This riverside colonial town dates from the 16th and 17th centuries, when sugarcane was the economy’s mainstay. It has been designated a national monument and is the site of some of Brazil’s most authentic Afro-Brazilian rituals. After Salvador it has the largest collection of baroque architecture in Bahia, with the interior of baroque church Ordem Terceiro do Carmo rivaling São Francisco’s in Salvador. A major restoration of public monuments and private buildings includes revitalized streets and plazas in town. On an excursion to Cachoeira you can walk through the colorful country market and see architecture preserved from an age when Cachoeira shipped tons of tobacco and sugar downriver to Salvador.
One of the most interesting popular events is the festival held by the Irmandade da Boa Morte (Sisterhood of Good Death). Organized by a religious order created by the black female descendants of 19th-century slaves who were devoted to abolition, it’s held on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the middle of August and combines a street parade with a solemn mass, followed by a joyful procession of traditional samba de roda.