Feb 24, 2010

Itacaré: surfers´paradise and eco-tourism par excellence!

the deserted beach of Itacarézinho

by Antonella Kann

Let´s continue talking about Bahia's paradisiacal beaches. Itacaré was rediscovered by hippies and surfers in the late 80´s and since then the range of open-air activities have been attracting enthusiasts for its perfect waves as well as nature worshipers.

Inhabited by the Tupiniquin Indians until the arrival of the Europeans in 1530, Itacaré reached its economic peak with the cultivation of cocoa beans. But, with the decline of this product, the place fell into complete isolation for centuries.

However, as many other idyllic havens, nowadays its white sandy beaches bring a flow of visitors from abroad, which means that in the bustling streets of the small village it´s common to hear foreign languages ranging from English to Norwegian, with a good sprinkling of French, German and Italian.

To meet the increasing demand, the hotel network has been upgraded, the restaurants have reviewed their menus and there´s a proliferation of specialized tour operators offering a wide range of open air activities and adventures.

Think anything from tree-climbing, canoeing and rafting, off-road trips, mountain biking, trekking, bathing in waterfalls, all part of extensive programs designed to get the adrenaline pumping. And, of course, there is surfing, which is the main attraction for most of the visitors.

Small or long beaches surrounded by thick vegetation, strong waves or a bay with calm waters and endless coconut groves…all these attributes can be used to describe the sandy stretches framing Itacaré. Most of the beaches are deserted, such as Itacarézinho, regarded as one of the most exotic in the region.

There you will also find a charming resort, the Txai ( http://www.txai.com.br/ ) which besides being one of the loveliest and best designed hotels in Bahia, with luxurious installations, has a spa called Shamash, which means “forest medicine”. Here, leisure goes way beyond the excellent cuisine and the soft touch of Egyptian cotton sheets.

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