Trancoso is a town in the municipality of Porto Seguro in the state of Bahia, Brazil. The region was the landing point of the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Alvares Cabral onto Brazil, on April 21, 1500. It was founded by Jesuit Priests on 1583, with the name São João Baptista dos Indios.
Shaped as a rectangle, the village retains the original style of its housing architecture. It is famous for its beaches, such as Praia dos Nativos, Praia dos Coqueiros and Praia do Espelho. In recent years the location has been developed by the hotel industry, including the French Club Mediterranée, which has boosted real estate value.
The federal Ministry of the Environment is currently expanding several National Parks and Natural Reserves nearby with the goal of preserving remaining areas of Atlantic Rain Forest. In addition, Trancoso is located at the starting point of a state Environmental Protection Area, the APA Caraíva-Trancoso, whose goal is to curtail touristic and economical development in the region, thereby minimizing negative impacts that may harm this biosphere.
As in most of Brazil, the population is a mixture of native, African and Portuguese or other European descendants. In recent years, “winter birds” such as Canadians, Italians, Portuguese, Dutch, Greeks, Israeli, and other have purchased homes, bed and breakfast, restaurants, and stores here or in other Porto Seguro sections, such as Arraial d’Ajuda and eventually settled down in Trancoso.
The main square is known as ‘Quadrado’, although it is rectangular. To its east is a sixteenth-century Catholic Church, São João Batista, dedicated to Saint John, the Baptist.
On January 20, the ‘Quadrado’ is the site of a popular festival honoring Saint Sebastian, during which the locals sing and play drums and guitars. The main verse is: “São Sebastião, hoje chegou o dia. Vimos festejar com toda a alegria!” (Saint Sebastian, your day has arrived. We have come to joyfully celebrate it!)