Credit: Christian Knepper / Embratur

Salvador is a gracious seaside city famous for its colorful architecture and pleasant people. There are – short – very few reasons to leave after you've arrived. That said, the best one is just off the coast a short drive south. Ilha de Boipeda, a short ferry ride from shore, is a sandy island with vast beaches and a deep green forest. The place is a caricature of tropical abundance and a stay in the Geographic Boipeda Hostel – a lackluster but very, very well located lodge – is a great way to experience the best the coast has to offer. Bring a lot of suntan lotion and a very little bathing suit and you'll fit right in.