If you’re up for a hostel experience, the friendly, Albergue do Porto (Rua Barão de Sergy 197, tel. 71/3264-6600, www.alberguedoporto.com.br, R$35 d) is a great deal. Located in a lemon-colored villa only a block from Porto da Barra beach, the spartan rooms (named after Brazilian songstresses) are spic and span and the common rooms—including a living room with cable TV, Internet, a shared kitchen, laundry facilities—give off a suitably international hippie vibe with some Bahian accents.
Rua Afonso Celso is one of Barra’s pretty tree-lined residential streets that offers tranquility and great beach access. It also has dozens of still-surviving villas, a handful of which have been converted into pousadas. Several blocks up from the beach, Âmbar Pousada (Rua Afonso Celso 485, tel. 71/3264-6956, www.ambarpousada.com.br, R$90 d, dormitory rooms R$35 pp) is a mixture of pousada and hostel that prides itself on its familial atmosphere. Staff are gracious and helpful, and the homey common rooms and verandas are conducive hammock-swinging, journal-writing, web surfing, and checking out the next day’s itinerary (or lack thereof) in your guidebook. The rooms (located off the courtyard) are well maintained and feature portable boom boxes for sampling the eclectic CD collection. Be sure to visit the bar, where you can get a mean caipirinha.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition