Araca Azul

Ilha de Boipeba, Bahia, Brazil Book from Book from £111 per night

Beautiful 4-bedroom eco-home on the pristine island of Boipeba, a secret paradise for adventurous souls and families
It takes an adventurous spirit to start a new life thousands of miles from home. But that’s exactly what Celtic couple Philip and Marina did. While travelling in northeast Brazil, they chanced upon Boipeba and immediately fell in love: a tiny car-free utopia with beautiful empty beaches, backed by Atlantic forest and fringed with shallow reefs. Seduced by the castaway lifestyle (and delicious local food!), they sold their European home and moved out here with their 3 young kids. The result is Araça Azul.

Two years in the making, this gorgeous family villa is set on a lush tropical hillside just above Moreré beach (voted second-most beautiful in Brazil). All building materials were sustainably sourced – from the hardwood veranda overlooking the ocean, to the quirky driftwood art and furniture made from old fishing boats. But roughing it this is not. As well as airy beach-chic interiors, you get 2 full-time staff dedicated to making your stay comfortable. Lucinede keeps the house spotless and can prepare fresh home-cooked meals, while Rocky can arrange anything from scuba diving trips or horse riding along the beach, to surf expeditions and shrimping. With 4 double bedrooms and masses of space, it sounds utterly idyllic for families or friends looking for an off-radar adventure.

Highs

  • The elevated position means wonderful sea views from the hammock and a welcome cooling breeze
  • A short walk through the trees to one of Brazil's best beaches, still wonderfully quiet and unspoiled
  • Fantastic for families with a treehouse, slide and swing, a tropical garden, and surfboards and kids' sailing boat to borrow
  • Rates include 2 kind staff who can arrange island adventures and prepare delicious home-cooked meals if you don't want to self cater
  • Well priced and no minimum stay

Lows

  • No swimming pool, but the warm sea is just 70m away and full of colourful fish; great for snorkelling
  • Unless you take a hopper flight here the journey from Salvador takes 6 hours by taxi and speedboat, but that's part of the adventure
  • Don’t expect 5-star facilities or a buzzing nightlife; Boipeba is still largely undeveloped and all the more lovely for it

Best time to go

Boipeba is warm year-round, with temperatures of 20-35C. Our favourite times are spring (September to December) and autumn (March-April) when it’s warm with occasional showers and few other visitors. Christmas until Carnival (February) is peak season (though the island never gets crowded) with hot summer days and little rain. The rainy season is May-July when it can rain heavily for days at a time, or there might be weeks of sunshine. You’ll have the beaches all to yourself.

Our top tips

  • For an adventurous day out, hike to Castellhanos beach (5km) and spend a relaxing day dining on fresh fish, clams and caipirinhas from the shack restaurants. In the late afternoon (high tide permitting) either return by boat or swim back through the mangroves. This majestic flooded forest is almost completely silent (except for the occasional bird) and gliding through the still water with the last rays of sun passing through the leaves is a truly unforgettable experience.

  • Note there are no banks or ATMs on the island. Many places won’t accept payment with credit cards. Bring lots of cash!
  • Great for...

    Eco
    Family
    Great Outdoors
    • Boutique Villa
    • 4 bedrooms
    • Self catering; meals on request; walk to restaurants
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Daily Maid Service
    • Towels & Bedlinen
    • Laundry Service
    • English-speaking caretaker
    • Staffed villa
    Room:

    Rooms

    The main house is laid out over 2 levels. Downstairs is an open-plan kitchen and beach-house lounge (with board games, books and film projector), separated by a shady veranda. Both rooms have doors that slide open to create a large indoor-outdoor space with stunning views over the ocean. Colourful hammocks and cushions invite you to relax, while the quirky outdoor table - built around the trunk of mangaba tree - is perfect for sociable meals.

    Wooden stairs lead up to 3 bedrooms, where pitched roofs with exposed rafters offer plenty of space and light, and hardwood floors and canopied beds complete the tropical feel. Furniture is either vintage or hand-built. The huge Master bedroom has a private ensuite, while the other rooms share a bathroom. The 4th bedroom is an independent hut behind the house, made entirely from recycled boat wood. It sounds ideal as a romantic hideaway or an independent den for older kids.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Coffee / tea making
    • Coffee maker
    • DVD player
    • Fan
    • Food blender
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Hob or stove
    • Ipod dock
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Mosquito net
    • Oven
    • Safe box
    • Terrace
    • Toaster
    • Washing machine
    • WiFi

    Eating

    The kitchen is fully equipped with a hob, oven, fridge-freezer, UV filtered drinking water, Vitamix blender... everything you need to cook up a storm. Jars of ingredients line the shelves.

