Meet the beautiful people, stars & European aristos


If you’re looking for a  white-sandy-beach paradise, with beautiful, cool people from all over the world, glamorous and fashionable, yet laid-back and seemingly untouched by mass-tourism, your place is Trancoso. The picturesque beach town with its tiny colourful houses is situated in Bahia, Brazil, where the Portuguese explorers first arrived in 1500.

From that time until not that long ago, this tiny village surrounded by tropical forest seemed to have been forgotten by the rest of the world. In the 70’s, some hippies fell in love with the wonderful beaches and they were soon followed by young artists looking for an alternative way of life. The locals, mainly fishermen and Indians, got along very well with the newly arrived; Brazilians, Italians, Argentinians and French, together they created their own paradise, isolated and unspoiled by the modern world as there were no roads and electricity only arrived in the 80’s.

Amazing sandy beaches and clear blue sea in Trancoso, Bahia

The heart of Trancoso is the “Quadrado”, which means: the square. The Unesco protected historical square, actually, a lawn rectangle, is delimited by little houses, which used to be fishermen’s cottages, painted in bright colours and aligned on each side of the Quadrado, and at the far end, a simple white church. Passing the church you will arrive at the white cliffs and down there, you'll see the longest stretch of sand and a sea so clear you won’t believe it. 

The colourful houses on the picturesque Quadrado, the heart of Trancoso

The Quadrado comes alive in the evening, with plenty of wonderful restaurants, beautiful shops with cool Brazilian design and local artisans’ work, many bars with communal tables in the square where you can mingle with not only the rich and beautiful Paulistas and Cariocas, but also with Hollywood stars such as Matthew McConaughey and Will Smith, singer Beyoncé and models Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell to name just a few. The American journalist Anderson Cooper built a house in this wonderful spot, the former creative director of Diesel, Dutch fashion designer Wilbert Das, owns a hotel and spa on the Quadrado, and the Franco-Italian fashion designer and executive, Countess Georgina Brandolini d’Adda, lives between Trancoso and Geneva.

Despite all its famous guests, the atmosphere in this little beach village remains extremely laid-back and carefree, and this is perhaps what is so magical about Trancoso.

We interviewed Sonia Franco do Amaral da Silva Prado, a charming socialite who moved from São Paulo to Trancoso a few years ago and owns the stunning beachfront hotel, Pousada Tangará:

Sonia Franco do Amaral da Silva Prado with Pataxos indians and a friend in Trancoso

When did you move to Bahia and why?

In 2010, when I turned 60 years old. I learned that when you’re 60, in India you start a new life. So I said to myself: let’s start it!

Why have you chosen Trancoso? What’s so special about this place?

Maktub! Energy, it’s a magic place.

Did you plan to open a hotel? Did you have any experience before?

Never! And no, I had no experience …haha!

Deck by the beach at the stunning hotel Pousada Tangara, in Trancoso

Was it easy to go from living in a huge metropolis like São Paulo to living in a small beach town?

Trancoso is only one hour & a half by plane from São Paulo, so you can have both.

What are the Pros and Cons of living in Trancoso?

It’s a matter of choices.

What are your favourite spots in Trancoso?

The Quadrado, the beaches, the small shops, restaurants Jacaré do Brasil, Maritaca, sushi and many more!

Pousada Tangara beach and chaise-longues bar in Trancoso

What should we avoid in Trancoso?

The sun, burning! Haha

What’s the best time of the year to go to Bahia?

April and May.

What should we pack and what shouldn’t we, when going to Trancoso?

pack: Havaianas

Don’t pack: cell phones

What kind of people can we expect to meet in Trancoso? And at your hotel?

New people! That’s a surprise.

One of the rooms at Tangara with the typical bright colours and style of Trancoso

In your opinion, what’s the perfect guest?

All the people who want to become my friends :)

And what’s the most annoying type of guest?

We try to look at the shining side of the guests, it’s easier.

If you could choose, who would be the one person you would love to receive at Tangara and why?

My Dad! Because he was lovely.

Who’s the most interesting guest you’ve had so far?

This will always remain a secret ;)

What can we expect when we go to your Pousada Tangara?

Warm sea & Winds of peace.

The breath-taking coast of Trancoso, in Bahia

Living in such a beach paradise, where do you go on your holidays?

Everywhere! Last June I was in Mongolia, the heart of Central Asia, Gobi Desert, I had a chance to sleep in a Ger under the stars, amazing!

If Trancoso did not exist, where would you like to live and why?

Really, I don’t think about it…But right now, maybe in a small village on the Alps.

Photos via Tangará and Trancoso