Head to Ilheus to being your visit of the Cocoa Route, and then travel across the 20 kilometres of coast in the south of Bahai to discover techniques of exploiting chocolate. From the harvest in the Mata Atlantica to its transformation in century-old houses, you will discover one of the main treasures of the State of Bahia.
260km from Salvador, the city of Itacaré is the gateway to the Cocoa Route. This coastal city puts visitors at the heart of one of the most beautiful landscapes of the region. A beach on the side of a crystal clear water, the atlantic forest on the horizon in the ocean, and the primary chocolate factories of the region. The town of Itacaré alone sums up the main points of the Cocoa Route.
Founded in the 18th century, this fishing village is also of architectural interest from its historical heart, of which the majority of buildings date from the golden age of cocoa. Sports enthusiasts will find, both here and at the majority of beaches in the State of Bahia, something enjoyable. Water sports take centre stage. The best time to enjoy it is the southern winter, between June and September.
It's around the Ilheus where the main exploitations of cocao were concentrated. Numerous buildings are today open to tourists and allow them to retrace the Cocoa Route from the collection in plantations to the transformation to chocolate. I had the opportunity to discover the Fazenda Yrerê between Itabuna and Ilheus.
Along the Cachoeira River, in the shadow of the Mata Atlantic Forest, this old farmhouse refurbished as a rural hotel is still a place of cocoa production today. It's also the ideal starting point for numerous hikes in the forest.
The other great centre of interest in the south of Bahia is the proximity of the Mata Atlantica. This humid tropical forest is still preserved by wildlife and flora protection associations which organise hikes. By spending the day in the Una Ecopark, visitors have the opportunity to first walk in the plantations before rejoining the heart of the forest and discovering more than 200 bird species that are present here.