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Morro de Sao Paulo

Morro de Sao Paulo

Portaló de Morro de Sao Paulo
Forte de Morro de Sao Paulo
Fortaleza de Morro de Sao Paulo
Vila de Morro de Sao Paulo
Noite de Morro de Sao Paulo
Pôr-do-sol em Morro de Sao Paulo
Vista aérea de Morro de Sao Paulo
Segunda Praia de Morro de Sao Paulo
O Casarão de Morro de Sao Paulo
Farol do Morro
Primeira Praia de Morro de Sao Paulo
Vista Aérea de Primeira Praia
Arrecifes de coral em Morro de Sao Paulo
Segunda Praia ou da Saudade
Praias de Morro de Sao Paulo
Terceira Praia
Paisagem de Morro de Sao Paulo
Quarta Praia de Morro de Sao Paulo
Cartão Postal de Morro de Sao Paulo
Praia do Encanto
Praia de Garapuá
Banho de Argila em Morro de Sao Paulo
Praia de Garapuá
Mapa de Morro de Sao Paulo
Mapa da ilha de Tinharé

Morro de São Paulo is one of the best examples of Brazil’s diversity. This island’s beautiful beaches and clear natural pools are not it’s only attraction. This is a place for contrasts: from packed parties lasting till sunrise to deserted beaches covered in palm trees. Its beauty awes everyone, whether you come with nothing but a backpack or stay at one of the island’s luxurious resorts.

If Brazil is considered a place of diversity, Morro is one of the best examples. This island of the Atlantic attracts not only for its lovely beaches and its natural pools of crystalline water. Morro is the island of opposites, from the party animal who hardly sees daylight to the adventure freak who wants nothing more than a deserted beach covered in coconut trees. A backpacker will feel as marveled over Morro de Sao Paulo as will a guest of a luxurious five-star resort. The island has become a favorite, and as you walk along the narrow streets – without any cars – you will hear the most varied accents of Spanish, English, Hebrew, German, Finnish, Japanese, Portuguese and “bahianese”. There is room for everyone.

In order to explain Morro de Sao Paulo one must start by how you arrive at the island: there are two ways to do it: by air (through one of the two airstrips), and the most common way to get there – the harbor. And if you think there are large ships and tall cranes here – how wrong you are! It is nothing but a narrow concrete walkway with a tarpaulin roof. As you leave the harbor you face a three-hundred-year-old monument – the Portaló. This gateway is part of the fortress of Morro de Sao Paulo, built to contain Dutch invasions during the 17th century. The village here is almost as old as Brazil itself, it was fouded in 1535, and had strategic value, mainly during early colonization. Not that it lost its valueas time passed: just to cite another historical fact, it was in front of the island that german submarines torpedoed Brazilian merchant ships, causing Brazil to enter the Second World War.

As you walk up the hill (yes, you must climb a hill to leave the harbor and the fortress behind – aren’t you glad it’s the only one?), there is the church Nossa Senhora da Luz. It is said it she that made the Dutch believe there was a great battalion on the island, which made them give up on attacking the village. There! We have arrived at the central square Aureliano Lima. Here, the night brings on a small arts and crafts market and Foom – the most Brazilian Argentinean there ever was – who plays Brazilian pop music.

Its impossible to loose your way - there is only one street. All you have to do is follow the stream of people and swerve away from the wheelbarrows which serve for carrying simply everything: luggage, groceries from the market, children or even someone who cant walk up the hill. What about cars?! Forget about them. There are a few on the island, but none in the village. The only motorized vehicle there is a tractor that collects the garbage early in the morning.
Oops, another hill...I did say there was only climb, yes. This one is for going the First Beach. What about the village? Is that it? I guess you can say so. From here on there are still a lot of buildings, but the “city center” is over.

