Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu August 11 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | August 11, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    A Quick Guide To Morro de Sao Paulo, Brazil

    A Quick Guide To Morro de Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Brazil is renowned for its spectacular coastline, with one picture-perfect beach after another. But by far one of our favorite spots for sun, sea and sand is the paradisiacal island of Morro de Sao Paulo.

    Just a two-hour ferry ride from fun and colorful Salvador, a trip to Morro de Sao Paulo might leave you feeling like you’ve accidentally landed in the Mediterranean. Lush green hills, calm turquoise water, smooth golden sands, horse driven carriages—it’s the definition of paradise.

    Morro de Sao Paulo

    While Morro de Sao Paulo isn’t necessarily a hidden secret, the island still boasts an off-the-beaten-track charm. Few cars are allowed, meaning wheelbarrows meet guests at the pier to help them shuttle their belongings to their hotels. The farther away you venture from the pier, the quieter and more secluded the beaches become. It’s not impossible to find a pristine stretch of sand under a shady palm to enjoy all on your own.

    Taxi on Morro de Sao Paulo

    Morro de Sao Paulo is easily navigable; the beaches are named in numerical order, starting from the pier which drops all visitors off. Beach One through Beach Three tend to attract backpackers; expect open-air bars, hostels, heaps of vendors, and late-night caipirinhas and dancing. Once you arrive at Beach Four, the island is noticeably quieter, with hotels and restaurants few and far between.

    Beach 1 Morro de Sao Paulo

    Morro de Sao Paulo Beach 3

    The ferry ride from Salvador can be rough, so we recommend staying for a minimum of two nights to fully enjoy your time. Use this mini-guide to help:

    Where To Stay

    Vila dos Orixas is one of the most luxurious hotels on the island. It’s located on the last piece of developed beach, Praia do Encanto. Here you can lounge by the pool, walk along the beach and mangroves, or take the complimentary 20-minute shuttle ride into town for more action. Vila dos Orixas offers luxurious, two-level bungalows complete with ocean views, king-size beds and jacuzzi. Our stay at Vila dos Orixas was in large part why we enjoyed the island so much.

    Pool Vila dos Orixas

    Vila dos Orixas Room

    Where To Eat

    Due to its secluded location, we ate most of our meals at Vila dos Orixas. Breakfast was less than memorable while we were there, but dinner was sublime.

    Salmon at Vila dos Orixas

    Andina Cozinha Latina is perhaps the best choice on the island. A cozy atmosphere, friendly staff and fresh ingredients keep traveler returning night after night. Don’t miss their famed Chocolate Bomba for a decadent dessert.

    For authentic Brazilian cuisine like moquecas (Brazilian fish stew) or other seafood, try Sabor da Terra. Expect fresh dishes with great service and drinks in a low-key atmosphere.

    What To Do

    The best day in Morro de Sao Paulo often consists of nothing more than leisurely walking from beach to beach, swimming in the natural pools (at Beach Four) and taking a nap under a shady palm.

    Morro de Sao Paulo Beach 3

    History lovers might be interested in Igreja Da Nossa Senhora Da Luz. Weekly mass is still held in the centuries-old baroque building.

    Of course, there’s also the nightlife. Brazilian beach parties are held on Mondays and Thursdays at Beach Two. Friday evenings, everyone heads to Toca do Morcego to enjoy the stunning sunsets and then dance the night away into the wee hours of the morning. During high season, there’s always a party happening somewhere, so ask your hotel where the current hot-spot is.

    Sunset Morro De Sao Paulo

    How To Get There

    Ferries leave regularly from Mercado Modelo in Salvador and take about two hours. More detailed directions about traveling to Morro de Sao Paulo can be found in this detailed article.

More Brazil


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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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