safe harbor is a municipality in the south of the state of Bahia, Brazil. It shares with the neighboring municipalities of Santa Cruz Cabrália and Prado, the priority place for the arrival of the Portuguese to Brazil in 1500, which took place about three months after the discovery of Brazil by the Spanish navigator Vicente Yáñez Pinzón in Pernambuco. The village from which the municipality of Porto Seguro emerged was founded in 1535 and is almost entirely classified, as it is not allowed to build tall buildings (more than two floors). It is crossed by the Buranhém River.
According to IBGE estimates for 2019, the population of safe harbor was 148,686 inhabitants. Around the year 1000, the Tapuia indigenous tribes of the region were taken from the Amazon to the interior of the continent with the arrival of the Tupi. In the 16th century, when the first Portuguese arrived in the region, it was inhabited by the Tupi tribe of the Tupiniquins.
safe harbor is located in the region that was officially the first region where Portuguese sailors arrived today in Brazilian territory. On April 22, 1500, the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral saw land after leaving the African coast a month earlier. The observation point was Monte Pascoal, 62 kilometers south of Porto Seguro. The following day, the Portuguese landed for the first time on land in present-day Brazilian territory, a place whose exact point is still the subject of debate among historians.
The expedition anchored in Porto Seguro on 24 April. The city built its first fortress in 1504 by Gonçalo Coelho. In 1530, when trade with the East Indies waned, Portugal became interested in the newly discovered land and took possession of it. This land was donated to him by the Treaty of Tordesillas. In colonial times, Porto Seguro was called Nhoesembé.
A visit to the historic site of the upper city of Porto Seguro is almost a must for the thousands of tourists who come to Porto Seguro, the city’s national monument erected in 1973 by presidential decree. Porto Seguro, one of the first residential centers in Brazil, played an important role in the early years of colonization, alongside the Marco do Descobrimento. These are historic buildings that can be visited during the day or enjoyed at night under special light effects.
The historical tour can start with Marco do Descobrimento, from where you can discover one of the most beautiful landscapes on the coast of Porto Seguro. The landmark originated in Portugal between 1503 and 1526 and symbolizes the power of the Portuguese crown, which was used to delimit their country. On one side is the Avisorden cross and on the other the Portuguese coat of arms.
In the same area is the Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora da Pena, built in 1535 by the donor Captain Pero do Campo Tourinho. There are sacred images from the 16th and 17th centuries, including that of Saint Francis of Assisi – the first image brought to Brazil – and that of Nossa Senhora da Pena, patron saint of the city, celebrated on September 8. To get an idea of what the captain was like in the century of Tourinho and the arrival of the Jesuits, you can read some passages from the letters of Manuel da Nóbrega or José de Anchieta, priests of the Society of Jesus, about the region.
We continue with the city palace or the 18th century Casa de Câmara e Jail, one of the most beautiful buildings in colonial Brazil. This building houses the city’s Historical Museum or the Discovery Museum. The Church of Misericórdia or Senhor das Escadas, in a simple style, preserves baroque images that distinguish between the Lord of the Stairs and the Crucified Christ.
The church of São Benedito is also in the middle of the protected houses, next to the ruins of the old residence and the Jesuit College. The church was built in 1551 by the Jesuits and was known as São Pedro and Nossa Senhora do Rosário. On the other side, in the upper city, there is the bus station and the airport. In the 17th century, the fortress built by Gonçalo Coelho was reinforced. According to the regional department established by the IBGE and in force since 2017, the municipality belongs to the intermediate geographic regions Ilhéus-Itabuna and Eunápolis-Porto Seguro. Until then, the subdivision into microregions and mesoregions was part of the Porto Seguro microregion, which in turn was included in the mesoregion of southern Bahia.
Today the city is considered one of the most important tourist destinations in Brazil and receives tourists from the center and south of the country and from countries such as Argentina, Portugal, the United States, Israel and France. The city also has a dozen or two luxury hotels and hundreds of smaller but good quality hotels and inns, as well as an international airport with aircraft landing capabilities similar in size to the Boeing 767 and Airbus A310. In addition to tourism, other important activities are agriculture (especially cashew and coconut), reforestation with eucalyptus, cultivation, trade and services.
Porto Seguro is one of the most popular destinations for family holidays, especially at the end of the year. Depending on family size and expectations, the package may or may not be ideal. For families with children, Porto Seguro’s all-inclusive resorts are ideal. That’s because in a single place you have access to swimming pools, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks and various recreational activities. All you have to do is buy individual tours and enjoy the city.
Porto Seguro can also be a great destination for a trip for two. Especially if the couple is the type that likes to enjoy a party, good food and very lively people. And if the couple is calmer and looking for peace, or even looking for a destination to spend a more important date, Caraíva and Arraial D’ajuda are perfect destinations! The villages further away from the capital offer visitors a variety of accommodation options.
Porto Seguro travel tips
One of the first things to know before planning a trip to Porto Seguro is the best time to visit the city. But of course the answer also depends on your travel expectations and availability. At the beginning of the year you can attend the Porto Seguro Carnival, one of the liveliest in Brazil.
