South America Part 1 – Salvador, Lencois, Itacare and Trancoso

Hola everybody. so we are gonna give this blog business a good crack while in south America. Been away 4 weeks now and time has flown and we have done so so much already.

So it all began…………. with a shakey start at madrid airport when we werent allowed to board our connecting flight to Salvador. Apparently you are meant to have proof of departing brazil within 90 days before you are allowed to enter the country. Thanks Air Europa for being the only airline in the world that actually checks this and refusing us to board. Luckily thanks to some help from the Piddock parents and Air Europa actually being fairly nice about it we were able to get a new boarding pass free of charge after spending 2 days holed up in an airport hotel in Madrid. Bingo, and off to Salvador we went……

Salvador

First stop was the old town of the city of Salvador. Was all a bit daunting when we first turned up. Was a big party night, heaps of drunk people around the streets, very few people spoke any english, was late at night, and we had been warned a lot about not going down the wrong street and staying out to late by a local we had met on the plane. Once we made it to our room we locked it behind us and didnt dare leave……. not quite like that but it felt a bit like it.

In Salvador we spent some time exploring the old city, took the elavator to the lower part of town, watched at awesome percussion group do a street performance, and sat back at a street bar having a few beers listening to a really talented duo. 

We also spent a night out on the Barra beach, Salvadors nearest main swimming beach. I think we are definately spoilt back in NZ because we didnt really like it much and couldnt get out of there faster to our next destination, Lencois.

We had to quickly learn that travelling south america isnt anything like travelling SE asia and nothing is as easy. We soon got good at catching local buses hoping we were going in the right direction, booking bus tickets, and learning the right phrases to get by.

Lencois

Our first long bus trip took us to the beautiful town of Lencois, located on the outskirts of a huge national park. Was so nice being in the small town of Lencois with only 10,000 residents, cool bumpy cobbled streets and heaps of trips out into the nature at offer. Was quite refreshing heading out here after our original bad start to the trip and being in the hustle and bustle of Salvador. While we were out in Lencois we spent one day exploring the town and a few close by rivers, waterholes and waterfalls. Went to a sick waterfall about a 45min walk out of town with a huge natural waterslide about 20m long. I thought i was pretty cool sliding down on my arse, but some of the locals were sliding down on their feet the whole way down. Obviously they spend too much time there.

On our secong day in Lencois we treated ourselves to an amzing 1day tour. We had an awesome guide called Toni, who had heaps in common with us and he even spent some years working in NZ. Toni took us and 3 others in his 4×4 out to several spots in or near the national park. During our travels his car (Toyota Surf, which i assured 5mins early never break down) overheated on numerous occasion and we found ourselves getting to know the side of the road quite well. None of us cared though, was quite fun actually and i even got to pretend i know about engines and give Toni some advice. On our trip we saw a crystal river river mouth where an underground river meets the surface, went in a huge underground cave and learnt all about stalactites and stalagmites, went to a beautiful waterfall, and were finally treated to an epic view on top on a mountain looking over all the national park.
Lencois and the people their were awesome. Big ups. 

Itacare

Next stop…. Itacare. After a full night and day travel and several connecting buses we made it to the beach town of Itacare. Everyone seemed to be saying a lot of good stuff about Itacare so we were glad to get there and spend a few days hanging out on their beautiful beaches and around their hippy town. We more or less spent 3days hanging out on the beach, swinging in our hammock on the deck outside our dorm, and kicking back reading our books. I actually finished all the Jack Reacher books while we were here, which was an accomplishment but now have no more to read. The 1st best thing we did here was hike to the secret beach. Everyone had said you need a guide to get there because it was hard to find and apparently people get robbed in the jungle on the way. We must have been feeling adventurous that day because we just winged it and went by ourselves and took some advice to always turn right. In the end everything was fine and the beach was really nice. The 2nd best thing we did was stumble across a bar that was playing all the Katchafire songs (NZ reggae band). Obviously we spent sometime here drinking Caipirinhas and Nat even got chatted up by a 17year old local boy when i was getting more drinks. Spent a few nights here before moving on to Trancoso……

Trancoso

After yet another long bus trip we kept to the coast and went to the beautiful little town of Trancoso. The main squareheart of the town was up on a hill overlooking the beach with a beautiful little white church as its centre piece. There were lights around the square at night and around all the restaurants, shops and night stalls it was really pretty. We were really lucky here to stumble across a really neat little family run Pousada, where we got a mint double room, with mini bar, fridge, air con, out own private balcony with hammock all for the same price as a dorm room in a hostel. We loved it so much we stayed an extra night in the end.

Unfortunately the restaurants in the main square werent as good value as our room, so we spent our first night eating with the locals at a churrascaria. Was super cheap with heaps of sides and we even were treated to chicken hearts which Nat wasnt to keen on. Luckily we had a power cut, which seemed liked a perfect time to sneak a few to the stray dog hanging around while no one could see. We did eventually have a meal in the main square at a really good pay per kilo restraunt. Was so good we actually blew our food allowance and went back the following night for another huge plate of meat.

Spent most of our time in Trancoso down on the beach or in our hammock. We did do a massive walk down the beach towards another town when we randomly bumped into some people half way along the beach who we had spent sometime with earlier on in our trip. Small world. After Transcoso we headed for Rio and the surrounding beach towns and Islands………. 

 

Nick and Nat

 

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