Stuck in Morro de Sao Paulo

Trip Start Jan 19, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Bahia,
Monday, February 2, 2009

Read original entry with more info and pics in Paco in America

According to my former plan, my trip was supposed to include quite a busy tour all over the North of Brazil which would take me all the way from Salvador to Fortaleza from where I would fly to Rio. Well, nothing like that in the end. I am realizing that plans change every day in a trip like this. You spend hours and hours checking out the Lonely Planet, asking people, coming up with different itineraries and checking prices just to change your plan every morning. In the end I decided the North of Brazil was important enough to justity his own trip and that the most reasonable thing was to head to Rio all the way South through the coast. All that area is full of nice touristic villages and paradisiac beaches. Nothing could make me expect that this very ambicious route will be reduced to only one place in the end: Morro de Sao Paulo. Lets see why…

Beginnings were never easy

In theory I was going to meet some italians from couchsurfing to go to Morro so that was my idea when I showed up in the port at 9am in the morning that Monday. But I could not see them, all right, no problem, this was sort of expectable, lets find out how to reach my destination. There is the expensive, secure and fast option, a catamaran takes you there in two hours and it cost 70 reals (24 euros). However, if you can complicate yourself a bit, you can get this ferry to a place called Bom Despacho, then a bus to another place called Valen蓷 and then a second ferry to Morro de Sao Paulo. All this takes a bit more than four hours and cost around 25 reals (8,6 euros). Double time and half price…sounds like a deal, when you plan to travel as long as I do, saving money becomes a key thing.

Thats how I ended up surrounded by brazilians in that ferry seen all the tourists going to the other one.
In the end, there wasnt such a big issue to get there by the cheap way and finding a place to sleep became the next problem to deal with. Places at first line of coast seemed very expensive so I kept walking till the third beach and then inside some narrow and not so good looking streets that sugested more reasonable prices. So it was, after bargaining a bit, I got myslef a room with big bed, bathroom, fridge and fan for just 35 reals (12 euros). It was more than I had been paying in this trip but I was really looking forward my own place, even if it was going to be only for a few days.


My first impression of Morro de Sao Paulo was really good, white sand beaches with very clear water, nice atmosphere and plenty of places for drinking or eating…It is true that it looked a bit too touristic but still the place was worth it. I just needed to find some people to enjoy it with. At this point I have to introduce you to my first brazilian friend, his name is Montilla and is a pirate captain that shows up in the labels of the best ron you can find around here. Montilla and me had this idea of partying hard that Monday night at Morro but things did not work out so well; after the siesta and the dinner I headed to the beach, just to find out that a) it was rainning b) maybe because of a) there wasnt anyone around. What kind of joke is this? Nobody told me it also rains in this paradisiac places. First attempt unsuccessful! I go home where Montilla is looking at me with sarcasm, maybe suggesting we manage the night between the two of us. Tempting idea but better to sleep so I can be on a good shape for tomorrow when I plan to take a boat that tours all over the archipielago


Situation improves

The main thing to do in Morro de Sao Paulo, according to the Lonely Planet, is to take a boat and go all around the archipielago, stopping in a nearby island and a few other spots. In fact, that trip was important to me for trying to get to know some people rather than the tour itslef. I needed to improve my so far non-existing social life there. The beginning was not too promising, only couples, old people or both things at the same time were boarding. At the last moment, I heard some Spanish coming from two girls boarding the last and I told myself I should try some approach there.

Everything got better already in the first stop, when I met two brother from Madrid, doing the same trip but in a different boat. 聲gel and Idoya, very friendly both she and he, we were speaking for a while and decided to go for drinks that night. On the way back to the boat I also spoke with the girls that happened to be argentinians (soon I would realize Morro was full of them). Sisi and Sofia, Sofia and Sisi, I spent with them the rest of the trip. I also met Javi, a fireman from Mallorca who had sailed all the way from rio de Janeiro with a friend and had felt in love with the place to the point that he had changed his flight two times already.

So, that trip meant the end of my first, fortunately not too lasting, period of autism in my trip. The tour itself also happened to be very good. In the first stop I had a bath in a natural swimming pool. Nice experience, you are in the middle of the see but somehow is not deep and the waster is so clear you can see fishes down you. The next stop was the much quieter and less touristic island of Boipeba. Beaches with even more white sand, very few people and crystal water. Amazing place, perfect for spending a few days away from everything. When I get very old I will definitely go there.


The rest of the trip was a bit more commercial: one stop in a floating restaurant for eating clams, one visit to a small village with a nice church… Nothing particularly spectacular, the important thing in that trip were the persons. With these people I had met (plus a few others), I would spend the rest of my time in Morro.

Starting that same afternoon that I go with the argentinians to see the sunset from la Toca, a sort of cafe chill-out on the top of the hill with a nice view all over the island. And the sunset was amazing, I dont think my writting style be good enough to describe it so just have a look at the pictures below. And just when the last light was getting away in the horizon, a guitar started to sound and a girl with an amanzingly beautiful voice started to sing in portuguesse. Definitely a great place to spend the afternoon, the visit to the Toca would become an usual thing during my time in Morro. I ended the day drinking rum with 聲gel, Javi and some other argentinians that were working there Very nice day, I am starting to love this place :)


Stuck in Morro de Sao Paulo

So much in love that I ended up staying there for eight days instead of just two. From the boat day we could say I totally made my selft comfortable in the daily routine of that place. Maybe because everything in Morro is easy and relaxed, starting with the beach distribution. You have the first and the second “praias”, the crowded ones with a lot of people, hotels and bars, just in case you feel social. Then there is the third from where boats depart. After that, going around the island, you have the fourth, the fifth and “praiad do Espejo”. The more you walk the more alone you will be. In a way, you get the best of both worlds, here the touristic lively place, there the isolated paradisiac spot.

