Without doubt, some of the best beaches in Latin America are to be found in Brazil. Over 5000 miles of stunning coastline offers everything from pristine white sands with barely a soul in sight to laidback beach bum towns and more bustling resorts. The town of Trancoso in the north-eastern state of Bahia falls into the middle category and yet it is so much more than your average beach town. Known as a favourite of several celebrities (the likes of Beyonce and Matthew McConaughey have holidayed there) and yet still retaining that delightful relaxed way of life, it perfectly combines glamour and style without any of the flashiness of a large resort.
Trancoso is originally a small village, this part of Brazil was the landing point of the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500 and the village itself was founded by Jesuit priests in 1583. Today it retains much of the original style of architecture with small, single storey buildings painted in beautiful pastel colours. The main square, known as the quadrado is lined on both sides by these charming buildings. Some are houses and many are small boutiques, restaurants or even hotels.
Trancoso’s soul is in this beautiful Quadrado and it is easy to see why. At the top of the square stands a beautiful whitewashed church, watching over the town and backing on to cliffs and the ocean beyond. Local boys play football on the grass in the middle of the square. At night the trees around are festooned with fairy lights from various restaurants and hotels. It really is a magical place.
The beach is of course the main draw to Trancoso and there are plenty to choose from. Praia dos Nativos, Praia dos Coqueiros and Praia do Espelho are three of the best. Praia dos Nativos is closest to the town and is a ten-minute walk from the Quadrado. These are the pristine, soft sandy beaches of our dreams and perfect for a day relaxing, cocktail in hand. The occasional fisherman wanders along the beach, selling fish skewers, freshly prepared and delicious. The sea is suitable for swimming and is excellent for surfing, particularly beginners as the sea is warm and the waves are gentle.
For hotels, Trancoso does very well and there are some superb, luxury options. Hands down our favourite is Uxua Casa, the best in Trancoso and without doubt one of the best hotels in Brazil. Owned by the ex-Creative Director of Diesel, Wilbert Das, it features exquisite design and service. The 13 individual casas are all unique and exude bohemian luxury. Its location right on the Quadrado gives it a prime spot in the town.
Other options include Pousada Etnia, a short walk from town and featuring just eight rooms dotted amongst tranquil gardens. For options on the beach, look to Pousada Tutabel with a bohemian style and relaxed atmosphere in charming gardens or Villas de Trancoso, a perfect luxury option located right on the beach.
Trancoso is the perfect beach town, away from the crowds and combining glamour with authenticity and plenty of luxury accommodation.