NANNAIWay north of Rio, along the Atlantic coast and over its hinterland, the influence of Africa pervades the religious rituals, music, dance and cuisine of the exuberant state of Bahía: no more so than in the evocative city of Salvador. You can spend your holiday exploring this area of Brazil alone; it's almost a country within a country. Further north the coastal strip around Recife and Fortaleza harbours a remote region of Brazil less-visited by foreigners. The shores of Bahía host some of the country's loveliest beaches, where there are some superb top-of-the-range resorts and chic boutique hotels. The coast twists and turns with a series of peninsulas, islands and bays: regiments of coconut palms hold back the powdery sands, creating pockets of paradise for the beach-lover.Former hippie hang-outs Morro de São Paulo, Boipeba, Trancoso and Arraial are now festooned with friendly pousadas. Not far north of Salvador the former fishing village of Praia do Forte now has a number of hotels, including the ever-popular Praia do Forte eco-Resort, which has all the best of an all-inclusive resort (great food, family activities and quiet corners to swing in a hammock), while stubbornly keeping a low profile and its eco-friendly credentials.Inland, the Chapada Diamantina is a yawning area of little-visited forests and table-lands, pock-marked with crystalline pools, ideal for walking. Lençóis is a delightful colonial settlement founded by diamond prospectors but nowadays choc-a-bloc with homely restaurants, craft workshops and small hotels. The far northeast, once wealthy with vast sugar plantations, has a culture all of its own. Olinda, a preserved colonial town of traditional Portuguese houses, is currently a centre for festivals and the arts, and erupts with an effervescent display at Carnival. There are also several little ports close to which are a number of exclusive hotels such as Nannai.Offshore, the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, a marine national park, is a nature lover and diver's dream-come-true with a small number of hostels and boutique hotels. Fly there from Recife.Salvador and the northeast82 Brazil Nannai resort was superb ?staff fantastic/overall standard outstanding. MD, Tottenham nannai You'll enjoy a desert island ambience at Nannai (below), with whispering coconut palms lapped by a lagoon-calm sea, hemmed in by a rocky reef. But this stylish, first-class resort is only an hour's drive from Recife. Each of the independent, thatched Polynesian-style bungalows has its own pool and there is a large freeform one close to the sea shore. Rooms are large and bright, it's the kind of place that has flower petals scattered over your pillow and fresh fruit baskets on the table; romantic has to be the word. A great beach wind-down with a difference, or honeymoon hideaway.
KIAROAEDWARD PARKERBRAZIL.SalvadorLençóis.Cachoeira..Morro de São PauloThe best of Bahía 12 days, 10 nightsSalvador 2 nights, Lençóis 3n, Salvador 1n, Morro de São Paulo (standard) or Kiaroa (superior) 4n.Day 1 Daytime flight to Salvador, arriving in the evening. Day 2 Guided tour of the two-tiered city, its port and colonial cliff-top heart. Explore at leisure the colourful corners of this surprising city. Day 3 Drive inland to Lençóis in the Chapada Diamantina. En route you will pass through the Recôncavo, the colonial back-country of plantations, colonial villages, and country markets. Visit unpretentious Cachoeira, once a thriving port but now a drowsy national monument with faded and peeling, but still dignified, colonial buildings. Days 4&5 Visit the lakes, caves, rivers and viewpoints of this tightly forested region. Day 6 Return to Salvador. Days 7-10 Head for Morro de São Paulo (p82), a small beach/village community reached by ferry or light aircraft. There are four beaches, the busiest with live music and restaurants, the most distant natural and palm-fringed. If you want a bit more luxury, our superior option takes you to the blissful Kiaroa. Day 11 Transfer to Salvador airport and fly to the UK arriving day 12. Prices from £1,474pp (standard); £2,193pp (superior) based on two sharing, excluding transatlantic flights. Regular departures from the UK 020 8747 8315 / journeylatinamerica.co.uk bookings, consultant advice and additional information 83 Kiaroa was a delight in every way?quite unique, very personal service, amazing, inventive and delicious food. Wonderful setting?great spa. SS, Hampstead Garden Suburb kiaroa On an isolated peninsula south of Salvador, accessible only by light aircraft (35 mins) is one of Brazil's most exclusive properties, Kiaroa. It promises pure luxury without being in any way flashy-low-rise and low-key, its accent is on sumptuous furnishings of Moorish, African and Far Eastern design, and unobtrusive service. All the bungalows have private pool, but the immense main freeform pool is the resort's pride and joy. Picture yourself tip-toeing through the pristine surroundings: deserted pink-tinged beaches and crystalline pools.Below Tablelands of the Chapada Diamantina, Bahía.Above Carnival parade in the Pelourinho, Salvador.