Imbassaí, Brazil is the perfect beach village for a few days of quiet escape. It’s just big enough to have the amenities you need while being small enough to be friendly and super-walkable. And, it’s close enough to Salvador, Bahia to be quick and easy to get to — while not having that big-city vibe.
The number of reasons to love Imbassaí are much higher than five, but here are my top five.
1. Imbassaí, Brazil is easy to get to from Salvador
Imbassaí is a mid-sized village just up the coast, collectively known as Linha Verde, in what is technically known as Mata de São João. It’s 45 minutes north of the Salvador airport, making it really accessible for travelers to the region.
Yep, you leave from from the airport and be walking to the beach from your pousada in under an hour.
2. Miles and miles of walking and biking trails
This is one of the things that delighted me the most. We don’t own a car, and both love wandering around a new place. The cobblestone streets are accompanied by a large number of paved sidewalks and biking trails, making it relatively easy to get around.
3. All of the beaches are public beaches
This is true for all of Bahia, not just Imbassaí. According to local laws, all beaches in the state of Bahia are public lands. So while you may find a private area nearby the beach that belongs to a resort or pousada, the beach itself must remain publicly accessible.
4. Dozens of adorable pousadas waiting to spoil you
Pousadas, the equivalent of a US bed and breakfast, are virtually the only housing option in Imbassai, Brazil.
From adorable cabanas just steps off the beach to budget, motel-style housing up the hill, there are options for virtually every price point and experience.
We stayed at Pousada Capitù, just steps from the beach, and found it to be the perfect getaway location for two. While I can safely recommend Capitù, there are dozens of other great-looking pousadas within easy walking distance of the beach as well, so don’t be afraid to look around.
If you don’t want to spend your time wading through the dozens of options, we have a concierge service that will shift the planning into our experienced hands. Let us help you plan your trip.
5. Lots of nearby non-beach activities
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect in Imbassaí other than a lot of lounge chair time, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got there. If you need a break from lounging, you can:
- Take surf lessons
- Learn to ride a horse (on the beach, of course)
- Walk on any of the miles and miles of trails
- Take a boat excursion
- Check out the castle in Praia do Forte, a few miles down the road
- Go see Projeto Tamar, a turtle refuge, in Praia do Forte
- Take a whale-watching excursion (July through October)
- Go on a kayak tour to the small village of Diogo, a few miles up the coast
- Visit Arembepe, a nearby hippie village that once hosted Mick Jagger and Janis Joplin
- Rent a bike and pedal around the miles of trails
Let us help you plan your trip
Ready to book this escape, but want some help pulling the pieces together?
Pulling the pieces together is our specialty!
My husband is a proud Salvador native and knows how things work here. I have been living here since 2016 and can still remember how hard it can be to figure it all out. We love living here and take a great deal of joy in guiding visitors to our region so they can relax, unwind, and just take it all in.
Learn more about our concierge services.
What you won’t find in Imbassaí
- Banks or cash machines: The nearest bank is in Praia do Forte, so bring what you need. Every place we went took credit cards, so other than a few reais for a bottle of water or to pay for the water taxi, you may not need a lot of cash. However, I recommend bringing backup cash for the nearly inevitable “the credit card machine isn’t working right now” scenario.
- Busses, taxis, or Uber: There is no bus service in or out of Imbassai, we saw two taxis (but could not find the drivers), and there isn’t enough need to support a ride-share service. None of that should be a problem while you are in the village itself, but you’ll need to pre-arrange transportation if you are planning a day trip out of the village.
- Lots of partying and nightlife: Imbassaí is for relaxation and is the perfect embodiment of Brazilian sossego, or ease. Relax, rest, and recharge.
Where to eat
There are plenty of restaurants in Imbassaí, Brazil, with pizza, pasta, and the regional specialty, moqueca, making up most of the menu.
Our first night in town, we headed out, anxious to try some of the great-looking food we’d seen earlier that day. And, much to our surprise, most of the restaurants were closed. What we quickly discovered is that the restaurants’ hours follow that of the tourists.
Most of the restaurants near the beach are only open for lunch service — no dinner. For dinner, you’ll find the most options up the hill. Our hunch is that lunch service is largely for the day visitors to the beach area. Nighttime visitors are more likely to arrive by car, so the restaurants that are open for dinner tend to be closer to the highway. Being a relatively small village, this still means that you aren’t ever going to be more than 20 minutes from great food!
If you are looking for a place to start, some of our favorite restaurants throughout the town were: Merenderia, Maniçoba da Lena, Boteco das Meninas, and Jerimum. Cajueiro’s is right at the top of the list for our return trip.
How to get to Imbassaí, Brazil
Private car or taxi
Taxi or private car is, hands-down, the easiest way to get to Imbassaí. From the Salvador airport, you can plan to spend approximately R$150 reais to get to Imbassaí.
To get a car, you can call a ride-share service or simply flag down a taxi. You may encounter a driver that isn’t keen to go all that distance to return empty-handed, so it may take you a few attempts. If you can also promise them a return trip to pick you up afterwards that may help.
Depending upon where you are staying, your pousada may be able to help you arrange for a driver to pick you up. Our pousada offered a car from our neighborhood, Barra, to the pousada for R$280 flat rate.
When it is time to leave, you’ll want to be sure to have a ride pre-arranged. As mentioned above, ride-sharing services and taxis are nearly non-existent in Imbassaí, so this is one of those few times in Brazil you can’t just wing it. You can either have your pousada help or coordinate with the same driver that brought you.
There is inter-city transportation in the form of vans that goes up the coast, known as Linha Verde. The vans stop at bus stops every few miles along the highway, picking up and dropping off passengers from the beach towns as they go.
It’s a very informal affair, with a designated caller who slides open the van door as the stop approaches, shouting out the names of upcoming destinations to waiting travelers. There is no appointed schedule time, and the van won’t necessarily stop if someone doesn’t flag them down.
The vans are inexpensive, it was $13 reais each to get to Imbassaí, but because of the informality of the system, they are also a challenge for non-Portuguese speakers. There is no signage or posted prices, so I recommend finding a local friend to help.
The most reliable places to pick up one of these vans are in São Cristovão, near the airport, or the Rodoviaria (main bus terminal).
The van will drop you off at the edge of the highway, and from there you will need to go about a mile to get to the center of the village. There is a paved road to walk, or you may be able to find a nearby moto-taxi.
Let us help you plan your trip
Ready to book your trip, but could use some help pulling it all together? If so, we’d love to help make your dream trip happen.
We can help you add Imbassaí onto an existing Brazilian itinerary or create a special Bahian getaway tailored to your tastes. Our concierge services are designed for semi-independent travelers who love the autonomy of DIY travel, but could use some advice and guidance on exactly how to make it happen.