Pages For Salvador Bahia Brasil Resources for Travel in Brazil


Ilha Itaparica | Lovely Island A Few Minutes From Salvador

ilha itaparica paradise in the bay of all saints
Beautiful Island only 25 minutes from Salvador by boat, Ilha Itaparica.

Itaparica Island (Ilha Itaparica) is Brazil´s largest island in the sea (there are bigger islands surrounded by fresh water in the Amazon estuary).  It is one of two islands you should definitely visit when coming to Salvador, Bahia, Brasil.  The other one is Morro de Sao Paulo, covered in another post here.  Ilha Itaparica, located in the All Saint's Bay is not the only island in the bay.  Actually the bay is filled with interesting islands, however Itaparica is the largest.  If interested we can help arrange a schooner to take you on a tour of the islands in the bay including Ilha Itaparica.  Click this Bahia Tours link to arrange your trip.

Ilha Itaparica is one of the many magical places located  in Bahia, Brasil.  If you head out to the island during the daytime in the low season (April - October) you can pretty much get the entire beach to yourself.  Many Brasileiros (Brazilians) like to head to Ilha Itaparica on the weekends, especially during the high season.  There are some nice restaurants, pousadas, and even a cool night scene during high season.

There are plenty of boats that leave to go to Ilha Itaparica all day long, however many people just take the ferry boats that come back and forth between Itaparica and Salvador every hour.  You can even take your car.

I included some info about Ilha Itaparica as well as pictures and video footage from a family trip out there a few years back.  The history of the island is very interesting.  This was one of the first points of contact for the European explorers into the Western Hemisphere.

Ilha Itaparica | A Stone's Throw From the City

taken from wikipedia
Centro ilha itaparica ba.jpg
Ilha Itaparica is a Brazilian island in All Saint's Bay (Portuguese: Baia de Todos de Santos), about 10 km from the city of Salvador, Bahia. It is known for hosting the Sul America Open tennis competition. In the island, there are two cities: Itaparica and Vera Cruz.

Itaparica can be reached in about one hour by ferry from Salvador. The smaller passenger-ferry departs from near the Mercado Modelo, while the larger car-ferry goes from about two km north to Bom Despacho.

It is the former home of the tennis tournament, the ATP Itaparica.
Ilha Itaparica has 40 km of beaches suitable for tourists and exuberant tropical vegetation.

 Here is some video footage of my family's last trip to Itaparica Island:

ilha itaparica in bahia brasil
Meet the genuine Brazil on Itaparíca Island next to Salvador. Enjoy a holiday in the sun on beaches that seem not to have an end. This is a place that Brazilians themselves choose for their holidays. The sea breeze comforts, and it is never cold. Itaparica Island offers a peace and calm in a lush green landscape, and Salvador offers everything that you can expect from a city with 2.6 milliion inhabitants.

Ilha Itaparica and Salvador: Climate

Salvador da Bahia, the state capital, is situated at 13 degrees south of the equator. Traveling eastward across the Atlantic you will reach Angola. The climate is tropical, hot all year round.
September - March is the dry season. April - July has quite a lot of rain, but the sun shines in between. Most of the rainfall comes in May and June. This is not the place for a holiday in the sun between mid-April and mid-July, but the rest of the year is.

Expect daylight from about 4-30 - 5 a.m. to 6 - 6.30 p.m. It is a bit cooler in the morning and after 5 p.m. and joggers and football players use these cool hours. The maximum temperature ever in Salvador was 38 centigrades, a rare event. Normally, 34 centigrades is the maximum of the year.

A cooling breze blows most of the day. The sea holds 25 - 28 centigrades. The humidity in the air varies between 78 and 83 which is comforting to most people. Skin problems often get less severe during your stay here, e.g. exemas and psoriasis.

Tropical cyclones and tornadoes never occur. (Nor do earth-quakes.).

A Short History of Ilha Itaparica

iha itaparica in baia dos todos santosThe native population around the Baía de Todos Santos were called Gé. Their land was taken over by another Indian people, the Tupinambá. When the world was created, a Tupinambá myth tells, an enormous white bird came flying from the centre of the Universe looking for a paradise landscape. It flew days and nights until it found what it was looking for in the area to become the Baía de Todos Santos. It landed but died of exhaustion. Its long white wings became beaches, and its final heartbeat made a deep hole in the land. The sea filled the gap and the Baía de Todos Santos had been created. The Tupinambá called the vast bay Kirymuré. The name Itaparica is said to mean "surrounded by stones", i.e. coral reefs. Descendants of the Tupinambá still live around Olinda town further south in Bahia.

