“Welcome to paradise” said Charles, the owner of Santa Clara pousada. We had just arrived at the tiny island of Boipeba on Brazil’s east coast, 45 minutes flight from Salvador in the tiniest plane I have ever been on. The plane lands on a bumpy air strip complete with goats grazing on it on the nearby main land and then it is a short boat ride to Boipeba. Charles was right when he described it as paradise, the island ticks all the boxes with lush jungle and palm trees lining white sandy beaches. Boipeba hasn’t fallen prey to any mass tourist development yet and the only infrastructure is a handful of pousadas, shops and restaurants. With no cars or roads on the island the pace of life is decidedly laid back and it is not uncommon to see supplies being carted by wheelbarrow or donkey.
Typical beach on Boipeba – your only concern in life is being hit by a falling coconut
The obvious thing to eat on an island paradise is seafood while lunching at Paraiso an outdoor restaurant on Morere beach. Our fish came served in a sizzling clay pot topped with a rich tomato based sauce, sliced onions and peppers (R$40). As is typical on the island, all dishes were more than enough to feed two especially with the standard accompaniments of rice, beans and hot sauce.
Details: Paraiso, Morere beach, Boipeba, Bahia, Brazil.
Fish at Paraiso
Little more than a shack on the end of Cueira beach beach, Guido, or perhaps Guido’s successor stands under a palm tree and expertly grills fresh lobsters over a coal fire. R$60 buys you about six small lobsters, halved so it is easier to scoop out the meat and served simply with wedges of lime.
Lobster being cooked at Guido’s
Eaten while sitting in plastic chairs with the sand between your feet and a chilled beer in your hand, Guido’s beats Michelin star dining any day.
Details: Guido’s, Cueira beach, Boipeba, Bahia, Brazil.
Damage: Pricey (actually for lobster – probably reasonable!)
Finished lobster at Guido’s
Panela de Barro
A tip from the lovely @GisaneC on Twitter led me to charming Panela de Barro in Boipeba’s village. The restaurant is a decidedly no frills operation with vinyl tablecloths and a tv blaring in the back corner but the food is tasty and cheap. A starter of tiny grilled octopus mixed with salsa and served with toasted bread (R$18) was fresh and vibrant. The crab moqueca (R$30) had a great mix of flavours with the sweetness of the crab meat complimenting the salty sauce.
Details: Panela de Barro, Boipeba village, Boipeba, Brazil.
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
Grilled octopus at Panela de Barro
We stayed at Pousada Santa Clara which conveniently also contains what is easily the best restaurant on the island. The head chef Mark used to run a cafe in Vermont and he knows his stuff. MTV boyfriend and I ate dinner here twice and were wowed by Mark’s food which is a fusion of European and Bahian recipes which makes the most of the island’s fruits and seafood. To start, crisp, fried lobster served on a bed of wilted spinach and laced with a tangy orange sauce (B$18). A main of chicken in a red wine sauce was teamed with wedges of baked polenta. To finish there is a selection of home made ice-creams served with a hot, gooey brownie. The ice-creams feature local fruits but admittedly our favourite was the white chocolate ice-cream.
Details: Pousada Santa Clara, At the end of the sandy path, Boipeba, Bahia, Brazil (Ph +55 (75) 3653 6085 )
Chocolate brownie and home made ice-cream at Pousada Santa Clara
Gourmet Travel Tips
- Pousada Santa Clara was run by the amazing Charles who really goes beyond the call of duty in looking after his guests. He even booked our plane tickets to get to the island. The pousada is made up of a collection of small buildings connected by mosaic covered paths in a lush tropical garden. Our room, number 11, was clean and simple with a sparkling new all white bathroom. There is no air conditioning but you can sleep with the windows open at night thanks to mosquito nets on every bed. Breakfast was a real highlight at Pousada Santa Clara and included fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juice, tea, coffee, bread and different specialties every day such as tiny pancakes, warm rice pudding, potato cakes or frittata. Details: Pousada Santa Clara, At the end of the sandy path, Boipeba, Bahia, Brazil (Ph +55 (75) 3653 6085 ). £70 a night including breakfast.
Our room at Pousada Santa Clara
- We flew with Addey airlines from Salvador to Boipea and tickets cost about $B350 one way. The cheaper but slower way to get to Boipeba is by bus or boat. We left on a speed boat which took one hour to get to Valenca and cost $B35 a ticket. From Valenca, there are plenty of bus connections North or South through Bahia.
- On the island besides lying on the beach we enjoyed the two hour walk through the jungle, a coconut farm and various beaches to reach Morere beach.
- I also highly recommend watching the sunset with a caprihini in hand.
Sipping a caprihini and watching the sun set