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With the inauguration of nonstop flights between Miami and Salvador da Bahia on April 29, 2018, LATAM Airlines continues to expand its service to northeastern Brazil. The route is operated by Boeing 787 aircraft, with capacity for 220 passengers in Economy class and 18 in Premium Business.

“As travel continues to grow between the U.S. and Brazil, connecting these two countries is one of our top priorities,” according to Pablo Chiozza, LATAM Airlines senior v.p., North America and Asia. “We are proud to continue to fulfill this vital role with our new direct route connecting two dynamic cities, Miami and Salvador da Bahia.”

Actually, almost everyone calls the city itself Bahia, confusing but reasonable when you consider that its official name is Sao Salvador de Bahia de Todos os Santos (Holy Savior of the Bay of All Saints). Yet when you’re flying on down to Bahia—nonstop now with LATAM— your ticket will read Salvador—geographically on the South American continent, but spiritually bound to Africa. Brazil was born in Bahia and in 1549 christened a Portuguese colony, whose fortune-seeking settlers imported slaves from Africa to work the plantations. Physically, Bahia is a hillside port, built in two sections, upper and lower, which are connected by an unusual mass transit system of giant elevators. The well-preserved Pelourinho quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Upper City, is the essential visit, with its multi-colored houses, baroque churches with gilded interiors, bevy of intriguing boutiques, and streets abuzz with impromptu performances of drum music and street dancing. Swing out with the locals and join the massive street party on Tuesday nights. Or, perhaps come for Carnaval (March 1-5, 2019), said to be at its best in Bahia.

There are dozens of reasons why Brazil aficionados say “it’s better in Bahia.” Beyond the capital, the enormous State of Bahia is like a country within a country, with its own rooted-in-Africa traditions in cuisine, music and dance observed by a population largely descended from slaves. Here, too, you’ll find the glorious beaches for which the state is justly famous, and in the interior some of the most beautiful wilderness scenery.

For instance, easy access to the north from Salvador is the 120-mile-long stretch of Coconut Coast, famous for its beautiful and tranquil beaches. Noteworthy is the district of Costa do Sauipe, Brazil’s largest resort, and upmarket Praia do Forte, an attractive and ecologically sensitive beach village overflowing with stylish restaurants and shops. From town, a pedestrian walkway leads to a sea turtle reserve and gorgeous white-sand beaches.

Next on the Bahian bucket list of attractions should be the forested Chapada Diamantina, a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site studded with table-top mountains, awash in waterfalls and canyons. This is magnificent walking country where travelers explore caves, swim in lagoons and hike the rocky hills. At its heart is the laid-back little colonial town of Lencois, the base for accessing the Chapada Diamantina (Diamond Highlands) region.

Come this July, LATAM Airlines will again be expanding its services from the U.S. to Brazil, this time, making more cosmopolitan connections with the inauguration of nonstop flights between Boston and Sao Paulo. Stay tuned.

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