From the greenish waters of the impressive São Francisco River to the copious Paraguaçu River, the biggest of Bahia’s rivers, the state reserves varied attractions for those looking for direct contact with nature. From nautical sports to sport fishing and relaxing baths, there are many options to relax or dive in adventures under the warm sun. The many kilometers of fresh waters that go through the seashore and the countryside of Bahia emerge regardless of the vast caatinga or surrounded by mangroves and native forest, and meet the sea designing beautiful landscapes and inviting for an unforgettable tour.
Água Branca Waterfall
Situated in a Private Reserve of the Natural Heritage, in Água Branca Farm, the waterfall, of the same name, falls in an exquisite curtain of white foam, 30 meters high and great for bathing. Visitors pass through an ecological trail amid the dense forest, home to a variety of animals and fauna to get to the waterfall. Along the route there are buffalo farms.
The biggest part of the trail is humid and with lots of shades. There is also a fluvial island, where there is a kiosk where it’s possible to enjoy the beautiful view. Besides, the waterfall formed by Gereba River is great for rappel.
How to get there: from Valença, go on for 5km on BA-001 road, northbound. Then turn left and go on for 8km until Água Branca Farm. In the farm there’s a trail that leads to the waterfall (around 30 minutes on foot).
Barreiras is a city of fresh waters, cut by rivers in all its extension. The biggest and most important is Grande River; affluent of the left margin of São Francisco River. Highlight of the city’s landscape, the river forms a real fluvial island around the Historical Center. Its vast extension is ideal for nautical sports and sport fishing. If you want to boost the tour, just follow to Barra by boat, where Grande River meets São Francisco River and, from there; go along the greenish waters of the “Old Chico”.
With crystal clear waters, Janeiro River runs through stunt forests and fertile valleys, forming several waterfalls in its entire extension. The most famous ones are Acaba Vida and Redondo, with beautiful natural pools. The river flows through the city until it discharges on Branco River, near Serra Geral, accompanying the rural landscape. Branco River cuts the settlements of São Vicente and Cantinho do Senhor dos Aflitos, among farms and small communities in harmony with the environment.
Framed by hills, Ondas Rivers offers astonishing scenery, a real natural paradise in the city of Barreiras.
Buranhém River and Frades River
Buranhém River is the main river that crosses Porto Seguro and separates the city from Arraial D’Ajuda. Its mouth is situated between the beaches of Cruzeiro and Apaga -Fogo. From Porto Seguro or Arraial it is possible to rent boats to sail across the river.
Tip: At Casa da Lenha, in Porto Seguro, it is possible to hire boatmen to take you on a boat trip.
How to get there: on boat, from Porto Seguro’s quay.
Frades (Friars) River received this name due to the drowning of an Italian friar, who possibly arrived in Porto Seguro in 1515. Some historians say that the first contact between the Portuguese and the Indians (native Brazilians) happened there and not on Caí river.
Besides the beautiful landscape, the Frades River offers a wonderful spectacle during the floods, when the herons appear to look for food.
Flanked by an exuberance of woods and mangroves, Caraíva River is a great option for ecological tours. New landscapes are revealed along the way: intact Atlantic Forest on the left margin and cattle farms on the right margin; a gift for the visitors’ eyes. In an authentic indigenous canoe, the tour starts at the pier of the small Caraíva Village, located between the fluvial beach and the mangrove, surrounded by preserved woods. It’s a good idea to go to Boi Bridge and visit the Pataxó de Barra Velha Reserve, at Monte Pascoal National Park. Besides being suitable for swimming it’s also good for fishing.
Flanked by fine sand of gray shades, Itanhém River encounters with the sea at Barra de Alcobaça’s beach (or Itanhém), in a beautiful contrast with the wide stretch of light sand. Stage of nautical sports such as kayak, jet-ski and windsurf, the river has a small inlet of calm waters that’s ideal for swimming and relaxation and also good for fishing.
Located in an Environmental Protection Area and with a rich fauna and several specimens of birds of the Atlantic Forest, Joanes River flows flanked by a small mangrove up to Buraquinho Beach. Its calm waters are stage of nautical sports such as jet-ski and ski-board. This river offers fish in abundance. Joanes River is navigable from the mouth, between the beaches of Buraquinho and Busca Vida, until a little bit above one touristic entrepreneurship with pier, hotel, restaurants and shopping area on the right margin; a complete infrastructure of leisure and services for visitors. Responsible for 40% of the water supply of Salvador’s Metropolitan Region, the river has a huge economical relevance.
Tip: the presence of rocks in its course requires care during navigation.
