Brazil, the largest country in South America, lies between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator. A vast country with over 4,500 miles of coastline on the South Atlantic, the tropical climate ensures that those living on its coast can enjoy the sea and sand under blue skies. A suntan is guaranteed in Brazil, and in such fashionable places as Rio de Janeiro, it is almost mandatory.
Brazil has a largely sandy coastline with plenty of coves, small islands, and pools – it is a holidaymaker’s heaven. Rio boasts two of Brazil’s most famous beaches, but for those happy to leave this exotic paradise, there are numerous great spots – many of which are remote and largely undeveloped.
Distances are inevitably vast but some of the escapes are certainly worth the effort. Here is our list of the 15 best beaches in Brazil for you to explore.
1. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana beach’s fame has spread worldwide – few beaches are more well-known than this 2.5-mile stretch of sand. It will no doubt be busy, but one of the pleasures of traveling is mixing with local people – and in the case of Rio de Janeiro, beautiful people! Many tourists begin their Brazil holiday in Rio, and this beach should be on the list of places to see before moving on.
Copacabana beach was actually increased in size to prevent the sea from reaching right up to the road, and is now a place where you can find more than just sun-worshippers – beach volleyball and football matches continue throughout the day.
2. Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro
The older generation may know the name Ipanema from the 1960’s hit song by Astrud Gilberto, ‘’The Girl from Ipanema,’’ even if they have never been to Rio. This lovely stretch of sand is often crowded but it is a lovely setting below twin peaks, the Two Brothers, in the distance.
Located at the front of one of the rich neighborhoods of Rio, with stylish restaurants, bars, and boutique shopping to enjoy after a day on the beach, there is plenty of activity on the beach itself, though you can simply relax and enjoy the surroundings if you wish.
3. Praia do Espelho, Trancoso, Bahia
The contrast between Rio de Janeiro and Espelho could not be more marked; Espelho is almost the definition of remote. It is 15-miles from Trancoso in Bahia. The lovely pools and clear blue sea add to the picture-perfect setting of this sandy beach. Divers will see coral in the reef pools and on surfacing will see the backdrop of coconut palms and cliffs.
There are tents, deck chairs and mats available, while the nearby small village of Vila do Outeiro offers shopping, bars, restaurants, and accommodation. Seafood is a must when you go out for dinner.
4. Praia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha
Praia do Sancho on the tropical island of Fernando de Noronha has regularly won the vote as Brazil’s top beach. It actually faces west to Brazil and not out to the vast Atlantic Ocean. The rocky cliffs and green vegetation add to the picturesque setting of sand and blue waters, with access to the beach provided by ladders down the cliff, stone steps carved into the cliffs, or boat.
This is a reserve area but boats are permitted to stop for swimming because they will not damage the coral that is now so precious.
5. Lopes Mendes Beach, Ilha Grande
This 2-mile stretch of sand below two mountains – the 350-meter Morro dos Castelhanos to the left and 760-meter Morro do Ferreira to the right – is suitable for all, including families with small children, swimmers, and surfers. It is still a natural, largely undeveloped area, with no kiosks, restaurants or bars and certainly no nightlife. It is unlikely that that situation will change.
As a result, Lopoes Mendes beach is a great place to relax, especially in the shade of nearby almond trees. There are rarely many people around and any noises are entirely natural, creating a serene paradise.
6. Praia do Forno, Arraial do Cabo
This beach lies in a cove in Arraial do Cabo – a lovely setting below slopes and accessed along a trail or by boat. Known as the Beach of Angels, the views down to the beach for those taking the trail are stunning. Once there, visitors can relax and take in the sun’s rays.
The sand is white and the sea warm and clear. It attracts families throughout the holiday period who come to dive, snorkel to see the coral, and fish underwater. The restaurant offers the freshest of local seafood and oysters.
7. Praia do Campeche, Florianopolis, Santa Catarina
Praia do Campeche is situated south of Florianópolis in Santa Catarina State, Southern Brazil. The beautiful sand and clear waters contrast beautifully with the green vegetation. The sea can have a bit of a swell at times and there are lifeguards on hand, but it is generally safe for swimming and snorkeling. Fishing is a fun activity, and you simply must sample the local fresh fish while you are there.
