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- Main Square
- First Beach
- Second Beach
- Third Beach
- Fourth Beach
- Encanto Beach
- Porto de Cima ...
- Ponta da Pedra ...
- Gamboa Beach
- Harbor and ...
- Fonte Grande
- Lighthouse Hill
- Garapuá Beach
- Boipeba Island
- Ponta do Curral
- Fort Beach
- The Fortress
- The Lighthouse
- Inside Morro de ...
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- General ...
Morro de Sao Paulo Destination Guide
From the simple fishing village that Morro de São Paulo was in the 1980's, it has became the preferred destination for many tourists from Brazil and around the world. With beautiful beaches and wonderful natural landscapes, and welcoming Morro de Sao Paulo hotels, the island is a refuge for those that desire natural beauty and a good party. This is the kind of place to relax during the day, or set out on a tour of Morro de Sao Paulo and then take it up a notch once the sun sets.
The nightlife festivities will certainly cheer up tourists and normally the hottest parties happen in high season (December to the end of Carnival). Though it is a mistake to think that the low season (April-June) is a bore, since you will discover on your Morro de Sao Paulo tour that everyday is a holiday in Morro de São Paulo.
Morro's favourite drinks are roskas, which are cocktails made from tropical fruits and mixed with crushed sugar, ice and vodka. The variety of roskas in Morro is as numerous as the fruits in Brazil.
This Morro de Sao Paulo destination guide gives a basic rundown of the many tourist attractions in Morro de Sao Paulo. A great way to explore the village is by taking a Morro de Sao Paulo tour. For some general information about travelling to Brazil visit our Brazil country guide.
Morro de São Paulo gathers attractions and activities for all audiences. For those who like to enjoy the natural beauty, there are several types of beaches: from the quiet and desert to crowded and buzzing with life. All the beaches have beautiful scenery with clear waters and white sand. From the First to the Fifth beach, one will see several sports and activities being practiced.
The most popular beaches have a numerical sequence name like: First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth beach. Of these, Second Beach is the hottest, Fourth and Fifth beaches are virtually deserted except for some hotels located on the site. Besides these beaches, there are others which are frequented close to the village or neighbouring islands. After sunning on the beach, you can hit up some touristic sites to learn about the rich past of the village.
Follow the links to the right or scroll further down the page for details on some of the many interesting tourist attractions in Morro de Sao Paulo:
Previously, when tourism had not started yet, Morro de São Paulo had only one street and deserted beaches. It was on this street that stood the little restaurants and the native’s houses. Today, the town grew up and the main street “Caminho da Praia” along with “Praça Aureliano Lima”, have a diverse range of bars, restaurants, pousadas, shops, supermarket, pharmacy and cyber cafes.
The central part of Morro de São Paulo is formed by the village and the streets that are in their vicinity as the “Fonte Grande and “Biquinha”. It is on this part where the concentration of the trades and the movement of tourists are. Besides the beaches, it is where are several hotels, pousadas and restaurants, there is the area inhabited mostly by locals. Are neighborhoods of Mangaba, Lagoa, Vila Nossa Senhora da Luz and Zimbo.
At the village the busiest places are on the main street, called the “Caminho da Praia” and “Praça Aureliano Lima” and they are only five minutes away from the harbour, just after the pier’s ramp. Unpaved or even transit of cars. At night the square is even more charming with the handicraft market and the look of the mansion lit. The mansion (Casarão) is the oldest house in Morro, now transformed into a pousada and a warm front restaurant. Even in the square, there is Foom’s pastries, an Argentine who lives in Morro de São Paulo for over than 15 years and he is known by many tourists who come to the island. Besides the delicious pastries, he cheers up the town’s night with his guitar and drumming that follows a night inside.
As the main beaches of Morro de Sao Paulo are called by a numerical order, the First Beach starts this sequence of natural beauty. Only five minutes away from the village and it is one of the most frequented beaches by residents.
With about 300 meters long, has a few stalls and at high tide the sandy stretch is small. It is the favorite beach for those who enjoy adrenaline, inasmuch as the “Pedra do Moleque”, it is the place where the locals use to surf; tiroleza and the banana boat.
This beach is the most crowded in the island, during the day or night. It is only 300 meters long. It is an awesome place for playing volleyball, racket ball and soccer, snorkeling or just perfect for sun bathing and watching people going by during the day. There are several bars and restaurants and countless shade umbrellas and lounge chairs, which you may rent or use for free if you become a costumer as they belong. At night there are stands selling caipirinhas made with all kinds of exotic fruit - and live music. There may be parties at the beach or at the bars, either way they usually last until morning. Often the stragglers from the evening meet the first early birds in the morning.
