Reasons Will Smith and Beyoncé simply love Trancoso...

Featuring colonial architecture, stunning beaches, and a laid-back vibe, the coastal town of Trancoso may be one of the sexiest and most singularly beautiful places in Brazil – just ask Beyoncé, Anderson Cooper and Naomi Campbell, a few of the jet-setters who have flocked there to enjoy glorious vacations.

But what makes Trancoso -a tiny fishing village just south of Salvador, Bahia- stand out among the hundreds of picturesque beaches along Brazil’s 7,500-mile coastline, while attracting so many bon vivants?

Because it’s remote. Even as word of its charm has spread out, it remains an insider’s spot, one that’s typically reached by taking an hour-long flight from São Paulo to Porto Seguro, Bahia, followed by a 50-mile drive along back roads. There wasn’t even a paved highway in the area until 2000, which is probably one of the reasons it’s been able to resist many of the pitfalls of development.

“Plenty of places have nice beaches and good restaurants, but the Quadrado is what makes Trancoso incredibly unique,” says CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, in an interview to Travel + Leisure. Cooper is building his own eco-friendly property in the Quadrado, the town’s historic long grassy main square, which is crowned with the small whitewashed 17th-century church of São João Batista and colorful cottages, many now transformed into cafés, galleries, boutiques, and pousadas, or small inns. Prices are pitched high to keep the area from becoming too mainstream.

In the past few years, Trancoso has made its name as one of the so-called hippie chic destinations, those 21st-century answers to Goa or Bali that are luring tuned travelers. However, many of such places never manage to get either the “hippie” or the “chic” part quite right, but Trancoso scores high on both counts. Yet despite recent incursions, Trancoso is curiously glamour-resistant, where high-end shops are usually empty, and besides, nobody wears heels there anyway.

If you embrace simplicity as the ultimate sophistication, Trancoso is for you. 


By Tatiana Cesso