What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think Brazilian vacation? The beach! Beat you to it! Our favorite beach in Brazil can be found in Morro de Sao Paulo, a small little beach town in the Bahia region near Salvador. Although we only got to spend 1 full day in paradise, it was enough for us to fall in love with the endless beaches, gorgeous sunsets and spectacular weather. We loved it and know that you will too! This guide to Morro de Sao Paulo will go through the fun things to do, places to eat, where to stay and how to get to your slice of paradise!
Morro de Sao Paulo Travel Guide
Upon arrival, toss your stuff down in your hostel, put on your bathing suit (and some sunscreen, don’t forget the sunscreen!) and head down to the beach. If you’re awake and you’re in Morro de Sao Paulo, you should be down by the ocean. Give yourself at least two full days to soak in the sun and live out the Brazilian beach paradise vacation of your dreams!
Fun Things To Do in Morro de Sao Paulo
Ever jumped off a cliff and ziplined into the ocean?? I didn’t think so. Well, in Morro de Sao Paulo, it’s hands down the best way to go to the beach. You strap on a life vest, hook in and leap! The ride takes about one minute and you’re caught at the bottom by an employee. Once you swim out of the water, you’re greeted on the beach by another employee who returns your cloths and phone.
You can find the jumping off point by searching GoogleMaps for Lighthouse Zipline. Or just ask your hostel for directions. The cost is roughly 60 Brazilian Reals per person (~$15USD). Do it!!
Explore the Beaches
Whether you arrive via zipline or by foot, the first beach you will reach is aptly named Beach #1. You have 4 beaches in total to explore, named, you guessed it, #1, #2, #3 and #4. Beach #1 and #2 are the most popular with hotels, hostels and restaurants lining the beachfront. You want to stroll right through those and get to the glory that is Beach #4. When you think Brazilian beach, you’re thinking of Morro de Sao Paulo Beach #4. It stretches out as far as the eye can see, lined on one side by palm trees, the other by warm, crystal clear blue water. Also, since it is the largest and farthest away from civilization, is the emptiest of the 4. It’s a get off the map, get off the beaten trail, backpackers dream.
Getting out to Beach #4 takes a solid 45 minute walk. There are a few food and caipirinha vendors out there, but you should throw some snacks in your day bag to avoid getting hungry.
Watch Sunset Through the Tidepools
At the corner in between Beaches #3 and #4, there are some tide pools. It’s worth stopping by to see the little critters and crabs, but the real show starts at sunset. These pools are perfectly positioned to capture and reflect the cotton-candy blues and pinks of a Brazilian sunset. For us, it was a memorable evening that we won’t soon forget!
Where to Eat in Morro de Sao Paulo
As far as restaurants are considered we don’t have any special recommendations. But there is something you must try while strolling along the sand. A cocoa caipirinha. Yep. Cocoa. Caipirinha. This was the most unique drink we’ve ever had. First step, open up an entire cocoa pod. Second step, mix with cachaca and tropical fruit. Third, pour everything back into the cacao pod. Fourth, abandon your expectations (nope, it doesn’t taste like chocolate!) and enjoy with your toes in the sand and back up against a palm tree.
Fun fact about Brazil: After receiving a caipirinha and taking a slip or two, be sure to ask “Mais Cachaca?” You will be rewarded with free top off of the Brazilian liquor cachaca that powers a delicious caipirinha. It should be included along with “hello” and “bathroom,” in any Brazil guidebook translation guide.
How to Get To Morro de Sao Paulo
Morro do Sao Paulo is most easily accessed via boat from Salvador. The ride takes approximately 2 hours and in the afternoon can be a little bumpy. Our roundtrip tickets cost 170 Brazilian Reals per person ($40 USD). Tickets can be purchased in person at the boat terminal in Salvador from a couple different companies for roughly the same price. All companies offer departures in the morning and afternoon. Know when you would like to return as it is more affordable to book a roundtrip ticket. Tickets can be purchased same day, but it is best to purchase at least a day in advance.
Morro do Sao Paulo can also be accessed via bus. We aren’t exactly sure how but it can be done. Expect the trip to take roughly a half day and be slightly cheaper than the boat.
Regardless of how you get there, you have to pay a small entrance tax upon arrival so but sure to arrive with a little cash on hand.
Where to Stay
After 6 months of budget travel and an especially not fun experience in a gross Salvador hostel, we decided to treat ourselves in Morro de Sao Paulo. Instead of a typical hostel a stayed at a hotel. The only hotel of our entire trip! For those looking for a more affordable option, there are plenty of hostels on the island with good ratings on Hostelworld. Everything on the island is walking distance from the beach!
Where to Go Next
Just across the water from Morro de Sao Paulo, is the vibrant city of Salvador. We spent the first half of Carnival there, jumping around in block parties (called “blocos”). The city is known for its colorful churches and good seafood. Out of all the cities we visited in South America, Salvador was the only city we worn our money belts in at all times.
Rio de Janeiro
The easiest way to get to Rio is by plane from Salvador. Rio contains some of the most popular tourist attractions in all of South America with the Christ the Redeemer statue and the gondola to the top of Sugarloaf mountain. If you’re going to visit one place in Brazil, it should be Rio. If you are thinking about being in Rio for the Carnival Sambodromo parade, check out our guide!
If you’re ready for a break from the beach, hop on an overnight bus inland from Rio de Janiero to the hill top town of Ouro Preto. As Ouro Preto was once a wealthly mining town, be prepared for some ornate churches and even a tour through an old gold mine or two. Ouro Preto is in the Minas Gerais region, which is known for its rich, delicious food. That might be reason enough in itself for you to visit.
There you have it, our Morro de Sao Paulo Things to Do guide! From us to you, happy adventuring!
All costs are current as of February 2020.