A Complete Guide To Trancoso, Brazil's Best Kept Secret

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Advisor - Natasha L. Hardy
Curated By

Natasha L. Hardy

  • International Travel

  • Brazil

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • Boutique Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Coastal

  • Relaxing

  • Local Culture

aerial view of beach and ocean during daytime
Curator’s statement

Dubbed the Tulum of Brazil, Trancoso is a former sleepy fishing village turned trending beach hotspot located in the southern tip of Bahia state, near Porto Seguro. Founded by Jesuits in 1583, this unspoiled gem did not have electricity until 1986 and ATMs were only introduced in the early 2000s. The small town’s appeal comes from the palm-fringed beaches, a slow-paced rhythm and boho-chic hotels full of character. Rustic simplicity and understated luxury are some of the words used to describe this little piece of paradise. The town has attracted famous visitors such as Beyonce, model Naomi Campbell and news anchor Anderson Cooper, cementing its status as an uber-happening beach destination.

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Where to stay in Trancoso, Brazil

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Things to do in Trancoso, Brazil

ocean next to beach and green hills during daytime

Walk around the town

Among the town’s famous spots is the Church of São João Batista, a structure dating back to the village’s origins, set atop a hill overlooking the breathtaking coastline. The true essence of Trancoso, however, lies in its vibrant heart - the Quadrado, which translates to The Square. By day, the Quadrado is a peaceful haven of colorful houses, art galleries and artisanal shops. As the night falls, the square comes alive with the gentle sounds of bossa nova emanating from cozy bars and restaurants serving delectable local seafood.

Take a kayak tour

Take a 2-hour kayaking tour through the lush jungles of the Trancoso River and finish off by taking a dip in the sea where the tour ends.

Rent a Quad Bike

For those who like adventure, many quad bike rental options are available in Trancoso. Ride through the soft sands of the expansive coastline or through the exuberant rainforests further inland. This is a fun and extremely popular activity throughout the northeast region of Brazil.

Play some golf

The Terravista is an 18-hole golf course designed by Dan Blankenship and boasts breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled between Bahia’s lush rainforest and a cliff overlooking the Trancoso beaches, it is possibly one of the most visually stunning golf courses in the world. Individual, as well as group classes, are available for those who have not yet perfected the art of golf.

Capoeira lessons

Capoeira originated in Bahia and is an Afro-Brazilian martial art. It was developed during the 16th century during which African slaves used it as a form of disguise to learn how to fight by presenting it as a "dance." It is interesting alone to watch, as it involves dance moves, high kicks and music.

Book a private capoeira lesson at Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa or watch locals kick off a “roda”, or circle, at the beach during the full moon. The community center also offers lessons and watching it is completely free.

Relax at the beach

With so many stunning beaches to choose from, it is hard to pick just one. Praia dos Coqueiros, Itapororoca, Espelho and Nativos are just a few, offering various restaurant options as well as water activities such as surf lessons and snorkeling. If you really want to get away from it all, take a tour to Caraíva beach, an unspoiled fisherman’s village void of any motorized vehicles. Getting there is not the easiest. Caraíva is located about an hour’s drive south of Trancoso and then a short boat ride across the river, but it is one hundred percent worth the effort.

Visit a Pataxó Indian Village

If you are in search of a more cultural experience, you shouldn’t miss visiting Barra Velha, where around 500 Pataxó Indian families currently live. Brazil is home to more than 300 indigenous tribes, and the Pataxó is Bahia’s largest. At the cultural center, you can watch women making handicrafts, Indians telling stories, cooking and dancing. Certainly a unique and unforgettable experience.


Lenny Niemeyer

Forgot to pack your bikini? Fear not, because in this shop you will find some of Brazil’s most stylish swim/beachwear. The eponymous designer’s store first opened its doors in 1991 in the city of Rio de Janeiro and has since become synonymous with elegance and comfort when dressing for a day by the ocean. Customers can opt to buy a bikini set or each piece separately and can also find a variety of fashionable items such as beach bags, dresses, hats and much more.

Cheia de Graças

Visual artist Laila Assef is incredibly talented. As you walk into her store, you are bombarded with colorful displays of art. In this charming store, you will find imaginative decorative pieces sourced from local materials, some of which are artfully transformed from discarded materials. Creativity at its best. It is worth going to check it out!

TamBém Trancoso

This store offers a variety of crafts, art pieces and products made from recycled materials. Moreover, it operates as a collective store comprising of four artists who creatively merge sustainability into their work. As a result, they produce unique and exclusive pieces that are made locally.

Day Trips from Trancoso, Brazil

Tour the city of Porto Seguro for a day, where Portuguese explorers first landed in the year 1500 claiming possession of the land. From Porto Seguro, you can also explore the coral reefs of Recife de Fora on a boat tour.

Places to eat & drink in Trancoso, Brazil

orange house next to trees during daytime

El Gordo - This Portuguese-inspired restaurant serves delicious seafood and other traditional Brazilian dishes. It is located on the Quadrado and is known for its lively atmosphere and excellent service. With outdoor seating overlooking the ocean and a refreshing breeze, it has an Ibiza meets Tulum vibe which is hard to beat.

Capim Santo - This upscale restaurant offers a fusion of Brazilian and international cuisine with an emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients. Originally opened as a macrobiotic cafe, this is the oldest restaurant in town. Capim Santo is located in a beautiful garden setting and serves a delicious buffet.

Silvana e Cia - This restaurant has two separate locations: one in the Quadrado and one right on the beach. No matter which venue you choose, try one of their delectable “muquecas” or the famous fish baked in banana leaves to get a true taste of local cuisine.

O Cacau - This trendy restaurant serves innovative dishes that combine traditional Brazilian ingredients with modern cooking techniques. O Cacau is located on the Quadrado and is known for its creative and delectable cuisine. A local favorite.

Santo Café - If drinking good coffee is your thing, this place is a must. This cozy eatery is a sort of jack-of-all-trades: it is a café and bakery with outdoor seating serving specialty coffees, light lunch and featuring an extensive drink menu (including bubbly). At their shop, you can also purchase wine bottles from all corners of the globe. Come here for brunch, lunch or for a quick afternoon coffee and freshly baked delicacies such as bolo de rolo.

Meraki - Think of a mix between Tulum and Mykonos. In Brazil. That’s Meraki. Serving impeccable Greek cuisine, this eatery is also an art gallery, shop and rooftop bar. A DJ pumps cool lounge beats on select nights, and guests can dine al fresco on the dimly lit, incredibly cozy rooftop terrace. The menu is not extensive, but they make up for it with traditional Greek dishes such as moussaka, phyllo-wrapped feta cheese with honey and beet hummus served with manioc fries.

Need to Know

Trancoso offers visitors an array of activities to unwind and recharge. Horseback riding on the beach, kayaking and kitesurfing are popular options for those seeking adventure, while others can spend their days lounging on the beach, sipping on cocktails and soaking up the tropical sun.

Getting to Trancoso is uncomplicated: the town boasts a nearby international airport catering exclusively to private jets, chartered flights and helicopters. It is also easily reached through the airport of Porto Seguro (BPS), which caters to commercial flights arriving from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities.

For more Brazil travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Aprille Muscara's 9-Day Itinerary in Brazil: City, Beach, and Nature.

Advisor - Natasha L. Hardy

Travel Advisor

Natasha L. Hardy

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Brazil, and our larger series on beach travel.