Santo Amaro da Purificação, located about 73 kilometres (45 mi) from the city of Salvador, was formerly established as a sugar production center and now contains the historic remnants of its past, including its most famous church, the Igreja Matriz Santo Amaro da Purificação. Other historic structures include the remains of the mansions of former sugar barons and a municipal palace built in 1769. The area is noted for its nearby beautiful beaches, the Falls of Vitória, and the grotto of Bom Jesus dos Pobres. The town features prominently in the novel The War of the Saints by Jorge Amado.
According to the Brazilian Census of 2010, Santo Amaro is 77% Roman Catholic, 22% Evangelical, and 1% Spiritist. The statistics do not take into account Candomblé practitioners. Santo Amaro has both a large number of Candomblé terreiros (60) and a long tradition of religious syncretism between Candomblé and Roman Catholicism.