"Trancoso, my second home" Trancoso by MrsPeel

Trancoso Travel Guide: 50 reviews and 114 photos

This is the south of NorthEast Brazil....

...the place where the Portuguese arrived in 1500, and thereafter developed their Empire. The history of Brazil isn't all that if compared with Europe, as we are a very young country, but this area has a bit for everyone: the historical sites, the beautifull white sand beaches, a very colonial architecture, family atmosphere for those with kids, and (of course!) party everywhere too.
The town is called Porto Seguro, since late 80's counts with an international airport (though small), and is divided in several districts or villages, the most known for tourism : Arraial D'Ajuda, Trancoso, Praia do Espelho (Mirror's beach) and Caraivas.
From Porto Seguro's sea front, one can take a barge (either on foot or by car, even some buses cross on the barge) which will take you to Arraial D'Ajuda, in a less than 10 minutes journey crossing the Buranhem river.
Arraial is more budget tourism, a lot of Brazilians, Argentinians, Europeans (though on my opinion they prefer Trancoso) and a lot of backpackers from Israel...but I will be writing something about Arraial later.
The journey Arraial/Trancoso is about 45 minutes, and there are two roads, the old dirt road and the new tarmac one, inagurated in 2000. Thsi one is an amazing journey in winding up and down hills with views that will take your breath away....
You have the option to take the new road either straight from the airport (and then you will miss the barge crossing) or after the barge, in Arraial, or, if you happen to have rented a 4x4 (or are the adventurous kind and have a very resistant behind) take the old dirt road.

Trancoso surealism....

Trancoso was wonderfully wild untill some 10/15 years ago.
Unfortunatelly, the high class tourism started to wreck everything in the name of the (to me much hated in many ways) progress.
The Club Med was build some 5 years ago......now (like many other small fisherman villages in the world) Trancoso doesnt have the same feel....but still a wonderfull place, well worth visiting.
What makes this place a surreal one is the mixture of people, races, nationalities, tastes, choices.....all living in perfect (or almost perfect) harmony.
I started travelling to Trancoso in the 70's, when this was a place with no other water source than the river, no electricty, no "pousadas* (like something between a B&B and a hotel), all very wild and slowly being invaded by the hippies, both from all over Brazil and other places of the world, mainly Argentina and Europe.
In the 80's, whilst living in Rio de Janeiro, I would go for holidays, though then I would go to Arraial, where the pousadas, bars (was there that *Lambada* was born) little shops and restaurants....I could stay anywhere, and sing isntead of paying for accomodation.
It was in a place in between Arraial D'Ajuda and Trancoso, though, that I took my going to be British husband, on a pre-marriage honey moon.....(yes, I never quiet fitted *the norm* lol).... and this was the place to where we kept coming, every year after, even when our daughter was born... (I could never cope with British winter)
This place is just 15/20 minutes before you get to Trancoso by the old dirt road, called Pousada Rio da Barra (and I will be writing about this on the tips too)
In 1998 we moved, took residence there a year before the 500 years of the discovery of Brazil,and stayed until 2001...and then I saw Trancoso growing so fast, though I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Nowadays this is a place considered *posh* by many Brazilians, Paradise for most European I know, lots of them have made Trancoso their homes, own Pousadas, restaurants and are active part of the population.
Trancoso's reputation has grown so much over the years, is now considered *posh* to spend time there.... and many residents prepare to leave their houses in summer, in order to rent them for the season.....with prices going from U$50 to U$1000 (US dollars) a day....
The sad thing in all these is, though growing in tourism, some very important areas like education or health care seem to be stopped in time....there is only one secondary school and two primarys, and they are very often on strike....most residents who can afford it send their kids to schools in either Arraial or Porto Seguro, but that means an hour travelling and lots of money spent....

Sun, caipirinha nad beer

The beaches are 10/15 minutes walking down the hill,(unless, of course, you decide to stay on accomodation on the beach) with lots of places to eat wonderfull local food.
Bahia's culinary is divine, with lots of sea food, fish and combinations that are endless with coconut, chilies, beans, manioc and more. My fav is the siiting on the beach eating oysters from Rosa (the only one of the ones who walk the beach selling them I would by from)
Trancoso's main square, The Quadrado (which means square as in the geometrical shape) with the colonial church in the end, is actually a rectangular piece of green grass, with lots of pcitureque colonial houses on the sides, which are restaurants, bars or shops. You can sit there to have breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just to have a caipirinha, or a very cold beer...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:beautifull scenary, lots of fun, marvelous food
  • Cons:progress destroying that scenary, it could be expensive
  • In a nutshell:despite of all the progress, defentely a place to go for sun lovers
  • Last visit to Trancoso: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (4)

Comments (5)

  • Freebeacher's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    That's quite a road!

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Looks like a lovely holiday destination. I wish it were closer to where I live.

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2007 at 2:41 AM

    Excellent write-up about the hotels, and lovely photos. I look forward to more of your travel pages. For now, my ratings are with you :-) Have a great day / Jess

  • Sep 14, 2007 at 12:04 PM

    VT's a very cool site, i'm sure you'll have alot of fun here! Anything to help my Spanish would be appreciated.. i'm learning Hebrew too and I've started speaking Spanbrew. Very confusing. =\

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2007 at 8:59 PM

    Sounds like a great place to escape. Welcome to VT. leyle

MrsPeel Used To Live Here!


“travelling musical mum”

Online Now


Top 10,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 7 8 0 5

Badges & Stats in Trancoso

  • 4 Reviews
  • 13 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 1,334PageViews

Have you been to Trancoso?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Trancoso


No friends yet.

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)