Morro de Sao Paulo
...a village with no cars, an island where there are no banks and no worries. A place with an intense nightlife and paradisaical beaches. You will find that in Morro de Sao Paulo, located in the Tinharé island, just about 60 kilometers south of Salvador, Bahia. To get there you must travel 2 hours by catamaran boat or take an air-taxi, a small plane with capacity for about 6 people.
Some of the beaches of Morro de Sao Paulo are named due to their order in the coast. The First Beach is very close to the village and become very popular between the villagers. The Second Beach is all about partying. There are people playing capoeira, frescobol and soccer during the day and having party all night long. In the Third Beach you can take a boat to visit neighbor islands. The Fourth Beach is very peaceful, quite like the Gamboa Beach. It is also surrounded by ecological paradises: Praia do Encanto, Garapuá, and the neighbor island of Boipeba. Read more...
Only sixty kilometers south of Salvador, Morro de Sao Paulo is today one of the most desired tropical destinations in the world. One of Brazil’s oldest colonies, it still has clean sand, warm water, Atlantic rainforest as well as mangroves and countless virtually deserted beaches. It’s a perfect place to hide from it all and enjoy a well-deserved rest, far from the stress of large cities.
Morro de Sao Paulo is also a place of cultural heritage, fresh coconut water, caipirinha drinks and the spicy and contagious Brazilian music. Night-time is party time, every night is Saturday night! But without intruding on those who wish to rest quietly, away from noisy excitement.
Even away from the beaches, get ready for adventure and life close to Nature.
All this blends perfectly in this unique island… When walking through the narrow village streets, you may hear an array of different languages: from English to German, as well as several regional Brazilian accents.
The circle of Capoeira, Brazilian music, delicious sea food spiced on a Bahia-style… everything in Morro is exquisite.
Long deserted beaches, exuberant diverse flora, forests with many different bird species, small monkeys, mangrove with navigable channels, natural sea pools, coral reefs and hills with spectacular views. All this in an island that minds its own future: sewage is channeled and treated, which assures clean, safe beaches throughout the year.
The beaches are numbered from the village onward: the First is good for surfing, the Second for partying and the Third has some nice natural pools. At Fourth Beach and Praia do Encanto (Enchantment Beach) you can enjoy the peace and quiet along its several kilometers of a virtually deserted shoreline.
So on your next vacation, choose Morro de Sao Paulo to be your paradise, and don’t forget to wish for magic and unforgettable moments in this beautiful island!
Morro de Sao Paulo is actually the name of the village in the extreme north of Tinharé island, however it's fame made the name popular to the entire island, and the archipelago also. It's where the historical monuments and the commerce are concentrated.
One of the largest in Brazil, the wall runs from the Portaló to the mount, where the Lighthouse is located. The construction initiated in 1630, and it was enlarged several times, some parts were reconstructed when damaged by rain and time. During Brazil’s colonial period it had 51 cannons, while 183 men lived in the village garrison.
For those arriving by sea, it's the first monument seen in Morro de Sao Paulo. Nothing more than a gate, with a welcome message to the visitor, dated from the 17th century and standing untill today.
It is the most outstanding construction in Morro de Sao Paulo. A friendly arm for those at the sea as well as for those on land, it is a perfect spot to admire a calm night, full of stars. You can reach the Lighthouse through a trail that begins in front of the Church. There are two belvederes close to it, the northward one is where you can see the port - "Ponta do Curral", and a bit of the Gamboa beach. The other facing south, is where you can see the main post card of Morro: the first three beaches. It is also the starting point of Brazil’s highest "tiroleza". You must go there to take photos and admire the landscape!
Nossa Senhora da Luz Church
This building was constructed 1845, but its statues date of previous centuries. Before its actual location, the church was next to the lighthouse. Besides having escaped pillaging several times, it is probably the last church in Bahia to keep the tradition of burying illustrious people in its interior.
Fonte Grande - "Great Fountain"
Dated from then 17th century it was build to supply water for the town, its shape is workmanship of a French architect, who commanded the construction in 1746. It was the most advanced system of water treatment of the Brazilian colonial period, with galleries for underground water capture, and watering hole for decantation and flow regularization.
Morro de Sao Paulo's history began almost at the same time as the Brazilian.
Originally it was inhabited by indigenous communities, more specificaly the Aimorés.
In 1501, one year after the arrival of Pedro Álvares Cabral's fleet in Porto Seguro, Gaspar de Lemos arrived at Todos os Santos Bay and sailed most of the Bahia coast. But the first European man to disembark in Morro de Sao Paulo was Martin Alfonso de Souza, in 1531, leading an expedition encharged to explore the coast of the new continent.
