Traveling with kids can be tricky, but we do it because it’s exciting! Both for them, and for us. Adventurers tout the idea that travel broadens the mind, and I think we can all agree on this here. Sure, shepherding kids around a new country seems daunting. But armed with a bevvy of exciting things to keep them entertained, it needn’t be! Make Salvador, Brazil your next family trip with the top 9 things to do with kids in this city.
Yes, the capital of the state of Bahia has a lot to offer. The 18th century city of Salvador has art, culture, history and a hoard of wonderful beaches and coastal adventures. It is also great for foodies. With color and vibrancy in the lives and minds of its people, this is not a trip the family are likely forget in a hurry. This is the kind of cultural trip that would work really well with a bit of beach time at a family all-inclusive hotel in Mexico!
So, join us as we focus on all of the fun! From short morning frolics to longer adventures in and around the city. Where to stay whilst you explore, and where to get the most out of your time here. We cover all ages, all interests, and throw a few things in to excite the adults too. This is what it is all about—family bonding whilst making lasting memories!
Hang out in Porto da Barra
Our first stop for things to do in Salvador Brazil for families, is also a fabulous location to stay whilst exploring. With its lovely sandy beaches and western facing shore, the waters are calm and the sunsets always visible over the water. If you like a mix of beach and city break, this is perfect! Hotels such as the Grand Hotel da Barra, with its outdoor pool, spa and great price per night, are situated right on the beach. It also has a bunch of facilities for kids!
Imagine, mornings spent in the surf, before dusting the sand off for lunch, and heading into the city for an afternoon of sightseeing! Here, you are only a short car ride from the historic center of the city. Spend the morning at the Forte de Santo Antônio da Barra with its picturesque Barra lighthouse. It also has an interesting Nautical Museum of Bahia, giving lots of detail about the merging of African and Latin culture through the slave trade. It’s interactive and also gives you a chance to escape the heat! Perhaps follow this up with a picnic on the Praia Farol da Barra. There’s lots to do here, but equally plenty of opportunity for downtime on the beach.
Enjoy a Roadtrip to Arembepe Beach
When it comes to things to do in Salvador, Brazil, with kids, you don’t have to be constricted to the urban jungle. To get out of the city for the day, there can be no finer place than Arembepe. It is only 45km from the city center, and yet is a whole other scene. What began as a hippy commune is even now, seemingly, out of touch with the modern world. Or at least parts of it. But this is to be celebrated! Not only does it have stunning coastal views and a laid back atmosphere. It also shares a history with some of the greatest musicians of the sixties and seventies. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and even Janis Joplin stayed here on long breaks. We are sure they were even moved to make music based on the epic scenery.
Whilst it will keep the adults entertained to walk the streets that once kept these musical gems, the children will be entertained by the wildlife! Arembepe beach is also home to sea turtle conservation projects. Between December and February, many turtles hatch from eggs laid in the sand, and make their way down to the ocean. If you get up early enough, you can witness this rare event with your own eyes! You could even go rogue and stay a night at one of the lovely hotels here.
Spend Time in Rio Vermelho
Continuing on the bohemian theme, this is a neighborhood that encapsulates a different side to what can be a very wild city! It is a place on the southern side of Salvador that holds a lot of local charm, and many local creatives. Head to Lálá to get a slice of authentic Brasilian life, with musicians and locals selling handicrafts and beauty products. It also serves as a relaxed cafe, meaning you can also get your hands on some delicious snacks and drinks too.
Visit in early February, and you might be able to witness the Festa da Yemenjá. This is a yearly ceremony, originally from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, where gifts are given to the water-goddess Iemanjá. Sent out to sea on boats whilst local people dressed all in white play drums and sing, this is meant to bring peace and prosperity to all. This is yet further proof of the links with Africa brought about by the slave trade.
And if you manage to find yourself some accommodation with babysitting facilities, you might want to head to this part of town for date night! As well as being a great spot for tourism, there are also many bars and restaurants. Dine, then dance the night away to a mix Latin and Afro-Brazilian music that colors the nation. It shouldn’t be all ‘things to do in Salvador, Brazil, with kids’! Schedule some time for yourself too.
Explore the Salvador Zoo & Botanical Park
When dreaming up things to do in Salvador, Brazil, with kids, we have a great one for you. A whole day can easily be snapped up at the Zoo and Botanical Park. And it’s a chance for adults to let their wild side out too! With more than 1500 animals to see, there will truly be something to entertain everyone. Many are endangered, so it gives a chance to see some of these beautiful creatures closer than you could ever hope to in the wild!
The botanical gardens are equally as beautiful, the perfect place to have a picnic and enjoy the sun. With a huge variety of flora from many parts of Brazil and other parts of the world, it is certainly heavenly. With so many animal attractions, the kids are sure to sleep soundly that night!
