Salvador City Guide
*Submitted by Anon (2014). Information confirmed to the best of my ability.
OVERVIEW: In Walt Disney's 1945 animated film The Three Caballeros, José Carioca, a cigar-smoking parrot, famously asks Donald Duck if he's "ever been to Bahia." Donald replies that he hasn't, and proceeds to get a bashing from Jose for having not done so. You'll deserve the same verbal abuse if you decide to leave Salvador, Bahia off your travel itinerary.
WEATHER: Tropical rainforest (26-34 °C). Rainy season April-July. Salvador lacks a dry season.
SAFETY: Dangerous. Sadly, Salvador is unsafe for tourists. Having light skin immediately makes you a target. During the day in touristy areas with lots of police you will be fine, but when nightfalls nowhere is safe.
MUST DO: Historic Centre. People-watch and take in the energy of the city.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN SALVADOR: $600.00. You'll be required to pay a shitload of money if you don't want to be in a slum. Gated community or slum are basically your only two choices here. Try to stay in Rio Vermelho or Barra.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $12.00
NIGHTLIFE IN SALVADOR: 7.5/10
Barra or Rio Vermelho. Make it easy on yourself and stick to these areas. There are enough bars here and it's pretty safe compared to the rest of the city. I'll recommend a spot in Rio Vermelho that'll make you happy.
I recommend: Padaria Bar. Live music, good vibe and, most importantly, not a lot of tourists.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $1.50
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN SALVADOR: 7.5/10
You're chances are OK, but like other Brazilian cities if you're a white male over 30, you're going to be fighting an uphill battle to prove you're not a sex tourist. The best defence is speaking Portuguese and claiming you are in Brazil for work. Anyone who isn't black is not the norm, so you'll stand out. This is good news for getting women but bad news for getting robbed. There are many gorgeous black women here and most of them are very warm and open to meeting someone new, assuming you're able to communicate with them in their native tongue. However, beware of prostitutes masquerading as non-prostitutes.
*If you plan on using online dating in Brazil, I recommend Brazil Cupid as your best option for meeting trustworthy local women.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN SALVADOR?: 7.5/10.
A lovely collection of girls here in Salvador, Bahia. They are friendly, energetic and intoxicating. Their passion for life is inspiring. The typical girl here will be at least partially of African descent. Many beautiful faces and even more smoking hot bodies. A completely different kind of girl than you'd see in Florianopolis, but in the case of Salvador, don't assume this to be a bad thing.
If you want to make the most of your time in Brazil, you will need to speak some Spanish. PortuguesePod is the best resource for learning Portuguese quickly and easily.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.25 Loaf of Bread= $1.70 Eggs= $1.90 Water (1.5L)= $1.00 Cigarettes= $2.75
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Very scarce.
NOTES: Salvador, like Havana, Cuba is one of few truly magical cities. You feel something when you're here, a sense of history, tradition and richness of culture. This is the draw of Salvador. It's not the girls, certainly not the security and it's not the nightlife. It's the food, it's the people, it's the architecture. Salvador will speak to you on a level beyond your senses. Just be sure to watch your wallet.
OVERALL RATING: 7.75/10
Recommended Resources: Brazil Cupid & PortuguesePod
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*More city guides from Brazil here!