Between April and May you will find lower prices and the city is empty because of the low season. There is a chance of rain, but they are usually very fast. The climate in the city is hot practically all year round. The average annual temperature is 25°C and can reach 40°C on the hottest days. In winter, it reaches an average of 21°C. In short, there is no bad weather to see the city!
So, don’t forget to set your schedule in advance to get the best prices and decide when you want to go to Porto Seguro, depending on the availability of your trip. The Brazilian coast is simply enchanting. And Porto Seguro’s beaches are not only beautiful, but also among the liveliest in the country. In Carnaporto, the Carnival of Porto Seguro, the beach of Taperapuã receives many tourists who stay in the tents of Axé Moi and Tôa Tôa. Barramares beach is also very popular, as there is the Barramares tent.
Those who want to get rid of the crowds on the main beaches will feel more comfortable at Praia da Taípe, one of the quietest beaches in Porto Seguro. Perfect for those who go to Porto Seguro with their children. Other famous beaches are Coroa Vermelha, Praia da Pitinga and Praia do Espelho, one of the most beautiful in Brazil.
Porto Seguro is the perfect combination of exuberant nature and the cultural and historical richness of Brazil. Therefore, the attractions of the city are very different. In addition to discovering beautiful beaches such as Espelho – one of the most beautiful in the country, as mentioned above – you will also participate in a true open-air history course.
During the day you can visit amazing museums like the Epic of Discovery, where you can also see a replica of a Portuguese ship. You can board, take pictures and take the kids with you, who usually love this trip. In Porto Seguro, don’t miss the typical tapioca and acarajé from Bahia. If you take a trip to Porto Seguro with more time, you can visit Arraial D’ajuda, Trancoso and Santa Cruz de Cabrália.
In coastal cities it is common for beaches to be the main tourist attractions. Porto Seguro is no different, the main attractions are the beaches of Taperapuã and Coroa Vermelha, which are popular with people. In Taperapuã there are the famous tents Axé Moi and Tôa Tôa.
Another popular tourist destination for those visiting Porto Seguro is the Passarela do Álcool – or Passarela do Descobrimento. It is the ideal place for those who want to do basic handicraft shopping and typical Bahian cuisine. The historic center of Porto Seguro is also an incredible attraction of the city. There is the Discovery Landmark. It was brought from Portugal at the time of colonization and is now exposed in the Pero Campos de Tourinho square.
Arraial D’Ajuda Eco Parque is one of the most popular places for families traveling with children. It is an ecotourism water park with attractions for all ages and adventurers. It is impossible to take a trip to Porto Seguro without having heard at least about Arraial D’Ajuda. The neighborhood is just 7.5 km from the city and is offered by several agencies.
You need to take a ferry and follow a road a little longer to get there. If you want to rest, you should take a trip to Trancoso or Caraíva, two super quiet cities that avoid the hustle and bustle of Porto Seguro and offer travelers plenty of natural beauty and comfort. Ilha do Aquário is a place with a very self-explanatory name because it is literally an island with aquariums. It seems obvious, but I assure you that the place is very surprising.
Aquarium Island is a place with a very self-explanatory name, because it is literally an island with aquariums. It seems obvious, but I assure you that the place is really amazing. There are several rooms with electronic music clubs, ballroom dancing, an Axé stage and even children’s games. Very versatile, isn’t it? And last but not least, don’t forget to make the trip to Recife de Fora.
This must be rented from a tourist agency as it is only done at low tide. Contact an agency for the best dates. Like any coastal city, Porto Seguro has fish as its main dish. There are many restaurants in the city that specialize in typical Bahian dishes. And, of course, at least one of them is right for you.
For those who like the most luxurious places and want to pay a higher price for a good meal, Capim Santo and Jacaré do Brasil are some of the recommended restaurants in Porto Seguro. With super free menus, both places are well known and recommended by travelers. Another popular restaurant in town is Colher de Pau, located on Passarela do Álcool. Also perfect for lunch and dinner. Those who prefer to eat on the beach can choose Barramares or La Plage ad Arraial D’ajuda.
Accommodation in Porto Seguro
Depending on the size of your travel group and your style, you will choose an ideal style of accommodation. And we must say that if you have something that Porto Seguro is not lacking, it is an accommodation option. In addition to traditional hotels, there are hostels, inns, apartments and even houses for rent in Porto Seguro.
Beira-Mar is the region preferred by tourists. There are the famous Axé Moi, Tôa Tôa Tôa Tôa and Barramares stalls on the avenue. There are many accommodation options in Beira-Mar, from Mutá beach to Mundaí beach. It is the best region for those who want to enjoy the tents and beaches during the day, and at night you can take a walk in the center of the city.
There are more restaurants in the center and accommodation is generally cheaper than Beira-Mar. But know that access to the beaches will take a little longer. In the region you are also closer to the Alcohol Route and the commercial center of the city. Here you will find agencies that offer daily tours around the city.
Another option is to stay in nearby cities like Trancoso, Arraial D’ajuda and Caraíva. The three countries are less lively than Porto Seguro and can offer the tranquility sought by those on vacation who dream of a moment of peace. In the villages there are not as many accommodation possibilities as in Porto, but you can find amazing inns and even beach houses that can be rented in the city. It’s up to you to know what best fits your profile.