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The intrepid traveler knows that the real joy of travel comes not from the choice of destination but in the journey itself. On my way to the famous Txai Resort, I “discovered” the town of Itacaré. The charm of the past is present in Itacaré’s cobblestone streets, houses and palm-lined beaches. This is the perfect spot for those who hunger for a taste of the real Bahia. This place was “off the grid” for many years because of its relative isolation. Understandably, more than 50 km of rough, hazardous dirt roads has the tendency to keep any destination in that sleepy land off forgetfulness. Then BA-001, a road connecting Ilhéus to Itacaré, was finished in 1998. Ever since that watershed date, the number of tourists visiting this particular corner of paradise has slowly but steadily increased. Several remarkable hotels, inns and restaurants have sprung up lately providing much needed infrastructure to worldly visitors. But, amazingly, despite Itacaré’s increasing popularity, many of it’s heavenly beaches remain deserted most of the year. Go figure! Itacaré is a refuge for nature lovers, surfers and free-spirits who hunger for a taste of the real Bahia. Glimpses of a quieter past are apparent on its cobblestone streets and in its charming old houses. The town is divided into 7 neighborhoods: Porto de Trás, Marimbondo, Passagem, Centro, São Miguel, Pituba e Concha. Each neighborhood has its own style, unique history and traditions. On my recent visit I found that daily walks through these neighborhoods always ended in lazy conversations with locals. I came to relish these moments that made for pleasant afternoons that seemed to linger on until the hands of time came to a complete stop.

Things pick up again at night however. In fact, nightlife in Itacaré can be pretty turbo-charged thanks to the plethora of locally chic beach bars, nightclubs and restaurants. There are some "don't miss" dining options that I would be remiss not to share with you: Casa Sapucaia, creatively mixes exotic local ingredients in a style that could best be described as “provocatively delicious”; Boca de Forno Pizzaria, is very popular with the local crowd, serving artisan drinks and fantastic pizza in a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere; Jardim dos Sabores offers a variety of unforgettable freshly caught fish, lobster and seafood dishes that makes my mouth water to this day.

The coast here is an endless succession of white sand beaches and sensual hills covered with woods, flowers, and palm trees. Beaches closest to the town are popular during the season and have a very good infrastructure for tourism. However, those seeking more isolated beaches are in luck. The most distant ones are beautifully deserted, but take note; only a handful can be reached by car. Believe it or not, there are still some beaches so small and hidden away that they don’t appear in any guidebook.
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