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Bahia Spotlight: Cachoeira


Cachoeira means "waterfall" in Portuguese. 

There is a small town in the state of Bahia with the same name.  This place is a beautiful treasure in my opinion.  One of the reasons I believe you haven't really experienced Brazil until you experience small town life here.  Life here is very laid back, a big contrast to the overcrowded cities.  That's saying a lot because Brazil as a whole has a laid back approach to life.

Thousands of people are drawn to Cachoeira every year for a festival called for the Assumption of Our Lady of Glory.  The festival is held by Irmandade da Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte (The Order of Our Lady of the Good Death).  For more on this festival check out the next post here.

I attended this festival back in August 2008 with my wife and youngest son.  We enjoyed ourselves a lot and fell in love with Cachoeira.  We even found this photo of ourselves online via flicker.  People from all over the world convene here every year for this historical event.


Cachoeira (Portuguese, meaning the waterfall), is an inland town of Bahia, Brazil, on the Paraguaçu River. The town exports sugar, cotton and tobacco and is a thriving commercial and industrial centre.
First settled by the Indians, it was later settled by the Portuguese families of Dias Adorno and Rodrigues Martins.

It became known as Nossa Senhora do Rosário in 1674. It was a strategic area and
was linked with the mining city of Salvador, the former colonial capital. It became a parish on December 27, 1693. It also became Vila de Nossa Senhora do Rosário do Porto da Cachoeira do Paraguaçu in 1698.
Sugar cane farming, gold mining on rio das Contas, increased traffic on royal streets, and navigation on the Rio Paraguaçu combined to boost the regional economy in the beginning of the 18th century. In the beginning of 1800, the Cachoeirense society became very important politically. It actively participated in the war of the Independence of Bahia.

The town became a city under the imperial decree of March 13, 1873 (Provincial Law 43).
Cachoeira is considered a national monument of the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico Artístico e Nacional (IPHAN)

It is currently undergoing a bit of a tourist revival, and is a centre of candomblé.

Get in

Cachoeira is about 2 hours northwest of Salvador by car. Take a bus from the bus station in Salvador. If you start early, it's a great day trip from Salvador.

Get around

Cachoiera and São Félix (it's neighboring city) are small so walking is the best way to get around.

See

  • Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora do Rosário is a beautiful church near the museum. It is sometimes open in the mornings. You can see the spires from most places in the city. It's a good starting point for exploring the city.
  • Museum of Hansen Bahia- The museum is on the street behind the church. Hansen Bahia was a German artist. He visited Brazil and loved it so much he made it his home. The museum has a lot of his art and it's free to look around. Visit in the morning because it is sometimes closed around noon.
  • "Sisterhood of the Good Death" Irmandade Da Boa Morte - If you're interested at all in Candomblé, you can get some information here. The sisterhood was originally organized to ensure proper burial of members of their religion. Looking around the one room is free but they will ask you for donations. It is located across the street from the Hansen Bahia Museum.
  • Dannamann Cigar Factory (In São Félix) - Tobacco has been grown in this region since the 18th century. Dannamann Cigars are considered the best in Brazil. Even if you aren't into cigars, you can watch them being made and it is very interesting. The "showroom" has free coffee and you can buy cigars and smoke them on site. It is located across the bridge in São Félix along the river.

Do

  • Visit the Market- If you arrive on a Saturday morning, you can get off the bus in the market. Many Brazilians do their weekly grocery shopping at the market on Saturday mornings. There is a lot to look at besides food and it’s a great cultural insight.
  • Learn about Candomble - If you ask the right person, you may be able to observe one of their meetings. It's a fascinating religion with roots from Africa.

Buy

  • Cigars at the Dannamann Cigar Factory

Eat

  • Pousada do Convento Resturant - The Pousada is a converted convent. The resturant is reasonably priced and has generous portions. If you get any of the pasta dishes, they are huge and easily feed two.

Sleep

  • Pousada do Convento

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of how beautiful Cachoeira is.

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