Arraial's beaches are sheltered by offshore reefs, making the clear water particularly appealing (and family-friendly) at low tide. SUP (standup paddling) is currently all the rage here, with classes and rental equipment available at several spots along the coast. Praia Mucugê is Arraial’s main beach and is crowded with barracas (food stalls), though the crowds thin out considerably if you hang a left and continue past the Eco Parque entrance. Heading south, Praia do Parracho is also built up, but with beach clubs and a few condominium complexes. Around the point, beautiful Praia Pitinga has red-striped sandstone cliffs, pretty, calm waters and a few barracas. South of Pitinga, Praia da Lagoa Azul and Praia Taípe are backed by tall cliffs, and face stronger waves.
Several travel agencies organize day trips to beautiful beach villages south of Arraial. Popular excursions include the trip to Praias Espelho and Curuípe, including a stop in Trancoso, a long day's outing to Caraíva and a snorkeling trip to the offshore reef of Recife de Fora. If you're visiting between July and October, ask about humpback whale-watching tours.
Arraial is home to a large number of lovely pousadas (guesthouses) where you'll probably want to stay for a week. You'll see plenty of options on the road from the ferry dock to the center (frequent buses and vans run the route), but most visitors find the village to be more convenient for its access to dining, shopping and nightlife.
Arraial has no shortage of excellent restaurants, many offering atmospheric outdoor seating. For something more casual, head to the main square at night for inexpensive crepes, tapioca, caipirinhas (cocktails) and traditional Bahian plates of rice, beans and grilled steak, or stop at one of the gourmet ice-cream stands along Rua do Mucugê.
Drinking & Nightlife
Arraial has lively nightlife options throughout the summer, when beach clubs host huge parties (cover R$25 to R$50); you'll see promoters everywhere, and local travel agencies can also provide the latest details. Another popular option for night owls is the Ilha dos Aquarios nightclub complex on an island between Porto Arraial and Porto Seguro.