Brazil is renowned for its stunning beaches. The country has over 7,500 kilometres of coastline, from the unspoiled, dune backed beaches of the north such as Jericoacoara, to the stunning beaches in the south with their great diving spots such as Ilha Grande – there are plenty to pick from. As a result of the year-round sunshine, soft, white sands and clear waters, Brazil’s beaches are rarely not in use. With so many beaches to choose from, knowing where to head can be difficult. Here we give you the lowdown on Brazil’s best beaches, and which is best for what…
Jericoacoara – best for windsurfing and kite surfing
Fernando de Noronha – best for diving and snorkelling
Boipeba – best for wildlife
Marau – best for deserted beaches
Trancoso – best for chic boutiques and open-air restaurants
Buzios – best for buzzing bars
Rio de Janeiro – best for people watching
Ilha Grande – best for a laid-back break, with no cars allowed on the island
Santa Catarina – best for kayaking and boat trips
Jericoacoara is located in Ceará, a north eastern state of Brazil which, until 20 years ago, was a small fishing village untouched by civilisation. Even though now popular, Jeri, as it is known, has retained much of its unspoiled charm. It is a place away from the bustling busy cities of Brazil with sand-paved streets and beaches as far as the eye can see. It is known as a Mecca of windsurfing and kite surfing. The best way (and easiest way, due to the unpaved tracks) to get around Jericoacoara is on foot – being small, everything is within walking distance. A popular activity is to climb the Por-do-Sol dune to watch the sunset over the ocean, a rare sight in Brazil.
Fernando de Noronha is a tropical paradise of 21 islands and islets offshore from the north east Brazilian coast. The crystalline water, rich marine life and tropical landscape make the beaches of Fernando de Noronha some of the best in Brazil. Praia do Leão and Baía do Sancho both have the most beautiful crystal clear blue water with areas for swimming. It is a fantastic location for diving, snorkeling, dolphin watching, boat tours as well as horseback riding, hiking and exploring. Toursim is developed in a sustainable way, and the Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park and multiple conservation projects mean the marine and coastal environments remain unspoilt.
Boipeba Island is one of the islands of the Tinharé archipelago, in the south state of Bahia. A rare natural beauty still relatively undiscovered, Boipeba is a paradise island with more than 20km of white sand shoreline, met by turquoise waters. It is home to a great variety of ecosystems with rainforest, salt marshes, mangroves, reefs and sand dunes. If you like marine life, head to the beautiful deserted beach of Ponta de Castelhanos, known for its diving. You will also find sea turtles on the island and their spawning eggs can be found on the beaches. Other wildlife such as foxes, reptiles and a variety of birds can be spotted in the rainforest.
The sheltered bay of the Marau Peninsla in the south of Bahia is home to an array of idyllic islands, mangroves, palm trees and lakes. There are beaches as far as the eye can see and endless unspoilt scenery. The area of Marau has limited access; there are no significant roads and boats are often used to get around and explore the mangroves. Given the remoteness, there is a choice of deserted beaches offering up the most tranquil places to relax. For the more active, there are beaches for enjoying water sports and whale watching. Keen divers should head to the beach of Taipu de Fora, which has an abundance of marine life. For those who like to hike, there are plenty of nature trails around Marau too.
Trancoso is situated on the southern Bahia coast and is one of the earliest settlements founded by the Portuguese. It is now where Brazilian celebrities head and embodies a somewhat rustic sophistication. It is filled with chic boutiques, open-air restaurants and a laid back atmosphere. Be sure to head to the Quadrado (the main square) which is bordered with colourful buildings and has a pretty white church overlooking the ocean. If you go here at night, you will feast your eyes on the most magical sight with candles lighting the whole square. In terms of beaches, you will be spoilt for choice with miles of palm-fringed golden sands. We recommend Praia dos Nativos, Praia dos Coqueiros and Praia do Espelho, with their natural swimming pools formed by reefs at low tide.
Armação dos Búzios, also known as Buzios, is just a couple of hours north of Rio de Janeiro. It is a peninsula surrounded by 8km of islands and beaches. What was once a small fishing village is now known as the Saint Tropez of Brazil – with elegant villas, boutique hotels, buzzing bars and fine restaurants. There are a number of beaches close to the town centre such as Ferradura Beach, which is good for snorkelling and Geribá Beach, which is the place to go to for surfing. The beaches are stunning with crystal clear waters; it is clear why those working in Rio escape here for a long weekend.
Rio de Janeiro is home to 23 beaches in an almost continuous 45 mile ribbon of sand. Rio’s beaches define its culture: vibrant and fun. Copacabana and Ipanema are probably the most well-known – both acquiring world fame through being the subject of famous songs! Copacabana is a hive for intrigue and activity with plenty of bars, restaurants and kiosks. Ipanema attracts a chic crowd – it is a gathering place for models, well-to-do families and beautiful people. The beach is 2km wide and the tree-lined promenade is very pretty with cute boutique shops, restaurants and colourful bars. Both beaches are well worth a visit!
Ilha Grande is an island located half way between Rio and Sao Paulo. Its main attraction has to be Lopes Mendes beach, which is reached by a short trek through a rainforest. The sea is crystal clear and an incredible emerald green colour, whilst the beach is 3km of perfect, white sand – paradise! For those who are not keen on sunbathing, there are plenty of activities on offer such as going on a boat trip around the island, snorkelling, kayaking or hiking through the luscious rainforest. There are no cars or roads on Ilha Grande, just hotels, restaurants, shops and bars, making it a perfect place to completely unwind and enjoy your holiday.
Given the sunny Santa Catarina peninsula boasts a remarkable 560km of seductive shoreline, it’s no surprise there’s a multitude of different types of beaches to choose from. With secluded hideaway coastlines, some top surf spots, and beaches that offer a buzzing nightlife, Santa Catarina has it all. Florianopolis – the capital of the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina – is an increasingly popular destination due to the superb beaches, beautiful scenery, interesting culture and friendly people. One of the most famous beaches here is Praia Mole, noted for its rolling green hills and rock formations on either side. The beach is frequented by gliders, surfers and those wanting to try their hand at sand boarding.