The largest of 56 islands in the Baía de Todos os Santos, Itaparica was originally settled because its ample supply of fresh mineral water was believed to have rejuvenating qualities. Its beaches are calm and shallow, thanks to the surrounding reefs, which are avidly sought by windsurfers, divers, and snorkelers. The main port of entry on the north of the island is the town of Bom Despacho, where the ferries from Salvador dock. If you plan to travel to either the Maráu Península or Boibepa by bus, boat, or car from Salvador, you will need to pass through Itaparica. The drive from Salvador to the island via highway takes about four hours, while regular ferries departing from the Terminal de São Joaquim take approximately 40 minutes and are the easiest way to access the island.
If you are looking to explore, the best beaches are near the villages of Vera Cruz, Mar Grande, and Conceição, the latter almost entirely owned by Club Med Itaparica.
Alongside buses and taxis,
small Volkswagen vans (called kombis) provide the most convenient local transportation around the island. You can hail vans and hop from beach to beach along the 40 km (25 miles) of BA 001, the coastal highway that connects Itaparica village on the north part of the island to the mainland via Ponte do Funil (Funnel Bridge) on the southwest side.