In the summer, visiting whales are an added attraction at Campeche. You can enjoy a boat trip around the islands or simply relax and pick up a suntan.
8. Santos Beach, Santos nr. Sao Paulo
Santos beach is an hour away from Sao Paulo. It’s a 3.5-mile stretch of sand with a lovely garden inland of the beach which runs its whole length. Santos itself is the largest harbor in Latin America, but this does not detract from the enjoyment locals and tourists get when hanging out at the lovely beach.
Santos beach attracts all ages and different kinds of travelers – families and couples, active youngsters and those who just want to relax. In the unlikely scenario that it is raining, the nearby Brazilian Coffee Museum or the aquarium are just two of many things to fill your time.
9. Praia de Pipa, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte
This fishing village near Natal in Rio Grande do Norte is a favorite with the locals from nearby Recife looking for a weekend break, but as yet, it is fairly undiscovered by international tourists – although a few of those who have found it have never left. The setting is lovely, with steep, pink cliffs, forest, sand and sea. There are sand dunes held together by green vegetation – you can hire a buggy and explore them if you wish.
Water sports are popular and it is fun to try and spot some dolphins. The nightlife is casual and vibrant, with great bars and cafes.
10. Ilha de Tinhare, Cairu, Bahia
There are a series of lovely beaches on the island of Tinhare in Cairu Municipality, Bahia. They range from small stretches of sand to larger ones with significant tourist infrastructure. Surfers will enjoy the lovely waters, as will those wanting to dive or explore the rock pools.
If you want action on land, you will find nice bars and restaurants, providing plenty to do after the sun goes down. Those looking for peace and quiet can find that as well. Accommodation fits every budget and you will be able to choose a spot where you will literally step straight out of your room onto the sand.
11. Porto de Galinhas, Recife
Porto de Galinhas is to the south of Recife and has regularly appeared in Brazil’s top tourist magazine. It was once simply a fishing village, but the lovely reef pools have made it great for swimming and snorkeling, colorful tropical fish add to the stunning environment that you are sure to be enamored with.
You can hire a small boat to take you out exploring – as long as you stay away from protected areas.
The beach is actually 11-miles long, and local restaurants and accommodation options make this a great holiday destination.
12. Praia dos Carneiros, Recife
North of Recife, Praia dos Carneiros is a beach close to Tamandare. There is a great stretch of beach and wetlands where you can wander for miles in perfect peace. Think of the postcards you have seen of an idyllic beach – that is Carneiros, which sits looking out over a bay, white sand and blue sea. The backdrop is a line of palms, while the warm water is inevitably calm.
There are boat tours available, as well as boats for rent. It will be fairly quiet, precisely because it is family-owned – you will need to pay to access it but it is so worth the money.
13. Caraiva, Porto Seguro, Bahia
Bahia is a State full of fishing villages and great beaches, of which Cavaiva is one. It is 30-miles to the south of Porto Seguro and relatively unknown. Vehicles are not permitted, so the only sounds are the peaceful waves and the bays of the mules, the local form of transport.
Electricity is a relatively recent addition to a setting of green headlands, blue sea, and miles of sand. The seafood is wonderful and fresh, and mules bring in any drinks that visitors might crave. Those visitor numbers are certain to increase – Cavaiva can’t remain a secret much longer.
14. Taipus de Fora, Marau, Bahia
Taipus de Fora is located on the Marau Peninsula in Bahia and has become famous for its wonderful snorkeling. At low tide, reef pools remain, filled with bright, tropical fish. The colors as a whole are stunning – the fish themselves, the palms, sea, and sand. There is plenty of sandy beach and you can certainly find areas where there is no one else around.
Sun beds and shades are in place for tourists and there is a nice bar near one of the pools, as well as reasonably priced accommodation – camping is also popular.
15. Porto da Barra, Salvador, Bahia
This beach in Salvador, the Capital of Bahia, faces to the west, so it is a place you must bring your camera along to in order to get those perfect sunset snaps!. It is a very popular place for weekend breaks from Salvador, so you can expect it to be fairly busy at times. There is so much history relating to this region – old 16th Century forts still stand and look over the beach.
Fishing boats bring in the catch of the day and the nearby fish market is a delight. After a busy day – perhaps playing volleyball or swimming – seafood is the first choice for dinner.