Along much of this coast, small fishing villages that celebrate their rich cultural heritage dot hundreds of miles of unspoiled beaches. While large-scale development has begun to encroach, ecological reserves keep it in check.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Some small coastal communities are working fishing villages; Other are retreats for urbanites. Hammocks abound, hung between palm trees. Unfortunately, tourism has brought drugs and other vices to the area, and some locals can be pushy with their offers."
"The beaches and coastline can be stunning—more due to access difficulties than anything else. In more populated areas (such as those near Salvador) beach development is relatively uncontrolled and is starting to resemble the worst parts of Spain."
"Bahia offers large resorts, hip jet-set beaches, and long stretches of paradisiacal virgin beaches. Areas like Trancoso are prime examples of how to maintain cultural integrity. Around Salvador, irresponsible resort development has completely changed the natural and cultural scenario. The Bahian coast risks de-characterization and overdevelopment in the long term."