Despite being located next to the busiest beach of Morro de São Paulo, the Third Beach can be a quieter beach. The first half of the beach is very urbanized with restaurants, pousadas and a small business. The second half is pretty quiet, with few hotels and a large green area. At low tide many reefs appears and it is one of the best places for diving in Morro de São Paulo called Ilha do Caitá. It is on the Third Beach where the airstrip from Addey’s Company is and also the starting point for the boats that make the tour “Trip Around the Islad”.
It is the largest beach in Morro de São Paulo with about five kilometers long. At the beginning of the beach there are two restaurants where people flow is bigger, the rest is quite calm. It is also called "beach pools" by having natural pools where the tourists dives between several fishes. There are a few hotels along the beach and to get to these hotels there is transfer that departure from the Second Beach, the road is parallel to the coast.
It is indicated for who wants to be isolate in a beautiful landscape comprised of a wide strip of sand on one side with a huge coconut trees and other clear and calm water.
This is the most well preserved beach on the island. You can reach it by walking from Fourth Beach, where there is a passage through a small mangrove. At high tide you need to cross a small creek to get there. This beach is under strong influence of the tides: during low tide the sand strip is as wide as 300 metres, but disappears at high tide. There are some mangroves on this beach, which makes for an interesting walk during low tide. Here are some of the best spots for snorkelling, especially for the most experienced.
One of the most secret beach of Morro de São Paulo and that most tourists know only when they are crossing to reach Gamboa’s Town, once it is on the way. The Porto de Cima Beach starts right after the harour bridge ends. At low tide, is visible several rocks and reefs, forming natural pools. The strip of sand is narrow and in the case of high tide, walk along the beach becomes more difficult. It has no infrastructure, just a restaurant that is currently closed and some native homes. It's the perfect beach to relax under the shade of vegetation and enjoy the quietness of the beach.
The Ponta da Pedra Beach is after Porto de Cima Beach. This place is also a very quiet and preserved beach. It is usually frequented only by locals and tourists who cross it to reach Gamboa Beach. It has no structure, only a few homes of residents and the Yacht Club which is disabled. The pier in front of the Yacht Club becomes a springboard for kids and for fishermen who spend the day on the site.
The access to Gamboa Beach can be done by boat that depart from the Morro de São Paulo harbour or a walk lasting about 25 minutes, passing by Porto de Cima Beach and Ponta da Pedra. On the way, there is a great wall of clay, which they say has natural properties that are good for skin.
Along the way, Gamboa Beach has a wide strip of sand and the sea is calm, but sometimes the water has a darker shade because the meeting with Taperoá Channel that makes access to the city of Valencia. At the beginning of the beach there is a Club of Sail, where it is possible to rent many types of vessels for navigation and under supervision of a professional. In another passage, called the Praia Linda, there are several stalls tourists taste the typical delicacies and spend the day enjoying the beach.
A twenty minute walk along the Tip of the Rock Beach takes you to the town of Gamboa. For many years, Gamboa seemed to be very far from Morro de Sao Paulo. This was primarily because Gamboa lacked the tourist activity and development Morro de Sao Paulo enjoyed. The international influence of the neighbouring town continues to elude Gamboa and even today it is a peaceful fishing village. This is perhaps the reason that inhabitants of this village decided to move to Gamboa and decided to build their houses.
The majority of the islanders live in Gamboa and this is just the place to experience the local life of native islanders. There are a few inns and pousadas also. Lately, the infrastructure is improving and there are also some good restaurants which serve regional cuisine. But all this has not altered Gamboa‘s serene atmosphere. There are tourists who prefer the serenity and calmness of Gamboa and come and stay here. When they decide they want some action on their holiday, they simply go across to Morro.
Every person who arrives on the island by sea come through the harbor, it means, departures from Salvador, Valencia or Gamboa. For those who do not know yet Morro de São Paulo, when they hear the term "porto", just imagine a huge dock, those where large landing ships. The Morro de São Paulo Harbor is just a bridge which people land and also goods that supply the shops on the island arrives. The movement is intense throughout the day.
And sometimes it seems like a public market, because the flow of shippers who move with their wheelbarrows piled with boxes and suitcases. Despite all this flow of people and goods, there is no problem at the time of landing, as the company been responsible for port queues to organize the arrival and departure of people.
