Hands down, the most comfortable and atmospheric (and really quite affordable) place to stay in town is the Pousada Convento do Carmo (Praça da Aclamação, tel. 75/3425-1716, R$60–90), with 26 rooms that are distributed amongst the town’s 18th-century Carmelite convent. Ceilings are cathedral-high, dark wood is in abundance, and the plain decor is bereft of worldly goods. Slightly more hedonistic are the outdoor pool and an elegant restaurant. It serves a mean maniçoba, a heady local stew invented by slaves, the main ingredients of which include sun-dried beef and pork as well as stewed manioc leaves that must be boiled for three days beforehand to expel their natural toxins.
If you’re cash-strapped, try the simpler Pousada La Barca (Rua Inocêncio Boaventura 37, tel. 75/3425-1070, R$50). Just past the convent, its basic, but clean rooms offer nice views over the town.
Also on the Praça de Aclamação, Galeria Pouso da Palavra (tel. 75/3425-1604) is a welcoming little café/gallery owned by a local poet/journalist. It sells CDs, artwork, and delicious desserts and snacks, which you can eat in the pretty back garden.