Thousands of years passed, and on November 1st 1501 the vessel of Amerigo Vespucci sailed into the bay and "discovered" the Salvador area. The bay was named after the date of the day (Baía de Todos Santos means Bay of All Saints). Just a few years before the world had been divided between Spain and Portugal. Spain got all land west of a line drawn from north to south through a spot (which would prove to be) close to the estuary of the Amazon river. The Portuguese got all land east of this line, which meant the Salvador area belonged to Portugal. The French did not recognise this division of the world, so the Portuguese divided their new American land into "capitanias", small areas between the coastline and the dividing line. The idea was that each captain should defend the land against the French and develop the economy. This solution would not prove to be a successfull one.

caramuru film in ilha itaparica bahia brasil
Some time between 1509 and 1511 a Portuguese ship was wrecked in the Baía de Todos Santos. One of the survivors was called Diogo Alvares Correa. He was greeted by the Tupinambás who called him Caramuru (a species of fish) since he came out of the sea. Caramuru became a highly regarded man and chief Taparicá gave him his daughter Paraguçu for wife. Later they also had a Christian wedding after the bride had been baptised in France in 1525 and received the name Catharina. The marriage between Paraguaçu and Caramuru has a symbolic meaning in Brazil being a nation of immigrants.

colonization in ilha itaparica
Caramuru a comedic take on Brazilian colonization set in Ilha Itaparica.

The family of Paraguaçu was the first mixed family between a native inhabitant and a European immigrant. The reamins of Paraguaçu are still in the first church of Salvador, Nossa Senhora da Graça. The first Graça church was built by Caramuru who came to live for 47 years among the Tupinambá. One legend tells that a Tupinambá woman threw herself into the sea and tried to follow his ship because of love. She failed and drowned. Her name was Moema, or mbo-em in the language of the Tupinambá. It is said to mean "the rejected one". A comical film about Caramuru and the colonialisation of Brazil was made in 2001. It was called Caramuru - A Invenção do Brasil. You can read about this film in the imdb (International Movie Data Base).

Apart from Caramuru, the French were the most important European tradesmen around the bay in the early 16th century. They traded with the Tupinambá but did not make any efforts of colonalisation. Caramuru himself was a kind of trading agent between Americans and Europeans.

The first Portuguese captain of the Baía de Todos Santos area capitania arrived in 1536. His name was Françisco Pereira Coutinho and he built a village on the very south tip of what would be called the Salvador peninsula. The next year his ship capsized and he was taken prisoner by the Tupinambá. They ate him.

costa ilha itaparicaAnother well-known story tells about Sardinha, the first bishop of Brazil, who experienced the same fate as the governor: he was eaten by the cannibals of Itaparica Island. A bust of Sardinha stands on the Praça de Sé in Salvador, and the famous author Jorge Amado once asked ironically why this prominent site was chosen for a man whose only connection with Salvador whas that he was eaten nearby. Caramuru hade settled down close to present-day Porto da Barra. He lived with his Catharina, their children and servants. The Portuguese captain settled nearby and Caramuru was granted ownership of "his" land by the Portuguese.

The system with capitanias failed, and in 1549 Thomé de Souza arrived to construct Brazil´s new capital: Salvador. He gave the island to his sister and the first settlement was in Baiacu. Caramuru managed to make a treaty of peace between the Portuguese and Tupinambá. Jesuits arrived together with Thomé de Souza. Many Indians converted to Christianity. The Pope had decided that the Portuguese and the Spanish had to try to convert the peoples of their colonies, but if someone refused to convert, this person could be made a slave.

After Caramurus death in 1557 wars were launched against the Indians. Converts and non-converts were taken prisoner alike. Other Indians died from the diseases brought to the New World by the Europeans. But Indians proved to be non-efficient slave workers. Instead, Africans were imported. They were sold on slave markets in Salvador. Slavery was not abolished in Brazil until in 1888. More than one million three houndred thousand slaves were sold in Salvador through the centuries. This number is twice the number of all slaves ever brought into the U.S.A, and this is why Bahia still remains the Afro-American part of Brazil with a large majority of people with African roots. African cooking, clothing and beliefs have survived.

Many stories are told about the past of Ilha Itaparica, and some are more credible than others. One story tells of Dutch sailors who were so delicious that the native people caught and fed them to make them fit for a feast meal. Another story tells of slaves that had escaped. They started catching whales in order not to starve.

They hunted the whales down from canoes using harpoons and caught so many whales that they had to construct ovens with high chimneys in order to reduce the corpses. It is said that you still can find skeletons of whales. Also, some people claim that families know of sunken treasures and sometimes fetch a piece which can be sold to an antiques dealer when there is desperate need for money. (These stories have been taken from the homepage

walking along the beach in ilha itaparica

From: To:
Date: Date:
Click here for calendar Click here for calendar


  1. Hi,

    I'm heading to Itaparica tomorrow from Salvador - too much city for me - could you recommend a few relaxed places for a father with two children, that is nativo and beautiful...
    We're from ny, but have lived in Lencois for 2 years now and I love the Bahian culture and the nature of Bahia...

    Appreciating your blog...

  2. I am sorry for getting back to you so late. I haven't been online for a few days. I would recommend Ponto de Areia. There is a great restaurant on the beach called "Something" (don't laugh, I'm a gringo) de Marinho.

    Marinho is the owner, he is real cool. He always wears his sailor hat. It is located at the "fim de linha" of that beach strip.

    The food is good and the bay is beautiful in that spot. The water is calm and wonderful for a family out to enjoy the day. We have some footage of it at the bottom of the page.

    Scroll down to the bottom and click on the YouTube clip that says "Trip to Itaparica".



You Might Also Like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...