The Area

Arraial d’Ajuda

It’s rare for the experienced traveller to pay-off the taxi and find at his destination the ultra chic alongside the historic, a choice between complete peace and 24/7 partying, beach bars where everyone who is anyone is enjoying themselves to the beat of Axé, and Reggae, yet ten minutes walk away, deserted sand and the sound only of lapping waves all under the shade of coconut palms. And the faces you usually see on magazine covers are rubbing shoulders and more on the dance floor with the local boys who deliver the groceries — the boys are the better dancers!

Unique is not a word to use lightly — it means that there’s only one of its kind in the world. This, you will find, is true of the village of Arraial d’Ajuda in north-east Brazil, and just as true of Dean’s house which you can rent to experience something you will find nowhere else.

The books will tell you that Arraial d’Ajuda was a fishing village ‘discovered’ by hippies in the 1960’s. It was and still is unmistakably rural Brazil with more than a touch of history – There are four-wheel drive vehicles and cars, but they have to give way to donkey carts. Don’t be surprised to find the occasional horse tied-up alongside your vehicle in the supermarket car park and its rider swigging a beer not far away.

Arraial’s earliest recorded history dates back to the 16th century with the beginning of the church and what is now the village centre. There are processions and festivals there the year round.

Arraial today has a thriving international community, four or five chic shopping centres, an amazing array of restaurants and bars – more than you can count, a nightlife which will extend to 24-hours if you want it to and access to some of the best beaches in Brazil.

It was on the shores of what is now called the Discovery Coast that the Portuguese navigator, Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in 1500 to claim Brazil for his King. His first sighting of land was Monte Pascoal, a few km south of Arraial and he landed a bit further north at Coroa Vermelha. You can delve into the story in the Museum in the historic part of Porto Seguro and by travelling along the coast to Santa Cruz Cabrália.

Arraial d’Ajuda forms part of the municipality of Porto Seguro, which has the nearest commercial airport.

The Discovery Coast

The stretch of Atlantic Forest along the Discovery Coast where Arraial is situated was one of the important sites included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1999. In spite of decades of destruction, parts of the forest (the ‘Mata Atlantica’ in Portuguese) still have the highest levels of biodiversity on Earth. Seventeen of the 21 species of primates found in the Mata Atlantica exist only there and so do 900 of the 2,000 species of butterfly.

Along the coastline to the south you’ll find:

To the north after the ferry crossing the River Buranhem you have: