July 13, 2012
Morro de São Paulo, a district of Cairu and one of the top touristic destinations in Bahia, has a population of about 15,000 inhabitants. During the highest season (December-February), that number triples, according to the Cairu Tourism Secretariat. Quinta Praia (Fifth Beach, or Enchantment Beach) is a great choice for travelers who want a quieter escape after mingling with the crowds.
Located over four miles from the village center, Quinta Praia is about a 1.5 mile long and home to some good places to stay. They have restaurants, but not nightlife: the big-time partying is in the village center and on Segunda Praia.
Travelers staying on Quinta Praia can fly Aerostar (55-71-3204-1335) straight from Salvador to a landing strip less than a mile from the beach.
Though not the remotest spot on Tinharé Island, Quinta Praia is not too easy to reach by land. Its hotels and pousadas have four-wheel-drive vehicles for guest transfers. They travel back and forth a few times a day on the dirt road between the beach and Receptivo, their stop near Segunda Praia (Second Beach).
Morro beaches are fantastic to walk, run, ride a bike or a horse on during the low tide; the high tide can change the landscape in a major way (see photos of Quarta Praia, or Fourth Beach). Following the coast to Quinta Praia from the village along the sequence of numerically named beaches (Primeira, Segunda, Terceira, Quarta) is best in the company of a guide. If you're not staying at Quinta Praia but would like to visit, ask at your pousada or at local agencies such as O2 Turismo, with stores on Primeira and Segunda Praia, or Rota Tropical, on Primeira Praia, about your options.
In the low season, Quinta Praia is a place for solitude and contemplation. May and June are the rainier months in Morro - the photo above was taken during an exceptionally wet spell in June 2012. August to October is a great time to visit - sunny, not as crowded as the summer and humpback whale season (Rota Tropical offers whale watching tours).
Where to Stay on Quinta Praia:
See a listing of Morro de São Paulo hotels and pousadas.
The writer visited Quinta Praia while on a press trip to Cairu by invitation of Bahiatursa. About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.