Where To Stay In Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil
Where To Stay In Porto Seguro, Bahia,
Published March 18, 2021
Porto Seguro is an absolutely stunning region on the Atlantic coast of Bahia, Brazil. If you’re wondering whether you should visit Porto Seguro on your next trip to Brazil, the short answer is yes. However, choosing a place to stay can be tricky! That’s because there are about half a dozen small towns spread out along the coast, and it’s not easy to tell which villages have the best beaches using only a map.
This post won’t be a review of individual hotels or guesthouses, but it will discuss which area is best for your individual needs as a traveler.
I personally spent two weeks in the town center of Porto Seguro, then spent two more weeks in another town called Arraial d’Ajuda to the south. I’ll provide as much information as I can about some of the other tourist areas I spent time in. If you’d like to learn more an individual area, click or tap the link below to skip down to that section!
Should You Stay in Porto Seguro?
You might be thinking, “Wouldn’t it make sense to stay in the city center of Porto Seguro? Surely it’s easy to get around from there, right?” Well, not exactly. Directly to the south of Porto Seguro is the Buranhém River, which you have to cross to get to all the best beaches. You can use the public ferry, but this easily adds half an hour of travel time each way if you’re headed south for the day.
Staying in Porto Seguro is a good idea if you need quick, easy access to the airport or bus station. Other than that, I honestly don’t recommend staying here. That’s because the town isn’t so quaint, and in fact there are no beaches anywhere near the touristy boardwalk.
Should You Stay in Arraial d’Ajuda?
Arraial d’Ajuda is the largest village south of the Buranhém River. It’s got a great vibe, and there are lots of dining options to choose from. Arraial also has some stunning beaches within walking distance (unlike Porto Seguro) which you can read more about in my Porto Seguro beach guide [coming soon]!
As mentioned above, I spent two weeks in Arraial d’Ajuda, and I recommend you stay here too. Accommodation prices are generally reasonable, there are lots of restaurant choices, and it’s easy to find transportation and day tours heading to the beaches further south. I stayed in an absolutely beautiful loft that was a short walk to both the beach and the Arraial d’Ajuda town square.
The only problem with staying in Arraial is that you have to take the ferry across the river if you’re coming from the airport or the bus station. If you’ve got a lot of luggage, this can be a bit of an inconvenience. In addition, if you’re interested in checking out the beaches to the north, you’ll have to take the ferry back, then a bus or taxi.
Should You Stay in Trancoso?
Located about an hour’s drive from Arraial d’Ajuda, Trancoso is the next town south. It’s got wide open beaches that make this another good place to stay. Shuttle vans run regularly between Arraial and Trancoso, but they might not allow you on if you’ve got a ton of luggage. Alternatively, you might have to pay for the seats that your bags take up since the vans don’t have trunk space. It might be easier but more expensive to hire a taxi to get back and forth.
There’s also a famous “quadrado” (public square) here that’s worth checking out. Even if you don’t spend the night here, be sure to organize a day trip to Trancoso to explore the impressive Coqueiros Beach (Praia dos Coqueiros), pictured above.
It’s worth noting that Trancoso is a bit more remote than Arraial d’Ajuda. Another downside is that everything is more expensive. There are fewer lodging options, so prices are higher on average. The same seemed to be true of restaurants. Arraial has dining options for all budgets, but food prices in Trancoso seem inflated.
Should You Stay in Curuípe?
This tiny town is further south of Trancoso. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a regular van service between the Arraial d’Ajuda ferry terminal and Curuípe. If you choose to stay here, you’d almost certainly have to hire a private taxi. It’s also small enough that you probably wouldn’t have most of the amenities that you’d get in Porto Seguro, Arraial d’Ajuda, or Trancoso.
Why consider staying in Curuípe, then? Well, this area is home to Praia do Espelho, which is considered by many to be the best beach in the region and one of the top contenders nationally. It is easy to book a day trip from Porto Seguro or Arraial, but people who want to spend a few days or longer here should expect an all-inclusive resort experience.
Curuípe is great if you want to relax on a truly stunning beach. It’s probably not an ideal place to stay for travelers who want to explore up and down the coast though. I would also guess that this is one of the most expensive areas mentioned on this list for lodging and food, since options are very limited.
Should You Stay in Caraíva?
Caraíva is the little township furthest south that is still considered part of the Porto Seguro region. However, it can take up to two hours to reach by car or van from the Arraial d’Ajuda ferry terminal. Only a few passenger vans run between the two each day, so getting down there and back is not extremely convenient. Day trips are doable but you have to depart from Arraial d’Ajuda very early in the morning.
Once you make it to Caraíva, the town center is actually located across a small river that you have to board a small motorized water taxi to cross. This is pretty straightforward, but could be a hassle with a lot of luggage.
I’m not an advocate of staying this far south for a number of reasons. For one, all of the “roads” in Caraíva are made of sand, and the town has no cars. There were golf carts acting as taxis, but the lack of paved roads is a lot more inconvenient than you might think as a pedestrian, especially since the sand is scorching hot during the day. Hotels here do have WiFi, but cell service in Caraíva is really spotty.
Finally, the beach in Caraíva is nice, but not jaw-dropping. I found Praia do Espelho in Curuípe and Praia da Pitinga in Arraial d’Ajuda to be much more beautiful.
Should You Stay in Coroa Vermelha?
Unlike all the towns mentioned above, Coroa Vermelha is actually north of Porto Seguro. It’s a short Uber ride from the center of Porto Seguro, making it relatively convenient. However, the beach here was pretty unremarkable in my opinion. This area also felt the most like a tourist trap of all the towns mentioned on this post. After spending an hour or two walking around Coroa Vermelha, I was ready to move on.
Should You Stay in Santa Cruz Cabrália?
This small village even further north of Coroa Vermelha can also be reached by Uber, although rideshare availability can be unreliable up here. You might have to hire an old-fashioned taxi to get back to Porto Seguro. Santa Cruz has an interesting vibe and seems to be the least touristy of all the towns on this list. It honestly felt a little too quiet for my taste. However, if you’re looking to get off the beaten path, I would bet that there are some better lodging deals here than in Caraíva.
Tips & Closing Remarks
If this is a lot to process and you’d rather figure things out after you get settled, book a hotel or guesthouse room in Arraial d’Ajuda. From there, it’s easy to arrange day trips to most other beaches in the region. Unless you’re departing by bus or plane at a very early or late hour, it’s also easy to get to the airport or bus station. Just give yourself enough time for the ferry ride!
Although my accommodation in Porto Seguro was pretty nondescript, the loft I booked in Arraial d’Ajuda was such a unique place to stay! It was only a short walk from the town center, but it felt like staying in a jungle resort! I loved the interior design and the breeze of fresh air that flowed through the open windows.
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This post was published on Mar 18, 2021