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Salvador and the Bahia Coast Travel Guide


Smaller than its northern neighbors Arraial and Porto Seguro, Trancoso moves at a much slower pace. Founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1586, its first name was St. John Baptist of the Indians. Life here circles around the downtown plaza called "Quadrado" (the Square), where pedestrians have the right of way—no cars allowed. This is where everybody goes for shopping, dining, and people-watching.

In recent years Trancoso has become something of a jet-set destination—a haven for high-society Brazilians from São Paulo, especially between Christmas and early January when the laid-back Quadrado is overrun by glamorous dresses, high-heels, and endless events. As a result, it now has several high-end hotels, such as the Casa Uxua, as well as an increasing number of private villas to rent, to cater to the clientele. Outside these peak periods, the village remains as charming as ever.

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