Although we were based in Morro de Sao Paulo, we were able to take a quick day trip to the nearby island of Boipeba. While Morro de Sao Paulo seems to finally be getting a little attention from Brazilian tourists, Bahians especially tend to opt for Boipeba instead.
While the Bahian locals scorn Morro for being too touristy, Boipeba has been built on far less, but with water that is no less clear and food that is no less gorgeous. So, which do I prefer? It’s hard to say.
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While Morro de Sao Paulo might have a more beautiful shoreline, Boipeba has some amazing nature paths. For a very small fee, a local will bring you on a little tour around the island (only in Portuguese though), through the jungle, past the blue land crabs, ending on the gorgeous beaches near the town.
Here’s a fun fact: It is in fact an Italian man that owns 40% of Morro de Sao Paulo and 30% of Boipeba, and that is of the whole island, including the parts that are uninhabitable (which makes his effective ownership a far larger portion). However, it turns out that for once the European didn’t fuck over the locals, and to their delight he has not destroyed the island to build big eyesore hotels. He has preserved the beautiful nature, began harvesting coconuts and stimulated the island economy through tourism enough that there is even a University (don’t get too excited, I wanted to look into it too, but it turns out they only offer two courses: tourism and pedagogy).
There is no question about it: Boipeba is more authentic, more natural. Consequently, there are fewer “activities” available for you to do. Of course this makes sense for the Bahian people that only live a couple hours away: they’re not going to the islands to zip line or snorkel, they’re going to relax in a gorgeous location, the fewer loud tourists the better. When it comes to us furiners though, it depends on what it is we are looking for. Do you want to cram as many sports, activities and parties into your vacation as possible, or do you want to hang out on the beach, take a stroll through nature, away from all that noise? Me, I love it all, so island hopping was definitely the best way to go.