Salvador is one of Brazil's more popular tourist destinations, and well-served by air. The airport is some 20km out of town. Express buses will take you into town, making a loop through the old city as well as the beach districts. Bus costs about 5 Real (in may 2006) and leaves from one block past Praca Municipal off Av Chile.
Salvador's long-distance bus station is in the middle of the new city. You can take express coaches, taxis (roughly R$25), or local buses to the old town.
Salvador is on the agenda for some cruise ships, including the Queen Elizabeth II. Note that the docks area can be dangerous.
The old city center can be easily explored on foot. To get between the upper and lower sections, take the Elevador Lacerda or the cable car. The streets between the two are considered dangerous even during the day.
City buses, as in other Brazilian cities, are constant and confusing. Fares are normally R$1.50, with air-con "expresses" (really no more express than any other bus!) charging R$3 or R$4. Remember to board in the back!
Know your landmarks and neighborhood names. Any large shopping will have a complementary frequented bus stop, and the major intracity terminal, Lapa, is next to Shopping Lapa. If you are trying to make your way out of Pelourinho, you can either take the Elevador Lacerda down to the Comercio and find buses for just about every route, or walk to the Praca da Sé bus stop just south of the elevator, which has a much smaller selection of buses passing through.
Buses are safe to ride at night, as long as you are on a frequented (i.e. coastal) route and dress/act inconspicuously. Service stops at midnight and begins again around 5:30 or 6 a.m.
Salvador cab drivers must be competing with those in Rio for spots on Formula 1 racing teams. They will certainly get you where you're going quicker than the bus! However, as buses stop running after midnight, do be prepared to haggle quite a bit with taxistas who refuse to use the meter, especially if you've decided to explore far from your bed.