshop, Avenida Castro Alves 71 (Orla) (on the waterfront in the historic centre, on the way to the fishing port). A charming independent bookshop overlooking the water in the historic centre of Itacaré. Wide selection of books in over 15 languages (including English, French, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Italian and Hebrew), and a space to relax away from the crowds with a coffee, real English tea or glass of wine.


  • 1 Alamaim, R. Pedro Longo, 204 - Pituba, +55 73 3251-3462. M-Sa 15:00-22:00. Very nice vegetarian arabic restaurant. medium.
  • 2 Mediterraneo, R. Pedro Longo, 239-299, . Daily 12:00-22:30. Very nice Italian restaurant that produces its own organic vegetables. Mains R$70-160.
  • Ristorante Eden, R. Pedro Longo, 196. Tu-Su 17:00-00:00.
  • Casarão Amarelo, Av. Antonio Athanásio dos Santos, 94 - Centro. Tu-Sa 19:00-22:30. Avenida Castro Alves, Centro. Another great restaurant in town, dishing out wonderful plates of coconut curry shrimp and other, less-exotic fare. At R$25-35/plate, it's another "don't miss".
  • Dedo de Moça, Rua Plínio Soares, 26. Centro. Very nice quality restaurant.
  • Mar e Mel (Praia da Concha). Good food and live music. Typical dishes & exotic drinks.


  • Café-Bar Easy Drop, Rua João Coutinho, Centro. Drinks and live music.
  • Tapiocaria Bem Bahia, Rua Lodonio de Almeida, Centro.


Itacaré is filled with guest houses (pousadas); there's one for each budget and each style of traveler.

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