Morro de São Paulo: Salvador’s Island Paradise

January 4, 2010 - 12:47 am 1 Comment

The catamaran trip over to Morro de São Paulo ended up taking almost three hours, more than an hour over the advertised time. Upon arrival, everyone (mostly South American tourists) crowded the doors to be the first ones off. I just don’t understand this. Everyone on the boat knows that everyone on the boat wants to get off the boat. Why push and shove? The dock wasn’t much better. Filled with pushy backpackers and tourists, the dock simply didn’t have enough room for everyone. Kids hauled luggage everywhere with their wheelbarrow “taxis,” making creative horn sounds with their mouths to make their way through the crowds. What a cluster.

The island of Morro de São Paulo turned out to be pretty nice. From the moment I got off the boat, it reminded me a lot of Thailand’s Koh Phangan, with its backpackers and little shops and beaches lined with bars and restaurants. Turns out they have Full Moon parties as well, although they don’t seem to bother lining them up with actual full moons.

The first beach was pretty amazing. Exposed coral created a lagoon with lots of tiny pools for people to lie in.

Lagoon at Morro de Sa?o Paulo

Walking in, the water was uncomfortably hot by the shore but cooled off as it got deeper. We waded through the lagoon and climbed the coral for some views back to the beach. Walking over slippery coral in waist-deep water with my laptop and all of my photo gear was probably the dumbest thing I’ve done on this trip.

In the Lagoon

After walking around a bit, we stopped for a delicious lunch of shrimp, really awesome fried potatoes, and piña coladas. As we ate, the tide came in, replacing the lagoon with more normal-looking ocean.

Reflecting Umbrellas

Doug = Hot Dog

Heading back to Salvador, the catamaran was much quicker. We got back to our room, cleaned up, and headed out for some souvenir-shopping, dinner, and live music in Pelourinho. We happened to catch a performance from an apparently famous local percussion band called Olodum (oh-loh-DOOM) and had a meal of meat and French fries.

Jeff & Gog

After that show, we headed to J&K Restaurant for some more music. The girl next to me was so impressed with the R$2 bill that I folded into a t-shirt for the waitress that I made one for her, too.

Band at J & K Restaurant

Sticking to the touristy areas with police on every corner, we felt safe. In fact, a boy (whose name sounded like “Allison”) walked over to us while we were listening to music and pointed to Gog’s camera, motioning for him to put it into his pocket. I rewarded the boy’s selflessness (or was it?) with some change. Except for that issue with the guy who wanted a sandwich and a few sketchy looking locals scoping things out, we didn’t have any safety issues in Brazil at all.

Cross in Pelourinho Square

Tonight is our last night in Brazil. We’re sad to be leaving, but we know that we will be seeing and doing some amazing things in Argentina. Tomorrow, we head to Iguazu Falls!

    One Response to “Morro de São Paulo: Salvador’s Island Paradise”

  1. Simon Says:

    Hey man, beautiful HDR shots per usual, and glad that you had a good time in Brazil. I will be arriving Wednesday morning in Rio. Enjoy Iguazu, it’s beautiful.

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