destination: Morro de São Paulo

February 9, 2009 | By More

Garapuá, BrasilTerceira Praia, Morro de São PauloMorro de São PauloQuarta Praia, Morro de São Paulo
banana boat, Morro de São PauloMorro de São PauloGarapuá, BrasilFazenda Caeira, Morro de São Paulo, Brasil

Morro de São Paulo is a small village on the island of Tinharé, 60 km south from Salvador, in the state of Bahia.

Morro de São Paulo can only be reached by air or by sea.

By light aircraft
Two air taxi companies (Addey and Aerostar) fly to Morro de São Paulo from the airport of Salvador. The flight takes less than 25 minutes and the current price (March 2009) is R$225 each way. Timetables and up-to-date prices can be found at the websites of the companies. As the aircraft are small you are advised to book in advance.

By boat from Salvador
Boats departure from Salvador’s Terminal Marítimo, right across the Mercado Modelo. The trip lasts for two hours and there are several departures per day. The current price for each sailing is $70.

You should be aware that depending on the state of the sea the trip to Morro, and in particular the trip back to Salvador, can be extremely rough. It is a notorious trip not recommended to anyone prone to sea-sickness.

By bus and then boat from Salvador
Companies Aguia Branca and São Geraldo go to Valença. From there, you can take a boat to Morro, takes two hours and costs R$5, or a speedboat that covers the distance in 40 minutes and costs R$12. More details at How to get there.

You can also take the ferry to Itaparica (Terminal Bom Despacho) from Terminal São Joaquim in Salvador. The sailing is done by Travessias. You can check prices and timetables at its website. When you reach Itaparica, take a bus or a van to Valença (one our and a half) and from them follow the advice given at the previous paragraph.

Which option is best?

Undoubtedly, if you can afford it, take the plane. If you can’t, and you are prone to sea-sickness, avoid the direct boat from Salvador to Morro.

From the point of view of the weather, Morro de São Paulo is never cold. Minimum temperatures hardly ever fall below 22 Celsius and the maximum temperatures are usually around the 30s. The rainy season goes from April to July, with heavy rain during that period.

The crystal-clear waters of Morro de São Paulo you will have seen on the internet look only that beautiful from October to March.

If you are not keen on crowded and overpriced places avoid Morro de São Paulo during the New Year and the week after the carnival (when half of Salvador goes to the island for the resaca , the carnival’s hangover). January and February are high season. Best avoided if you can


  • the notorious boat crossing from Salvador
  • the harassment at the pier on arrival to the island and at night at the 2nd beach


  • to spend the day at the 4th Beach during the low tide
  • to have dinner at the main street on the Vila
  • see the sunset from the Morro or the Fort and then watch the dolphins feed at the bay


  • the way the tourist is harassed
  • high tides when the 3rd beach all but disappears
  • the chaotic urban mismanagement at the 2nd beach
  • the predatory capture of lobsters. Some locals boast they have a special skill to avoid the government’s inspectors. What with crabs gone from Morro, lobsters are next on the agenda
  • the illegal monopoly on the very expensive and badly organized trips to Boipeba

The 4th Beach.

Morro is divided into beaches and everyone refers to them by their name. You can see their location at the map we have provided.

  • Primeira Praia (1st Beach). The nearest beach to the village and the pier. Heavily built. It has waves. On its left-hand side there is a rocky formation where natural pools form during the low tide. To the right, where the 1st and the 2nd beaches meet there is a spot known as pé de moleque where surf can be practised – weather conditions permitting.
  • Segunda Praia (2nd beach). Small, like the first one, with calm and crystal-clear waters. Overcrowded. It is where the parties take place at the end of the day and for most of the night.
  • Terceira Praia (3rd beach), longer than the previous too, but not that good for swimming as it has very little sand. During the high tide it nearly disappears. Its main function seems to be to provide access from the 2nd to the 4th beach. Restaurants and shops are found here.
  • Quarta Praia (4th beach). The longest beach of Morro. There are natural pools right at the beginning. It is not built-up like the others. Full of coconut trees and a joy to look at.
  • Praia do Encanto, also known as the Quinta Praia (5th beach), it is the continuation of the 4th beach.
  • Gamboa is west of Morro, on the part of the island that faces north.


  • voltage at the island is 220V.
  • on arrival you will have to pay a tourist tax, currently R$6,50.
  • if you arrive by boat, and depending on the location of your pousada, there might be a long and strenous walk before you reach it. Let the young guys at the pier carry your luggage for you. But make sure you agree on a price before you leave the pier.
  • there are no banks at the island but there are a few ATM’s that accept international credit cards. You are adviced to have some small change to pay for the tourist tax.
  • the restaurants are concentrated at the Vila, the main village in Morro. There are some restaurants scattered around the other beaches.
  • all the beaches have parts with rocks that are difficult to sea when the tide is in. Be very careful, at the 3rd beach in particular.
  • Boipeba island is spectacular, but the trips that take you there are a shambles. If you take a trip, make sure you land at Praia de Cueira to have lunch at Seu Guido’s hut.


At hotels and pousadas in Morro de São Paulo you will find a complete listing of accommodation at the island.

The choice between one or another location dependes greatly on your interests. If partying is your goal, the 2nd Beach is perfect. If you want piece and quiet, head for the 4th beach. The 3rd beach has the advantage of giving you a bit of both worlds.

No vaccines are needed for Morro de São Paulo. Bring insect repellent with you.

11. LINKS:
The most complete site on Morro de São Paulo we know of is Morro de São It has an English version.

The weather in Morro de São Paulo for the next 10 days (data from Salvador).

Average temperatures and rainfall in Morro de São Paulo (data from Salvador) at the weather channel and msn weather.

14. TIDES:
At the Climatempo website look for the section Praias and select Tabua de Marés on the left-hand side of the page. There you’ll find all the data for Morro de São Paulo by clicking on Escolha sua localidade (BA-Morro de São Paulo).


Our Morro de São Paulo album at Flickr.

16. MAP:
Our very own Google maps mash-up of Morro de São Paulo

Enlarge map

[Don’t forget to check out the list of other destinations already covered in this blog, here]

subscribe to the Brazil Travel Blog by Email
follow the Brazil Travel Blog on Twitter
follow the Brazil Travel Blog on Facebook


Category: Destination: Bahia

Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. On this site you can also find responsible hotels and tours in Morro de São Paulo.

  2. Tony says:

    Thanks for the link, anonymous commenter.

  3. Nick says:

    Hi Tony – out of curiosity, which hotel did you stay at and how was the experience? Thanks!

  4. Tony says:

    Nick, we stayed at the Fazenda Caiera (third beach, and loved it. I should be publishing a review within the coming couple of months. Accommodation is quite basic but the rooms are large. The area where the pousada is located is really pleasant, with ample gardens, and breakfast was quite good.

  5. Cris says:

    Morro de SP is just fabulous … the beaches and the nature are so beautiful… and the atmosphere you find there – it’s great! If you look for a place to relax, Morro de sp is the right place. I just love that place!!

  6. Tony says:

    Thanks Cris, I love Morro too. Pity uncontrolled tourist development has all but ruined the first and the second beaches. But once you reach the 2nd half of the 3rd beach you are in heaven.

  7. Nick says:

    How would you compare your time spent on Morro versus Boipeba? I plan on visiting both.

  8. Tony says:

    Nick, Boibepa has virgin beaches and it is far more remote – it feels that way, too. Morro has its share of beautiful beaches but it is where the action is and also where humans have left a more visible mark on the landscape. I would split my time 50/50 between the two places. All the best!