For over 20 years, the tiny fishing village of Morro de São Paulo on the Ilha de Tinharé has been the most popular destination along the Dendê Coast—named after the dendê palm, whose fruit produces the amber-colored oil used in traditional Bahian cooking—which stretches from Valença south to Itacaré .
During the summer, in particular, it is mobbed by sand and sun worshippers from all over the planet. At these times, “Morro” (as it is called) is party central—a crush of tanned young bodies frolic all day and night among the bars and beaches of the tiny colonial settlement.
Fortunately, if this isn’t your scene, you don’t have to completely give up on Morro de São Paulo. In off-season, especially during the week, it’s possible to surrender to the simpler pleasures offered by swaths of native Atlantic forest, coral reefs, and warm turquoise ocean pools. The fact that no cars are present (the primary source of transportation is the wheelbarrow) is a big plus.
There are many options for getting to Morro de São Paulo. Both catamarans (3–4 hours) and lanchas rápidas (speedboats, which take 2 hours but are more expensive) leave daily from Salvador ’s Terminal Marítimo in front of the Mercado Modelo . The trip is very scenic, but the ocean can be quite choppy: contact Catamarã Biotur (tel. 75/3641-3327 or Salvador tel. 71/3326-7674), Catamarã Gamboa do Morro (tel. 75/3641-3327 or Salvador tel. 71/3326-7674), or the Terminal Marítimo (tel. 71/3319-2890).
From Salvador, you can also take a small eight-seater plane. Flights take 20 minutes. Contact Addey Taxi Aéreo (tel. 75/3652-1242 or Salvador tel. 71/3772-2451), Aerostar Táxi Aéreo (tel. 75/3652-1312), or the Salvador airport (tel. 71/3204-1010) for more information. Águia Branca (tel. 71/4004-1010, www.aguiabranca.com.br ) and São Geraldo (tel. 0800/311-312, www.saogeraldo.com.br ) both provide bus service from Salvador  to the nearby town of Valença, where many boats make the 20-minute trip.