Depending on which direction you’re coming from, the last (or first) resort town of consequence in Bahia ’s extreme south is Caravelas. A decidedly low-key place to unwind for a couple of days, the lovely colonial town—which spans the Rio Caravelas—and its beaches, sum up the best of what Bahia  has to offer.
Caravelas is also the most convenient place from which to visit the fantastic Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos . Located 70 kilometers (43 miles) offshore, this marine reserve encompasses an archipelago of five islands whose crystalline waters and coral reefs make up one of the world’s best diving spots.
Caravelas has some appealing colonial architecture, the most striking examples of which—including the Igreja de Santo Antônio—are clustered around the handsome Praça de Santo Antônio. The Instituto Baleia Jubarte (Rua Barão do Rio Branco 26, tel. 73/3297-1240, 8 a.m.–noon and 2–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–noon Sat.) is a whale research station.
If you’re in search of beaches, you’ll have to travel by bus, car, or boat to reach them. To the north, Praia do Grauça (10 kilometers/6 miles) and Praia Iemanjá (20 kilometers/12.5 miles) are good for swimming, although the waters are murky due to the proximity of the Rio Caravelas. Boat trips can be also organized to small islands off the coast, such as Coroa Vermelha, where it’s possible to snorkel.
Águia Branca (www.aguiabranca.com.br ) offers bus service to Caravelas from Salvador  (15 hours) and Porto Seguro  (4 hours) via the town of Teixeira de Freitas, as does São Geraldo (www.saogeraldo.com.br ) from Rio de Janeiro  (15 hours). By car, after turning off the BR-101 highway at Teixeira de Freitas, you’ll continue along the BA-290 for around 70 kilometers (44 miles) until reaching the coast.