After several connecting flights, we finally made it to Rio. We moved to Gol, which is the local airline, to get us to Salvador. (We had reached Washington, DC on United and Brazil on TAM). I’m pretty sure all the airlines in Brazil are owned by the same company but focused on different market segments. TAM is the most refined... but a round trip ticket to Salvador was $1800. Gol has less bells and whistles (barely anyone speaks English, for instance) but RT ticket was $350 from Rio to Salvador and back. Once we met up with Marcel, my good friend and our guide in Brazil... the rough edges were manageable. A short 1 hour flight got us to the Salvador airport where we picked up our luggage and hired a taxi... which is an experience in itself. You can try to get a taxi on your own but airport provides a pre-paid service. You pay the service and get a ticket. You then give the taxi driver the ticket and tell him where you are going. It seems roundabout but it’s actually much more manageable than the haggling and trust issues that often make this simple trips stressful. 99R (about $60) was the price to Pelhourino. With the traffic we endured en route, we got a pretty good deal.
We made it to our hotel ... Pestana Convento Do Carmo Hotel. I have to admit, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I was looking for a reasonable hotel room that would hold 3 people comfortably. Once nice room seemed the same cost as two mediocre rooms. Combined with the fact that we were off-season... we made out ok. This hotel is a former 500 year old convent with a faster than T-1 connection. It’s probably one of the nicest hotels I’ve had the opportunity to visit. There’s a fountain... oh, wait, that’s the pool. The walls look like what the Vegas hotels are trying to emulate - but they don’t need to emulate it here.