Just got back Thursday from a few days in Salvador, and generally can report that much of what has been written in the past is still accurate. Casquinha de Siri is still the best nightclub for music, dancing, and professional ladies, without any of the Help style atmosphere. Monday night is still a good night to visit. The women are generally attractive, and at a guess about 50% are pros. They are built in the Bahian style: darker skin; small stomach roll; bundas not quite up to the level of Rio de Janeiro. If you like that look, you'll love Salvador. If you're looking for Nordic ice goddesses, you are in the wrong city. The other area where I saw reasonably attractive professional talent was in the restored old city plaza, Pelhorino (I just butchered the spelling). Girls start making an appearance on the north side of the plaza around 4 PM, strolling up from a side street, along the plaza, and down another side street. Tuesday evenings there is always a party in the plaza, and lots of people out enjoying it;
if you don't like the girls, you'll probably like the party. There are a number of pleasant open air restaurants on the side streets as well. Prior postings have warned that this area is dangerous after dark; I did not experience that, but be careful anyway. Unfortunately, Casquinha de Siri is well up the peninsula from downtown -- the cab ride is probably 40 minutes between the two, and around 30 reais. So in choosing a place to stay you need to consider which you will want to spend more time visiting. I picked a place sort of in between, which in hindsight I don't recommend -- the place was very nice (Hotel Catharina Paraguacu) and beautifully appointed, and does have a few suites for about 150 reais per night, but you need to take a significant cab ride to get anywhere. Better for a honeymoon than for mongering. Plus they only approved of 'guests' who looked classy, which is not the first word that comes to mind for some of these girls. In selecting a place, I'd suggest thinking about a few factors in adition to convenience to girls: Do you want to spend time on the beach? If so, pick a place up near Casquinha de Siri.
The beaches are terrible further south towards downtown in the winter: small; most of the sand washed away; few users other than surfers. Do you want to do shopping (Salvador is perhaps the world's best location for really really cheap fashion conscious clothing at 5% or so of what you'd pay in New York or San Francisco for similar items)? If so, stay near downtown and shop Av. Sete de Septembro, the Mercado near the harbor, and numerous other places. Out near Casquinha de Siri the best shopping is in Aeroporto, but it is only a shadow of downtown. Is English the only language you know? If so, expect to communicate with gestures downtown -- no one knows English there. Up the peninsula there are a few people around the resorts who do, including a couple of the girls. As an aside, when we were downtown no one could believe we were from the USA; virtually everyone -- restaurants, shops, taxis, girls -- said they had seen no Americans in many months.
The downtown tourist mix is mainly Italian and German, with some Spanish and other miscellaneous Europeans (and many visiting Brasilians) thrown in. Up the peninsula near Casquinha de Siri there are a few Americans. Even though it is the middle of winter, the weather is still warm and sticky -- choose a place to stay that has reliable warm water for the shower, as you'll be taking several a day. Having said all that, I'll admit to having no good hotel recommendations from first hand experience. Most hotels and posadas do quote prices that are about double for foreign tourists versus visiting Brasilians, so if you have a friend in Brasil (or speak good Portuguese) you are best off with a phone conversation with the hotel and some negotiation. Business is fairly slow there right now, so it is a decent time to deal. A last comment:
Sao Paulo is rich, Salvador is poor. Per capita income is probably quadruple in Sao Paulo what it is in Salvador, so don't fall into the trap of paying Sao Paulo level prices for things in Salvador. A second last comment: the police in Salvador are relatively honest and enforce the law, so don't act like you might in, say, Rio, especially if you are driving.
here to see the photos
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