Bathed on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and on the other by the calm waters of Camamu Bay, the Penínsulade Maraú in Bahia offers more than 50km of beautiful, wild and practically deserted beaches, as well as lagoons, waterfalls, mangroves and charming villages. We spent ten days exploring the Maraú Península from end to end and now we give you a complete guide with all the things to in the Penínsulade Maraú in Bahia.
Sustainable tourism on the Península de Maraú
With difficult access, the Península de Maraú is stull a little explored refuge on the Bahian coast, which makes it even more special. The pandemic, however, has sparked a tourist boom and things seem to be changing rapidly. There are many works in progress and several projects being developed now.
We have the feeling that the Maraú Península is at a currently decisive moment. It can either be a reference in sustainable tourism in Brazil or become dominated by mass tourism, resulting in the rapid destruction of its culture and biodiversity. We are rooting for the first scenario and we know you are too! Therefore, in addition to a complete travel guide on the Península de Maraú, here you will find some tips on what to do and what to avoid to help preserve this paradise.
The Península de Maraú is 270 km from Salvador (via Ferry) and 128 km from Ilhéus. For those coming by plane, these are the two closest airports. If you are coming from Salvador, the trip takes approximately 6 hours, that is considering the village of Barra Grande on the Maraú Península as the final destination. From Ilhéus, the trip takes about 2h30min.
Drive to the Península de Maraú
To drive at the Península de Maraú depends on the car and time of year:
From December to March, the weather is so dry that the soil is soft, like beach sand. That will make it impossible to drive a vehicle other than a 4×4
From May to August the rains are frequent and the mud is so big that we hear of periods when even 4×4’s get stuck
In between seasons it is possible to go with regular vehicles – we were there in April and October with a Honda Fit and we had no problems
As the weather can be unpredictable, before heading down the Península road with your car, it is best to call the hostel where you will be staying to find out about road conditions and the weather forecast for your stay. If the road is good, we highly recommend going by car. The distances from one place to another on the Maraú Península aren’t short. To have your own vehicle will allow you to explore it much better.
For those coming by plane, you can rent a car at the airport in Ilhéus or in Salvador. We always rent a car with Rental Cars, a Monday Feelings partner search engine that guarantees the best options and offers.
Take a boat to the Península de Maraú
To get to the Maraú Península without a car, you should take a bus to the city of Camamu and cross the bay by boat. The speedboats leave Camamu from Monday to Saturday from 6am to 5pm; and Sunday from 7am to 5pm. The ticket price is R$40 per person. If you miss the time, you will have to cross by chartered speedboat only.
Can I not have a car when I’m in the Península de Maraú?
Although possible to enjoy your time at the Península de Maraú without a car, there will be restrictions. The Península de Maraú is extensive with more than 40km and has several villages and beaches that are worth visiting. Without a car, you will have to rely on taxis, jardineiras (a van that works as public transport) or quadricycle rental;. All these options are not cheap.
For those who don’t have a car, I definitely recommend staying in Barra Grande, the main village on the Maraú Península. Most most of the restaurants, hotels and markets are located over there and you can do everything walking – keep on reading from more info on that.
Map of the Península de Maraú
Remembering that the roads are terrible. The motorway BA 011 that crosses the Península from end to end is 43 km long and is all dirt, with many holes.
The Península de Maraú Villages
The main villages to stay are Barra Grande, Taipú de Fora and Algodões. Barra Grande is the largest and best-structured village on the Península, but there are other good options to use as a base. We really enjoyed the villages of Taipu de Fora and Algodões. To choose where to stay on the Maraú Península will depend more on the style and interest of each traveller.
Barra Grande in Península de Maraú
Barra Grande is the main tourist centre of the Península. Over there, you will find most bars, restaurants, inns and markets. If you’re in the mood for excitement and lively places, Barra Grande is your destination on the Maraú Península.
The village of Barra Grande is right on the tip of the Península. That gives you the option of exploring on foot the busiest beaches of the Atlantic waters or the calm ones of Camamu Bay. As we mentioned earlier, for those who go to the Maraú Península without a car, it is better to stay in Barra Grande because of the infrastructure. Check below where to stay in Barra Grande.
Taipu de Fora in Península de Maraú
The village of Taipu de Fora is 7 km from Barra Grande, but due to the condition of the roads, a trip between the two can take up to half an hour. Taipu is where the most beautiful beaches on the Península are located, in our opinion. You find the beautiful natural pools, coconut trees shading the beach and extensive stretches of sand. Don’t forget to see the natural pools in their best condition though. It has to be the full moon or new moon season, which is when the tide recedes the most.
ATTENTION: corals are living beings and you cannot walk on them under any circumstances (even in the parts closest to the sand that look like rocks – that is coral). Also avoid applying sunscreen before entering natural pools as it is also harmful
Taipu de Fora is getting more developed and you can already find good bars, restaurants and beach clubs around. Surely, it does not compare to Barra Grande, but it’s a good option if you would rather have a quieter vacation without surrendering to total isolation. Taipu de Fora is located more in the middle of the Península, at a strategic distance from the other beaches. For this reason, we recommend going by car so you can also explore the rest of the Península de Maraú.
