Ilhéus is a major city located in the southern coastal region of Bahia, Brazil, 430 km south of Salvador, the state's capital. The city was originally founded in 1534 as Vila de São Jorge dos Ilhéus and is known as one of the most important tourism centers of the northeast of Brazil.
The city's economy is based mainly on tourism, as a result of its beaches and cultural heritage that includes early Portuguese buildings, history and culinary distinctions, which bring to the city many Brazilian and foreign tourists. Ilhéus has approximately 222,000 inhabitants, with an area of 1850 km sq, and its downtown is located 1 km away from the Atlantic Ocean. Once one of the biggest exporters of cocoa beans, the city depends almost entirely on tourism.
Ilhéus is also the hometown of Jorge Amado, the best known and most popular writer in Brazil. He wrote over 25 novels, which were translated into 48 languages and stayed on bestseller lists in 52 countries. His novels like Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands portray life and customs in the Northeastern region of Brazil. The plots of these and his other major works largely treat the lives of poor urban and rural black and mulatto communities of Bahia, as well as the land wars that raged in Ilhéus, where cocoa barons killed each other for power and cocoa plantations.