When Brazil was divided into Hereditary Captainships, it was up to Figueiro Corrêa the right to look after the Captainship of Ilhéus which included Morro de São Paulo. Because Figueiro Corrêa preferred to stay on the court, in Portugal, the Spanish Francisco Romero became responsible for the area and in 1535 established the village of Morro de Sao Paulo. About thirty people stayed in Morro de Sao Paulo to plant cotton and explore pau-brazil wood. The first town of the Captainship of Ilhéus was then born.
Later in the same year, the villages of Boipeba and Cairú were established.
In Cairú was installed a sugar-mill plant and a chapel. In 1654 this chapel was transformed into the Franciscan Santo Antonio Convent.
In 1549 arrived in Bahia the General Governor Tomé de Souza, with the objective to improve the defense of the region, at that time targeted by the French.
In 1557 at Ponta do Curral started the first cattle breeding activity of Bahia, resulting on the creation of Amparo village, today named Valença. In 1574 the Aimorés took back the territory and made the portuguese take refuge on the islands.
In 1580, the king Felipe II of Spain inherited the portuguese crown. At the same time began a period of frequent attacks by the Dutch and English to the Brazilian coast.
In 1610 the Saraiva Goes family initiated the construction of Nossa Senhora da Luz church on the hill where today is located the Lighthouse.
Between 1627 and 1630 the Dutch attacked the coast several times.After taking over Olinda and Recife they remained there for a while before any attempt toinvade Bahia coast. The elder people tell stories about when the Dutch tryed to attack the island and how Our Holly Lady made them believe that there was a big fleet of ships standing in front of Morro de Sao Paulo and because of that they gave up the attack.
As a result began the construction of a fort in Morro de São Paulo which took hundred years to be finished. The fort started to operate in 1652 and the first sentry box was settled in 1664.
Meanwhile there were some official operations going on the port, with ships coming from Africa and Europe, and also some illegal operations runed by pirates who where smuggling articles.
The works on the fort were extended up to 1739, with some stages of enlargements, and in 1750 it accounted for 51 cannons spread out in its 700 meters of wall guarded by 183 men. Unfortunately in 1774 great part of the fort was destroyed by a storm, part of it was reconstructed, but its importance started to be questioned.
In 1746 begins the construction of Fonte Grande (Great Fountain), responsible to treat the water for the population of the village.
In 1763 the Marquês do Pombal transfered the base of colonial government from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro and expeled the Jesuits, making the educational system to enter in collapse.
It follows a period of several riots, as a result of the neglected situation of the region.
Between 1794 and 1798 happened the Conjuração dos Alfaiates, or Inconfidência Bahiana, a frustrated attempt to establish the republic. The main intention of this movement was the equitty of rights without race distinction, a great advance for the time, where a small European community dominated the large black population. They also attempted to open the Bahia ports for the world-wide commerce,however it realy happen only in 1808 after a Portuguese decree, demanded by England.
The Napoleonic war made the Portuguese court take refuge in Brazil. The court setted up in Rio de Janeiro. Because of that the Northeast reagion, includding Bahia entered in an age of decadence. The result of this situation is that D. Pedro proclaims the independence of Brazil, in 1822, fearing that somebody would make it before him, then he became the first Emperor of Brazil.
In 1823 Lord Thomas Cochrane establishes the first base of the Brazilian fleet in Morro de Sao Paulo satled to fight for the Brazilian independence. At July 2nd of the same year the Portuguese were expeled from Salvador and the independence was accomplished. During these combats great part of the armory of Morro was transferred to Salvador.
The reign of D. Pedro I had many turbulences like the Confederação do Equador and many similar wars all over country. As a result D. Pedro I abdicated the throne in 1831 on behalf of his son. Dom Pedro II was only 5 years old and had to wait for his majority, a provisional administration system was installed called Government of Regencies, during these period innumerable revolts took place and the parliament had to declared Dom Pedro II majority in 1840 when he was only 15 years old.
In 1844 a textil plant was constructed in Valença, by João Monteiro Carson, who was also assigned to build the Lighthouse in Morro de Sao Paulo, the construction work took 5 years from 1850 to 1855.
In 1859 D. Pedro II visits Salvador, Valença and Morro de Sao Paulo. By that time the textil plant in Valença, was the biggest of Brazil, operating with free and wage-earning workers, in a period of slavery.
In 1889 the Republic Proclamation in Rio de Janeiro made Bahia to divide between the obedient to the emperor and the republicans. Then follows a period of political conflicts, the stabilization comes only with the Constitution in 1890.
