The isolated, tropical Morro de Sao Paolo is nestled away on an island south of Salvador, accessible only by boat. What was once a picturesque fishing village has since been discovered for its idyllic beaches and transformed into a top destination for Brazil’s elite and international tourists alike. Here beautiful beaches surround a charming town with streets made of sand. With no cars on the island, a daily congestion of wheelbarrows full of fruit and trains of mules making beer deliveries is the only traffic jam to speak of.
We arrived by boat to the island and were quickly charmed by the vibrantly colored pousadas (family run B&Bs) jetting out of cliffs overlooking the water. We were greeted by men carrying wheelbarrows who then carried our bags up the steep hills and down the windy sandy roads to their Morro home. We settled in at a charming pousada just off the main road. With two bedrooms and a balcony with a hammock overlooking the water, this pousada was a welcomed splurge from the more basic accomodations we had become accustomed to. After a short walk along the beach lined with palm trees, cafes, fruit stands and seafood restaurants, we quickly agreed our planned three-day sojourn was in definite need of an extension.
Gaining our bearings for the island was as easy as deciding how we’d spend our days. Each morning after our café de manha, consisting of fresh fruit, juices, coffee cakes and fried anything and everything, we’d set out for a day on the beach. We’d grab a cabana, lather on the SPF and hide behind our sunglasses and books while we soaked in all the sights, tastes and sounds. People selling freshly shucked oysters, fresh fruits, acai and pastries were abound while men, women and children competed in some of the most intense competitions of paddleball, soccer and volleyball I have ever witnessed.
There was the option to do some excursions to islands nearby, but we were quite content planting ourselves on the beach where all the action was and taking walks along the more secluded beaches. Evenings were spent watching sunsets with Bohemia (Brazil’s finest and oldest beer) and caipirinha in hand before indulging in spicy seafood dishes of Bahia. After five fantastic days in the tropical paradise that is Morro, we took off in a boat bound for Praia do Forte to continue our round the world travel adventure.