Join in the Meeting of Cultures in Salvador, Brazil

Colonial houses in Brazil

The city of Salvador, Brazil, is rich with cultural heritage, as it has served as a meeting point of European, indigenous and African people for hundreds of years. Travelers can experience all that this diverse destination has to offer as part of a shore excursion during a South America cruise.

Perhaps the most iconic attraction in Salvador is Pelourinho, the city's historic center. This district has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it gives you a great way to see how Brazil's Portuguese past has influenced its modern culture. Whether you explore the churches, museums, houses or other 17th-century buildings in this neighborhood, you're sure to gain a greater understanding of the Brazilian way of life.

One of Salvador's distinguishing characteristics is its astounding number of churches. With 165 cathedrals and other religious structures within the city limits, Salvador is home to more Baroque architecture than any other destination in Latin America. The biggest of these buildings is the ornate Cathedral of Salvador. This towering structure features an altar made of 18 gilded columns as well as the largest wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ anywhere in the country. Other major religious attractions include the Sao Francisco Church, which has beautiful gold-covered wood engravings; the Church of Our Lord of Bonfim, which is famous for its yellow wish ribbons; and Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos, a church built by and for slaves and free black people during the colonial era.

If you want to experience a different kind of African culture, pay a visit to the Museu Afro-Brasiliero, a facility dedicated to celebrating the contributions of Africans to Brazilian life. Afterwards, go shopping for souvenirs at the sprawling Mercado Modelo or take in a sky-high view of the city from the Elevador Lacerda.