beaches are year round useable
(except for the southern part of the country where winters are chilly) with 4,578 miles of
coastline loaded with dazzling stretches of soft sand and a coastal culture that centres on beach activities.
The best time to lounge on Rio beaches is around December if you really like a lot of company and heat or May-October for better, cheaper conditions. See below for more precise regional weather reports.
Beware travelling Brazil
in the summer holiday December-February (school holidays and Carnival time),
when domestic transportation and accommodation can be expensive
and difficult to find.
Also at that time temperatures can reach 40C, too hot for comfort even if you are on a beach.
Generally Brazilian sand is white and fine, the sun shines, prices are low
and local people are fun-loving and friendly. The water, however, is the Atlantic Ocean, so will often be rough,
with strong currents, a steep drop off and not very warm, unless
protected by a reef. Careless tourists drown regularly!
Beaches in and around
Rio de Janeiro
Weather and crowds: Best May-October though rain can visit anytime. Avoid December-March due to crowds, expense and excessive heat.
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
This is the world's best city beach with 4km of surprisingly spotless wide
white sand. Copacabana is relatively cheap, with friendly, lively locals. Plenty
of accommodation, restaurants and outrageous night clubs. A great
place for volley ball, and is the home of 'futevolei' (foot volley
ball), too. Fun for people watching especially if you favour huge
The down side is that you have to be cautious about thieves : use
common sense - no watches, jewellery, or cameras.
If you like a little more sophistication go next door to Ipanema.
Ipanema Beach, Rio.
and Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Home of the bikini and tangas- tiny bikinis- Ipanema and Leblon
are adjacent and similar but slightly smaller, more chic and relaxed than Copacabana.
There is a family-friendly ambience and even a meeting area for
mothers and babies. Soft white sand and cool blue water.
About 65 miles down the coast and and 1.5 hours out lies this delightful little no-vehicle island, with rainforest interior, a small number of guest houses, shops and beach-shack restaurants in Abraao, and spectacular beaches all around. Take a bus from Rio to Angra Dos Reis (2 hours) and a ferry to the island (1.5 hours).
90 miles (155kms) NE of Rio
Originally a fishing village, Armação dos Búzios is now a small, colourful but extremely hip and lively
town on a peninsula packed with 22 fine beaches (Praia Brava is currently glitterati destination #1) and not a lot of
people on them. Buzios came to fame when France's famous beauty,
Brigitte Bardot, hung out there in the 60's.
dos Reis, Costa Verde (between Rio and Sao Paulo)
If you want to escape from Rio, Costa Verde is a good destination.
Costa Verde (Green Coast), is one of the most scenic stretches along
the 175-mile coastline between Rio and Sao Paulo, where tropical
forest spread down to the ocean, with broad bays, golden sandy beaches
and small fishing villages. There are some good resort hotels, villas,
trendy restaurants and clubs. Angra dos Reis (Kings' Cove) is the
best beach of the area and one of the most untouched beauty spots
in the country.
Beach Gardens, south
of Sao Paulo
The town of Santos, 45 miles from Sao Paulo, has a beautiful 4 mile
beach garden, reckoned by locals to be the largest garden in the
world. It stretches from Ponta da Praia, ferry port from another well-known
beach resort called Guaruja, to Sao Vicente, the oldest town in
Praia do Forte is a small fishing village 50 miles north of Salvador along the Coconut Highway coast road.
North east Brazil
Weather: Avoid April-June/July due to rains.
Salvador, Bahia state
A beautiful, vibrant colonial city with excellent beaches on both
The seashore on this little island off the coast of Salvador is
one of the prettiest in Brazil.
Neighbouring beaches, Ondina and Rio Vermelho, host Salvador's most
expensive resort hotels, while Rio Vermelho has some of the city's
best bars and music.
Going north along the Orla Marítima are many restaurants,
clean white sand, and in the north, the Lagoa de Abaeté,
a black freshwater lagoon.
This massive beach is popular with neo-hippies and other beach lovers of a liberal persuasion and focuses on Trancoso's bouncing beach bars and endless activities.
do Forte resort
do Forte, to
the north of Salvador, is an old fishing village reconfigured as
a laid back, down market resort. It has more than 8 miles of superb
sandy beaches and natural pools and is surrounded by thousands of
square miles of wild nature. Among the many cheap and cheerful little
hotels is Brazil's first eco-resort, Praia do Forte Eco Resort -
deluxe but low key - lurking by the best sandy bit in the area, and
offering various eco tourist programmes such as bird-watching, and
the 'Projeto Tamar' turtle sanctuary. It's 1.5 hours from Salvador.
Rio Grande Norte state
Natal, inelegant, but 'the city of the sun' sees more than 300 days
of sunshine a year and has some of the best stretches of sand in
South America, including good lively city beaches - but beware the
Just out of town the seaside get better with the prettiest area
being Ponta Negra bay( 10km away), and Pipa beach (80km away) -
so lovely that dolphins visit regularly to admire it.
In addition Rio Grande do Norte has a more than 40 other great beaches,
in particular Pirangi, Jacuma, Maracajaú, Galinhos. And by
the way, wild buggy rides over the huge dunes seem to be a big attraction
in this area.
Fortaleza has a modest, mediocre city beach but hundreds of miles of superb wild coast
either side of it, with dunes, palms, wild water and not much else.
(300km west of Fortaleza)
Jericoacoara, or Jeri as it's known to the cognoscenti, is increasingly fashionable with both local people and with hard-travelling, neo-hippies for its absolutely massive lengths of totally natural beaches, sand-dunes, cliffs, spectacular
sunsets and relaxed but reasonably developed support system (e.g. cold beers and bug-free beds).
Jericoacoara beaches are also known for windsurfing, horse-riding and dune buggy excursions, though the town is hell to reach - 5 hours by road from Fortaleza airport followed by an hour of lumpy sand track in a 4WD. Poor access is, of course, what has protected Jericoacoara from the curse of concrete.
Weather: Best November-April. Avoid wintertime from June-September due to cold.
Florianopolis. 464 miles (746 kms) south of Rio lies the fabulously scenic and beach-strewn island of Ilha de Santa Catarina (aka Florianopolis), 54 kms long and reached by a couple of bridges from the mainland. The island features pleasant Florianopolis town, several dozen superb beaches, pine forests, sand dunes, mountains and lakes. The best beaches are on the east coast (excellent for surfers), the least developed in the south, but the calmest waters and tranquil bays are to be found in the slightly crowded north island.
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