Health in Itacaré

Nearly every day a local Brazilian asks me what I like about living in Itacaré. I usually run down a list of attributes that first attracted me here seven years ago: the beautiful nature, spectacular beaches, warm weather, happy people, and the fact that I have been a fan of Brazilian music long before I arrived.

During the day Itacaré is full of sunshine and lots of activity. There are no shortage of “healthy” things to do. Kayaking, fresco ball, surfing, swimming, running, cycling, capoeira, and slack lining, to name a few. All one needs to do is go outside and make an effort.

I asked three different alternative health professionals what it means to be healthy in Itacaré.

“What makes one healthy are life habits. Sleeping well, eating natural foods, maintaining a positive disposition, and being in harmony with nature for it is the foundation of life, said Wellington, licensed Holistic Therapist at Clinica do Sol.

Unlike most major metropolitan cities, nature is free and available to all in Itacaré. However, there is another side to this gorgeous tourist destination. What happens when a healthy person becomes ill. What are his or her options?

“At night, the town takes on a different energy,” a former Pilates instructor who frequently visits Itacaré said to me. “For a small city, temptation is every where. I have a hard time being healthy here.”

And she’s right, beers and caipirinhas flow from one hand to the next, the night air is filled with smoke, and barely-covered bodies lurk the streets on the hunt for a dance partner. It’s possible to spend an entire night moving and grooving, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep if you live anywhere close to Pituba, the main road.

“The quality of life in Itacaré is paramount; we live in the Atlantic rainforest with access to an abundant amount of fruits and vegetables; however, we are sorely lacking in public health care and this has been a major concern, said Veronica, Massage Therapist at Easy Drop Surf School.”

I understood what Veronica was saying. When I was stung by a maribondo (black hornet) two weeks ago, I was reluctant to go to the hospital in town because of its poor reputation.

“In order to define a city as healthy, one must consider not only individual health but public health as well. In Brasil, like many parts of the world, there are still too many uneducated, poor and sick people”, says Wellington who also offers weekly classes in Tai-Chi and Bio Dance. “My objective is to help others understand how the body works, to bring awareness to what it truly means to live in a healthy body AND community.”

I have participated in both Tai-Chi and Bio Dança classes hosted by Wellington and found it to be a great nighttime alternative to going bar hopping. I have also received massages from both Veronica and Wellington and will vouch for the healing power of their incredible hands. Massage has many physical and emotional benefits and can help prevent illness in the long run.
As the social and economic situation shifts in Itacaré, we must not take for granted the preventive health care available to us here in this paradise. For more information about Wellington and his services, click here. To schedule a massage with Veronica, visit the Easy Drop web site.

Wellington finalized by saying “Itacaré is a meeting point for creative, special people from all over the world. It’s important for our community to be strong and fit for the years ahead.”

By Lala the Sunchaser.

Kayaking in Itacaré

By: Bella Papadopoulou.

It is not a secret that Itacaré offers a little bit of everything. From Atlantic forest to white sandy beaches … from sea to lakes. The varied environments allows one to practice various kinds of sports and experience new and exciting adventures.

The edge of Itacaré’s calmer river fronting the neighborhood ”Forte”, is also the home of the Association of Kayaking of Itacaré. Every day members and tourists take the kayaks and row along the beautiful Rio das Contas that starts in Chapada Diamantina and ends in Itacaré.

Josenildho Monteiro De Jesus, who is the founder of the association goes kayaking every day and believes it to be an amazing experience each time he paddles out.

”Kayaking is great because, first of all, it is calming and also healing in a way. Secondly, it is a great way to make new friends while having fun together in a group. Last, but not least, you are out in this breathtaking nature and can enjoy it up close” Josenildho says.

And it is absolutely true! Paddling along the river one will pass next to the Atlantic forest with the small fishing boats in the background and a setting or rising sun ahead of you (depending if you go early in the morning or in the afternoon).