Algodões in Península de Maraú
Algodões has a different atmosphere. The beaches there are also very beautiful, but what caught our attention the most is the community atmosphere. The residents of Algodões seem to be very concerned about sustainability issues. The buildings are more rustic, there are vegan and vegetarian food fairs among other cool initiatives. We really wanted to spend a season in Algodões to be able to feel up close this atmosphere of an alternative community built in a paradise.
What to do in the Península de Maraú
Spend the day in Ponta do Mutá and stay until sunset
Ponta do Mutá is the most extreme point of the Península, dividing the Atlantic Ocean from the Bay of Camamu, so you have the option of enjoying two types of beaches. As it is located in Barra Grande, the busiest village in Maraú, there are several beach clubs here and the beaches are usually a little more crowded. The tip is to stay until sunset, which is beautiful!
Watch the sunset at Bar da Rô
One more sunset tip; after all, it’s not every day that you can see the sun set over the sea in Bahia, so you have to enjoy it! Located between the river and the sea, Bar da Rô is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting the Maraú Península. If you want to have lunch, it’s best to arrive around 2 pm to get a table with a good view. The dishes are not cheap, but the food is delicious. They also have a bar area if you just want to enjoy a drink while admiring the sunset.
Take the Bromeliads Trail (Trilha das Bromélias)
It is only possible to do the Bromeliads Trail by quadricycle (who insists on going by car jams). The trail is a circular path that crosses the forest, where you can see the incredible giant bromeliads, as well as passing by the beach and the Azul and Cassange lagoons. It’s beautiful and one of the best things for anyone looking to do on the Maraú Península. The tour can take about 3 hours, taking it easy. I recommend ending the day watching the sunset at the lighthouse. The daily quad costs between 180 to 250 Brazilian Reais (about 35 to 45 USD). We rent with terra trip.
Enjoy the natural pools of Taipu de Fora
Taipu de Fora is home to the most beautiful natural pools on the Península. But remember that to see them properly, it has to be a full moon or a new moon season, which is when the tide recedes the most. In front of the Buda Bar are the main pools, but the beach is full of them, so I recommend going there with time to walk along the beach and discover other smaller and emptier pools.
ATTENTION: Really, corals are living beings and we should never step on them. Also avoid using sunscreen to enter the natural pools as it is also harmful
Enjoy the city-centre of Barra Grande
At the end of the afternoon, it’s really nice to enjoy the center of Barra Grande, with its many bars, restaurants, live music and food and drink stalls. The restaurant we liked the most in Barra Grande was the vegan/vegetarian Merkaba (and we’re not even vegetarians! But really, the mushroom risotto served in coconut was simply divine!).
A day at Algodões beach
Another must-see for anyone looking for things to do on the Maraú Península in Bahia is to visit Algodões Beach.
Pay attention to the tide table, as there are also natural pools in Algodões. In Algodões we spent the day at Tikal Beach Club and loved it. Options of dishes and drinks with good value for money and the place is very tasty. The establishments on the beach close between 4 pm and 5 pm.
Take the 5 Islands Speedboat Tour
Surprisingly, this was one of our favorite tours in the Maraú Península. The passieo lasts all day and passes through five islands, in addition to the Tremembé waterfall. Beautiful landscapes and a wonderful lunch to end the day! We did the little Princess tour and we really enjoyed it!
Stand Up Paddle in the mangrove of Taipu de Dentro during sunset
We were not able to do this tour, but he was highly recommended to us, so let’s leave the suggestion here! Whoever manages to do it, come back later to tell us how it went!
The rainy season in the Maraú Península runs from May to August, so it is best to avoid this season, as it can rain every day. Also, at this time, the roads are very bad and you can be stranded.
Apart from that, the other times of the year promise days of blue skies, sun and maybe a little rain. Another tip that we give is to try to reconcile the trip with the full moon or new moon, as the landscapes of the Península are very influenced by the game of tides.
Where to stay at the Península de Maraú
Hotels in Taipu de Fora
During the 10 days we spent on the Maraú Península, we stayed at Vila Lua de Taipu in Taipu de Fora and we loved every moment! The bungalows are very well structured, including a small kitchen, a small room to watch TV and work, a double bed and a mezzanine with two single beds – perfect for those travelling as a family or with friends.
But what we like most about this place is the super warm and caring service provided by Totó and Lívia, the owner. The two are always available there, doing everything for the guests. All this attention and affection they have for customers can also be felt in the way they take care of the garden, the inn, in the concern they have with the community and with the Península as a whole.
For those who care about choosing sustainable accommodations, Vila de Taipu is one of them! In addition to recycling garbage, the girls participate and lead several sustainability projects in the Maraú Península.