The Tapirandu Fortress or fort as the natives and residents of Morro de São Paulo called it, the construction started in 1630 and served to defend the “Baia de Todos os Santos” against the Dutch invasion. By that time which was in full operation, it had 51 pieces of artillery, an army of 183 men and was considered one of the largest fortifications in Brazil. Today on the ruins and the site has being restored and is one of the best places to enjoy the sunset.
The "big fountain" was the first water treatment plant of colonial Brazil - basically a decantation system for rain water and also the water from a small stream. Until the 70's there was no piped water on the island, and each family had to fetch water at this location. The waterspouts were also used for bathing and there were different times for women and men. The street which gives access to the Fonte Grande can give you an idea of how the locals live - since this place is not very touristy. Don't worry, you can enter any alley, it is totally safe here.
It is the first famous place that you can see in Morro de São Paulo when you are coming by sea. The lighthouse was built in 1855 and it is the best place to enjoy an overview from Morro. For this reason, in the past was used as a strategic point of defense for the island. The access to the lighthouse is by the trail that starts in front of the church and to reach the lighthouse, the paths are divided: there is a north-facing and there is a harbour view, Ponta do Curral and Gamboa and the other is directed to the south, where it is possible to see the First to the Third Beach. It is at the Lighthouse Hill where the tiroleza is, the largest tiloreza underwater adventure in Brazil which has 340 meters long and 70 meters height and falls straight into the First Beach shore.
Garapuá has a beautiful beach that differentiates itself from other beaches in the archipelago for failing to corals on the seabed, only sand. Virtually deserted beach measures about two kilometers and along the beach has palm trees, wide strip of sand and deep water, perfect for swimming.
To reach Garapuá there are four ways: renting a speedboat takes approximately one hour, with the tour "Trip Around The Island", which takes the tourists to the natural pools of Garapuá and therefore can leave it on the shore or by tractor or 4x4 car, departures from Morro de São Paulo from the Second Beach and the trip vary from 40 minutes until 1:30. The most brave and adventures can reach Garapuá walking, but in this case is fundamental a guide company. The track, surrounded by the rainforest, is approximately six kilometers long. Despite the difficult access, the beach is one of the most beautiful island and worth a visit!
The Boipeba Island, Morro de São Paulo, Cairú and 26 other islands form the archipelago of Tinharé. Boipeba, Cairu and Morro de São Paulo are the only inhabited ones. Boipeba is at south of the archipelago with good pousadas, restaurants and many natural beauties, which causes it to be an alternative for those seeking a quiet place with peace and nature.
Boipeba is a magical and fascinate. It has quiet beaches and recommended to people whose seeking to escape the bustle and enjoy the untouched nature. It has the same structure found in Morro de São Paulo, and still offering many options of good pousadas and restaurants which satisfy tourists perfectly. The village of Old Boipeba is the largest and also the one that shows more structure with B&B, restautant and trade in general. At the Moreré Village, where the beach has the same name, is quiet and more reserved. The Boca da Barra beach (near the Old Boipeba town) is where the tour "Trip Around The Island” stops for lunch and have also good restaurants. The following beach from Boca da Barra beach is Tassimirim which is practically deserted, with breathtaking scenery: surrounded by coconut trees and a green sea due to the reef bottom. The reserved Ponta dos Castelhanos and Cova da Onça are also beautiful and where the only thing you going to find is nature. Now, Coeira is the only beach in Boipeba with waves and also “Seu Guido” adress, a famous open-air restaurant on the island that sells delicious lobster and it is another stop on the tour "Trip Around The Island".
To go to Boipeba one option is Air Taxi from Salvador and generally stopover in Morro for approximate 40 minutes. From Valencia or Torrinhas by boats and barges, and the time depends on the type of vessel and the departure point, and another option is a "Trip Around the Island" that departures daily from Morro de São Paulo. For those who choose this trip, departure from Morro, will have a chance to visit the natural pools in Garapuá and Moreré, one of the ideal stops for snorkel and see colorful fish that make the tourists very pleases. And also you have the privilege of a bar on the high seas at your disposal. If you return with "Trip Around the Island" to Morro de São Paulo, you going to visit Cairú and a famous monastery of Santo. Antonio, one of the oldest within the country.
A semi deserted beach that belongs to a private farm and is quite inhabited only by the few homes of employees who works in the farm. It is located opposite the Morro de São Paulo and was the first site to receive cattle in Brazil in 1557. Daily tourists who make a tour on "Pirate Boat" visit Ponta do Curral and itinerary also includes a visit to Gamboa and Medicinal Clay. This tour is free for those who make a hotel reservation within WHL service.