But kayaking here is not only a hobby. Itacaré is in fact a leading city withing kayak championships both nationally and internationally. Today there are 15 champions that proudly represent Itacaré at national and international competitions as well Marta Ferreira who is a two times paraolimpic world champion.

”As our athletes train in an environment that is made up by both river and sea, they definately have an advantage in competitions because they alredy know how to paddle in all kinds of conditions” Josenildho says.

The association is also the oldest institution that makes social work in the town allowing children from the poorer areas to get educated about how to have a healthy life.

”Over the years we have given support to many children by keeping them away from drugs and allowing them to become competitors and responsible citizens” Jozenildho says.

To book a kayak tour or make a donation, one can go to the associasion that is located in the neighbourhood Forte, Monday-Saturday 07.00-17.00.



Yoga in Itacaré

By: Bella Papadopoulou.

People come to Itacaré from all over the world, each for various reasons. Yet what each person has in common is the desire to enjoy everything this beautiful coastal Bahian town has to offer.

In the hectic world we live in today, it’s hard to stay focused on what is going on around you. Instead we either reminisce about the past or fixate on plans for the future. When vacation time finally arrives, staying in the present becomes even trickier.

“Yoga helps you stay in the present moment, which is the only place where life actually exists”

Renata Segrada Cavalhero, also known as Lua, has been giving yoga classes in Itacaré for over eight years. Her weekly classes at Pousada Ilha Verde´s garden are a big success in town and all are invited to join.

“In the class we practice Hatha Yoga mixed with bits and pieces inspired by Michelin Berry. I don´t like repetition so I try to make each class different.” Lua adds.

It is said that a peaceful and natural environment ensures a calm mind. In this case, Itacaré with its rich wilderness, creates an ideal scenery for the practice of Yoga.

“What makes Itacaré a special place for yoga is its amazing nature as well as the warm and comfortable climate. Also, since Itacaré is a famous surf spot, yoga is a good complement for surfing” Lua says.

The classes take place on a circular wooden patio that is surrounded by a big garden with flowers and fruits. Additionally, the lit candles and the smell of incense creates a very “yogic” vibe.In Sanskrit the word Yoga means “union” referring to the bond between the mind and the body that needs to be in balance.

”Through the practice of Yoga we reach a higher level of both well-being and awareness. It’s a good moment for us to observe ourselves and accept all sides of our personality” Lua says.

It doesn´t matter if one is a new bee or a master, Lua’s practice is open for everyone who wants to experience Yoga in a beautiful and peaceful environment.

Classes are held at Pousada Ilha Verde on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8.30 and 18.00. To participate in a class, simply arrive at the scheduled time. And for private classes, feel free to contact Lua directly at +55 73 9133-9702.

Top 10 Healthy things do in Itacaré for free!

By: Bella Papadopoulou.

1. Clay in Engenocha
Only a few kilometers outside of Itacaré and a 15-minute walk through the Atlantic forest lies the beach called Engenocha. There is a wall facing the sea that is made of a special clay called “Argyle”. This clay is known for its toxin-drawing properties. Cover yourself in it, wait a bit then take a dip in the warm ocean water to rinse. The final result is soft and healthy skin.

2. Coconut water at the beaches
It will be a challenge to find a coconut-free beach around here! Take one of the already fallen coconuts, hit it against the rock and drink the nutrient rich coconut water that is full of electrolytes. Coconut water also helps your body fight viruses and boost your metabolism system.

3. Cocoa good for the heart
Itacaré is located on what is known as the coast of Cocoa. This fruit has many benefits including the ability to decrease blood pressure, which as a result, improves blood vessel health and lowers cholesterol levels. Chocolate which is made from Cocoa, is also said to increases the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates emotions, creating a good feeling.

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4. Massage under the waterfall
The waterfall of Tijuipe is known for its breathtaking beauty but what many people do not know is that if you stand under the falling water, it’s akin to receiving an excellent shoulder massage. Say goodbye to worry and stress!

