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 : firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!