Off-the-beaten track destinations in Brazil don’t come more charming or beautiful than Boipeba. Ilha de Boipeba (Boipeba island), or simply Boipeba, is one of those beach destinations that still mantains an air of isolation and remoteness. A quiet village where no cars can be found and an island full of fabulous beaches await you at Boipeba, a few hundred meters south of the island of Tinharé, where the better known Morro de São Paulo is found.
1. HOW TO GET TO BOIPEBA:
Reaching Boipeba is a bit of an adventure. Its remoteness it’s at the core of its success. Not that it’s impossible to get there. It’s just rather tiring as it involves multiple means of transportation. As Boipeba is a natural extension for any trip to Morro de São Paulo, I’m going to cover how to get from Morro de São Paulo to Boipeba too.
1.1 from Salvador to Boipeba.
1.1.1 By plane.
The best choice for those who can afford it – it doesn’t come cheap. Addey has several daily flights – there are specific details at Boipebatur’s website. The price quoted at the mentioned site is R$410 per person one way. It takes off from Salvador airport and it lands at a strip in the southernmost tip of the island of Tinharé. From there, it’s a very short crossing by boat to the village of Velha Boipeba.
1.1.2 By sea, land and sea – via Valença.
I. Salvador – terminal São Joaquim. In Salvador you have to go to the terminal São Joaquim to take the ferry (it’s known as ferry-boat) to Bom Despacho in the island of Itaparica. Pay attention as the terminal you need to head to is not the one behind the Mercado Modelo, where catamarans leave for Morro de São Paulo. To reach São Joaquim from the international airport you can take a taxi (average cost, R$70) or the bus Aeropuerto/São Joaquim from the company Ondina. Board the bus outside the main terminal building. At the end of 2012 its cost was R$2,20. Ask the driver to let you know where you have to get off for the ferry terminal.
II. Terminal São Joaquim – Bom Despacho (Itaparica island). The ferry company is called TWB. It’s a calm crossing that lasts one hour. There are several crossing per day (approximately one crossing per hour), and the one way ticket costs between R3,40 and R$4,80 depending on the time of the day and the day of the week.
III. Bom Despacho – Valença. From Bom Despacho, where the ferry arrives, to Valença, where to boats to Boipeba leave, there are 104 km, and it takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to cover the distance. Three options of transportation are available: first, you can take a taxi, it will charge you a fixed fare. It will leave you right at Valença’s sea terminal; second, you can take a bus; there are three companies operating the service, and the ticket costs around R$11. The bus goes to the Valença bus station; from there, take a taxi to the sea terminal; third, a van (combi); it doesn’t have a fixed timetable, it leaves as soon as it fills up with passengers arriving from the ferry. They are slightly more expensive than the buses. Tell the driver you are going to the sea terminal so he can let you know where you have to get off.
IV. Valença – Boipeba. From the Valença‘s sea terminal there are two types of boats going to Boipeba. The conventional boat leaves at 12:30 from Monday to Saturday, and it takes nearly 4 hours to get to Boipeba, 55 km away. It costs R$12. Then there is a speedboat, with six different departures per day, that takes you to Boipeba in roughly one hour and it costs R$30.
1.1.3 By sea, land and sea – via Torrinhas.
I. Salvador – Valença. First you have to get to Valença following steps I, II and III as outlined in the previous section (take the bus as it will go directly to Valença’s bus station).
II. Valença – Torrinhas. There are two daily buses from Valença to Torrinhas, at 11:00 and 14:00 hours. It takes 1 hour and a half to get to Torrinhas and catch the boat that goes to Boipeba (sailing time: 1 hour).
1.2 from Morro de São Paulo to Boipeba.
1.2.1 By land. It takes approximately one hour and a half to reach the end of the island of Tinharé (where Morro de São Paulo is). From there, you take a boat that reaches Boipeba in a few minutes. The trip (including the boat) is done on Land Rovers or Toyota vans and it costs around R$75 per person one way. You might discover that during the low season the transfer only runs when there is a minimum of four passengers.
1.2.2 By speedboat. Boats taking tourists on the day trip to Boipeba usually have room for a few passengers that will not return from Boipeba (they also pick up tourists returning from Boipeba to Morro). Price is negotiable and should be around R$75.
1.2.3 Via Valença. You could go to Valença from Morro. Once in Valença continue to Boipeba the way we have described on the previous paragraphs.
2. WHEN TO GO:
From the point of view of the weather, what we said about Morro de São Paulo applies to Boipeba as well: it 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. During the rainy season you might encounter on an off showers but if you’re unlucky you might face interrupted rain lasting several days.
Now, it is important to notice that the mesmerizing crystal-clear waters of the beaches of Boipeba you will have seen on photographs on the internet are a phenomenon of the dry months, mostly between November and March.
3. CAREFUL WITH:
- the relentless sun, pack plenty of sunblock.
- take to Boipeba all the essentials you are going to need (medicines, batteries!), there is just a handful of shops selling the most basic stuff.
- do find out where you accommodation is located, as there are a handful of pousadas in remote places of the island.
4. WE LIKE THE MOST ABOUT BOIPEBA:
The amazing beaches and the natural pools formed during the low tide. The atmosphere of peace and quiet wherever you go.
5. WE LIKE THE LEAST ABOUT BOIPEBA:
Poaching. The illegal fishing of lobsters and the way they are sold to tourists. Do not become part of the business.
The way visits to the natural pools are conducted during the high season. We can’t really understand what is the need of a table for drinks in the middle of the sea.
6. FAVOURITE PLACES IN BOIPEBA:
The natural pools at Moreré beach. Cueira and Bainema beaches. The little village of Cova da Onça. Velha Boipeba.
7. PIECE OF ADVICE ABOUT BOIPEBA:
- one of the best ways of getting to know Boipeba is to do the trip around the island on a speedboat; it lasts a day and it stops at several beaches, at the Moreré natural pools (tide permitting), at the Cova da Onça village and at Canavieira (floating oyster bars).
- during the Brazilian summer months the sea at Boipeba is like a millpond. During the rest of the year that transparency disappears.
- from the Velha Boipeba village you can walk to Tassimirim and Cueira beaches.
- if you feel like walking, you can also reach Moreré and Bainema on foot. During the high season there are tractors taking tourists along the island’s tracks.
- voltage on the island is 220V.
- there are no banks nor ATM’s at the island. Many places won’t accept payment with credit cards.
- accommodation is found at the main village, Velha Boipeba, and also scattered throughout the island’s most important beaches.
- there are supermarkets and Internet cafés in Velha Boipeba.
- although there a handful of bars, Boipeba is not renowned for its nightlife.
- in São Francisco, also known as Cova da Onça, there is a good restaurant, the Toca da Onça.
- if you don’t have a mask and a snorkel, you can rent them in Boipeba.
Check out our full listing of Hotels and pousadas in Boipeba (with a website of their own).
No vaccines are needed for Boipeba. Bring insect repellent with you and all the basic medicines you think you might need at one stage or another. Health care in Boipeba is truly basic.
11. WEATHER FORECAST:
The weather in Boipeba for the next 10 days (data from Salvador).
You will find a table with average temperatures and rainfall in Boipeba (data from Salvador) at the weather channel.
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 (also valid for Boipeba) by clicking on Escolha sua localidade (BA-Morro de São Paulo).
14. GOOGLE MAPS:
Take a look at our map of Boipeba:
15. PHOTO ALBUM:
If you’d like to see more photos of Boipeba, head to our Boipeba: photo album at Flickr.
16. ON THE SAME TRIP