Santa Clara

Ilha de Boipeba, Bahia, Brazil Book from Book from £70 per night

Rustic guesthouse set in a lush tropical garden, a short stroll from a fabulous beach on the unspoilt island of Boipeba
Probably the last time you'll wear shoes on Boipeba is when you step off the small boat that makes the 5-minute trip from the mainland. Jump directly onto the beach and make the short walk up the shaded path to Pousada Santa Clara. From here on in, it's barefoot, carefree relaxation all the way.

You'll be greeted warmly by the owners and shown along a wooden pathway to your charming, simply furnished room, hidden among lush foliage and banana trees. There's an open-air library with a collection of books and magazines, and a bar-restaurant serving breakfast and dinner where people gather to chat and drink in the evening. Around the back, up some stairs in a tree-top massage room, you can take chill-out to another level. There's no pool, but you won't need one - the "Bounty Bar" beaches are superb and the sea gratifyingly warm, all just 50m away.

Highs

  • The owners, brothers Charles and Mark, extend a really warm, personal welcome
  • Simple, laid back charm with a fun ambiance - we loved the rustic accommodation (don’t expect mod cons)
  • Boipeba island is one of Brazil's best-kept secrets - you'll find miles of unspoiled beaches and friendly locals
  • Great restaurant - easily the best on the island
  • A great place for kids but not a ‘family hotel’, so couples wanting to get away from it all will not feel unwelcome or disturbed
  • Tree-top massage room

Lows

  • It's not easy to get to, but the distance from the mainland has helped Boibepa remain pristine, and the owners can send private vehicles to pick you up from Salvador or Ilhéus
  • Not directly on the beach but it's only a minute's walk away
  • On Boipeba 8pm is the new midnight: if you want buzzing nightlife, stick to Ibiza
  • Most of the rooms don't have AC or other mod cons, but they do have fans

Best time to go

Carnaval in Salvador (the biggest outside Rio) takes place either in February or March, depending on the year. Brazilians say if you want to watch go to Rio, if you want to take part go to Salvador. Boipeba would make a fantastic spot to chill out in afterwards. The rainiest months are May-July.

The Pousada closes each year for a few weeks, normally during June - please check for exact dates.

Our top tips

Arriving from Salvador is an adventure, it can take 3.5 to 5 hours but Charles and his team can help arrange every aspect of this trip (or can simply tell you what you need to do). For this reason they recommend staying 3+ nights. If you really short of time you can fly in to the local airstrip from Salvador.

For your packing list, bring cash (there are not banks on the island), mozzie-spray (not a huge problem but they do exist here) and suntan lotion (it's much more expensive here).

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 12
  • Restaurant and bar (closed Mondays)
  • Over 2s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 12 Double Rooms are simply furnished but charming – some are almost like treehouses, others like little cottages, others have wraparound verandas. All are simply decorated with brightly coloured bed linens and distinctive coloured shutters and doors. Those with balconies or terraces have hammocks to relax in. Four of the rooms have air-conditioning, but you don't really need it - the open windows capture the sea breezes rustling through the luxuriant foliage. All rooms have hot showers, mosquito nets, a ceiling fan and a small fridge. There's no TV and certainly no need for a safe.

We found all the rooms to be equally pleasant. That said, Room 3 is good for a family as it is the largest and perhaps the most private, being somewhat tucked away at the back of the property. Room 7 (sleeps 2) and Room 8 (sleeps 4) are on two levels. I loved mine, Room 4, for the way the light flooded in in the morning, with birds providing a natural alarm, and for its terrace, perfect for an afternoon siesta swinging gently in the hammock.

Features include:

  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Mark used to own a small café in Vermont, and he and his team do a fantastic job in the kitchen making breakfasts (delicious juices, coffee, bread, cakes, local coconut-infused rice pudding dusted with cinnamon, and cooked local Bahian specialities) that will fill you up way beyond lunchtime.

For dinner (not available on Mondays) there are delicious 3-course meals. Even if you think you're full after the main course, you'll magically find room for a homemade brownie or slice of pecan pie, and one of the 10 varieties of homemade ice cream - I'd recommend the white chocolate and the honey. Starters might include aubergine with mozzarella, crabcakes, or Vietnamese lobster rolls; main dishes could feature lobster ravioli, prawns with tangerine sauce, or homemade linguine with ricotta, rocket and fresh tomatoes. There's always a vegetarian option and lots of seafood.

For lunch, you might want to walk an hour along the beach to meet Guido, who cooks seafood dishes over a simple fire under a palm tree. Just in front of Pousada Santa Clara there are several very simple beach restaurants offering beer and snacks, while in the village (a 10-minute walk away) there are a few laid back places offering tasty local dishes such as moqueca (fish or prawn stew). Or you can take a boat 20 minutes through the mangroves to the floating oyster restaurants where dinner is directly beneath your feet, washed down with a large beer.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Lie on an unspoilt beach catching up on all the books you meant to read but never got round to (within 1-2 minutes’ walk of the Pousada)
  • Learn the difference between a caipirinha and a caipirosca
  • Explore the sleepy village of Boipeba
  • Walk an hour and a half along deserted beaches and through coconut groves to the tiny hamlet of Morere
  • As the team to help arrange canoeing in the mangroves, snorkelling trips and horse riding
  • Hike through the Atlantic forest or follow the trails around the coast
  • Take a boat trip to the floating oyster restaurants or around the island
  • Swim and snorkel in the natural shallow pools offshore
  • Go night-shopping in the village (a 10-minute walk away) and stop for a tapioca pankcake by the football pitch on the way home
  • Get a holistic massage in the tree-top massage room

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Santa Clara actively welcome families and the staff are great with them. There are no special facilities for children, but kids will love Santa Clara and Ilha Boipeba – this is a real Robinson Crusoe island with beautiful white palm-fringed beaches, warm blue sea and tropical inland.


Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Room 3 is good for a family as it has a double bed and 2 single beds around a corner, plus an additional outside shower. It is also perhaps more private than others, being somewhat tucked away at the back of the property. All rooms have space for an extra bed, plus they are brightly coloured and fun. Those on two floors have fun spiral staircases (best for ages 5+).

Kid Friendly:

Location

Location:
Santa Clara is located on the island of Boipeba, south of Salvador. Access is difficult but you'll be rewarded once you arrive.

By Air:
The nearest major airport is Salvador Luis Eduardo (130km away); it has some international flights, as well as domestic flights from São Paulo.

From the Airport
From Salvador airport you can take one of 3 daily flights in a 6-seater plane to Boipeba's neighbouring island, Ilha de Tinharé (a 30-minute flight), and then cross the water to Santa Clara by speedboat (arranged by the hotel). The total time from Salvador to Boipeba is about an hour. Alternatively, Santa Clara can send private vehicles to pick you up from Salvador.

By Ferry:
Take a taxi from Salvador to the car ferry and cross to Itaperica (you’ll need to brush up on your Portuguese to buy the ticket). It’s then 125km by taxi to Graciosa, and finally 50 minutes by speedboat to Boipeba. Santa Clara can pre-arrange the taxi and speedboat for you.

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

More on getting to Brazil and getting around

Airports:

  • Salvador Luis Eduardo 130.0 km SSA

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Charles, Mark and their team turned our stay into an unforgettable time. They are just perfect hosts. Thank you so much for all, we miss you already so bad!

10/10,

I really loved the setting and the wonderful friendly management. It felt like being at home and pampered. I recommend for an unwinding vacation of total relaxation in a spot where time seem to have stopped. Great food, good help in organizing activities and travels, excellent way to run a place where I hope to go back asap. The garden is stunning.

10/10,

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