Specialist-led Immersion into the Social and Environmental Projects of Bahia By: Eva Arbat
DATES: TBA ( If you want a private group, please send a request)
GROUP: 4 to 12 pax
AIRPORT: SSA & IOS
Not only has it become a hugely important economic source for Brazil, it has also allowed its people to benefit from this mutual exchange. A journey to Brazil means that we can get to know, and live out, the different initiatives that seek to build bridges: between the economic profit that tourism brings, and the sociocultural and environmental transformation of the host areas. This is why we want to promote a sort of tourism that goes beyond social and environmental responsibility; to awaken minds to new ways of being, doing and living, with the utmost respect for people and nature.
DAY 1 – (03/09/19) Origin – Salvador de Bahía (D)
"Salvador welcomes us": Salvador is the capital of the Brazilian state that will host us throughout our trip. Declared cultural heritage and known as "Terra de Todos os Santos," Salvador is the cradle of Afro-Brazilian culture, the result of cultural syncretism of European colonization and evangelization, African slaves’ traditions and beliefs and some traditions left by the few Indians who survived. From the airport we go straight to the hotel, located in the historic center of the city, where we will have a presentation of the author. Later we’ll leave for a welcome dinner at the Uauá restaurant to taste traditional "northeastern" cuisine.
DAY 2 – (04/09/19) Salvador de Bahía (B, L)
"Cradle of history and culture": The main objective of the second day of the trip is to recognize the origins of Bahia to better understand the social and cultural dynamics of this territory and its people. In the morning, a tour of the historic downtown with a specialized guide will show us the origins of Salvador. We’ll visit the Pelourinho, the largest collection of colonial buildings in Latin America and UNESCO World Heritage. Lunch at the Restaurant Odoya.
In the afternoon, we participate in an instructive, interactive, interesting and fun percussion workshop with master Giba, percussionist and composer born in Bahia.
DAY 3 – (05/09/19) Salvador de Bahía (B)
Today, we will begin the tour with a 20-minute drive along the Green Line towards the entrance of Sapiranga reserve, a sanctuary, through the most important tracts of first-growth Atlantic rainforest on Bahia’s north shore. Centuries-old trees such as jacarandás, ingá-açus and sucupiras coexist with sloths, peccaries, and parrots. Upon arrival we are received by one of the reserve’s hosts who will introduce us to the project describing local fauna and flora while we venture through one of the various treks into the forest. On the way we will be enchanted by the size of the trees and their giant vines, the bromeliads and fern palms that grow everywhere as well as the innumerable peculiarities of this unique ecosystem that our environmentalist guide will help us discover. Our tour ends at the visitor’s center for some refreshments or even acquiring some souvenirs from the local gift shop. We then proceed to the village of Praia do Forte for lunch time. After lunch we will have free time to take a bath, rest and return to Salvador.
DAY 4 – (06/09/19) Salvador de Bahía (B, L)
“Building bridges”: Salvador is the largest city in northeastern Brazil and despite being one of the richest capitals of this region and one of Brazil’s most important cities, some indicators don’t agree with this wealth. What we know from the city downtown is only a small representation of the authentic Salvador, the one in which most soteropolitanos live. Therefore, our proposal is to get to discover this other Salvador, by the hand of community leaders working to offer new standards and possibilities for children and young people living in poor neighborhoods, using as tools the culture, art and sports. We will devote the day to visit two projects, one in the morning and one in the afternoon after lunch in a churrascaria:
a) Arte Consciente: through boxing, circus, percussion, graffiti and dance they promote the value of life among children in the neighborhood of Saramandaia, encouraging them to study so they find better options for themselves and their families. This district arose from the construction of Salvador’s new bus station in 1976; once finished, the unemployed workers were installed in areas near the station. The occupation grew and currently 80,000 people live in the neighborhood in an impoverished community, whose buildings contrast with the luxurious buildings that surround them.
b) Bagunçaço: a project that is developed in the region of Alagados, known for its stilt houses built over the sea and occupied by low-income families with precarious food, hygiene and health situation. The project started in late 1991 when Joselito Crispim, a young community educator, joined a band of children due to the lack of entertainment options, to have fun doing percussion with cans, transforming this annoying diversion for some neighbors, into a social project.
The Bagunçaço Cultural Group currently helps 235 children and young people involved in activities of dance, music, recycling and environmental preservation, literature and professional courses.
DAY 5 – (07/09/19) Salvador – Chapada Diamantina (B)
“To the sertão baiano”: The fourth day we get up early, because we will take the bus that leaves at 07:00 from Salvador, towards Lençóis, Chapada Diamantina. After 6 hours we arrive at our destination and leave our luggage at the hotel. We’ll have free time to eat and then make a small tour of this town, which was built in the heyday of "garimpeiros" (diamond mining), a time of great wealth, when the city was known as the Diamond Capital0.
National Historical Patrimony since 1974, Lençóis preserves the colonial architecture of the late 19th century and lives on tourism attracted by the Chapada Diamantina National Park.
We’ll visit the headquarters of Grão de Luz e Griô project, an initiative that works with 500 children and youth in rural and outlying communities of Lençóis, promoting education, culture and sustainable development through an important labor of strengthening their identity and recognition of their origins.
DAY 6 – (08/09/19) Lençóis – Vale do Pati (B, S, D)
“Encountering with nature”: The Chapada Diamantina National Park is one of the largest parks in Brazil, after the Amazon region, with an area of 152,000 hectares surrounding the municipalities Andaraí, Ibicoara, Itaetê, Lençois, Mucugê and Palmeiras. Chapada Diamantina is a true ecological mosaic of rock fields, cerrados (tropical savannah), caatingas (from Tupi-Guarani: white forest - dry bush and thorn forest located around the park; biome that exists only in Brazil), riparian forests, Atlantic forest and the 'borders' between each of these environments.
