Chill Chic Trancoso

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In our three-week journey down the coast of Brazil we encountered some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, but none as chic as Trancoso, Bahia. Accessed by a semi-paved road an hour from the nearest city of Porto Seguro, we bumped along assuming this was going to be a ten-shack town but instead we found the hippest side of paradise.

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If a town's center is meant to represent a place, then Trancoso planned it perfectly with the Quadrado, a wide open field surrounded by charming cafes and colorful casas. Though obscured here, the nighttime twinkle is one of my favorite features.
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This Jesuit church was the heart of town in the16th century and still is. Though I am sure the church square still has its share of devotees, this is now where artisans sell their wares and wild horses tend to congregate.
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Trancoso is set on a bluff overlooking a beach filled by a system of rivers and lagoons. The change in tides keep them filling and falling, creating an ever-changing landscape that draws you down the coast. Just be warned, if you stay out too late in the may have to wade part of the way home.
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Trancoso is far from flashy but pay attention and you'll notice the beach is full of little paths leading to luxury hotels.
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Just when you think Trancoso is all about the jetset, a guy like this will roll by to keep it real.
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This washed up boat was turned into the rustic chic bar, Uxia. Love the sun hat umbrellas.
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Trancoso has found the winning formula for a beach-town restaurant: massive tree for shade, big wooden patio chairs for seating, and poppy pattern pillows to draw you in. Cafe Vitoria's fun floral cushions tempted me curl up here with a book and a caipirinha.
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With everyone on the beach all day, the town comes alive at night with art galleries and boutiques like Galleria Fulô and staying open until 10pm or later.
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Trancoso is a magical place (If a white wild pony grazing in front of a blue beach cottage didn't have you convinced.)

Essential Trancoso

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Relais & Chateaux is one of the most selective hotel groups in the world and there only have one property in the state of Bahia that gets its seal of approval: Estrela d’ Agua. If you want to be directly on the beach this is the spot to be.

Casa Timbo is one of the chic lantern-lit restaurants under the boughs of the Quadrado but with a better price than its neighbors.

Aue Zum Zum has a great outdoor music scene by night. Snag a table early or just can grab a drink at the adorable pop-up bars and listen in from a bench in the square.