    If you'd prefer to just relax and be looked after, book the Half-Board rate. Lucinede will shop and cook breakfast + 1 other meal a day (of your choosing). For the 3rd meal, you can self-cater or eat out. Her breakfasts are a tropical affair of fresh fruit and juices, tapioca, eggs, beijú's, corn pancakes, açai and homemade bread. For lunch and dinner, she offers delightful Brazilian specialities such as moqueca (seafood with fresh coconut milk, dende oil, limes, cashew nuts and coriander) or bahian clams served with feijao (black bean stew), organic salad, rice and farofa (toasted cassava).

    There are some excellent low-key restaurants at nearby Moreré and Tassimirim. Alternatively, take a boat to the floating oyster bars to enjoy fresh mangrove-grown oysters washed down with a cold beer.

    Features include:

    • Breakfast
    • Coffee / tea making
    • Coffee maker
    • Dinner by arrangement
    • Food blender
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Hob or stove
    • In house cook
    • Lunch by arrangement
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Oven
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service
    • Shopping service
    • Toaster
    • Basic supplies
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • With its gentle incline, clear water and coral reef, Moreré Beach is perfect for swimming and snorkelling; there's kit to borrow
    • Caretaker Rocky can organise all manner of activities from wood-carving, capoeira classes, scuba diving and sailing
    • Walk for miles along deserted beaches, or explore the island’s interior along a network of sandy trails; ask Rocky to come too, so you don’t get lost!
    • Canter along the beach on the owner’s horse, Trovao (‘Lightning’), or hire a mule for up to 3 children, and head off on a family adventure
    • Spot humpback whales from the house during migration season (August-November), or charter a boat for a closer look; if you're feeling brave you can swim with them
    • Grab a surfboard (the house has 4) and head down to Bainema Beach to check out the swell
    • Hire a traditional Bahian sailing canoe and visit the natural reef pools at Bainema or Castellhanos; the shallow water is filled with colourful coral and fish

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cooking classes
    • Fishing
    • Historical sites
    • Horse riding
    • Kayaking
    • Private guided tours
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Surfing
    • Swimming
    • Trekking
    • Whale watching
    • Wildlife

    Kids

    Adventurous children will be in their element at Araça Azul. The owners spent years living here with their 3 young children so the house is very family-friendly. There’s a beautiful sandy beach just 70m away, a tropical garden to explore – complete with treehouse, slide and swing – and all manner of toys, from books and board games to surfboards and beginner sailing boats. What's more, there are no cars on the island. If you're travelling with a baby you'll need to bring a travel cot.

    Best for:

    All ages

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The master bedroom has a sofabed; ideal for a couple of youngsters who want to sleep in with their parents. On the same floor is a twin room. Teenagers might enjoy the privacy of staying in the wooden room behind the house – their own secret hideaway.

    Baby equipment:

    High chair

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Treehouse with slide and swing
    • Kids toys, books and DVDs

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Swimming and snorkelling (kit to borrow)
    • Sailing and surfing (surfboards and a kids' learner sailing boat to borrow)
    • Wood carving and capoeira classes,
    • Fishing, crabbing and shrimping
    • Horse riding

    Families Should Know:

    The house is raised, with steps up and a drop of 10 feet from the veranda. There is a fence all around but take care with toddlers who might climb on the benches and lean off.

    Distances:

    • Airport: 10 mins' by speedboat (Boipeba airport)
    • Medical centre: 25 minutes by quad bike/tractor
    • Shops and restaurants: 3 mins' walk
    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Araça Azul is located a 3-minute walk from the small fishing village of Moreré, on the car-free Brazilian island of Boipeba in Bahia.

    By Air:
    The nearest international airport is Salvador. From there you can take a private hopper plane to Boipeba (3 times a day, 25 mins, min 4 passengers), or take a taxi then boat combo over to the island (6 hours in total).

    Whether you arrive at the dock or airport, Philip will arrange for you to be met and whisked to the beach in front of the house by speedboat (extra cost). From there, the villa staff will welcome you.

    Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

    Airports:

    • Boipeba Domestic Airport 5.0 km
    • Salvador Luis Eduardo 130.0 km SSA

    Other:

    • Beach 0.1 km
    • Shops 0.5 km
    • Restaurant 0.5 km

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