Discover the beauties, gastronomy, leisure and history of Morro de São Paulo

Morro de São Paulo in Bahia
Morro de São Paulo in Bahia

Morro de São Paulo is in Dendê Coast it is one of the most beautiful and trendy spots on the Bahian coast.

Morro de São Paulo is part of the Bahian municipality of Cairu, located in the lower south of the state. The place is an island, which is part of the Bahian archipelago of Tinharé, and tourist cars do not circulate there. Only 4×4 cars and motorcycles from tour agencies, quads, and wheelbarrows.

The quiet village of 20 years ago has given way to a bustling Morro de São Paulo, full of inns, restaurants on Rua Caminho da Praia, shops and lively nightlife.

The Praça Aureliano Lima, in the center of the village, was paved with stones, and, on the Second Beach, a wooden walkway facilitated the movement to the beginning of the Third Beach.

One feature, however, remains impeccable: the beauty and tranquility, especially from Terceira Beach towards the south of Tinharé Island.

The main bustling points of Morro de São Paulo are Rua Caminho da Praia and Second Beach.

The closest to the village is Quinta Praia, also known as Encanto. In fact, it's just an extension south of the Fourth.

VSee the map of the Dende Coast

Na Boipeba Island there are four jewels of the Brazilian coast, the beaches of Cueira, Moreré, Bainema and Ponta de Castelhanos. It's only 50 minutes away, but it feels like another world, such is the tranquility of the place.

Watch the video about the beauties, gastronomy and leisure options of Morro de São Paulo in Bahia:

To get to the island, there are two alternatives: charter a speedboat or, more economical option, take a boat trip through the south of the island; in high season, the boat can take exclusively to the scenic Moreré — in all cases, departures are from Terceira Beach.

Morro de São Paulo
Morro de São Paulo

Videos about Morro de Sao Paulo


Morro de São Paulo it is not a place known solely for its natural beauty and rich culture. This island also breathes a lot of history. Its discovery was in the year 1531, attributed to the Portuguese navigator Martin Afonso de Souza. It had great influence in the colonial period and throughout its history it was the target of piracy and smuggling of goods.

He even witnessed the Second World War when the Nazis torpedoed and sank the ships Arará and Itagiba in front of the First Beach of Morro de São Paulo. This reason made Brazil enter the Second World War.

Before the Portuguese arrived in Morro de São Paulo, the Aimorés and Guerés Indians lived in these lands. Settlement only arrived when, in 1534, the current King of Portugal D. João III divided the Bahian coastline into three captaincies, one of them the Captaincy of Ilhéus, where the Terceira archipelago is located – where Morro de São Paulo is located. Thus, on São Paulo Day (July 29) Lieutenant Francisco Romero chose Morro de São Paulo to be the seat of the captaincy.

Then came the first European settlement. The seat did not last long and was changed locations. However, colonization continued and did not stop. And its role as a strategic location also continued.

In the year 1630, the Tapirandú Fortress began to be built to defend the capital from Dutch attacks and the theft of goods. The construction of Nossa Senhora da Luz Church – named after its patron saint – took place in 3 stages, the first of which was in 1628. It was only completed in 1845.

The houses and the population increased, and in 1746 work began on the Fonte Grande so that the population and troops could have a water supply. Former residents say that not so long ago, residents took collective baths due to the lack of running water.

In 1848 the construction of the Lighthouse of Morro de São Paulo began. It was built with the aim of facilitating access to the city of Valença.

Morro de Sao Paulo lighthouse
Morro de Sao Paulo lighthouse

Until recently it was still a peaceful place to live. Local natives say that survival was basically fishing. A small village where until the 70's there was no telephone or electricity. Electric light only came to the island in 1985.

Currently, Morro de São Paulo is one of the most popular tropical destinations for tourists from all over the world. But that wasn't always the case. In the 70s, when the first vacationers arrived in the peaceful village, I could not imagine what was about to happen.

Vacationers who rented fishermen's houses began to build their own vacation homes. And when backpackers and hippies discovered the island, they spread through their reports the beauty and enchantment of the place.

Then the tourists arrived and the houses in the small village became hotels, inns and restaurants. But of course, still maintaining its natural beauties. However, growth did not and disorderly constructions began to appear as well. But Morro de São Paulo is still a piece of paradise that enchants its residents and visitors, who sometimes, in love with the place, decide to exchange the hectic life in the city for a charming island.

