Sao Felix Baiano - Reconcavo

The Country

The name Recôncavo refers to the hinterland directly behind Salvador – the region around the Bay of Bahia, which is the second-largest bay in Brazil after the Baia da Guanabara. The word Recôncavo means “behind the concaves,” after the geographical curve of the coastline around the Bay of All Saints. For many, the Recôncavo also includes the numerous islands, some of which are still uninhabited to this day, in the Bahia de Todos os Santos, of which Itaparica is the largest.

As Brazil’s first farming region, the Recôncavo is completely cultivated, apart from a few small wooded areas. The hilly topography creates a varied landscape full of surprising views. Farming, in which the once predominant sugarcane is continuously losing ground, is determined by larger fazendas and innumerable smaller farms. The Recôncavo is traversed by the two main roads—the BR 324 and the BR 101 (leads directly to Rio de Janeiro). The railway line inland is reserved for freight traffic. Many of the roads that connect the smaller towns are not asphalted.

Even in the hot months from December to April, the region always appears fertile, green and prosperous. Its proximity to the bay and hilly landscape ensure that there is sufficient rainfall. The actual rainy season takes place in the months of July and August. While temperatures often rise way above 30 degrees Celsius (86o Fahrenheit) during the Brazilian summer, they remain around a pleasant 25 degrees (77o Fahrenheit) in Recôncavo during the rainy season. There are significant differences in temperature between towns in the valley, (such as Cachoeira) and those located at higher altitude (such as Cruz das Almas). In July and August it is not unusual for there also to be strong winds.

The slightly sandy soil is very fertile; the centuries-old cultivation is apparent everywhere. By European standards, the acreage given over to cattle husbandry, sugarcane and bamboo is extensive. Unlike many regions in north-western Brazil, however, the Recôncavo does not have a pronounced monoculture. Travelers will often have the impression that they are riding through an excessively large, varied garden; this impression is also due to the fact that, with one or two exceptions, there is no industry.