Everything about Trancoso, which was once a sleepy fishing village, felt too good to be true, with just the right amount of bohemian cool mixed with the powerful presence of the natural world, in the form of the jungle that surrounds and weaves through town.
For centuries, Trancoso was inaccessible to anyone but its Indigenous population, and by the 1970s, only a handful of families remained as the younger generations left to find work.
Uxua’s debut brought more attention to the region. Its cofounder, Wilbert Das, is the Dutch-born former creative director of the Italian fashion label Diesel. He first visited Trancoso in 2004 and immediately fell in love with the area. On a subsequent visit, he convinced his friend and business partner Bob Shevlin to come along. They got to talking and, by 2009, had opened Uxua. Since then, Das has become something of an unofficial mayor in Trancoso. It’s not uncommon to see him greeting guests, toggling between English and Portuguese, while embracing the chic, creative types who always seem to be passing through.
By the late 80s, Trancoso was a go-to escape for Brazil’s creative elite — actors, musicians, singers, and artists.
When the sun finally set, the Quadrado, where the canopy of trees was hung with hundreds of lanterns, came to life as locals and visitors went out to eat, shop, and listen to music late into the night.
The 24-room Uxua Casa — a series of renovated centuries-old bungalows along the Quadrado — was once the only luxurious place to stay in town. That changed with the December 2021 opening of the Hotel Fasano Trancoso. (The stylish Brazilian hotel group is best known for its swanky properties in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.) Located on Itapororoca Beach, about a 10-minute drive from Uxua Casa, the resort was completed only after a four-year approval process: both the Brazilian Institute of Environment & Renewable Natural Resources and the National Historic & Artistic Heritage Institute, which strictly regulates new buildings, had to sign off.
The Fasano broke with the area’s architectural conventions and built 40 modern, flat-roofed casitas across a sprawling 720-acre plot. Fasano was allowed to develop only a portion of the property, much of which is now a nature preserve, and all of the accommodations — plus two restaurants and a spa — are oceanfront.
Despite its sleek aesthetic, Fasano wears its luxury lightly, and for someone who wants to spend more than a few days in the area, this is the more exclusive-feeling answer to Uxua’s hipster-village vibe. While all of the beaches in Brazil are, by law, public, the Fasano’s distance from town means hotel guests often have the shoreline to themselves.
Trancoso Tip Sheet
Where to Stay
Hotel Fasano Trancoso
This sleek newcomer, designed by Brazilian celebrity architect Isay Weinfeld, occupies a prime spot on pristine Itapororoca Beach. Its 40 bungalows sit amid swaying palms, though most guests will opt to hang out by the Olympic-size swimming pool that runs parallel to the ocean.
Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa
The original Trancoso HQ for the boho set, the 24-room Uxua, which opened in 2009, still impresses with its historic renovated casas that line the Quadrado in fuchsia, peppermint green, and other candy colors. The restaurant is one of the best in Trancoso. Uxua Praia, the hotel’s beach club and bar, is an easy eight-minute stroll.
Where to Eat
Among the several casual food stands along the Quadrado, A Creperia is one of the most popular—especially for its sweet options, like the chocolate crêpes with house-made passion-fruit ice cream and Nutella with fresh strawberries.
The main reason to visit this hotel is the food: chef Sandra Marques creates some of the finest Bahian dishes in town, with a focus on seafood (the ceviche, grilled shrimp, and steamed catch of the day with house-made chili oil are standouts). The setting—an open- air dining room shrouded in palm fronds off the Quadrado—is quintessential Trancoso.
Jacaré do Brasil
Dining at this design showroom-slash-restaurant is as much an aesthetic experience as a gustatory one. Have an Italian-inflected dinner of lobster risotto or shiitake-mushroom tortellini, or pull up a bright-pink stool at the bar for a perfect caipirinha.