It’s no secret that Brazil is home to some of the world’s best beaches. From the nightlife built around Rio’s Copacabana to sleepy spa days on Ilha Grande’s shores, there’s absolutely no going wrong with sun and sand in this colorful giant. Though it’s only February, the days are getting longer and a tiny bit warmer in the Northern Hemisphere – which means it’s only right to start dreaming up your next getaway. Right? For the best combination of natural beauty, buzzing cities, and a native rhythm unlike any other, keep reading our list of the best Brazilian beaches.
♦ Rio de Janeiro
A city lined with fragrant jungle, iconic monuments, and golden-sand beaches, Rio de Janeiro, the “Marvelous City,” is almost too good to be true. Whether it’s tanning on the famous Ipanema or venturing outside the city to the secluded Ilha de Paquetá you daydream about, Rio affords the opportunity to soak up the sun within a stone’s reach of impeccable dining, dancing, and samba culture. The bustling beaches and their astoundingly blue waters are filled with crowds of jovial locals eager to chat over Caipirinhas about everything from soccer to freshly fried seafood. If you’re ready for a weekend packed with cosmopolitan adventures and beachside relaxation, make Rio the first on your list of Brazilian beaches to see.
♦ The Costa Verde & Ilha Grande
Just below the hustle and bustle of Rio’s lively beaches is the Costa Verde’s Ilha Grande. The 120 mile tropical escape blanketed with buzzing rainforests, endless miles of white sand, and verdant hiking trails is a departure from Rio with it’s remote location and atmosphere. The island’s origins as a leper colony and prison initially discouraged developers from capitalizing on its beauty; after it was officially recognized as a national park in the 1970’s, the islands picture-perfect isolation was solidified into what it is today. With over 60 miles of marked trails and warm waters, it’s a treasured escape for hikers and surfers looking for a quieter state of mind. In 2012 we asked our readers if this could be one of the world’s best beaches, so we can say without a doubt that it’s by far one of the best beaches in Brazil.
Buzios, a chic resort town three hours north of Rio, is exactly what you imagine when you think “barefoot luxury.” Brigitte Bardot and her boyfriend fell in love with the small Mediterranean inspired fishing village in the 1960s and every day since it’s grown into the quaint, upscale experience that it is now. Lined with boutique hotels, beachfront restaurants, and world class spas, Buzios welcomes visitors who are ready to indulge. A perfect middle between Rio and the Costa Verde, any of Buzios’s twenty secluded beaches are great for swimming, surfing, aromatic dinners, and swaying to live music. Ask a Encounter Latin America Expert today about booking a girls getaway or romantic weekend to one of Buzios’s incredible beach resorts.
♦ Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha is so synonymous with paradise that an old Brazilian folk tale says that heaven plays “second fiddle” to Fernando de Noronha’s 21 islands. Ranked as TripAdvisor’s 2nd best beach in the world, the secluded archipelago is well endowed with crystal clear waters, jaw-dropping nature trails, and marine life unlike anywhere else in the world. The unique thing about this Brazilian gem is that it caps visitors to 400 at a time. Though that makes it a mark more expensive, it’s a price for exclusivity that’s well worth it. Can you imagine watching the islands’ hundreds of Spinner dolphins dancing in the air…without another soul in sight? Not many can.
♦ Morro de Sao Paulo
Think of Morro de são Paulo as Buzios’s mellow cousin. The beautiful Mediterranean-style village in Northern Brazil characterized by its carefree attitude, jungle hills, and no car policy is easy-going and ready for visitors all year round. Though it’s more touristy than Fernando de Noronha and Buzios, its mangroves, breezy pedestrian culture, and moonlit nightlife make it feel extremely welcoming and safe. During peak season you can find travelers from all around the world sipping “caipis” and dancing on the beach by night, and lounging beachside without a worry in the world by day. No shirt, No shoes, No cars? No Problem. For an effortless stay that’ll have you believing you’ve found Jack Sparrow’s “Tortuga,” Morro de Sao Paulo is the place to be.