Stroll Through the Delightful District of Pelourinho
Another neighborhood that a trip to Salvador would not be complete without is Pelourinho. When the city was first built in 1549, it was on this very site. And today, the buildings and cobbled streets have been preserved to give some idea of what it looked like. Each church, street and its beautiful squares are now considered a UNESCO world heritage site, and as such is very popular with tourists.
The name of this historic center means ‘pillory’, which is sadly reminiscent of the place where colonial people were flogged for misdeeds. However, there is none of that today! And with the pretty pastel colors of the buildings and the bustling streets of handicraft sellers, markets and restaurants, it all seems very cheery. The best time to visit is likely early morning, as fewer tourists will be around blocking up the pavements.
A must-see is the old medical school: a building which now houses the Afro-Brazilian Museum and the Museum of Archeology & Ethnology. This is a great time to educate your kids on Afro-Brazilian culture, if they have the attention span for it! For cultural things to do with the kids in Salvador, Brazil, this will certainly fill their heads with things worth knowing.
Watch a Capoeira Demonstration
This is more than just a pretty dance. Capoeira is more than 500 years old, and the ancient Brazilian martial art that is as beautiful as it is deadly. Coming from the 16th century, the acrobatics and mastery of such an art can be seen in modern street dance and pursuits like parkour too. And if you are lucky, you might just catch a demonstration out in the streets. These will tend to be set up amidst the thoroughfares or tourists and local people, so it is quite likely.
You will know a Capoeira demonstration by the traditional outfits. White trousers, bare chests and a hypnotic choreographed dance engaged in by various players. Stand mesmerised as these artists move together before shifting to attack and defend. As yet another example of the cultural tie between Africa and Brazil, it is thought to have been devised by slaves coming on ships from Africa. Be warned, witnessing this awesome display is likely to spark some Capoeira inspired moves from your Young ones!
Take a Boat Trip to Ilha dos Frades
The city of Salvador de Bahia was built on the Bay of all Saints, or Baia de Todos os Santos in Portuguese, in the 16th century. Today, this large bay is an exciting space to explore by boat. And in the midst of it sits the Ilha do Frades. Adventure calls on this island, and you would be a fool to ignore it. Just 6km in length, and shaped like a star with fifteen points, there is a population of just over 1000 living here. It has local shops, churches, and several differing communities.
In the small locale of Costa de Fora sits an Inn, a lighthouse, and some beautiful beaches. Ponta de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe is the smallest community. This is where you can find all manner of souvenirs and handicrafts to bring home. Paramana is the largest community on the island, and here you can find a guest house, as well as some stunning beaches and a restaurant or two.
Booking day tours is possible, which generally will include return by boat, lunch and a guide. So just relax and play with your beach babes. Explore the coastline and bask in the beauty of Salvador’s coast and the Bay of all Saints! Just be mindful for sharks. Whilst most areas are safe, there are some dangerous species in these tropical waters. Always consult your guide or the local hotel if you are unsure.
Take the Elevador Lacerda
This isn’t likely to take up too much of your time, but can be a fun little excursion to do with the kids at dusk. Built in 1873, this elevator was envisioned to connect the upper and lower parts of the city. That’s right, Salvador is a city which exists on two levels. Today, the art deco style elevator takes thirty seconds to take people across the 85 metre cliff without having to do all the leg work. It also gives great views over the city and the bay area, which is why it dusk is a great time to visit.
Buy Souvenirs at Mercado Modelo
The Mercado Modelo is a famous place to hang out and sample some local fare! Get off the beach, escape the sun, and spend some quality time with your family picking up souvenirs and gifts. There is a great mix of handicrafts, jewellery, clothing and traditional woodwork, as well as lots of local food. Sample the traditional seafood stew Moqueca. Or perhaps snack on the traditional Acarajé, dough balls with shrimps and onions. For the sweet tooth, Cocadas made with staples of egg, condensed milk and shredded coconut might tickle your fancy. You may even come across some local alcohol to sample!
Shop til your hearts content, then have lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area. Whilst some travelers might balk at the idea of spending the day in what is basically a mall, it is a great way to spend some time amongst locals. Grab your holiday gifts in over 250 stores, get some food, and indulge in a bit of people watching.
Salvador is not quite as large as cities like São Paulo, but there is still quite a lot of ground to cover. Well, it is still the third largest city in Brazil! Hopefully, this little rundown of the best things to do in Salvador Brazil with kids has filled your head with ideas. If you’re wanting to keep the young ones occupied, these activities are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. They will recall that trip for the rest of their lives, and perhaps be inspired by the journey. And thats all you want for your kids, right?
So now all that’s left to do is plan that trip of a lifetime, and share this with you friends who might want to do the same!