The Complete Guide to Itacare, Brazil

Everything you need to know before your trip there

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Itacare has been deemed Brazil’s best kept secret, which is no wonder when you discover all the magical possibilities that await you here.

Think white sandy beaches, pure, unadulterated nature, beautiful people, delicious food with mouth-watering vegan and vegetarian options, and most importantly, sunshine and awesome waves.

Then blink once and you’ll see marmoset monkeys running along telegraph wires, bullfrogs making weird cat-like noises and people playing Capoeira on the streets of Itacare.


Itacare is known for its stunning beaches and great surfing locations. Perfect for a bit of relaxation and sunbathing.

Here are three of the most popular beaches in Itacare:

Itacarezinho Beach: Located just outside the city, which means you will need a car/taxi/tourist bus to get there, but without a doubt it is completely worth every effort to get to this golden piece of the Atlantic coast perfectly blending with the rainforest. There is ample space to experience the feeling of being completely alone on this 7 Km long stretch.

Engenhoca & Havaizinho Beach: These two beaches are neighboring each other, one is an international surf destination, the other is a cozy cove with shallow waters for swimming where you can go to escape the hoards of tourists. This beach is accessed by taking a sublime 15-minute walk through the jungle. These beaches are
also slightly outside of Itacare, which makes for a more tranquil and relaxing spot.

Tiririca Beach: If you cannot make it out of Itacare then Tiririca beach is one of the more entertaining spots. It is the third beach in a series of four adjoining beaches but does attract better crowds than the other beaches. Also a good spot to have some local refreshments like fresh coconuts or local delicacies like tapioca or acaraje.

Gentle Walks

For an area that is all the more stunning for its lack of development, it is of little surprise that the area’s most beautiful beaches require a tad more effort to reach – think long walks through rainforests, under waterfalls and, in some cases, over small streams. There are also some notable walks…

Watch the Sunset: Head up to Ponta de Farol or head up to the point overlooking the bay of Itacaré to watch a fiery sun drop into the Atlantic.

The Four Beaches Walk (Quatro praias de Itacaré): Word of recommendation, this walk is best done with a local guide as you have to pass through some isolated areas. The Four Beaches Walk takes you through  beautiful, semi-deserted coves where tiny streams and small waterfalls cascade directly onto the beach.

You’ll find yourself on the beach, surrounded by beautiful tropical rainforest and smell the mouth-watering scent of fresh tapioca pancakes coming from the lone stall on the beach.

As a prime surfers’ hotspot, it’s not unsurprising to see increasingly golden-tanned beings gliding through the crystal-clear waters of the sea.

Physical Activities

Kayaking/Canoeing: Hire a kayak for the day and head upriver in to the Atlantic Rainforest. You can get your fill of wildlife and nature here as hundreds of crabs scatter the mud flats below the mangroves, creeks lead to hidden swimming spots underneath the waterfalls and a number of riverside places are usually ready to serve food. Ideal if you’re in need of something to keep your energy levels up.

Capoeira: They say that Bahia is the home of Capoeira. This traditional Afro-Brazilian art form is still practiced in Itacare and you can find it being showcased on the street somewhere, or in a local bar. If you’re really feeling brave and want to try it out, then the best thing to do is to research the different groups that operate here and find out when the class times are, so that you can try it out.

Surfing: Practically every beach in Itacare has a great surf break. Engenhoca Beach comes highly recommended. There are also surfing tournaments here every year.

Getting to Itacare

Buses operate every hour from Ilheus to the main bus station. Once you arrive at the bus station, you’re best off getting a taxi to your accommodation as under-development has meant that there isn’t a pedestrianized foot path. The taxi journey shouldn’t be too long and isn’t overly expensive, so we would recommend that over walking.

Flying is another option, as Flights from Salvador to Ilheus take only 40 mins. Depending on the season, getting a bus between the two may not be much cheaper and this option will certainly cost you more in time as it takes about 8 hours.

Ayahuasca Retreats

When you arrive in Itacare, do take some time out and relax. Try out some of the things that we have recommended, then you will be in the perfect mindset for your Ayahuasca program.

Ayahuasca retreats at the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center are aimed to be spiritual journeys of cleansing, self-healing, self-discovery and aligning with your higher self.

This means, if you are about to go on an Ayahuasca retreat, it’s of utmost importance to prepare yourself by relaxing and taking some time out of your normal routine.

The easiest way to get there is to fly into Ilheus airport. The center is about 60 km north along the coast from Ilheus and is approximately 1 hour driving from the airport. The other option is to arrive via car/taxi/bus in the town of Itacare which is about 15 minutes driving to the center.

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Richard Remick

Richard is the founder and the chief editor of Outside Pursuits. Passionate about the great outdoors, Richard spends much of his time in Colorado enjoying skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, and camping. When at home in Florida, he is most often found in the water. He loves water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. He is a certified scuba diver. Because of his wealth of knowledge and experience, Richard has been invited to contribute articles to many outdoor-focused websites, such as Florida Rambler, and has been profiled on travel websites such as JohnnyJet.

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