Itacaré, Bahia | Brazil

Towards the end of last year we had the opportunity to travel to Brazil for work and decided to make a road-trip of it. The work part was just a few days but we booked 2 weeks, hired a car and hit the road in the state of Bahia… starting off in Ilheus and ending up in the capital, Salvador de Bahia. This experience was, in a word, life-changing. Well technically, that was two words… and it all sounds really dramatic, like I´m not the same person I was before I left, but I feel like we learnt so much and changed in a few small but significant ways that it´s impossible to say that this experience left me indifferent. Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Firstly, lets talk about challenging pre-conceived ideas. You don´t have to look very hard online and in travel forums to find people literally FREAKING OUT about how unsafe Brazil is. About getting mugged by policemen and being afraid to leave their hotel rooms. Brazil is a third world country and it´s obviously not the same as travelling in Europe but seriously, I did not feel unsafe here… particularly in the small rural towns. I come from South Africa and my concept of “safe” is maybe  a bit different to yours but even so, I let the Tripadvisor paranoia get under my skin a little bit and I really shouldn´t have. You live and learn. Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Secondly… Brazilians are just about the happiest and kindest people I´ve ever met in all my life. You would expect that with the poverty and extreme difference between rich and poor that people would be angry, complaining, upset with life in general. But no, in spite of the fact that the majority have very little they all seemed unbelievably happy, always smiling, “tudo joia”. Of course I am well aware that this is a traveller´s perspective, that it´s hard to judge a country in 2 weeks and that things are not always as lovely as they first may appear but as far as first impressions go, I totally dig this country. Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil We started our trip in the surf town of Itacaré and spent 4 days here before hitting the road further north to Barra Grande, on the Marau peninsula… more on that next week. Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil Travel photography Itacare Bahia Brazil


  1. Exatamente como eu me senti depois de ter passado exatamente duas semanas no estado vizinho á Bahia, no estado de Pernambuco entre Recife e Maragogi. Também fiz uma road trip e o que vi fez-me mudar a forma de pensar e o quão sortuda eu sou por viver em Portugal e o quanto nós somos “ricos”…
    As fotos estão fantásticas como sempre 🙂

    1. E somos mesmo ricos, não somos? Adorava de voltar e explorar mais… fazer a costa toda! Um dia destes… E obrigada pelas palavras simpáticas 🙂

  2. wow, just awesome
    i don,t have words for your photos…. amazing

  3. Wow Kerry, great photo’s, as usual 🙂 really nice article too, makes you think about the outsider’s view of a country. Brasil isn’t just gangs, favelas, Jesus statue and amazon 🙂
    I REALLY like the happy donkey!!

    1. Just the same way South Africa isn´t gangs, slums and murder… think of all the misconceptions the rest of the world has about us too. The more you travel, the more you realise that we´re all the same really, no matter where we are in the world. The concept of “us” and “them” doesn´t apply once you´ve met “them” and realise they´re just like you. 🙂

  4. An Activist Abroad

    I really like your photographs and description of your experience of Brasil. It is literally such a stunning place, and so incredibly huge it amazes me that post-colonialism that it remained as one country. Did you get the chance to go to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park? It’s one of the most mind blowing places I’ve ever had the fortune of visiting.

    1. Thanks for your kind words! We only saw a fraction of the country in the 2 weeks we were there, but would love to go back and explore more extensively. I will keep the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park on my list of things to do for the future. 🙂

      1. An Activist Abroad

        It’s such a massive country it’s almost impossible to get any sense of it, even in the two months that I spent there. I would very much recommend Lencois. It’s so awesome that neither words nor pictures can do it justice. I took a few pictures when I was there. If you have a moment, here is the link. I’d love to go back there some day, and roll down the dunes into the rain-filled pools. It’s like heaven on earth.

      2. Beautiful images, thanks for the link!

  5. […] left Itacaré and headed north on the Peninsula de Marau, destination: Barra Grande. The road is dirt and was […]

  6. Kerry thank you so much for your comments about photography and safety in Brazil. I’m a new photographer and I’m headed to Salvador and Aracaju, Sergipe, just to the north to photograph national/word historical sites. It’s my third trip to Brazil and I’ve only been to the south. Those cities were much like my home city, Chicago: a mix of very safe and very not safe, just be observant.

    Brazilian friends from São Paulo have been unequivocal that I and my DSLR will be quickly robbed in Salvador and I myself will be quickly killed in Aracaju. This constant gloom and doom, combined with my completely lack of confidence with my camera, is making me question if this will trip will be fun at all.

    Do you or anyone have any words of advice/encouragement?

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. We didn´t venture further north that Salvador, so I can´t speak for the other places you mention but I think that the gloom and doom in general needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I found the people in Bahia to be incredibly open, friendly and helpful and although it is a poor part of the country and you need to be street smart, I never felt threatened.

      In Salvador, which is a big city, I felt a bit more observed than in the rural towns but this applies to most cities in 3rd world and developing countries. I think you should be wary, travel light and follow your instincts but don´t be put off, you are going to have a great time!

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