Brazil’s third-largest city, Salvador da Bahia is one of South America’s party capitals and a hotbed of activity after dark. From capoeira demonstrations to samba sessions and live music performances, here are a few ways to experience Salvador’s infectious energy and Afro-Brazilian vibe.
One of the best ways to tap into Salvador’s Afro-Brazilian heritage is by eating. Dine on Bahian specialties and sip caipirinhas (a Brazilian cocktail made from cachaça, sugar, and lime). Many dinner experiences include folk shows that spotlight local culture. Observe folkloric plays, traditional South American dances such as samba de roda, and demonstrations of capoeira, a skillful martial art developed by African slaves in Brazil in the early 16th century.
Though lively by day, the city of Salvador really comes into its own at night. Bongo beats boom around the UNESCO-listed old town of Pelourinho, where musicians perform in the open air and dancers shimmy at local squares. The liveliest time to visit is on Tuesday night, during the Terça da Benção (Blessed Tuesday), when local parishioners traditionally give out bread to the poor. After the evening mass, a carnivalesque street party takes place, with live music courtesy of the Olodum bloco (street band).
For those who don’t want to brave the streets alone, night sightseeing tours of Pelourinho are available, some of which include music and cultural shows. While Pelourinho is the hub of after-dark fun, you’ll also find great places for live music in Rio Vermelho and Porto de Barra.