Walking into the small hippie village in Arembepe, located about 30 km north-east of Salvador de Bahia in northern Brazil, feels like going back in time. There are no roads, just sandy paths that get uncomfortably hot under the blazing sun; there’s no electricity, so only the stars and the moon light the way at night; and everyone who lives there identifies as a hippie.
The tiny village is lined by the cool and calm Capivara River on one side and the raging Atlantic Ocean on the other, turning it into a sort of island with diverse and spectacular views and plenty of swimming spots. The locals fish in the natural pools left between the corals at low tide, they sell handmade jewelry and crafts to the tourists who walk around the small communal market in the centre of town, and talk about poetry and music as the slow, warm breeze brings the smell of salt to the thatched-roof houses.
The town gained notoriety in the early 1970s when singer Janis Joplin travelled there after being kicked out of her Rio hotel, allegedly for swimming naked in the pool. Locals told me the small house pictured below, located on the crest of a hill overlooking the ocean on one side and the rivers and mountains to the other, is where the legendary artist stayed. It’s said that Janis’ hit Summertime was inspired by her time in Arembepe.