We shouldn’t have been annoyed when we arrived at Itacaré. I mean, this is a place that epitomises languid days on the beach, an ice cold coconut in one hand and a caipirinha in the other.
What was so annoying about arriving in some kind of paradise?
This was the first real rain we got since arriving in Brazil. It’s meant to be sunny in places like this, people!
The surfers didn’t hold back from clutching their boards and walking barefoot to the beach. People still braved the wet and went out to pick up groceries. And as we sat at Cafe Caramelo sipping our coffees whilst being sprayed with wind and rain, it occurred to me.
So what if it’s raining.
We don’t have to go to work today. Hell, we don’t have to go to work for another 11 months. If we want to stay in this town until we see sunshine, so be it.
Let’s stay until that happens!
Itacaré has it all for the lazy traveller. You could easily spend weeks just settling into this town, forgetting about time and letting each day just happen.
Slothing about one of the stunning coconut tree and rainforest-fringed beaches.
Eating at a different cafe or restaurant every day for weeks, without having to revisit one – yep, there’s plenty to eat here.
Go surfing or learn how to.
Trek into the Atlantic rainforest and discover waterfalls and remote beaches.
Well who would have thunk it. The sun came out the next day.
If you’ve got a family, Praia da Concha (above) seems like the perfect one for that. Soft golden sand to dig in, no rough surf and lots of restaurants with outdoor seating where you can watch the little ones build their castles.
Or if you don’t have little tackers, take a load off, crack open a cold one and enjoy the view with dozens of others.
A little further out of town is Praia do Resende, which can be reached by walking less than 10 minutes out of town along Rua Pedro Longo.
The best part? There are no restaurants, shops and very little people – just a couple of drinks stands to keep you hydrated with fresh coconuts and boozed up with cocktails.
Take a short walk over the rocks and you reach Praia Tiririca, a slightly busier beach due to the lodging they have next to it. Despite the few extra humans, it’s a mighty fine place to hang about.
So how’s the food situation in Itacaré?
I had my eye on this place from day one. I’m always up for a good buffet feed, and the concept of per-kilo restaurants here in Brazil is a fantastic one.
We’d eaten at several of these already, but none of them kept their food warm quite like this. Over burning wood. The smoke wafting out gave the restaurant a wonderful aroma, and regarding the food choices, they were pretty fantastic. All the Bahian classics can be found here, so those that like their stodge, you’ll be clapping your hands with glee.
When the sun goes down, the village of Itacaré begins to show more signs of life as people hit town after whatever day trips they may have been on, or whatever palm tree they were laying under.
A bunch of places to grab a drink can be found along Rua Pedro Longo, the small town square at its west end and the pedestrian street just beyond that. And the great thing is, drinking in this town doesn’t have to break the bank.
Somewhere we enjoyed a caipirinha or two was at Espaço Brasil – a restaurant that specialises in wood-fired pizza and pasta. We didn’t quite make it to the menu, though.
One menu we did look through was at Manga Rosa Restaurante. Here you can sit beneath Moroccan-style pendants whilst sipping on big caipirinhas at large wooden tables – all while chowing on fresh, colourful food that isn’t afraid to step away from the Brazilian norm.
How does fish fillet with shrimp sauce & grilled banana (34.9) or grilled shrimp with ginger and honey (43.9) sound?
For a very decent dose on burgers, I’d say head down to these guys. They may be leaning towards the petite side, but it’s what goes into the burger that makes it shine. Decent roll, perfectly juicy meat patty and a creative selection of combinations.
I went for the house signature – layers of grilled eggplant, beef patty, melting cheese, bacon and egg. There’s even a soy burger for the non-carnivores and – get this – Aussie fries with crispy bacon and melted cheese. Sounds a little more stars-and-stripes, to me.
The moment my nose caught the scent of sugar and cinnamon wafting down the street, I had to find its source. This guy, cooking up churros from his tiny cart on the pavement – tossing them into cinnamon sugar then injecting thick, hot chocolate sauce through the centre as soon as you place your order.
If I wasn’t full enough from dinner, I was now.
Call me a glutton.
Time to go home, lay in our hammock and rub my belly.
Where we stayed.
Merely a five minute walk from Rua Pedro Longo is Pousada Ilha Verde, a stunning oasis in the town of Itacaré.
Lush, tropical gardens filled with huge old mango trees as well as banana, cacao, bromeliads and giant ginger. It truly is a tropical gardeners dream. Our room was simple yet elegant with white stucco walls, over-bed mosquito net and separate bathroom.
We may not have taken up the morning yoga or had a full-body massage in the garden pavilion, but we did have the swimming pool all to ourselves. What a pity the cacao pods weren’t ripe on the trees as I would have been sneaking one of those for myself.
How we got to Itacaré from Morro de São Paulo.
The Gambia Tur ferry runs from Morro de São Paulo wharf to Valença hourly and costs R$12 pp. For an unknown reason, our ferry dropped everyone off at Ponta do Curral and got us onto a shuttle bus to complete the journey to Valença.
From Valença bus station we got the next Cidad Sol bus down to Itacaré – which takes 3 hours and costs R$25 pp.