Only 70 kilometers (43 miles) from Salvador , Santo Amaro—the hometown of Brazilian musical sibling superstars Caetano Veloso and Maria Betânia—is an attractive and unpretentious Recôncavo . With elegant squares framed by baroque churches and a couple of ruined plantation manors, it’s a pleasant place to wander around for a couple of few hours if you’re on your way to or from Cachoeira .
Highlights include the attractive colonial buildings around the Praça da Purificação, among them the 17th-century Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Purificação, with its Portuguese tiles, and the imposing 18th-century Convento dos Humildes (9 a.m.–1 p.m. Tues.–Sun.), at Praça Padre Inácio Teixeira dos S. Araujo, which houses a small museum of religious art. Don’t leave without sampling the sequilhos, crisp buttery biscuits made by the nuns at the convent.
Santo Amaro hosts two of the most interesting festas populares in the Recôncavo . On January 6 is the Festas dos Reis, during which the town’s squares are given over to music and merrymaking. On May 13, Bembé do Mercado celebrates the abolition of slavery in Brazil  (1888). Offerings are given to the orixá Iemanjá, and there are plenty of traditional African-inspired songs and samba-de-roda dancing.