Ilhéus is a major city located in the southern coastal region of Bahia, Brazil, 430 km south of Salvador, the state’s capital. The city was originally founded in 1534 as Vila de São Jorge dos Ilhéus and is known as one of the most important tourism centers of the northeast of Brazil.
The city’s economy is based mainly on tourism, as a result of its beautiful beaches and a rich cultural heritage that includes early Portuguese buildings, history and culinary distinctions, which bring to the city many Brazilian and foreign tourists. Ilheus has approximately 222,000 inhabitants, with an area of 1850 km sq, and its downtown is located 1 km away from the Atlantic Ocean. Ilheus was once one of the biggest exporters of cocoa beans, the city depends almost entirely on tourism. Ilhéus has a very good infrastructure for tourism, including excellent hotels and many travel agencies.
Ilhéus is also the hometown of Jorge Amado, the best known and most popular writer in Brazil. He wrote over 25 novels, which were translated into 48 languages and stayed on bestseller lists in 52 countries. His novels like Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands portray life and customs in the Northeastern region of Brazil. The plots of these and his other major works largely treat the lives of poor urban and rural black and mulatto communities of Bahia, as well as the land wars that raged in Ilhéus, where cocoa barons killed each other for power and cocoa plantations.
We again docked at about 7:00AM and the ship was cleared for passengers to exit at 8:00 AM. Ilhéus was a maiden port for the Prinsendam and also a port which was added to the itinerary shortly before our trip began. As a result, our provided information was limited and HAL had scrambled to arrange a few shore excursions. As late as last night, the information provided was that the dock was less than 1 km from town, easy walking distance. During breakfast this morning, about 7:30, Thom our cruise director stated what we had already observed from the lido aft deck, it was only about 1 km from the dock to the mainland but probably another 3 or 4 km into town! HAL had apparently got this information during the night and hastily made arrangements to have shuttle buses provided. Bravo for Holland American Lines. I am sure it was at no small expense this was done, but it certainly makes for happy cruisers… We took the bus into town around 8:30. Our intention was to try and beat the heat. We didn’t quite make it!
The weather was beautiful, as is the city. Ilhéus is famous for its beaches and rightfully so. Some of our fellow passengers did spend the day at the beach, but that’s not my favorite way to spend a day in 90 degree temperatures. I guess if you are from Canada or Norway it is a more attractive option.
Beaches in Ilheus
We just did the tourist thing, walked the streets and saw the sights. As with our last stop in Salvador we felt quite safe, unlike in the cities along the Amazon. Again there was a very obvious police presents.
These two young officers gladly poised for a portrait.
As noted in the introduction Ilhéus is the hometown of Jorge Amado, Brazil’s most famous author, and the residents are very proud of this fact. Almost everywhere you go there are streets named for him or even after characters in his novels. At one famous bar, across from the Catedral de Sao Sebastiao, there is a life sized statue of Amado, sitting at an outdoor table.
If you look closely you can see Amado sitting just to the left of the man in the red shirt.
Jorge Amando’s home. The architectural style is typical of that seen throughout Ilhéus.
Another interesting building, I am not sure what this one is.
We especially enjoyed visiting the Cathedral of St. Sebastian. It is a very ornate and relatively new church. The original was demolished in 1927, by what means I am not sure but I believe by fire. The church is considered one of the most beautiful in the country.
Catedral de Sao Sebastiao
Catedral de Sao Sebastiao
Catedral de Sao Sebastiao
While walking around town, this being early on a Saturday morning, I came across a mime preparing for a days, work.
Getting ready for work!
And about an hour later I found him performing for the street crowd.
After returning to the ship, I observed this interesting community. It is located entirely on a hill by the seaside. It made an interesting photo I thought. This was probably 2 miles from the ship across the bay.
After we returned to the ship around noon, we had a great lunch. Then Kay, Janet, Carl and I decided to watch “Today’s Movie”, it was Australia with Nicole Kidman. It was a long 2 hours 45 minutes, but well worth the time. The theater also was a lot more pleasant temperature than the beach! After the movie, it was time to get dressed for dinner and the sail-away.
After dinner this evening the entertainment was singer and humorist, David Pengelly. Pengelly lives south of Atlanta and actually had a few Georgia jokes. He provided us with an hour of good song and fun. As a bonus, at least for me, he is coffee connoisseur and roaster and is having a program tomorrow afternoon for coffee lovers. It is just a chance to talk about coffees and ask questions. I look forward to attending since tomorrow is a sea day.
We arrive in Rio on Monday at 6:00 AM and do not depart until 11:00 PM on Tuesday night.