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Bahia - Salvador Review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

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posts: 111
reviews: 72
 Salvador da Bahia review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide 

Firstly, thank you to all in here that gave me advice around Salvador. We absolutely loved it!!

We were there for three days, and stayed at the Convento do Carmo. We had spent the first day just walking around the Pelurinho district, and window shopping the art stores there. Contrary to popular advice, as long as you're careful and with some common sense, it's perfectly safe----we were told horror stories of how dangerous Salvador is with pickpockets and muggers. Anything but, as long as you're careful not to flash expensive watches and jewelry (afterall...I don't do that in NYC, so why do it elsewhere?).

On the second day, we hired a tour guide to take us around greater Salvador: Ivan Xanthes, Bahia Guide (with official credentials) e-mail :

He was great---we're a family of three, including a 2 1/2 year old toddler. There was no way we could have done all the sites he took us to on our own, especially with a toddler. His rates are really reasonable, well worth every Real. He took us by private car around various sites and marketplaces in Salvador, stopping for breaks when we (or our toddler) wanted to, and then took us to a really great local restaurant where we probably had one of our best meals in Brazil. I'd highly recommend him as a Salvador Guide!

Our third day, we did more walking around Pelurinho, catching a capoeira practice at a school.

Oh---and the place we stayed---Convento do Carmo...AMAZING. Great service, and so much history behind it!

16 replies
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reviews: 13
1. Re: Salvador da Bahia review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide
Destination Expert   What's this?
for Rio de Janeiro


Thank you for the trip and guide report.

It helps the forum immensely to have reports like yours which in turn calm the worries of future travelers to Salvador de Bahia and help them plan their trips to Brasil with confidence.

Safe travels to you!

George B.

posts: 105
2. Re: Salvador da Bahia review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

Thanks for the report. Having traveled with a toddler, I know how much effort it takes to get around Salvador. Please give us more info on the "various sites and marketplaces in Salvador" that were on your tour itinerary, as an inspiration to future travelers. And yes, thanks for presenting a realistic picture of Salvador for those same.

posts: 18
3. Re: Salvador da Bahia review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

We traveled for 16 days through Brazil and Salvador was our second location.

Ivan Xantes was our guide for 2 days and .......due to him we have seen Salvador complete & perfect and just the way we like !!!

Some culture, some introduction of real life, some typical local cuisine, shortly ... the macroscopic acquaintance of a great city and adapted to a little girl from 3 y old!!!

I highly recommend this smart, nice and flexible Salvador guide!!!!

Thank you Ivan, next time we come for you to show us Chapada Diamantina :-)

posts: 3
reviews: 1
4. Re: Salvador da Bahia review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

In the beginning of this year we went to Bahia again.

The first days we stayed at Ivan’s (Bahia Guide) Bed & Breakfast (Pousada Colonial, near the Pelourinho) in the historic center of Salvador da Bahia where we were nicely received and served our wishes by means of several tips and a secure guiding through greater Salvador, in his car.

Then Ivan took us to the National Park of Chapada Diamantina for 5 days where we had a fantastic holyday.

Without Bahia Guide it would have been difficult to see so many beautiful things in such a short time.

After this we were taken to Valença’s harbor where we took a boat to the car-free island of Boipeba.

Anyway we also can only praise Ivan for his good and flexible services, he can be reached via his site or via email at

He spoke Dutch (one of his native languages) with us but underway we noticed he is very good in the local Portuguese as well as in French (the other native language), German and English !

Salvador, BA
posts: 39
5. Re: Salvador da Bahia review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

Thank you all for your kind remarks.

Your appreciations will always fuel me to do better ;-)

Just know it is always a pleasure for me to guide you around in Salvador, Bahia and Chapada Diamantina in the most flexible way possible.

Greetz from the tropIX of Salvador

Ivan Xanthes, Bahia Guide

posts: 11
6. Re: Salvador da Bahia review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

Hello everyone!

I went for the first time to Brasil this summer (in Belgium). We landed in Salvador and Ivan guided us. We also went to Chapada Diamantina, we saw things we never could've dreamed of!!

We want to thank Ivan and his lovely wife, it was like coming home when we were in Salvador. I miss them already!

It's definitely recommended staying with them in Salvador!


Kevin & Melissa

posts: 19
7. Re: Salvador da Bahia review: tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

Me and my girlfriend were in Salvador in November 2011 and we had the chance to meet Ivan, the Salvador Guide

Ivan is friendly, flexible and fun. He took us in many different places with different atmosphere and was careful about our desires. We were really happy and i can assure you that a tour with Ivan totally worth it! It's a different way to discover Salvador and an opportunity to see something else than the Pelourinho and the beaches.

We truly recommend him, it was a pleasure.

san francisco
posts: 1
reviews: 7
8. Re: Salvador tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide


I will be in Salvador next week with my almost four year old daughter. I would love to hear any recommendations you might have?

