By Lauren Vita Sgarlato, Contributing Reporter
BAHIA, BRAZIL – Since the sixties, hippie villages have grown all over the world. Argentina has El Bolson, Canada has Vancouver, India has Goa, Australia has Nimbin, and Brazil has the inspiring paradise of Arembepe. Of course, there are several hippie havens scattered around Brazil such as Trinidade and Paraty in Rio de Janeiro state, but none can compare to the one that Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, and Roman Polanski favored.
Approximately thirty kilometers from Salvador, Bahia, one can easily experience the serenity of Arembepe’s paradise by hopping on a public bus costing less than R$4. Within an hour and a half’s journey, one will arrive at the small but lively town, at first wondering what’s so special.
The true gem is the Aldeia Hippie, which is a thirty to forty minute walk from the bus stop along a deserted dirt path. As one walks here, a feeling of civilization will be slowly peeled away, and a sense of nature abounding becomes very apparent. One may even catch local Arembepeiros bathing in the lake on the left.
Before the road ends, there is a Projeto TAMAR station dedicated to researching, conserving, and protecting specific species of sea turtles threatened by extinction. It is much cheaper and smaller than the tourist orientated Projeto TAMAR in Praia do Forte.
A few minutes past this project, one will begin to see families of coconut palm trees and colorfully decorated thatched-roof huts without electricity. They will hear the ocean waves, taste the salty air and feel the peace of this enchanting place.
This feeling of peace can best be experienced at the only campsite around. Atop a sand dune, facing the ocean and surrounded by palm trees, one can park a tent for R$10. It is an ideal place to watch the rising of our sun and moon.
The owner of the campsite is on guard 24 hours as he lives there, and provides the occasional entertainment whenever he climbs the skyscraper palms for coconuts.
There is nothing to do in the village besides swim, relax, and possibly buy artesanatos. If one is lucky, they might be able to borrow a kayak from one of the hippie locals.
The ocean waves are usually too strong for swimming, so it’s best to walk through the maté colored river in route to the coffee colored lake. Despite the color, the purity of the water is extremely refreshing, making it impossible to leave.
Those that enjoy nightlife will be surprised to know that one can dance the night away on the weekend by walking back towards the city center with ears open to the forró beats. Live music, non-stop dancing, social locals, and R$1 entrance charges makes for a perfect evening.
Besides all of the aforementioned positive traits of Arembepe, another is, somewhat shockingly, the lack of tourists, which keeps it untouched and real. Back in the day, musicians came to Arembepe in search of inspiration. Once one experiences the tranquility and beauty, they can understand why.