There are so many foreigners and people from all over Brazil who live in Morro de São Paulo that the place already has an eclectic culture that incorporates them. It sure is a beautiful place to live or just visit.


Morro de São Paulo protected the so-called “false bar of Baía de Todos os Santos”, a strategic entrance to the Itaparica Channel up to the fort of san antonio (current Farol da Barra); and the channel of Tinharé was essential in the flow of production from the main centers for supplying the capital, Salvador. 

The geographical importance of the island during the colonial period justifies the richness of historical monuments, now protected by the National Historic Heritage.


Martim Afonso de Sousa disembarks on the island of Tinharé, which will form part of the captaincy of São Jorge dos Ilhéus. D.João III donates the land to Jorge de Figueiredo Correa, who begins the process of colonizing the property.


Francisco Romero and the local population founded the village of Morro de São Paulo, located in the extreme north part of the island.


Commander Johan Van Dortt and his squadron land on the island en route to Salvador.


Dutch Admiral Pieter Pieterzoon Hiyn leads the attack and looting of the village.


The General Governor Diogo Luiz de Oliveira starts the construction of the Fortress of Morro de São Paulo, the Fort.


End of the construction of Forte da Ponta and wall curtains along the island. Defeat of French Admiral Villegaignon by Lusitanian troops.


Construction of Fonte Grande, the largest water supply system in colonial Bahia.


Completion of works on the Santo Antônio Church and Convent, the Chapel of N. Sra da Luz.


Eng. Carson finishes work on the Lighthouse.


Visit of the Royal Family and D. Pedro II.


How to get to Morro de Sao Paulo
How to get to Morro de Sao Paulo

As previously mentioned, the island of Morro de São Paulo is not accessible by car. To get there, it is necessary to take some maritime transport. But there are different ways to go to Morro. Check out:

  • semiterrestrial

The first step is to take the Ferry-boat from Salvador to Bom Despacho, on Itaparica Island. From there, you can opt for car, bus or transfer to get to Valença.

In Valença, you'll stop at one of the many parking lots near the pier – if you're driving – and take a boat or speedboat to Morro de São Paulo.

If you choose a bus, the ticket can be purchased at the bus terminal in Bom Despacho. If you prefer, you can buy in advance on the clickbus (put Bom Despacho as origin and Valença as destination).

The journey by car takes approximately 2 hours, while the ferry crossing takes around 50 minutes. The crossing from Valença to Morro de São Paulo takes about 30 minutes. The ticket must be purchased at the time.

  • Land route to Valencia

You can drive to Itaparica Island. To do so, leave Salvador on BR-101 to Santo Antônio de Jesus, head to Nazaré das Farinhas, via BA-028, and, finally, take BA-001, which connects Nazaré to the island. The route, from the beginning of the BR-324 to the Bom Despacho terminal, takes about 3h30 (270km).

From the island, head to Valença. There, in Valença, you'll stop at one of the several parking lots near the pier – if you're driving – and take a boat or speedboat to Morro de São Paulo.

  • Catamaran

Catamarã is the fastest option to get to Morro de São Paulo. The boat leaves from the Maritime Terminal – close to Mercado Modelo – and goes straight to Valença. The crossing takes about 2 hours.

However, due to the fact that the vessel rocks a lot, it is common for many people to end up seasick.

  • air taxi

This is one of the options, but of course stop who can. If you have money, you can take a direct air transfer to Morro de São Paulo. There on the island of Tinharé, the plane lands at the regional airport in Cairu.


The only vehicles allowed on the island of Morro de São Paulo are tractors, planters and cars from inns and tourist agencies. Even so, from the pier to Terceira Praia you can only go on foot.

From the beginning of the Fourth Beach, you can hire a buggy.

On arrival, porters can take your luggage in handcarts.


There are several good inns in Morro de São Paulo, with basic facilities.

The best is the Pousada Villa dos Corais, on Terceira Praia.

Other recommendations are Vila dos Orixás and Anima (both on Quinta Praia), Villa dos Graffitis (Seconda Praia), Pousada Fazenda Caieira (Terceira Praia) and Charme Pousada, in the village.

tourist map of Morro de São Paulo - BA
tourist map of Morro de São Paulo – BA


The main beaches of Morro de São Paulo are located to the south and are named: Primeira Praia, Segunda Praia, Terceira Praia, Quarta Praia and Quinta Praia which is also known as Praia do Encanto.

