After Barra  and the middle-class beach neighborhood of Ondina, with its many big chain hotels, comes Rio Vermelho, a bohemian enclave, which is more interesting at night, when its bars, lively squares, and restaurants fill up with the city’s artistic and intellectual crowd. Although its beaches aren’t good for swimming, it has a pleasant vibe. The neighborhood is enhanced by the always happening Mercado do Peixe and the cobblestoned squares where the city’s triumvirate of reigning Bahianas sell their famed acarajés and abarás.
Rio Vermelho is followed by the rather soul-less Pituba, where the city’s yuppies live, shop, and party. And from then on, the beaches keep coming. Boca do Rio is a gay mecca whose barracas, Aruba and República, compete for the prettiest and most ripped bikini-clad boys in town. Jaguaribe is packed with barracas, vendors, surfers, and sun worshippers. Ditto for neighboring Piatã, although the waves here are calmer and the beach is framed by coconut palms.
Until only a couple of decades ago, Itapuã was but a bucolic palm-fringed fishing village that captivated the imaginations of residents such as Dorival Caymmi and Vinícius de Moraes, both of whom immortalized the beach’s idyllic vibe in their unforgettable musical compositions. Today, the neighborhood is somewhat more developed and scruffy and it’s not the best beach in town for a swim.
Nonetheless, the languorous vibe has somehow survived—as have the fishermen, the swaying palms, and the pretty candy-cane-striped lighthouse, around whose barracas congregates a somewhat bohemian crowd who listen to the bossa nova and MPB that are often played live on weekends.
Keep walking beyond the lighthouse and you’ll hit the lovely uncrowded white-sand (and rough-watered) beach of Pedra do Sal, with some great barracas, among them Aqua Lôca. More popular with middle-class patrons (who have cars) are the less urban and more unspoiled beaches that follow: Stella Maris and Flamengo (municipal buses whose final destination is marked “Praia de Flamengo” depart from Campo Grande or along the orla).
Aside from offering more shade, water-sports equipment, and natural pools that are ideal for kids, both beaches boast state-of-the-art barracas such as Azul Marinho and Biruta Tchê (Stella Maris), and Lôro, Cabana Solares, Martim Pescador, and Honolulu Tent Beach (Flamengo).