South America's most picturesque setting

In the far south of Brazil's tropical Bahia state lies the fishing village of Trancoso, founded by Jesuits in 1586 under the name São João Batista dos Índios. Its grassy town square known as the Quadrado sits on a peaceful, car-free hilltop overlooking the ocean.

This perfectly preserved colonial atmosphere enjoys UNESCO protection, and is considered among the most beautiful settings of the America's. A tiny 16th-century church at the far end of the Quadrado is the 2nd oldest of Brazil. It was built by indigenous people using available materials such as clay, thatch, coral and whale-bone.

For centuries Trancoso lay in isolation, enjoying a pristine stretch of coastline where rainforest and Atlantic mangrove meet the ocean. Sought out by hippies in the 1970s and later by artists and creatives attracted to its preservation and free-spirited vibe, the village has gained international sophistication but remains beautifully rooted in its native essence.