crowd gathered under brightly-colored decor outside for a festival

São João in Salvador — dust off your cowboy hat

Most people don’t associate country music, plaid shirts, square dancing, and cowboys with Brazil. But, in this large country of over 200 million people, there is a lot of regional music for every musical taste. As winter arrives in Brazil, particularly in the northeast, thoughts turn to forró, the most popular country-style music, and the […]

colorful old buildings surrounding a cobblestone square

Must-do activities in the Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil

The Pelourinho is the historic center of Salvador, Brazil, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and arguably the percussive heartbeat of Brazil. It’s filled with colorful buildings and equally colorful people. The cobblestone streets are lined with boutiques, museums, baroque-era churches, bars and restaurants, and live music. Its abundance of inexpensive hostels makes it popular with […]

6 must-have Brazilian souvenirs from Salvador

Souvenirs, or lembranças as the Brazilians call them, run the gamut from kitschy to meaningful to world-class works of art. In Salvador, when you are buying a souvenir from Brazil, there is something for every style and budget. What souvenirs should you buy? Musical instruments (percussion) If you are looking for a musical trinket, any of the […]

Iemanjá — the goddess of the sea — and her special day

Getting up at 4:30 am wasn’t easy for night owls like us, but we knew that pre-dawn was the time to arrive if we wanted to catch the religious — sacred — part of the festival for Iemanjá. We jumped into the taxi to the Rio Vermelho neighborhood, lightly caffeinated, proud of ourselves for even […]