João de Tiba River
Once known as Sernambetiba, it crosses part of the city. It has mild waters that run through the mangrove and is perfect for boat cruises or nautical sports. It’s also sought after by those willing to fish. There are several falls river up, such as the Toma Calção and Grande, as well as a bridge for pedestrians over the mangrove. The boat goes river up in around 40 minutes, through piassava farms to an old Indian path; near Mutum River, it’s possible to get to know the “farinheiras” – flour producers still operating – and an alembic where homemade “cachaça” is produced.
Tip: It’s a good idea to rent a small boat and go through the mangrove.
Marobá River, Pau River and Peruípe River
Peruipe River, which is navigable along its entire estuary, from the main channel to the mangrove and sea sectors, by boat, motorboat or canoe, receives Pitu-açu, Pau Alto, Marobá rivers, among many other streams’ waters next to its mouth, forming a complex net of waterways. The main of them connects Peruipe to Caravelas, crossing Cassumba Island’s long mangrove. The landscape varies from Peruipe’s mouth, going through mangrove channels, small villages, riverside communities, sites, and coconut trees, to Caravelas River. in Caravelas.
With limpid waters and flanked by farms, pastures and trees, Marobá River is another good option for fluvial tours in Nova Viçosa. Its calm waters are an invitation for a relaxing canoe tour.
From the indigenous language, the word Paraguaçu means “big water”. The river has approximately 600km in length and is the biggest river in Bahia; it’s responsible for the water supplying of several cities. Very sought after for fishing, this river has a big variety of fish, besides crustaceans. The beautiful handcraft of the region is made of the clay found in its margins.
Scenery of legends and myths, Paraguaçu River is part of the local imaginary. The legend of “Water Mother”, who plays tricks on people walking by the river, is among the most famous ones.
Paraguaçu River separates the historical cities of Cachoeira and São Félix, united by an old iron bridge from 1859.
This river has ideal rapids for rafting. In the rapids of Pojuca River it’s possible to watch the traditional fishing with liana traps, known as "jiquis", which are used to capture fish, shrimps and prawns. At the place known as Sete Pontes there are wood bridges only used for the native fishermen in order to collect the fish in the “jiquis”. Organized groups use ropes and life-guard vests to make the crossing.
It’s possible to go on boat tours, from the estuary of Pojuca River, in Praia do Forte, up to the rapids.
Santo Antonio River
It borders the Mata Medonha Indian Area’s southern limit, cuts Santo Antônio EPA, and passes through the settlement with the same name and flows into Ponta de Santo Antônio beach, crossing big extensions of mangroves and Atlantic Forest.
Boat cruises, fresh water bathing and robalo fishing are its main attraction. The Mata Medonha Pataxó Indian Village and some farms can be visited.
São Francisco River
Third biggest river in Brazil, more than 3.000km long, São Francisco River is also the most famous river of Bahia, and plays an important role in the country’s history and culture.
Its calm and incredibly crystal clear waters invite to an irresistible tour amidst nature. It’s a good idea to rent a boat and go down the river until the city of Sítio do Mato, where islands and sand banks offer calm beaches and warm waters.
Natural habitat of a large variety of fish, the river is also an excellent spot for sport and amateur fishing.
Tip: in any margin of the river you can hire a boat tour. Prices vary depending on the distance and duration.
Main river of its hydrographic basin, limited in the North by the Subaúma river basin and in the south by the basin of Imbassaí River. Sauípe River springs from the south of the city of Entre Rios, in a 80km route towards the sea. Surrounded by heath, the fruit trees attract a varied range of birds that cross the sky over the river. On the other margin, there is a dense mangrove and also restinga (recently formed lowland) vegetation.
Two tour options offer visitor the river in its all plenitude. For those who seek adventure, the “Sauípe Expedition” is the ideal choice. Passengers help rowing the rustic canoes, typical of the local fishermen, who go down the mouth of the river, with a stop at the place where the river embraces the sea. Take some time to relax, enjoy a delicious bath in the fresh or sea water. The transfer is made by jeeps, with a fifteen minute walk through restinga vegetation until the margin of the river.
The other option is going on aluminum boats with outboard motors, with capacity for 8 people. During approximately 1 hour and a half 14km are covered (both ways), with a stop to relax and swim at the mouth of the river.
You must be accompanied by a guide and wear a life-saving vest during the whole trip.
Tips: don’t forget the sun block and the hat and wear light clothes. It’s advisable to take some repellent.
Vaza Barris River
Vaza Barris, a temporary river, was used in the construction of the dam that dammed up a considerable volume of water, originating Cocorobó Dam, from which a large irrigation project was developed to take water to a dry region.
It bathes the cities of Canudos and São Cristovão until it disembogues in the Atlantic Ocean. Canudos started in its margins from a settlement called Belo Monte; it was the stage of the legendary war that decimated Antônio Conselheiro’s followers.
Along its 402km, the landscape is divided between Paraíso (Paradise) Island and the island of mangroves; a must for relaxing baths.