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Overview

Itacaré and Ilhéus are two colonial-era towns on the so-called "Cocoa Coast" that date back to southern Bahia’s heyday as the world’s premier producer of cocoa. Boasting more than a dozen stunning beaches, all backed by native Atlantic rainforest, smaller, sleepier Itacaré is the more charming of the two towns. A hippie paradise in the ‘70s, Itacaré was under the radar until a recently built coastal highway linking it to Ilhéus transformed it into a mellow mecca for surfers and partiers, especially in the summer. Only 45 miles away, Ilhéus, the former headquarters of the “cocoa barons,” is a major port town with a colonial center and ...

Itacaré and Ilhéus are two colonial-era towns on the so-called "Cocoa Coast" that date back to southern Bahia’s heyday as the world’s premier producer of cocoa. Boasting more than a dozen stunning beaches, all backed by native Atlantic rainforest, smaller, sleepier Itacaré is the more charming of the two towns. A hippie paradise in the ‘70s, Itacaré was under the radar until a recently built coastal highway linking it to Ilhéus transformed it into a mellow mecca for surfers and partiers, especially in the summer. Only 45 miles away, Ilhéus, the former headquarters of the “cocoa barons,” is a major port town with a colonial center and considerable urban sprawl. Although the city beaches lack appeal, the surrounding region of cocoa plantations and wilder beaches to the south are worth exploring.

Michael Sommers
About the Expert

Michael Sommers is the author of Moon Brazil and Moon Rio, as well as the blog Thrill of Brazil. He has been living in Salvador, Brazil since 1999.

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Michael Sommers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: State of Bahia, northeastern Brazil
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Currency: Brazilian Real
  • Research: Itacaré | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round, but try to avoid the rains (March-May) and the tourist crush (Christmas-Carnaval).