by Antonella Kann
It´s no secret that Bahia´s coastline is dotted with the most dreamy stretches of sandy beaches, but no doubt very few places are as enchanting as Praia do Forte, located around 50 kms north of Salvador´s airport. My first visit to this seaside resort was more than 20 years ago, long before it became a tourist´s hot spot, and since then I would go back countless times.
It´s also one of the few places on earth from where I don´t want to leave. Unfortunately, it´s been a couple of years since I ´ve scheduled a weekend there, but I made up my mind to mend this very soon, be assured. It´s less than two hours´ flight from Rio or São Paulo.
A quarter of a century ago, Praia do Forte was a tiny fishermen´s village and off the beaten track. Until it became the birthplace of Projeto Tamar, an ecological plan meant to protect the sea turtles which come ashore to lay their eggs. This project has gathered several international awards for preserving the environment.
So, fortunately, this village reinvented itself as a hub attracting ecotourists as well as those who are looking for an escape with a twist – Praia do Forte´s small hip village is car free, full of cozy boutiques and small shops, bars and fine restaurants serving from hearty Brazilian dishes to international cuisine, and its pousadas have been given a makeover.
Besides, there are dreamy beaches bathed by dozens of natural pools which emerge when the tide is low. Nature lovers will not want to move from the pretty setting – there´s a very interesting visitors´ center where all kind of sea turtles can be seen before being released into the ocean - and there´s lots to do in the area – from shopping to long walks, horseriding, snorkeling, surfing and mountain bike.