Travel Postcard: 48 hours in laid-back Salvador, Brazil

Feb 15 2013, 21:45 IST
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SummarySalvador, the third-largest city in Brazil, is the country's oldest metropolis, but it has a lower profile than party hot spot Rio de Janiero or the commercial nerve center Sao Paulo.

night in Pelourinho with outdoor concerts and bar stands. But watch your valuables at street parties when it gets dark. Sip a caipirinha drink, the classic Brazilian cocktail made with lime, sugar and a local sugarcane liquor called cachaca.

Saturday

9 a.m. - After a leisurely breakfast, visit the lower city or "cidade baixa," which is connected to Pelourinho through a large elevator. Bonfim Church is the most well-known attraction.

The church, believed to have healing powers, has a special room filled with mementoes left by people who say they have been cured.

Noon - Stop for lunch and then hop in a cab from the church to the waterfront neighborhood of Ribeira to the Sorveteria da Ribeira ice cream shop (www.sorveteriadaribeira.com). A banana split will easily feed two people.

1 p.m. - Check out the "Dique do Tororo" park to see the giant statues from the local Candomble religion floating on a lake. Watch the frantic construction going on around-the-clock for the eight-nation Confederation's Cup this summer, the so-called dress rehearsal for 2014's World Cup.

The stadium, called Arena Fonte Nova, is wedged into a hill in front of a lake. The city tore down its old stadium to make way for the new one.

Watch the sun set on the bay at the Barra Lighthouse on the edge of the city.

7 p.m. - Head to Rio Vermelho, a district a few miles away on the water where restaurants and clubs light up late at night. For a more casual evening, Rio Vermelho boasts outdoor street stalls serving cachaca and local dishes.

For a more upscale evening, have dinner at modern restaurant Salvador Dali or one of the city's meat churrascarias, such as Boi Preto or the chain Fogo de Chao. The nightclub Zen has live musical acts and a sushi restaurant on the roof.

Sunday

9 a.m. - Take a break from the city and head out on a schooner ship to island hop. Tour operators in the old city sell affordable tours from the port for full-day excursions that include lunch and stops at nearby islands with remote beaches such as Frades or Itaparica island.

If you have a few extra days, sail to Morro de Sao Paulo for quality beach time.

2 p.m. - After your boat tour ends, walk across the street from the port to the stalls of Mercado Modelo. The outdoor stalls hawk local crafts but the good stuff is inside the complex, where there

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