Brazil’s Best Beaches. Has there ever been a better alliteration? Not if you love fun, sun, and sandy beaches! One thing to remember: Brazil is a large country with thousands of beaches (there’s much more to Brazil than Rio)!
UK news source, The Guardian, recruited experts to compile their list of Brazil’s top 10 beaches. Here we go:
10. Lagoinha do Leste, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina (Caio Capela, Tucano House owner)
Florianópolis Island has beaches a plenty! With over 42 to choose from, Lagoinha do Leste takes the bikini… the cake, rather. On the south side of this island, an hour’s hike will bring you to this beautiful, deserted beach.
“It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, and backed by Atlantic rainforest, with dunes, sandbanks, a lake and rocky coastline. Perfect for camping (no campsite, pitch anywhere) or for a day trip.”
9. Bonete, São Paulo State (Ariel Kostman, Metro Newspaper, São Paulo)
This is a beach that you’ll walk to, but sometimes it’s the 15km journey and not the destination. Nah, it’s the destination. However, there is plenty to enjoy along the way – waterfalls and Brazilian forest.
“Half an hour before the end of the 15km walk you’ll see the beach at Bonete: this is what Brazil must have looked like to the Portuguese when they first arrived over 500 years ago: just blue sea, golden sand and dense green forest. Finally, the beach: a half-mile strip of sand next to a river estuary, with good waves for surfing.”
8. Praia da Fazenda, São Paulo State (Simon Heyes, Latin American Travel Association)
Simon’s words are so pretty – I won’t even try to compete: “Halfway between two of Latin America’s biggest cities, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, but truly a world apart, lies one of Brazil’s great natural jewels, where protected, heavily forested coastal mountains drop vertiginously into beaches and azure sea. Praia da Fazenda arcs effortlessly across the wide bay from the small, traditional fishing village of Picinguaba. Wade across the river – catch a flash of kingfisher green among the mangroves – and two miles of deserted beach lie ahead. To your right uninterrupted forest and mountains; on your left the bay, scattered palm topped islands and fish jumping. Things I love about this place: running at dawn you feel like the only person for a hundred miles; the cool, delicious natural spring at the far end; the gentle rise and shelter that provides a perfect spot for longboard surfing; and watching a school of dolphins from a kayak, and once even a whale!”
7. Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Rio State (Nadia Nightingale, Rio resident)
White sand and a crystal blue ocean – that’s what you’ll find on Big Island (Ilha Grande), home to Lopes Mendes. Far from any building, you’ll have to find shade under a palm tree instead. It’s also a rather complicated trip, and I’m not sure a GPS can help you find the way. Here is how it goes: “Getting there involves a three-hour bus journey from Rio to Angra dos Reis then a hop on the ferry to Ilha Grande. A scenic 40-minute boat trip takes you to Abraão, the island’s only town. Once in Abraão take a small taxi-boat to Manges beach, the last boat stop before Lopes Mendes. Landing on the beach, walk up over a hill and then down through a small forest to the beach. As you walk out of the forest, the beach is right in front of you in all its glory.”
6. Arpoador, Rio de Janeiro (Gavin McOwan, Guardian Travel)
The best beach might not be in “Rio,” but no Brazilian Beach list would be complete without one of its busy beaches. Arpoador is a continuation of Ipanema Beach, ending with a “tall rocky headline, an easy 60m climb, offering stunning views of the whole length of Ipanema, Leblon and the famous Dois Irmãos mountain.” A favorite for locals, you can surf or just splash around off of the sandy beach. It also has lighting at night, so you can even take a dip after the sun has gone down.
5. Caraiva, Bahia (Steven Chew, contributing editor Conde Nast Traveller)
This vastly expansive beach (spanning more than a day’s walk in either direction) has no access for motorized transportation.
“There’s an adage with remote Brazilian beaches: first go the hippies, then the yachties, then the French … Caraiva is still at the happy-hippy stage of discovery and even then only for a brief period in the summer.”
“Golden sands lead down to the water where a firm surf pushes relentlessly against the shore and provides the soundtrack to the handful of idyllic beach bars. And then, of course, there are the goalposts that remind you that you are in Brazil.”
4. Taipus de Fora, Maraú Peninsula, Bahia (Conor O’Sullivan, founder of Tatur travel agency)
The state of Bahia has 1,100km of coastline. Taipus de Flora is home to a lovely long beach walk: “The long sweep of beach ends at a headland where beautiful reef pools are exposed by the receding tide, revealing a huge naturally sheltered pool, offering wonderful snorkelling and tropical fish. South, past the headland, the sandy beach goes on and on, and I walk on and on, stopping off for a refreshing dip.”
3. Praia do Toque, Alagoas (Ricardo Freire, author of 100 Praias Que Valem a Viagem – 100 Beaches You Must Visit)
Some of the best beaches are off the beaten path. If you take the main coastal road inland, you might miss the delights of the villages and warm sea in the other direction. “Set up base at Praia do Toque and walk the sands nearby. Twenty minutes north is Tatuamunha river, a sanctuary for manatees. Forty minutes south are two picture-perfect crescents: São Miguel and Praia do Riacho. At low tide hire a jangadeiro (a small traditional fishing boat) and head to the tidal pools.”
2. Fernando de Noronha (Douglas Vieira, São Paulo journalist)
Nothing says paradise like an archipelago. 350km off of the north-east coast of Brazil, Fernando de Noronha makes finding a nice beach easy. The three must-visit beaches are: Praia do Sancho, Baía dos Porcos (Pig’s Bay), and Atalaia. “All have translucent waters, and because tourist numbers to the islands are strictly monitored, it is easy to spot turtles, octopuses, a plethora of fish and even sharks. The food chain in Noronha is well preserved, so sharks are less dangerous here there than elsewhere.”
1. Alter do Chao, Pará (Tom Phillips, The Guardian’s Brazil correspondent)
Number one is a real surprise, mostly because this beach isn’t a dot on the expansive Brazilian coast. Actually, it’s on a river in the heart of the Amazon. “After a week holed up in the jungle, Alter do Chao is the perfect place to relax: you can lounge on the river beaches in the morning, gorge yourself on a local grilled fish in the afternoon and retreat to one of the area’s many charming pousadas by night.” This place is your perfect escape from the “green inferno” of the famous Brazilian rainforest.
One last insight for the road: according to this lovely article, the Brazilian equivalent of the British expression “Just my cup of tea” is ‘That’s my beach” (é minha praia).
A trip to beautiful Brazil? That’s my beach!