Morro de Sao Paulo (St. Paul’s Hill) is just about as good as it gets when it comes to a laid back vacation destination. And while the island is not far from easy-to-get-to locations like Salvador, the small town has no cars and a much slower-paced lifestyle despite its popular nightlife.
The village of Morro de Sao Paulo is known for its grand festas. Hotels, pousadas, and restaurants that line the sandy path of Rua Caminho das Praias or Beach Road. Stop in any of the restaurants and try the fresh local cuisine or a raska – Brazil’s favorite cocktail made from local tropical fruits, sugar, crushed ice and a splash of vodka. Each restaurant will have their own take on the drink so try a few and find your favorite!
The Northeast coast of Brazil is famous for its beaches and Morro de Sao Paulo has arguably the best…so good that the beaches have no names as the natural beauty speaks for itself. Merely named ‘first’, ‘second’, ‘third’ and ‘fourth’ each beach has its perks.
Summer homes that have long been located on First Beach now serve as pousadas or “inns” for surfers and other vacationers visiting from all over the globe during Brazil’s winter (America’s summer) months. This is the best time to visit as the population of the town nearly doubles during the Brazilian summer – North American winter.
First Beach’s offers the most consistent waves to surf on, crystal-clear waters and is also home to most of the seaside restaurants. Note: Like everything else, Brazil likes their food spicy! If you’re not a fan, make sure you order it mild! This beach is also where you will find the tirolesa, or zipline, that runs from a lighthouse up on one of the morros, or hills, down to the beach – definitely something to try!
If you’re looking for excitement, head down to Second Beach – the party beach! Bring your camera for a perfect photo op as you wind down Second Beach’s staircase – it offers amazing views of several of the island’s beaches and the sparkling ocean. Brazilian “Luaus” take place along the beach every Saturday and nightly during the weeks leading up to Brazil’s Carnaval festival. Since the parties often last into the morning, steer clear of Second Beach if this isn’t your scene.
However, Second Beach is more than a party – one of Brazil’s most famous cultural arts, Capoeira, is preformed here every evening. With the setting sun as the backdrop for this acrobatic martial art, you will not want to miss this! Ask around for performance locations or simply follow the crowd!
Attention divers – on Third Beach you’ll find more pousadas and restaurants and less crowds as the beaches tend to get progressively quieter. You’ll also find Caita Island, a large barrier reef just off of the shore (with up to 15 meter visibility!). Rent a a kayak, snorkeling gear or dive gear and head out – the island is right off the beach!
Fourth Beach is the largest of Morro de Sao Paulo’s and is another reef beach. It is the quietest of the four beaches making it the perfect place to laze under a palm tree, watch for jumping dolphins in the ocean and listen to the sound of the waves while sipping a roska. Snorkelers and divers will find an assortment of coral and some of the brightest colored fish in all of Brazil.
With 4 amazing beaches to choose from, a rich marine life, a variety of water and beach sports to partake in and local “must see’s” such as the Old Fort Ruins and Morro Lighthouse, make Morro de Sao Paulo your next south-of-the-boarder vacation!