Morro de São Paulo Beach
On arriving at this idyllic island destination just south of the city of Salvador, first time visitors may well think that little can have changed since the mid-1530s. This is when colonial explorers first landed on the virgin beaches of Tinharé Island in Bahia and realised the enormous strategic importance it held for the region.
Situated on the northeastern tip of the island, Morro de São Paulo achieved importance because it guarded the important trade routes along the Itaparica Channel, which proved pivotal for trading throughout the region. During the early colonial period under Portuguese rule, the island witnessed many attacks by French and Dutch ships, not to mention pirates who delighted in taking on anyone and everyone for profit.
Things these days are more civilized, though not much has changed around Morro de São Paulo, which has retained its charming Brazilian village character. The main difference is that the island has caught the tourist bug and is a growing destination resort. That said, boat or plane remain the only ways in and out of this village with no paved streets. This means no traffic problems - because there are no cars.
Morro’s beaches are among the main attractions and hold the names First, Second, Third and Forth to make things simple. The setting is tropical, with clear blue Atlantic Ocean breakers rolling ashore upon pristine golden sands. What more could the stressed out visitor want?
Shops line the path from the quaint harbour, with pousadas (guesthouses), restaurants and even a few ATMs in evidence. At the top of the hill - morro, in Portuguese - you will find a lighthouse and a viewing deck to witness superb sun risings and sun sets. The ancient fort is as imposing today as it was when it first sprung up (circa 1630). There are plenty of hotels and other accommodation options to make your visit to Morro de São Paulo memorable, with its magical getaway-beaches waiting to enchant you.
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