Boipeba is quite simply paradise on earth.
This amazing island off the coast of Salvador, Brazil is a mission to get to, but worth it for the pristine tropical beach and laid back atmosphere. There are no cars on the island, simply a series of tracks which criss-cross the island.
We first got a taxi from Barra in Salvador up to the ferry terminal. From there it is a 1 hour ferry ride to Itaperica (and we ain’t talking cruising on the inter-islander here. Far from it.) Next we got on a 2 hour bus to Valenca. Not speaking Portuguese is a bit of a problem, so we wrote on a bit of paper ‘can we get off at the bridge by the river to get a boat to Boipeba’. No the bus driver says. ‘Rodoveira’. Meaning no, you have to go to the bus station. So we get to the bus station and then the thieving taxi drivers want 10 reials to take us back to the boats (the equivalent of $10NZD for about a 1.5km trip). Now who thinks the taxi drivers and bus drivers have a little scam going here?!
Anyway we get to the wharf and look for a speedboat going up the river to Boipeba. The speedboat turns out to be about as big as Kylie’s dad’s little fizz boat and we think – that’s ok. Till we figure out that 8 other people are also going to be getting in the boat with us. Hmmm. So laden down with the back end of the boat (where we are sitting) only about 2 cm from actually being in the water, we head off. Just as a massive rainstorm hits. Fantastic.
Lets just say it wasn’t the most comfortable 1.5 hour trip up the Rio Inferno (aptly named), a massive estuary with monster sized mangroves. We got absolutely soaked and it was pretty choppy at times. It was low tide, so in parts we had to slow down to a crawl and several times saw the propeller churning up the bottom. But it was an experience!!
Once we arrived in Boipeba, all was forgiven. It is an absolute paradise, no exaggeration. Miles of pristine white sand beaches with coconut palms and only a handful of other people around, just perfect. There are no cars on the island, just donkeys and horses for transport. We stayed in a beautiful place called Pousada Santa Clara that luckily had the best restaurant on the island. So every night we feasted on fish, prawns, scampi, and variations of the local dish moqueca – seafood cooked in a sauce made from coconut milk, tomatoes, red and green peppers, coriander and palm oil. Delicious.
Breakfast was so big that we mostly didn’t eat lunch – full of beautiful fresh fruit, watermelon, mango, papaya, banana, rock melon and lovely fruit smoothies every morning.
So we had an amazing week of just reading, lying on the beach, walking and swimming. About halfway around the island was the local lobster stall where we had lunch a couple of days – fresh grilled lobster with a beer, sitting on the beach, it was perfect.
Here are some pictures of Boipeba in all her glory. The lovely guesthouse owners said to us “come back one day and bring your kids”. We will indeed.