Morro de São Paulo is famous for be a busy place. Usually there are parties every day and sometimes more than a party at the same night. A few years ago, a schedule, organized by the nightclubs owners, established a specific event for each day of the week. But nowadays, it does not happen often and is worth more parties in more than one place on the island at the same time. Most parties happens in nightclubs (Pulsar, Toca and Ponta da Ilha), in bars and luau on Second Beach, the famous beach in Morro.
Occasionally there are also festivals in other places like Gamboa, where happens the "full moon parties". The sound that inspires tourists and residents from Morro is eclectic and ranges from Brazilian music, electronic, hip hop and axé (brazilian rythm). The festivities start around midnight and rarely end before sunrise.
Garapuá is located after the Fifth Beach and it is apart from Boipeba Island by a mangrove swamp. A small fishing village where the inhabitants live primarily from fishing. The tourist infrastructure is undeveloped and there are few hotels and restaurants, but a visit to one of these establishments is essential. In addition to home cooking, the restaurants serve regional cuisine with a wide variety of seafood.
The beach by the Fortress in Morro is called the Fort Beach. It appears only during low tide as a narrow strip of land. There are natural swimming pools in this area that are ideal both for swimming and snorkelling. You can reach this beach from the end of the fortress ruins.
In 1630, the then governor of Morro Diogo Luiz e Oliveira ordered the construction of a fortress to guard the island against any possible attacks. The canal around it was strategically quite effective. Later in 1728, the Count of Sabugosa renovated the fort to brave the attacks led by the French naval officer, called Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon.
The Lighthouse was built in 1855 and is just the right place to get a bird's eye view of Morro. This was also the reason why it was already used as a defence structure for the island, as it presented a good view of the area around the island.
After crossing the bridge, visitors pass through the Gateway, which is located just before the ramp that leads to the village and is part of Tapirandu Fortress, built in the 17th century. At the end of the ramp, on the left side is the “Igreja Nossa Senhora da Luz” and the staircase of the temple serves as a break to rest for many tourists and residents arriving breathless. Now, on the right side, is the access road to the lighthouse, from there it is possible to enjoy one of the most beatifull landscape in Morro de São Paulo, and see the First, Second and Third Beach from there.
The beaches are equipped with several tables and these are so convenient that you can have a drink, a take a bite, read a book or merely relax by the sea. Near the small bay is a reef which has mild waves coming in.
Here comes some prices, to help you to have an ideia how much you going to spend in your trip:
- A simple lunch R$ 20 per person
- A dinner in a good restaurant R$ 70 (a couple)
- A room in a basic pousada in low season: R$ 120,00
- The same room in January and February: R$ 180,00
- The same room during the New Year holiday: R$ 300,00
- Half-day trip: R$ 30 to 50 per person
- Full-day trip: R$ 50 to 180 per person
- Regular boat to Valença: R$ 6,00
- Speed-boat to Valença: R$ 14,00
- Boat trip to Salvador: R$ 75,00
- Plane trip to Salvador: R$ 231,00
- Island Fee (paid at the entrance): R$ 10,00
All those rates are only for your information, we only trade trips and accommodations. Rates can be changed without any previous advise.
The tides vary greatly in Morro de São Paulo. It takes a little over six hours to rise and the same amount to fall. Each day the cycle occurs 50 minutes later and at the end of a week the tides are inverted. During weeks of full and new moons the low tide happens in the morning and high tide in the afternoon. It is the other way around during half moon weeks. The intertidal zone may exceed a couple of metres, so it is a good idea to ask about the tides of the day before you go out exploring the island!
Before traveling to Morro de São Paulo is important to know some information that can facilitate your trip. The grid is 220V and most hotels, if you need so, has adapters available for 110V. There is internet connection and cell phone coverage, and some pousadas and hotels has computers as facilities. In addition there are cyber-cafes and public telephones.
Most establishments accept credit cards, but it's also good to prevent bringing cash, as may lack energy, which is common on the island, or small places that do not accept credit cards. There are no bank branch in Morro de São Paulo, but there are three ATM’s: two from Bradesco and one from Banco do Brasil, where it is possible withdrawal, even with international cards. The exchange rate of U.S. Dollar and Euro is relatively easy, despite the values on the island are smaller than those applied in large cities such as Salvador. Only Travellers Cheques will not usually be replaced.