This tropical island, which once played host to the Sul America Tennis Open, is home to some 40 kilometers of white sandy beaches, thick green forests and stunning ocean views. Travelers used to the typical Caribbean beach scene will find that the island of Itaparica offers a more rural escape, where tiny villages, scenic waterfronts and old school churches take the place of colorful beach umbrellas, pushy vendors and tourist-filled stretches of sand.
The tropical town of Mar Grande is home to bustling markets, shopping and plenty of restaurants—though visitors agree the food on Itaparica is not much to write home about. Those looking for a more traditional island getaway should head to the north coast, where the beaches are scenic and the ocean views are beautiful.
Itaparica Island is located about 10 kilometers from the city of Salvador. It is accessible via a one-hour ferry. Smaller boats leave from Mercado Modelo and larger ships can be found in Bom Despacho. The ferries run from 6 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. daily.