“Walking”: Today we put on our boots and start a little adventure that will take us to discover intrepid waterfalls, exotic vegetation and spectacular scenery. After spending a few days in the city, the proposal is now to be detoxified of noise, pollution and crowds. For three days we will live the simplicity of country life, away from the asphalt, without coverage or wifi and minimum electricity - which comes from solar energy thanks to some plaques - an ideal place to connect with nature and with ourselves.
After breakfast we drive to Guiné, and after a visit to the village we start the trek through Vale do Pati, hidden in the middle of the park between the towns of Andaraí and Mucugê. We’ll pass through the Cachoeirão, one of the most beautiful views of Chapada Diamantina. After walking about 18km a good dinner and a desired rest will be waiting for us at a native home, where we will stay.
DAY 7 – (09/09/19) Vale do Pati (B, S, D)
“Feel”: During the second trekking day we will walk to Lajeado, Bananeiras and Cachoeira dos Funis where we can freshen up taking a bath and "washing the soul" as they say in Brazil. This is a quieter day and after walking about 8km we return to the house of the natives, where we’ll share their daily lives.
In the middle of the mountains, the opportunity of staying and eating at native’s homes allows us to live and share the simplicity of these people’s life. It's the time to get carried away by feelings, conversations and reflections under the candlelight and the stars.
DAY 8 – (10/09/19) Vale do Pati – Lençóis (B, S)
“Contemplate”: After breakfast we start walking back to Guiné from where we’ll continue by car to Morro do Pai Inácio to contemplate the sunset. Then we go back to Lençóis where we’ll be able to take a bath and rest.
DAY 9 – (11/09/19) Lençóis - Serra Grande (B, D)
"Cacao, rafts and good waves.": We leave Lençóis bound for Serra Grande. Serra Grande is a small fishing village that belongs to the municipality of Uruçuca located within the Area of Environmental Protection Itacaré Coast/Serra Grande, on the coast of Bahia. In this place we can enjoy extensive almost deserted beaches, the Atlantic Forest and some waterfalls. We’ll get to identify traditional arts such as fishing in "jangada" and "quebra de cacao" as well as other samples of cultural expression, as capoeira, afro dance, and Circo da Lua.
After a long journey, we reach the pousada where a delicious meal and a rest are expecting us.
DAY 10 – (12/09/19) Serra Grande (B, L)
“Learning to be”: After breakfast we’ll visit a special neighbor of Serra Grande, the Rural School Dendê da Serra. This school offers children of the region an education based on Waldorf pedagogy, developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). After the visit we have lunch at the fazenda where we are staying and a free afternoon to familiarize with the region.
DAY 11 – (13/09/19) Serra Grande (B, L, D)
“Taking care of life”: We get up early to have breakfast and go to the rural area of Itacaré. Accompanied by members of the association Movimento Mecenas da Vida, we’ll visit a peculiar town, Taboquinhas, located riverside of Rio das Contas (born in the Chapada Diamantina). This institution, through project Turismo CO2 Neutro, is building bridges between the tourism sector, traditional farmer families and environmental conservation.
We’ll spend time with them, try delicious meals "da roça" at lunch, share their work, learn how their lives have transformed with the work of Mecenas da Vida; we’ll participate "quebrando cacao" (breaking cocoa) and learn the importance of cassava in the Bahian cuisine. It will be a busy morning full of discoveries, emotions and walks. Back to the fazenda to enjoy a free afternoon, have dinner and rest.
DAY 12– (14/09/19) Serra Grande (B, L)
In the morning, after breakfast we can choose between different activities in Serra Grande. At noon we'll meet again at the pousada for a delicious farewell meal and in the evening, we’ll share a special moment with the community of Serra Grande, a monthly activity that brings neighbors together in the square, the Sarau Serra Viva. It is a time to demonstrate culinary talents, crafts, dance, music, and others. If someone in the group feels like it, he/she can also participate.
To finish the trip with this integration activity with the community is a very special way to leave and take something, which goes far beyond any souvenir that we can buy. We’ll have a transfer available to go and return to Serra Grande square and have time for dinner.
DAY 13 – (15/09/19) Serra Grande (B)
“Até mais!” (Farewell!) After breakfast, transfer to the airport of Ilhéus. Farewell and end of the activities.
B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner S = Snack
Born in Catalonia 41 springs ago, she was formed in environmental science and has spent most of her life working in education, volunteerism, and sustainable local development. In 1996 she made her first trip to Latin America, working as a volunteer in an environmental education project in Nicaragua and participating as an international observer in elections that year. That was the beginning of many trips back and forth, working on environmental projects in collaboration with NGOs and universities in different countries in Latin America: Nicaragua, Cuba, Argentina, and Brazil. Finally, in 2005 she decided to move to Bahia, where she lived for almost 8 years, working on projects for human development and environmental conservation with youth and families of traditional farmers, welcoming and accompanying national and international volunteers and building bridges between the tourism sector and projects of the third sector. In 2009 she received the first prize of Spain of the Yves Rocher Foundation, for being one of the founders of the Brazilian NGO Movimento Mecenas da Vida and its Catalan counterpart Mecenas da Vida La Cellera de Ter, institutions that worked together for environmental conservation and human and socioeconomic development of traditional farming families in the Environmental Protection area Itacaré Coast/Serra Grande, Bahia - Brazil, through the project Turismo CO2 Neutro.