Thank you.


posts: 111
reviews: 72
9. Re: Review tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

hi Jennifer

We just got back from Salvador with our toddler. It's very kid friendly---there's no worries there. You have two options to stay---one in Barra, the other in Pelourinho. We chose Pelourinho, and in retrospect it was a smart move. Barra is very beach-vibe. Pelo is more historic. I just felt that with our toddler, we were better off in Pelo---less distractions, less noisy, and just safer. We stayed at the Convento---simply AMAZING. But there's other options as well---stay in the historic district itself if you can, and opt for breakfast included----turns out be so useful not having to search for morning meals with a little toddler in tow. Also, strollers are a moot point there---unless you have one of those that has large wheels. The cobblestone streets make taking a stroller really hard. There are a few convenient stores that sell milk, fresh fruit, cereals, etc, that you may want to first map out from your hotel . Have your toddler drink water from a bottle only, despite what they say about safe drinking water. Just safer---and really not worth the risk considering bottled water is about US$1. It's hot as hell in the afternoon----carry a hat for the toddler, sunscreen, and bug repellent. Light clothing helps too. Avoid walking around late at night (we really didn't walk around past 9pm). And obviously, don't flash around jewelry, watches, and a high end camera at night.

If you want to take a tour (which we did----I'd highly recommend it, since with a toddler , it's nearly impossible to go around everywhere on your own), I'd recommend a private tour. We tried mass market ones before, and with our toddler, it's hard to keep up with strict schedules. Personally, I'd pay a bit more, and have the luxury of our own private tour and car, meeting the schedules and whim of the toddler (afterall...if they have a bad day, so will you). Ivan is amazing as a guide----I posted his contact above. His rates are very reasonable as well.

san francisco
posts: 2
reviews: 6
9. Re: Review tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

My four year old daughter and i recently spent four days in Salvador. We stayed at the Convento do Carmo and no thanks to them or their staff, we had an amazing time in Salvador!

Traveling alone with a child is always challenging and then add to that all of the warnings surrounding visited Salvador, I was a bit nervous. After much research I decided to contact Ivan to inquire about airport transfers, tours and advice. His initial emails were prompt and informative. He recommended a show for my daughter and I that was the highlight of our entire stay in Brazil

Where to begin. HE WAS AMAZING - in every aspect. He was right there waiting for us when we deplaned. The next morning he picked us up right on time and took us to all the sites I had asked for and then others he suggested!

He then informed me that he had done some his research to find some activities geared toward my daughter. He picked us up the following day and drove us to the zoo and then to the museum where they were offering a children's art day.

I mentioned to him that I wanted to go out one night and he agreed to accompany my daughter and I to a concert nearby our hotel.

He was so wonderful - above and beyond - with my daughter. Carrying her, and always aware of her needs - bathroom breaks, heat, etc.

His prices were very fair and I felt 110% safe with him. With, or without children, I would encourage anyone going to Salvador to contact him!

posts: 2
reviews: 1
10. Re: Review tour guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

On one of the last days of our six weeks trip we did a one day city tour in Salvador with Ivan ( and had a great time. Fully flexible he showed us the parts where he thought we would be interested in. With his deep knowledge of sailing, cooking and arts he is able to give you a thorough inside into both the history as well as modern life in Salvador. A good choice for anybody who wants to Salvador from a different angle...

Tanja and Martijn

posts: 1
reviews: 2
11. Re: Review guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

We thoroughly enjoyed a city tour with Salvador Guide Ivan in the picturesque city of Salvador, Brazil.

He is a very competent guide and took all our request in consideration and provided us with a real good insight to the people, culture, history and architecture of Salvador. We highly recommend him as a guide and would hire him again if our travel plans will take us back to the Bahia.

The Hague...
posts: 1
12. Re: Review guide Ivan - Bahia Guide

Just before the Salvador Carnival started, we were just in time for a Salvador day-tour with our Belgium friend Ivan. We liked it very much and experienced Salvador in a way we never could without Ivan. He really knows a lot of the town and brings you to the best places. I highly recommend Ivan for your Salvador and/or Bahia tours.


Jim, Jurienne, Peter

posts: 2
reviews: 24
13. Salvador review: Bahia Guide

Thanks to all the posts we decided to book Ivan as our tour guide in Salvador, and we were very happy that we did. First of all he speaks several languages flawlessly (portuguese, english, french, dutch and german), he picks you up at your hotel early in the morning and drives you around the city so you can visit several turistic and some local places so you can get to know Salvador's history and their culture. His rates are reasonable and he is very pleasant. Would definitely recommend him to anyone. One last thing, he can also pick you up or drive you back to the airport which is what we decided to do, and what I would suggest, since we were tricked or robbed by several taxi drivers who drove us around in circles or made up fares and did not use a meter; it is also cheaper than the taxi fare that taxi drivers charge you from or to the airport.

Haifa, Israel
posts: 14
reviews: 17
14. day tour company guide

We decided to hire Ivan Xanthes as a guide to help us make the most of the only 1 day we could spend in Salvador and also because we were quite worried about the safety reputation of the town, especially since we wanted to take photos and make video and were told keep the cameras in the backpack. We enjoyed very much the sights he chose for the tour and the day with him was very pleasant and interesting. Without him and the private transport we couldn't have seen so much in such a short time. Also, as he said, he was "our eyes" and we felt safe all the time, camera and camcorder included. We warmly recommend him as a guide in Salvador.

You can contact him at:

posts: 8,634
reviews: 18
15. Salvador private guide

Ivan has been around for a while and generally receives good recommendations:

Houston, Texas...
posts: 406
reviews: 50
16. day tour company guide

Ivan did seem pleasant. Also, he seems to be able to handle the region around Salvador maybe more than the typical Salvador guide.