Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Travel Review: Morro de Sao Paulo

I'm finally finally back, and ready to blog along about the wonderfully fantastic trip that I've had until I'm blue in the face. In case any of you forgot or are new arrivals, I just got back from an amazing 2-week holiday in Bahia, Brazil. We used Salvador as a base, but were able to visit a couple of places around the area. The first place we went was Morro de Sao Paulo, a two and a half hour catamaran ride from Salvador. As you can infer from the picture, it was absolutely beautiful.

I'm not going to lie, it's a little touristy. When you step off the boat and walk through the little town it definitely has the tourist-village feel. However, in this case the tourists were definitely not stupid, and there is a very good reason why so many of them flock to this place. I was there very much off-season, and yet it was still full of life. Why not? It was the dead of autumn staring at winter, and it was 30+ degrees.

What I really loved about it was that there was something for everyone. Are you the type of person that likes the fancy tropical paradise hotels, lounging on the beach during the day and parties at night, head on down to the second beach, more expensive but perfect for those tastes. Want to get away from the tourist village, see real beaches and hang out at a local islander's shack for a piece of fish and a coconut? Take a long walk down the fourth beach, where a horse-and-cart will bring you back if you don't feel like walking anymore. Are you more of an adventurous type? Jump off a zip line over the gorgeous water, go banana boating around the island, scuba diving or kayak out to the little rocky tide-islands for some amazing snorkeling. Love fish? Take a boat ride around the islands and stop at the little shacks literally floating on the sea, one that serves clams and the other oysters, where when they run out they just dive off the side and go get more. Feel like an all-natural spa day? Take a walk across the island to the other side, where there is a natural clay right under the sand. Cover your body with it, dry out in the sun and then dive into the cool water for the best free body mask you'll ever hope to have. Shopaholic? Walk through the town especially in the evening where there are local artists making everything from jewelery to hammocks to coconut bongs, and many of the shops are very decently priced. There is something for everyone so I cannot possibly see how anyone can get bored.

Sure if you are one of those people that are patently allergic to anything touristy, first impressions will not be very good. However, looking past the feel of the center of town you realize that the place actually has an amazing amount to offer, and most of the island has been remarkably well preserved. This is no Club Med trying to trick you into thinking that you're having a better time than you should be in an average location, this one of the most beautiful places I have ever laid eyes on, which is exactly why so many people want to go.

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