With a coastline of more than 7,000 kilometers, ranging from the equatorial climes of the Amazonian north to the humid tropical reaches of the Rio Grande do Sul in the south, it’s hardly surprising that Brazil has quite so many chart-topping beach spots. Here, we take a look at just a handful of the most beautiful, going from the duo if iconic sands on offer to LBW travelers hitting hedonistic Rio to the far-flung paradise of the Fernando de Noronha isles. Enjoy…
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Sat in the shadow of the cascading favelas and rugged mountains of Vidigal and Christ-topped Corcovado, Ipanema is like a less brash (only slightly mind you) and rambunctious alternative to its big brother of Copacabana around the headland. Made famous by its resident crowd of fashionista go-getters and LGBT locals, the great scythe of golden yellow sand that slopes into the swells of the Atlantic on the south side of Rio comes complete with a sun-splashed promenade, countless caipirinha cantinas and feijoada holes-in-the-wall. It really is Brazilian people watching at its best!
Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande
Once a pirate haven and then a leper colony, it’s hardly surprising that the lush green reaches of the Ilha Grande remain some of the least developed in the country. Famed for its biodiversity (visitors can expect to see the likes of howler monkeys and caimans, Amazonian parrots and lush primeval Atlantic forestry here), the spot also hosts the legendary Lopes Mendes beach. Surfers come for the rolling left-to-righters; sunbathers for the cotton-white sands and crystalline swimming coves; beachcombers for the pristine dunes and enticing groves of coconut palms – the list goes on! Oh, and did we mention that this paradise is one of the top spots on our Beautiful Brazil trip…Just sayin’.
For those who’ve had their fill of Florianopolis’ party-mad Armação and other super-club-backed sands, postcard perfect Matadeiro surely comes up trumps. Hidden in its own little fold of rock and headland, the sands here can only be accessed by foot. That means they attract far smaller crowds than the rest of Florianopolis, giving rise to the little bamboo beach bars and bookshops that line the dunes. Surfing is popular too, with a couple of pounding breaks washing over the shore.
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
A strip of sand that surely needs no introduction, Copacabana has been eulogised by the likes of Barry Manilow, trodden by celebs and A-listers, and reigned as a real favourite of local Cariocas since time immemorial. And why not! Its prime location between the great Sugarloaf Mountain and along Avenida Atlantica, pulsing with cocktail bars and party hubs, makes it the epicentre of Rio de Janeiro as a whole. Stretching more than four kilometers through the heart of the lively South Zone, the strip hosts everything from champagne bars to super clubs. Oh, and it’s the home of the stacked sandwiches of Cervantes – something of a rite of passage for every visitor and late-night partier in Rio!
Praia do Sancho, Pernambuco
Hallowed ground for every beach lover, no matter who you are, Praia do Sancho on the far-flung archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, some 350 kilometers from the mainland reaches of Pernambuco, has enjoyed a tiptop position as the highest-rated stretch of sand on the planet for several years running. And boy does it live up to its rep! Expect a truly Robinson Crusoe affair, with an arch of sand so yellow it looks like some sort of Aztec necklace running in a perfect C-shape under sheer-cut cliffs, vines draped and dangling down from above to the azure blue Atlantic sea. Wowza!
While the Praia’s and Balnearios of the southern states boast tropical good looks and swaying palm trees, the more desert-like northern reaches of Ceará mimic the American West Coast. Rugged cliffs cascade down into the ocean rollers, squiggles of whitecap carved out by windsurfers and board riders on their swells. Sandy dunes rise and fall like tussocks of cotton plants all around, and rustic little fishing towns pepper the shores. Jericoacoara is perhaps the most beautiful spot to visit of all, especially considering its great hump of a sand mountain that offers the legendary Emerald Sunset of South America!
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"Rich is a traveler, writer and filmmaker who's always after somewhere new to go. He's been hopping around the globe since 2011, from Poland to Paris, Mumbai to Ho Chi Minh. He runs several travel sites of his own, from Ski Eastern to Live Krakow to Crabs Move Sideways. When he's not planning his next trip, he's usually listening to 50s jazz, surfing in Wales, skiing in the Alps, or just swigging (too much) great craft beer."
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