Went there for the third time with my wife and her grandma, and I was really sorry to see that only one family, besides us, was touring around the place, that hosts a good visiting center and a parking lot for at least thirty cars.
It's a little far from the beach - you need to go through a 2km red dirt road, in good conditions - but that alone can't be the reason for its emptiness.
The ruins are very impressive for anyone interested in the Americas history. The building is reportedly the only "medieval castle in America" and from there Garcia D'Avila - its owner - ran an absurdly large property, spanning more than 1000km from Bahia to Maranhão. The construction began in 1551 and it is one of the oldest structures still standing in Brazil.
The chapel was restored and the rest was preserved but kept as a ruin. The result is a beautiful contrast. The place is on top of a hill, surrounded by palm trees and allows great views from the upper floor, that covers a few kilometers of beaches.
Since nobody was there, the bar was closed and the guides were available. The entrance is expensive, but I think it's a fair price to preserve the structure. Probably the insufficient adiversiting is responsible for the lack of visitors - But don't be afraid, the place is perfectly safe and well kept by its staff. I definitely recommend it as a glimpse a history in an otherwise "beaches-and-sun-and-relaxation" destination.
I'm pretty sure it deserves to be at least in a tentative list to became a World Heritage Site, because of its importance to the colonization of northeastern Brazil in the mid 16th century.
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