Another 70 kilometers (43 miles) north from Sítio do Conde, at the end of the Linha Verde, is the ultra-secluded Mangue Seco. Ever since its seductive landscape of palm-studded sand dunes made an unforgettable cameo appearance in Tieta, a 1989 novela (nightly soap) based on the Jorge Amado’s novel Tieta do Agreste, Brazilians have been flocking to this slice of paradise in droves.
Aside from the rustic little fishing village, you’ll find yourself surrounded by coconut plantations, mangroves, rivers, and idyllic white-sand beaches whose big waves attract surfers. Thankfully, despite its fame, Mangue Seco’s remoteness keeps the crowds at bay.
For those visiting on their own (as opposed to being part of a packaged day trip), getting to the village is a bit tricky. It involves taking a ride in a canoe or motor boat (which can include a long wait in off-season) from Pontal on the Sergipe side of the Rio Real. (Linha Express Verde buses stop in Pontal, and if driving, you can stash your car here).
If the tide is high, ask the boatman to take you directly to your pousada. If not, you’ll have to lug your bags along a sandy trail.
Accommodations and Food
Mangue Seco has a handful of comfortably rustic accommodations, among them Pousada O Forte (tel. 75/3455-9039, www.pousadaoforte.com/br, R$80 d), with a picturesque hilltop setting, and the equally appealing Pousada Fantasias do Agreste (tel. 75/3455-9011, www.pousadafantasiasdoagreste.com, R$120–160 d). Navigating the 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) of dunes to reach the beach can be done by buggy or on foot. Other dune buggy tours are also available.
Unsurprisingly, seafood is in abundance as is the delicious crab-like aratú, which are used to make moquecas. For deliciously prepared fish and seafood, stop at Frutos do Mar (tel. 75/3455-9049, 7 a.m.–9 p.m., R$20–35). A good snack option is moquequinhas, tasty slices of cured fish wrapped in palm leaves and sold by local boys on the beach for R$1.
Getting to Mangue Seco
There is regular bus service from Salvador’s Rodoviária Central all the way up the Linha Verde to Sítio do Conde on Expresso Linha Verde (tel. 71/3450-0321) and Catuense (tel. 71/3450-4004). From the Terminal da Calçada in the Cidade Baixa, Cacique (tel. 71/3392-1376) buses go as far as Porto de Sauípe (with stops in Imbassaí and Diogo).
Check to make sure that the bus actually goes into these villages from the Linha Verde. If not, the bus will let you off on the BA-099 highway, near the road leading to the town and village. From there kombis (collective vans) regularly shuttle passengers to the coast.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition