Praia do Forte was first settled in 1549 by Garcia D’Avila, a clerk for the Portuguese crown. For reasons lost in the mists of history, Garcia D’Avila had acquired a fortune and became a landowner. With foresight he introduced cattle ranching and coconut-palm cultivation in the area. To protect the coast, a medieval-style castle was built that served as a fort—hence the town’s name, which means "Fortress Beach." All that remains from the castle are the outer walls, and there isn’t too much to see, apart from sweeping views, but it now has a helpful visitor center. Today the area’s biggest attraction is the headquarters of a sea-turtle preservation center called Projeto Tamar. Instead of earning their living by killing turtles for meat, eggs, and shells, local fishermen are now paid to protect them. Jobs have also been provided by the bars, restaurants, pousadas, and shops that now line the three brick-paved streets.
On a relaxing day-trip from Salvador you can visit Praia do Forte’s village, get to know the sea-turtle research station, swim, or snorkel. The town also has a beautiful coconut-lined beach. If you decide to stay longer, there are many lodging options, and the nightlife, although toned down a few decibels from that in Salvador, is still lively. Almost everything in town is on the main street, Alameda do Sol. You can book a trip here through any Salvador tour operator or travel agent, or simply take a bus directly on a day trip.