First Beach
The First Beach is very small – with an extension of about three hundred metres. A few holiday homes, some guesthouses, a few travel agencies. This beach is the only one on the island that has some waves. It is a sandy beach on a steady but gradual slope. There are coral walls on both ends of the beach. It is a perfect location for various types of sports: swimming, diving, scuba-diving, banana-boat, and a very unusual feature: the biggest canopy in Brazil going as far as the water. It is the preferred spot by the locals and has no nightlife.

Second Beach
After a short walk ove some rocks you reach the next beach. Which is obviously the Second Beach once the beaches are named with numbers. The Second Beach is the most lively of the beaches, night and day. Life on this beach is always busy. It is the place to go for a sun-tan, beach-tennis, volleyball and relaxing in its natural pools. Night-time is when the Luaus take place - there are many bars, nightclubs and restaurants. The entire beach is only four hundred metres long and it surrounded by coral reefs thus there are no waves. At the end of this beach you will find Ilha da Saudade although it is only an island during the high tide - considered one of the most beautiful sites in Morro de Sao Paulo.

Third Beach
Next is the Third Beach, of course. When you reach it you will see a big wall and the place is very urbanized. The second half of this beach is deserted displaying just a couple of hotels and an airfield. This beach is the departure point for excursions to all the other beaches. It also a coral beach, although the central part of the beach has a sandy bottom allowing the entry of all sorts of boats. This beach is lager than the two previous ones with an extension of about eight hundred metres.

Fourth Beach
From this point onwards is the beginning of Morro de Sao Paulo's deserted beaches. The Fourth Beach is more than four kilometres long and the first two hundred metres is usually a very peaceful spot although in the beginning of Summer a few groups gather round to enjoy the natural pools. After that it becomes a very tranquil beach with a few hotels, guesthouses and many palm trees. Does this mean that everyone staying on this beach will have to walk the whole extension of it to get back to the village? No. There is a road behind the Second Beach that runs parallel to the Third and Fourth Beaches where the only vehicles on the Island like Jeeps and Pick ups from the hotels circulate. These vehicles used to circulate on the beaches but this no longer happens. This road also leads to the airfield after the Fourth Beach.

Praia do Encanto
Is this it? No. There is still a “fifth” beach, though it is called Praia do Encanto. And if the Fourth was calm, this one is deserted. There are a few hotels, natural pools, ending in a huge mangrove forest, the Ponta Panã. Here ends what is known as Morro de Sao Paulo but the island Tinharé (you got it – the island isn’t called Morro de Sao Paulo) still goes on. As you walk along an island – where its crucial to have aguide with you – you can get to Garapuá, a bay with a tiny fishermen’s village. It’s not wise to try this trail on your own. If you do find your way, it’s still six kilometers from Praia do Encanto. From the village at Morro to Garapuá it’s around 14 kilometers and from there, another 10 kilometers of deserted beach (the Pontal, or Pratigi), ending at the Rio do Inferno, which divides the two islands – Boipeba and Tinharé.

What about the other side of the island? Well, back to the harbor at the village. Starting at the spot where we started off, it’s possible to go the other way. After a few rocks, there is Porto de Cima Beach. whenever the tide is lowyou can walk to Gamboa. there is a sailing club where you may rent sailboats, and there are also several bars and restaurants.Gamboa is a fishermens’ village, but nowadays it houses many of Morro de Sao Paulo’s employees. it is a great beach to be in the late afternoon.

The side of the island that faces the continent has no beaches, oly mangrove forest. there are two other villages: Galeão and Canavieira. the first has a small church on a hilltop, which can be seen from far away. the latter has an oyster farm. What about the core of the island? It is practically the same as when Portuguese explorers first arrived: vast areas of tropical forest and mangroves.
Is there anything missing? Only you!

How to get there
In Salvador there are planes leaving from the International Airport, which takes no more than 20 minutes. From the Mercado Modelo, next to the Pelourinho, catamarans take a couple of hours to reach Morro de Sao Paulo. If you are driving, the option is to leave your car in Valença and take the speedboat to the island, which takes around 40 minutes.

Best time to come
From October through March is when the water is clearer. January and February are a bit busier, and also a little more expensive. April through June is the rainy season.

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