Ilhéus ’s tiny historical center makes for a pleasant morning or afternoon stroll. Many of its landmarks have become renowned throughout Brazil  due to their presence in Jorge Amado’s novels. On Praça Luiz Viana Fialho, the Teatro Municipal built in 1932 was formerly a cinema where an adolescent Amado frequently went to watch movies.
On a corner of the square, the Casa de Cultura Jorge Amado (Rua Jorge Amado 21, tel. 73/3634-8986, 9 a.m.–noon and 2–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–noon Sat., R$1) is housed in the family mansion, built by the author’s father in 1920 after he struck it rich with a winning lottery ticket. Guided tours show you portraits of the artist as a young man as well as personal objects and the room in which he slept.
Nearby, the Praça J.J. Seabra, Praça Rui Barbosa, and Rua Antônio Lavigne all contain early-20th-century homes and palaces that attest to the wealth of the “cocoa barons.” Built in 1534, the Igreja de São Jorge on Praça Rui Barbosa is Ilhéus’s oldest church, while the towering mid-20th-century Catedral de São Sebastião, on Praça Dom Eduado, displays an unusual blend of architectural styles.
Despite the catastrophe of the vassoura de bruxa, there are still cocoa plantations in operation near Ilhéus . Since cocoa trees require shade to grow, farms preserve many taller tree specimens of native Atlantic forest, which makes a stroll through these estates a pleasurable outing. Aside from watching the entire cultivation and production process, visitors can taste the cocoa and sample the succulent nectar made from its fruit.
Fazenda Yrerê (tel. 73/3656-5054, R$15) is 11 kilometers (7 miles) from town, on the BR-415 highway that links Ilhéus to Itabuna. Another 9 kilometers (6 miles) out of Ilhéus on the same road is Fazenda Primavera (tel. 73/3613-7817, R$12). Advance reservations are necessary. Trips can also be organized through local travel agencies.