My life in Morro became simple, unless the previous night had been though (and there werent many like this), I would wake up early to run or just walk around in the third and fourth beaches. After that I would usually meet someone in the second and would hang around there. Around 5pm it was time to go up to the Toca and see the sunset. Then siesta, dinner and time to find out what the night plan was. There was a place for each of day of the week, the Pulsar disco, Morro teather or the beach party. Everybody going to the same place in the island, not really complicated to deal with.

However I have to say I didnt really enjoy too much nightlife in Morro and I put more effort in doing stuff during the day. The teather was the place I liked the most. We had to climb a really long and uphill stair, sort of small version of the Chapada Diamantina but the effort was worth it. Nice place, nice atmosphere, live music and tasty caipirinhas. 聲gel happened to be that kind of person that brings people together and there was a bunch of spaniards and argentinians going up there. The night was definitely my best one so far, loads of laughs with everybody till the sunrise :)


With this situation I guess it is not surprising that I kept postponing my departure from that place. I had the chance of doing scuba-diving again, attend an argentinian barbacue and went a couple of places to the next village, Gamboa. I met this guy from the Basque Country called 茳car who was living there with his brazilian girlfriend. Javi and I visit his house and his boat in a very interesting day. The walk to get there is very nice, full of beautiful natural corners and more amazing and lonely beaches but, besides that, it is very interesting to get to know people like 茳car who, at some point, left everything behind to start a new life very far away from home and feels very happy of his decision. I think I am different than that. In spite of how much I lked Morro I dont think I could live there for a long time. I guess I need movement, change. Guys like Oscar dont need that, he was very happy in his simple house in that small village.



The end of an illusion

聲gel愀 face when he said hello to us from the balcony of his hotel was already foretelling bad news. That day he had been robbed coming back from Gamboa with his sister and another friend by the same way we have used the day before. And it had been specially bad, the guy pointing with a gun to their heads. At 3pm and with more people walking there. The bastard took his camera, watch and a few other things and, at the same time, sent to hell this feeling of been secure I was getting in Morro after my experience in Salvador. I had started to relax and carry all my stuff with me instead of just a few notes. Apparently Morro de Sao Paulo is very safe but once you get a bit far away from there things might change. That little piece of shit probably had came with a ferry from Valen蓷 to do his business and head back there afterwards.

The police response was quite quickly, a few guys got some guns and run to the place where the robbery had happened. In Morro they seem to take these kind of things very seriously since they live out of tourists. We heard some hardcore stories of guys been beaten up cause they were found to be thieves. A remarkable effort but not good enough for 聲gel who did not get his stuff back.
It wasnt a great day, Sisi got very sick and we had to take her to the emergency room. Well, I better say we tried it, just to find out that does not exist in Morro. She was told to come back the next day cause there was no doctor there at the moment. Cool, imagine if you break your head there. In the end, she got better the next day and they could continue their trip.

The moon excercises strange influences

Which contradict themselves and there愀 no one to decipher* One of those days I decided to see the sunset in the old fortress instead of the Toca. There I witnessed one of the most amazing natural events I have never seen. At the same time that the sun was getting down in one side of the horizont, the huge full moon was emerging on the other. The last lights coming from the first one gave the second an amazingly beautiful yellow reflection. Sorry for the attempt of writing style, I just meant it was fucking beautiful. I stayed there for ages, staring at that. You tired to leave but you just had to come back. It was a sort of magnetic attraction. I didnt have my camera with me that day so those images will only remain in my head.

Unfortunately I didnt become wolverine which would have been really cool so I decided to become caipirinha - man instead. However the plan didnt go too well, the full moon party that they had set up was not as good as I expected. Everything very expensive and full of autralians and israelis totally wasted. I was expecting a beach party and found the typical disco thing with VIP area and stuff like that. It was just another night.

At this point many people had left Morro already. Only Javi, great guy I hope to meet again, and the local argentinians were around yet. Luciana, Renato, Ana and Amacay if my bad memory for names is right. I hanged around with them the last days till that morning that I stept out of my bed and saw I huge cockroach running through the floor. I took that as a clear signl that it was time to leave but it was too late to make any other stop in the coast and 27 hours of bus seemed a bit too much for me. So I decided to spend money for one time and booked this plane Salvador to Rio.

So this was the end of my long stay in Morro. I have the feeling that maybe I could have left one day or two earlier but, in any case, I really enjoyed my time there. I guess there are two ways of travelling, the first one consist on going very fast from one place to the next one so you see many things. In the second one you stay longer in places so you feel more part of them. It seems I am doing the second so far. Anyway, Morro was finished, time for the next stop: Rio de Janeiro.


The best

  • Everything appart from the assault to 聲gel

The worst

  • The assault to 聲gel

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