The Brazilian economy in the first decades of the Republic was based on coffee. In 1930 it start changing with Getúlio Vargas government. Vargas government was extended ditatorialy during the Second World War. At that time the Brazilian Government was keeping relations with USA and other democracies and at the same time the administration stile was more like the German and Italian. Brazil only decided officially its side in the War in 1942, when a German submarine attacked the Brazilian merchant ships in the coast of Valença.
In 1945 Getulio Vargas resigned after a military coup, however he is re-elect president in 1950 and commit suicide in 1954. In its government, all the industrial base for the development of Brazil was constituted, as well as the working laws. At this time, inhabitants of Salvador start to have summer houses in the Tinharé archipelago (Morro de Sao Paulo).
During the Cold War Brazil became more dependent of the capitalist powers, in special the USA. Its external debt assumed incommensurable amounts, many rights had been revoked and the economy went down. During the dictatorship military government, imposed in 1964, hippies started to visit Morro de Sao Paulo, making the island to be known internationally in the 1970.
In 1992 happens in Rio de Janeiro the Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development), that had its consequences in the archipelago. A decree create the "Islands of Tinharé and Boipeba Protected Area".
On the island, the community a little indifferent to the economic and politics starts to receive tourists from all over the world and they take souvenirs and the best memories from the island.
Morro de São Paulo was frequently very close to the action during important moments of the Brazilian history and bravely resists with its natural beauty and the slow rhythm of its inhabitants.
Morro de Sao Paulo is located on the northernmost portion of Tinharé Island. This island, along with Boipeba, Cairú, and 23 other islands compose the Tinharé archipelago. It is nearly sixty kilometers south of Salvador, near Valença.
The islands are separated from each other as well as from the mainland by wide channels with mangrove vegetation, which is why many places are still uninhabited or rarely visited, since navigation is strongly dependant on tides land access is nearly impossible .
The most accessible part of the archipelago is the eastern coast. Here, although the water is deepest, the beaches are protected by reefs and only some specific spots are accessible. The channel at the north of the island is also deep, although with a few sand banks. It is the route taken to Ponta do Curral and Valença, both on the mainland. The remaining channels are shallow and tricky. Only those who know the region very well dare to travel by them depending on the tide.
The archipelago covers nearly 450 square kilometers, with Tinharé Island covering about 54% of this area. Boipeba and Cairú have about the same size, each covering 20% of the total area. The other 23 islands cover the remaining 7%.
The highest points are on Tinharé and are both located on the north (the lighthouse), and on the northeast (Galeão), while the rest of the island is mostly flat and only a few meters above sea-level. On the other hand, Cairú and Boipeba are not as flat, however the elevations do not exceed 80 meters above sea-level.
There are virtually no roads on the islands, mostly tracks that are traveled on foot, horseback or (on favorable conditions) by tractor. Wooden boats are used to transport various goods.
Villages are situated along the shoreline and navigable channels. The following villages are found at Tinharé Island: Morro de Sao Paulo, Gamboa, Galeão, Zimbo, Garapuá and Canavieira. Velha Boipeba, Moreré, Monte Alegre e São Sebastião or Cova da Onça are all villages at Boipeba. Finally, the island of Cairú, aside from having a city of the same name, also shelters Torrinhas. There are 11.410 people living on this set of islands, and though the islands differ in size, the population is distributed rather equally among these three.
The locals are dependant mostly on marine-related activities, particularly fishing, and more recently, on tourism. They are composed by African and European descendants, some Dutch but mostly Portuguese, and some native indians. The residents are generally very quiet and friendly, usually very humble and happy to have visitors.
Most of the islands were covered by Atlantic Forest, although today a large part of this area is occupied by tremendous coconut tree cultivation. In spite of this, there is still a considerable area with original cover. There are also some areas of dry coastal forest (restinga), although the most remarkable ecosystem here is the mangrove, nesting place of a great multitude of marine life and a source of income for most of the local population.
Since 1992 both Tinharé and Boipeba are considered an area of environmental conservation. However, there are still some problems to overcome, such as the storage of garbage, although some goals have been accomplished, like sewage treatment. Some NGO stimulate more lucrative and environmentally correct alternatives to the ones carried out today by local inhabitants. It is clear that the future of this archipelago is a responsibility of everyone: local population, public and business sectors, as well as tourists.
|We have a great variety of information for those who visit Morro of Sao Paulo:|
How to get here, by airplane, catamaran or for those who travel by car.
The beaches and day trips to know the islands of Tinharé, Boipeba and Cairu.
Useful tips about money, exchange, communications and transport.
Tips on health and safety.
Climate and the best season to visit the island, as well as information about the tides and the local tide tables.
Tips on local gastronomy.
The ecosystems of the island, flora and fauna of economic importance. Tipical boats and some other types of boats you will find here, as well as a little about local culture.