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Jet-Set Luxury with Hippy Simplicity, Trancoso, is a village located in Southern Bahia that began as a tiny Jesuit outpost, but “re-discovered” in the 70’s by a group of pleasure seeking hippies. Trancoso now attracts people from the far flung corners of the earth. Artists, Craftspeople, Architects, Chefs and Designers have found inspiration...“Hippy-Chic”. Ok, let’s sum things up quickly. Over the last four summer seasons, the Trancoso region has acquired; a Club Med, several famous clothing stores, an antique shop, a world-class 18 hole golf course, two ultra-exclusive gated communities, a bookstore, and now….Oi Veh, a delicatessen! I know what you’re thinking, “there goes the neighborhood”. Well folks I must disagree. Trancoso is simply receiving an upgrade!
Apparently, despite all the newness everything remains as it has always been. The Square, layed out by the Jesuits 450 years ago, remains with its two rows of brightly painted cottages,without light posts or bright lights in the storefronts. In the afternoons, local boys still play soccer in front of the ancient church. When it rains the bare patches of the Square become muddy, and a big part of the lawn becomes a marsh, just as it always has. Low end tourists from Porto Seguro, just down the road, continue to over look Trancoso, finding it “boring” (thank God). Below the Village, on the beach, you can’t tell there are any new condos, as they are expertly hidden away in the Atlantic Rain forest.
The major threat to the rusticity of Trancoso doesn’t come from the village itself but from just outside. Terravista, officially still part of the neighboring town of Arraial d'Ajuda, lies just 7 kilometers from Trancoso. The exclusive Terravista golf community, which by the way, is also where Club Med is located, has been chosen as the future address of two more planned resorts. So far the impact of Terravista on Trancoso has been positive. The year-round stream of tourists attracted to Terravista keeps the restaurants and shops of Trancoso open during the low season.
Truth be told, Trancoso remains super-laid back, almost asleep during 11 months and 20 days. It only loses this tranquility 10 days a year: between Christmas and New Year’s Eve...then, Trancoso literally boils! During this brief period all the different tribes unite. You’ll meet the shoeless hippy-founders, the new socialites from Sao Paulo, Rio, and Salvador, the Ravers from all over who mount their massive transe-house parties on Rio Verde Beach and those unfortunates like me who didn't realize that the best time to visit is between January 5th and December 25th.
Outside of this week between Christmas and New Year’s Trancoso is the most enchanting beach destination in Brazil. The Square remains an unforgettable place which still hasn’t fallen before real estate speculators. The halucinatory, savagely beautiful beaches with names like Rio da Barra and Ponta da Itapororoca which roll off the tongue like honey offer visitors an open invitation to “explore”. This is a good thing because you’ll need some exercise to walk off the incredible meals you’ll enjoy in Trancoso’s amazing restaurants.
Trancoso - Highlights
The Brazilian praça, or square, still a focal point for socializing in so many small towns, is often a circular area in front of the main church - the word praça implies no square angles.more +
How Trancoso Came to Be...
Trancoso, a district of Porto Seguro in southern Bahia, was founded by Jesuits in 1586 under the name São João Batista dos Índios. The tiny 16th-century church on the Quadrado, built by indigenous people, is one of the oldest in Brazil.more +
Trancoso beaches are, to the north of the Trancoso River below the Quadrado...more +
Praia do Espelho, Porto Seguro, Bahia
Praia do Espelho, in Bahia, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and part of the Discovery Coast's Atlantic Forest Reserves, a Unesco Natural Heritage Site.more +
New Year's Eve in Trancoso
New Year's Eve in Trancoso has such a powerful lure that the best way to guarantee reservations at local hotels is to start checking prices early in the year, preferably no later than February.more +
Shopping in Trancoso
Nighttime shopping or just leisurely browsing is one of the fun things to do in Trancoso.more +
Trancoso nearby attractions...more +