5. Walk barefoot at Concha
The calm sea at Concha beach allows you to walk around in the water slowly. The bottom is filled with small stones that press all the important spots under your feet and makes a gentel zonotherapeutic massage that is beneficial for the whole body.

6. Enjoy the energy of the sun
The sun is a great source of vitamin D that is necessary for optimal health. Getting your daily dose of sunshine will enhance your immune system. It increases the number of white blood cells in your blood. It also helps them to be better fighters in their mission to kill bacteria. Of course, we need only to expose ourselves to the sun for short periods. Plus always remember to use sunscreen!

7. Yoga for the mind and body
Through the practice of Yoga we reach a higher lever of both well-being and awareness. Go to Resende beach, inhale the beautiful scenery, close your eyes and feel your body become calmer with every inhalation.

8. Peeling with the sand
Our skin needs to be exfoliated at times to remove dead cells. The wet grit of sand is a perfect mixture of delicate and rough so a full-body scrub results in a glowing appearance. And pss! Your tan will lasts longer on a freshly peeled skin.

9. Laugh a lot
Laughter is the best medicine! It decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, as well as improving your resistance to disease.

10. Dance the night away
Bahia is known as the place where people dance in the streets on every corner. Take off your sandals and shake your body to happy samba tunes or grab a partner and spin around while dancing Forró.

Reiki in Itacaré

By: Bella Papadopoulou

Some call it energy, others call it magic. Whatever the word, it’s no longer a secret that Reiki is beneficial form of alternative healing that can lead to a balanced and harmonic mind and body – and thereby life.

I first met Lala in Itacaré and when I found out she was a Level II Reiki practitioner, I was curious to try it out. Lala left hectic New York a few months back in an effort to alter her lifestyle and enjoy living in a warmer climate. She initially planned to visit Itacaré for two weeks and has been here for nearly six months now. She claims it to be a tropical paradise with a magical vibe.

”Itacaré is loaded with creative energy. People that live here are artists or creative types. They paint, dance, make art in various mediums, surf, skate, juggle, and even work with food” Lala says.

Lala herself was enchanted with Reiki a few years back when she was running a busy cafe-restaurant in New York City, and found herself totally worn out after a long day with eight more hours until closing. When a former employee offered her a Reiki session she accepted happily. What happened after their brief session was incredible.

”It was as if my battery was re-charged. I went from being a tired business owner into a happy host full of energy for the event that followed.” Lala says.

This intrigued me even more. Truth is that I was not sure what Reiki actually was and along with several others, I thought it was a mix of hokus-pokus and massage.

”In a Reiki session, I do nothing really. I’m only a channel through which universal energy flows. This energy aids in the body healing itself” Lala explains.

I followed Lala to her space where the sessions take place, I walked into the incense-smelling room and the spa-feeling kicked in right away. I laid down on the massage table and she asked me to close my eyes and relax. Slowly she placed her palms on my head, chest, stomach, belly and back. I began to feel a burning and vibrating sensation on the areas that Lala placed her palms and I could feel my body dozing off into a deep relaxation.

”Reiki helps to restore balance to the body. We are all made up of energy and Reiki helps unblock energy caused by stress, poor lifestyle choices, and accidents, she says.

After nearly one hour, Lala asked me to open my eyes. I felt like Sleeping Beauty who had slept more than a decade. I stood up and felt more alive than ever as well as inspired and creative. As a plus my knee that had been bothering me for over a month, suddenly was totally fine. I thought to myself: this is magic. Lala agreed and said ”Reiki to me is kind of like magic. It is inexplicable and very personal”.

Just like Reiki, Itacaré is a magical place. If you’ve thought about giving Reiki a try, Itacaré is the place and Lala is the person.

You can find Lala on her phone (+55 73 98104558) or via email ( Hours are flexible and discounts are offered for those who are interested in several sessions.