Need to dig your toes in the sand? Take a couple of weeks and beach-hop in Bahia, a northeastern Brazilian state with 685 miles of pristine Atlantic coastline. This colorful region of wild, endless beaches brought the world the martial art of capoeira and the Afro-Brazilian samba. Get a feel for the culture in Salvador, the "happiness capital of Brazil," a lively 16th-century city where you'll find laid-back locals, pastel colonial Portuguese casas, and 31 miles of beaches (Busca Vida is a local favorite). Nearby Boipeba, a sleepy island with palm-lined white-sand shores and fishing villages founded by Jesuit priests in 1537, is the perfect place to do nothing but drink fresh coconut water in a beachside hammock at your inexpensive posada between swims. If you want more action, the bustling surf town of Itacaré has a nonstop party atmosphere with plenty of caipirinhas, a drink made from potent cachaça, sugar, and lime. Gorge on freshly grilled dorado on spectacular Itacarezinho beach or surf any number of breaks with Easy Drop Surf Camp (easydrop.com). Feel like splurging? The small village of Trancoso is paradise on earth and a low-key vacation spot for the world's fashionistas. Uxua Casa Hotel (one-bedrooms from $750 per night; uxua.com) has nine eclectic casas surrounding the town's square, all within an easy walk of Trancoso's eight beaches. Dine at Restaurante Da Silvana, which serves up the best authentic Bahian dishes in town.
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