South Bahia, Brazil: Boipeba and Moreré
This is the fourth of a series of 4 posts about the little paradises we found during our recent trip along the coast of Southern Bahia in Brazil. The other three are Trancoso, the only one that is a bit more known, at least in Brazil, Caraíva and Algodões on the Península de Maraú, all of them absolute secrets and wonderful discoveries.
South Bahia’s coast, certainly one of Brazil’s most beautiful and untouched coastlines, if not of the whole world. Boipeba, which can only reached by boat, lies about 150 km south of Salvador. It is a 3 hours drive plus about 40 minutes with a speedboat through the mangroves to get there.
The trip to Boipeba is already an amazing experience. Most descriptions suggest taking the boat to Boipeba in the town of Valença, a large and busy town, where you are prone to pay too much for the parking of your car or get lost trying to find the boat. We strongly suggest to continue driving south on the BA-001 for another 14 km to the village of Graciosa and take the boat from here. Check departure times. Last boat is usually around 4 p.m. The village has private parking spaces which are inexpensive, is very laid back and has a lot of charm. The boat ride will take you 40 minutes through amazing mangrove forests and past the beautiful colonial town of Cairú.
The picturesque colonial town of Cairú, a hidden gem surrounded by endless mangrove forests.
Seeing Boipeba from afar, you can’t help but notice that it is a holiday destination with all the boats anchored around the small jetty. But you still have the feeling of authenticity and local island life.
The small town is divided into a part bordering the river where most of the beach bars and restaurants can be found and the town centre a bit further up the hill. Most of the pousadas and bed and breakfasts are scattered along the shore of the river and the adjacent beach called Praia de Tassimirim near the open ocean.
Bea observing birds on the path leading to the Praia da Cueira.
If you prefer to stay a bit off the beaten path, catch one of the quads to take you to Moreré on the open ocean side of the island. Although it does fill up more in high season it is still a quiet and laid back place, ideal to relax.
A lovely thing to do on the island of Boipeba is discover the different beaches. With the exception of the ones in the south of the island, most beaches can be reached on foot, but you might want to catch a quad to get there and walk back in the late afternoon. All beaches have either restaurants or beach bars with everything you might crave for.
To visit the beaches Ponta dos Castelhanos and Cova de Onça on the southern shore you will need to catch a quad, which can be quite uncomfortable or negotiate a round trip with one of the boat owners at the port.
The beach of Moreré at low tide.
Where to stay:
O Céu de Boipeba: High above the town overlooking most of the island lies the beautiful “Céu de (or Sky of) Boipeba”. The views are breathtaking.
Casa Namoa Pousada e Creperia: This cosy and well decorated bed and breakfast is an inexpensive alternative to the pousadas on the shore and lies right in the centre of the old town of Boipeba. It only has a handful of rooms, all in the quiet back garden.
A Sereia: Romantic little cottages right on the beach, where the river meets the ocean. It is near a very popular beach restaurant, so we fear that it might be a bit louder than it should be in high season.
Alyzées Moreré: Located right on the beach, this lovely little pousada is one of our favourites on the island of Boipeba. Beautiful views over the bay and a charming little restaurant make for a memorable stay.
Where to eat and go out:
We must admit that we did not single out any restaurant that especially convinced us, but we also did not have a bad experience. On the other hand, there are two places we want to mention.
One is the beach bar “Bela Vista do Zé” walking from the jetty along the river shore towards the ocean. It offers great caipirinhas (typical cocktails), a beautiful sunset and, if you are lucky, freshly harvested oysters from the mangroves.
Patricia has by far the best “acarajé” in town. Acarajé is made with peeled black-eyed peas, ginger, garlic and salt, formed into a ball-like shape and deep fried in “óleo de dendé”. When done, they are split in half and filled with fried shrimp, vatapá or vegetables. You will find Patricia’s stand walking from the “praça” towards the Casa Namoa Pousada e Creperia. Please note that she is only there on weekends.
Other places to eat are “Familia” on the river shore, “Casa da Dedize” (on the praça) and the “Panela de Barro”
When to go:
To avoid the rainy season from April to June as well as the crowds in summer, we recommend travelling between the ends of August until just before Christmas.
How to get there:
The best connection is flying into Salvador, Bahia.
From Salvador take the ferry to Ilha de Itaparica and then follow the BA-001 south towards Valença. You can take the speedboat to Boipeba from here or, what we strongly suggest, continue driving another 14 km on the BA-001 to the village of Graciosa and take the boat from here. Check departure times. Last boat is usually around 4 p.m. The village has private parking spaces which are inexpensive, is very laid back and has a lot of charm. The ride will take you 40 minutes through amazing mangrove forests and past the beautiful colonial town of Cairú.
The river port at Graciosa
You hear a lot about safety problems in Brazil, but I must admit that we felt completely safe during our whole 900 km trip through Bahia and did not encounter a single situation worth mentioning, on the contrary. Precaution though is always good meaning don’t walk around with valuables shown openly or go through unattended dark streets or alleys if you don’t have to.