After Cachoeira, the coast becomes swampy and by the time you get to VALENÇA you’re in mangrove country. Fortunately, though, instead of alligators, the swamps are dominated by shellfish of all kinds, most of them edible. Valença lies on the banks of the Rio Una, about 10km from the sea, at the point where the river widens into a delta made up of dozens of small islands, most of which support at least a couple of fishing villages. At one time the town was an industrial centre – the first cotton factory in Brazil was built here – but it has long since reverted to fishing and boat building. Today, it’s also an increasingly popular destination for tourists from Salvador – mainly as a stop-off point for the nearby island resort of Morro de São Paulo and the pristine beaches of Ilha de Boipeba – but the town is not yet over-commercialized.

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