Arraial D’Ajuda is a beautiful little beach town about halfway between Rio De Janeiro and Salvador, making it a perfect stop to break up the bus journey between these two major cities. You should definitely stop here if you are like me and can get pretty sick of the big city life! Here are some ideas of what to do in Arraial D’Ajuda
The main attractions drawing crowds to Arraial D’Ajuda are the beaches! There are three popular beaches all next to each other, which makes for a nice walk that will take you a few hours. You can stop at each of the beaches and relax at the many beach front restaurants in the sand. The prices of these restaurants are not particularly cheap for backpackers, but the beers are reasonable. Buy a beer, park yourself up in a beach chair, and buy snacks from the locals walking past selling prawn skewers and other delicious food.
Pitinga Beach is one of the most popular beach spots in Arraial D’Ajuda, and has a natural rock bar about 150 metres off the shore that prevents waves at low tide and keeps the water nice and warm. Don’t think this makes the water stagnant though! It is a huge area of water, and at high tide the waves still come in, and water flows through at each end of the rock bar. It is lovely! It’s hard to leave this place. Just be sure to check the tides before you go because no one really seemed to be swimming at high tide.
Pitinga Beach Cliff Walk
You should do this walk. It’s easy, and has stunning views. We stumbled upon this awesome little walk. It is a cliffjust past Pitinga Beach where people para-glide off. I found a picture on google of a person perched on the edge of a cliff in Arraial D’Ajuda and I wanted to get the same picture. We found the place! If only our photography skills were better…
To get here:
- walk past Pitinga Beach, past the little stagnant lake on the edge on the reserve.
- You will come across warning signs written in Portugués telling you you need permission to para-glide. Walk through this opening in the fence and keep your eyes peeled to the right.
- You will be able to see a small steep track only about 20 metres past the fence. You will know it’s the right one when you come across the rope you need to use to pull yourself up the hill.
- Follow the ropes up to the top and you will come across a big flat opening! It’s pretty beautiful up there. The walk is really only about 5 minutes long.
Matriz de Nossa Senhora Church
In terms of sight-seeing, the Matriz de Nossa Senhora Church in Arraial DÁjuda is pretty gorgeous and white washed. It’s in the middle of the town looking out over the beach and golf course. You can tie a ribbon to the fence behind the church to pay respects and also make a wish apparently.
The Matriz de Nossa Senhora Church in Arraial D´Ajuda is pretty gorgeous and white washed. You can tie a ribbon to the fence behind the church to pay respects and also make a wish apparently.
Explore Arraial D’Ajuda
The township has amazing cobbled streets you can explore. Colourful houses and pousadas brighten up every alley. The whole town has a very relaxed vibe. There is a definite feeling that this town is tailored for an upmarket audience with many surf shops and boutique clothing stores. However, there was still much to do as a budget backpacker. The supermarkets here are very well priced, in fact cheaper than the supermarkets in Salvador.
There is a pretty big water park with a wave pool which looks pretty fun, but from memory it was pretty pricey, and with all the amazing beaches around, why do you need a water park??
How to get there:
You must travel to Porto Seguro to get to Arraial D’Ajuda, which we bused to from Vitoria near Rio De Janeiro. Use the online booking company ‘Bus Bud’ to book buses in advance. Once you arrive to Porto Seguro you take a 10 minute taxi to the ferry or ‘balsa’. The balsa costs about 3 Reals, there are a few of them there and you can take either one of them, whichever one is going next. They have a really quick turn around as it only take about 15 minutes to get across to the other side.
Once you cross to Arraial D´Ajuda:
When you get to the other side, it will take about 10 minutes to get to the town. You can take a taxi or the local bus. It is cheaper to take the bus (3 Reals). If you are wanting to get off near the main hostel area, it is fairly obvious when you get to the drop off point. There are open-air markets to the right and a supermarket and Banco Brasil on the left. Just ask your bus driver if in doubt, or look on google maps :). Unfortunately I do not know the full route of the bus to take you other areas in the township, but it would probably still be cheaper to bus to this drop off point, and taxi from this point rather than taking a taxi all the way from the ferry.
Where to stay:
We were in Arraial D’Ajuda in the quiet season (end of August) and it seemed that many of the hostels were closed. There wasn’t a lot advertised on Hostelworld, but found Pousada Lua Mar on Booking.com for 35 reals a night for a sweet wee two person room with ensuite. The hostel had a small but pretty well equipped kitchen. In the busy season breakfast is included. The location is great, right in the heart of the town and among most of the other hostels, and a about a 10 minute walk to the beach.
If you are willing to fork out more money, there are many more resort options right on the beach! They may even be cheaper in the low season.
There is a banco Brasil bank with three ATMs inside. If at first your card does not work in one of the machines, try the one next to it. For some reason some of the machines from the same bank do not accept foreign cards. It worked for us on the 2nd machine we used.
Now just go!
You will love your time in Arraial D’Ajuda. It is a nice way to break up the vibes of hectic Rio de Janeiro and Salvador! There are many other trips you can take to neighbouring townships, such as Trancoso (1 hr bus ride from Arraial D´Ajuda) which is a beautiful little town with bright coloured buildings and beautiful beaches. I myself never went, but friends of mine have and they thoroughly enjoyed how peaceful and low-key the place was.
How did you find Arraial D’Ajuda? Did you like it? Comment below!