From high on a hilltop, the coast of Bahia shines with the colours of the Brazilian flag. The sea, the sky, blue on blue; the lush green of the Atlantic rainforest; long beaches that run like a fissure of gold between the two.
Bahia has 1,000km of coastline, and most of it looks like this. There are wild, empty bays and desert islands; and though not private — no beach in Brazil is private — its beaches may as well be, because you can walk along them for hours and not see another soul. All along the coast you can find bright-eyed marmosets in the jungle, turtles on the sand, whales in the sea.
And if other souls are what you seek, it has surf villages, candy-coloured colonial towns, chic resorts and beach bars where Hollywood stars and Brazilian models sip from coconuts. Bahia is where Brazilians go on holiday, and it is easy to see why. But for the rest of us, much of it is uncharted territory, its best beaches and places to stay still well-kept secrets, hidden gems amid tropical greenery. You just have to know where to look.
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