Trancoso has an historic center called the Quadrado, you will find a lot of litterature about it on internet. To provide with additional information we could say that Trancoso has different faces, one is the beauty of its beaches, another one is its remarquable central square surrounding by little and colored houses hosting either bars, restaurants or high standing shops, yet another one is the night life with hot parties either in discotheques or in the quadrado or on the beach.

The story of Trancoso is representative of these trendy spots who have become famous the last 30 years in Brazil. You take a piece of paradise, unknown and virgen, with a zest of special architecture and history. You add a mix of wealthy hyppies, artists, famous musicians, coming from Brazil and abroad, you wait a bit then it becomes the place where things happen, where mix culture develop to become both exotic and appealing for travelers.

Trancoso got all these elements; a set of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, one of the most appealing and colorful historic center entirely preserved, situated just above the ocean, an international community mingling with local people, and of course a rich musical and night scene.

On the left is the map of beaches of Trancoso (courtesy

If you hesitate between Arraial d’Ajuda and Trancoso here are come tips to make up your mind. Arraial is built around its main street, called broadway and propose hundred of nice and cosy pousadas and shops. Trancoso is more selective and focus on its historic center. Its infrastructure is less developped but shows a more special and appealing landscape. Arraial is the ideal place if you like the brazilian way of partying which consist of moving from place to place with your friends untill the end of the night. In Trancoso the village center is preponderant and is the soul of the city where commemorations, big events and parties are happening. From there they could be processions to the beach where parties can go on the full night. Arraial is more family orientated, Trancoso is more wild and strangely mixed. Trancoso is more expensive and its surrounding have been acquired by millionaires who come to their beach villa with helicopters.

If you still hesitate then my advice is to visit both villages. During the day enjoy Trancoso beaches, at sun fall visit the Quadrado with its beautiful shops, sit and have a dinner or a drink there. At night during the week end or the high season you will have plenty of opportunities to party in the village.

In Arraial the day start in the afternoon, in Broadway, where you can enjoy the cosy shops and bars around. At night fall you will find many places with music and good atmosphere.

The carnaval is particularly nice in Arraial d’ Ajuda which keeps a family atmosphere.

Here on the right (Courtesy Ariel) is a miniature of a digital painting from Ariel, who has spent some time in Trancoso and wanted to show the location of the church São João Batista dos Índios at the heart of the square. Ariel used a satellite photo as a background and the Vitruvian Man from Leonardo da Vinci in the foreground.

Ariel believes that this corresponded to the Jesuits desire to symbolically mark the spiritual center of gravity of the Christian religion within the newly built Indian natives village.