Ilheus, Brazil

Ilhéus is a colonial city in Bahía, on the Brazilian Atlantic coast. If you suddenly feel hungry arriving in Ilhéus, it may be because of the aroma of chocolate. The city used to be the biggest exporter of cacao beans, and the crop is still produced here. A visit to a cacao farm is interesting. The town itself now thrives on tourism, attracting vacationers from all over South America to the more than a dozen beaches stretching along its coastline. There are plenty of colonial and historic era buildings to explore, including the 17th century Sao Jorge de Ilhéu church and the more modern, but very impressive Sao Sebastião cathedral. The Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado was a native, and his novels were set here, so naturally there is a museum of his heritage. The venerable Bar Vesuvio, which figures in his books, is still open in town.