All these beaches, with their well-known warm and transparent waters, provide us with the “true bathing in the sea”, and allow us a total connection with nature.

Fourth and Fifth Beaches are practically deserted beaches, they are true oases of peace.

First Beach in Morro do Sao Paulo
First Beach

Second Beach is known for its buzz and activity, both during the day and at night.

On the north side of the village of Morro de São Paulo there is also Praia do Porto de Cima, Praia da Ponta da Pedra and Praia da Gamboa. These beaches are better known by the locals, they are little frequented by tourists.

First Beach

First Beach is the closest to the village. The first summer houses were built there.

It is the most frequented beach by locals.

In it there are some tents where typical Bahian cuisine is served, and it is also on the Primeira Praia de Morro de São Paulo that the largest zip line in Brazil is located, where tourists usually enjoy the adventure and enjoy the landscape of the place.

second beach

Second Beach is the busiest and most popular beach on the island of Tinharé.

Second Beach in Morro de São Paulo
second beach

It contains all the hustle and bustle of Morro de São Paulo. There is a complex of bars and restaurants that guarantee a good service to tourists, and it is here where all the nightly programming is published.

At night it has a variety of craft stalls and typical drinks such as “caipifrutas”, and it is here that the “luau” takes place, with lots of music and axé.

third beach

The Third Beach of Morro de São Paulo has a large complex of inns and restaurants, and it is from there that the boat trips offered by local agencies depart.

Third Beach in Morro de Sao Paulo
third beach

The beach strip is quite narrow in case of high tide. The Inns and hotels found on Terceira Beach have a wide range of prices, there is something for all tastes and budgets.

Fourth Beach

The Quarta Praia de Morro de São Paulo is known for its calm, warm and crystalline waters.

Due to the vast presence of the typical coconut trees of the region and its extension of more than four kilometers of peace and tranquility that provide us with an unforgettable walk by the sea.

Fourth Beach in Morro de Sao Paulo
Fourth Beach

Quinta Praia

Quinta Praia is located six kilometers from the village, and is the best preserved on the island.

There are two kilometers of fine white sand, clear and warm waters where we find mangroves and we can have contact with the Atlantic Forest.

An immense barrier of coral forms several natural pools, where we can dive and observe the marine life in this ecological paradise that is Quinta Praia or also called Praia do Encanto de Morro de São Paulo.

Gamboa Beach

Praia da Gamboa is in the north of the island. It is on its way that we find Praia do Porto de Cima and Praia da Ponta da Pedra.

Gamboa do Morro de São Paulo is a fishing village, still little frequented by tourists.

Gamboa Beach in Morro de São Paulo
Gamboa Beach

It has an excellent infrastructure for visitors.

There are several stalls by the sea, where the typical cuisine of the region is served, generally made by the families of fishermen who know how to offer hospitality and please the palate of tourists.


2 days

Discover all the beaches of Morro de São Paulo. Stay a day on Primeira and Segunda, which are more lively, and set aside time for the walk from Terceira to Quinta beaches, which are more untouched.

The sunset at Farol do Morro is a must.

4 days

Book a day for the trip back to the island, which passes by the natural pools of Praia de Garapuá and stops in Moreré, on Ilha de Boipeba.

On another day, go diving with a mask and snorkel in the reefs of the Second, Third and Fourth beaches.

Morro de São Paulo
Morro de São Paulo


Morro has a stable climate almost all year round and the sun always shines on the island. The rains are well distributed throughout the year, which means that it is difficult to spend several days with the weather closed. That is, it is a good time of year to go to the beach in any season.

However, for those who like more hype and movement, summer is the best time to go to Morro de São Paulo. Between the months of December and February, parties are frequent, the weather is perfect for a good swim in the sea.


The heat starts at sunset in Morro de São Paulo: the bar Toca do Morcego (8106-6305), at the beginning of the climb to the Farol, has a lively happy hour, almost always with live music.

Afterwards, it's worth having a caipirinha at the stalls on Rua Caminho da Praia and Praça Aureliano Lima, in the center of Morro.

Or head straight to Pulsar Disco, on the way to Fortaleza, which on Saturdays promotes the foam party. At Segunda Praia, the movement takes place after midnight, with luaus and music of all kinds.

Tour and travel guide of Morro de São Paulo in Bahia


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