Despite being only a 10-minute boat ride across the Rio Buranhém from Porto Seguro , Arraial d’Ajuda is another world. A major tourist destination in its own right, the town is much more charming than Porto. Aside from its splendid beaches , Arraial’s winding streets shaded by lofty trees and overflowing with atmospheric bars and restaurants give off a pleasurable vibe that proves quite addictive.
While Arraial boasts a Central Park and its main downtown drag is known as Rua da Broadway (or “Bróduei” as it’s spelled locally), much more in keeping with NYC is the town’s cosmopolitan air and edible fare. Both can be sampled on the Estrada do Mucugê, a bustling artery lined with boutiques, bars, and restaurants that magically spring to life come sundown. Proof of how international this thoroughfare has become is in the number of multilingual menus and the 24-hour Internet cafés touting Hebrew keyboards.
Indeed, in the summer, Arraial can get as packed as Porto, although the crowd is more alternative and upscale, as are the parties. Most of these all-night affairs are luaus or raves that take place at the sophisticated barracas and in the surrounding white sands of Mucugê and Parracho beaches . During off-season, however, the town is deliciously tranquil.
Although it was founded in the early 16th-century, aside from the pretty Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora de Ajuda, built on a cliff and offering stunning views of the beaches below, there are few remnants of its colonial past. However, the present is certainly inviting.
Boats, known as balsas, leave from Porto Seguro  to Arraial at half hour intervals throughout the day. After midnight, they leave at hourly intervals. Round-trip fare is R$2. The balsas—some of which allow cars, while others are strictly for passengers—leave from Praça dos Pataxós in Porto Seguro.
Tickets can be purchased at Rio Buranhém Navegação (tel. 73/3288-2516). Once you arrive at the other side of the river, buses, vans, and moto-taxis transport you along the 6-kilometer (3.5-mile) coastal road to the center of Arraial d’Ajuda.