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9 of the best beaches in Brazil

Here are the best of Brazil’s sandy swathes, from remote coves in Fernando de Noronha to Rio’s famed Copacabana

Natalie Wilson
Thursday 28 December 2023 14:44 GMT
From Florianópolis to Ceará these are the beaches that showcase Brazil at its best
From Florianópolis to Ceará these are the beaches that showcase Brazil at its best (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

For a break from adventures that follow the Amazon and the swing of samba sessions, Brazil welcomes holidaymakers to lay a towel and pop a parasol on its creamy coast.

With over 4,500 miles of shoreline facing the Atlantic Ocean, the South American giant’s beaches are primed for paddling and bathing on golden grains.

And the country’s coastline is as versatile as it is vast. Copacabana and Ipanema, world-renowned crescents of culture in Brazil’s old capital, meet crashing surf swells on laid-back Praia da Pipa, while Jericoacoara’s idyllic lagoons and dunes beg beach dwellers to sink their toes into the sand.

Beyond topping up your tan, jungle-fringed promenades of indie boutiques and bars, exhilarating watersports and preservation efforts for local marine life promise to elevate days spent shoreside.

From the buzzing urban swathes of Rio de Janeiro to the quiet coconut coves of Trancoso, here are the best Brazilian praias to pick for a carnival of sand, sea, surf and sunshine.

Read more on Brazil travel:

Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha

Descend steep ladders and a narrow tunnel to reach the protected golden shore of Baia do Sancho (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Baia do Sancho, a remote cove in the Fernando de Noronha National Park, has been consistently hailed as one of the world’s best for its paradise sands and emerald waters – and it’s well worth the effort to get there. Adventurous travellers will have to descend steep ladders and a narrow tunnel to reach the Unesco-protected golden stretch, but rest assured it’s worth the effort.

The Brazilian island enforces a cap on tourist numbers in high season alongside a visiting fee, so be prepared to book your stay in advance and allow enough time to explore.

Trancoso, Porto Seguro

Trancoso is a hippie haven lined with lush jungle – and the sands have a lot of soul (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A haven for hippies in the 1970s, Trancoso has maintained its unspoilt allure in the northeast Bahia province. In the laid-back and luxe village lined with tangerine-toned storefronts and fringed by lush jungle, life revolves around the beach. Silky sands full of soul showcase Brazil at its best, beach bars function as community hubs, and shack-style accommodations guarantee you’ll get away from it all in the company of marmoset monkeys and nesting green turtles.

Praia do Forte, Salvador

Peppered with parasols amid the local flora and fauna, Praia do Forte also hosts a preservation centre for sea turtles (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

One of Brazil’s most spectacular beaches, Praia do Forte’s golden resort sits an hour from Salvador for daily doses of sun on white dunes shaded by coconut groves. Peppered with parasols amid the local flora and fauna, the ecotourism centre is lapped with turquoise waters safe for swimming and snorkelling.

Praia do Forte also hosts a preservation centre, the Tamar Project, for sea turtles, with full moon tours running from September to March for a chance to witness the hatchlings first waddle to the water.

Jericoacoara, Ceará

Bridging jungle and sea, Jericoacoara’s idyllic lagoons and dunes await beach bums visiting Brazil (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Once a sleepy fishing community but now a world-class coast known for its idyllic lagoons and dunes, Jericoacoara’s surfer-chic streets sit by waters that gently rock kite and windsurfers in Brazil’s – neglected by tourists – north. For sunset scenes of orange and purple, caipirinha in hand, Jericoacoara’s “back to basics” waterfront (best enjoyed barefoot) rivals Rio for a slice of beachy Brazil.

Copacabana and Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro’s adjacent crescents of white sparkle in the sunlight (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The creme de la creme of Brazil’s sandy sweeps, famed Copacabana and adjacent Ipanema, are city-side crescents of white built for socialising, sunbathing and surfing. Of course, music and passion are still always the fashion on the mosaic promenade, with lively young crowds drawn to dance, drink and dive in on Rio’s best-known beaches backdropped by the Serra da Carioca mountain range. No visit would be complete without a bathe on the signature sands.

Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande

Lively corals teeming with marine life lap the powder sands on Lopes Mendes (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

To float far from Rio’s cityscapes, head for the powder sands of Lopes Mendes on the tropical Ilha Grande island. With clear, warm waters teeming with corals and marine life, palm-fringed coves and great surfing waves, Lopes Mendes is a paradise, all palettes of blues backed by dense jungle flora. Water taxis from Abraão to Pouso ferry holidaymakers to the serene Ilha Grande hotspot and there's plenty of space for some secluded sunbathing.

Praia da Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte

There’s 1.5km of golden grains to explore on laid-back Praia da Pipa (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Surf’s up in Rio Grande do Norte and there’s 1.5km of golden grains to explore on laid-back Praia da Pipa. With year-round temperatures of up to 30C and a developing digital nomad scene for remote workers, the dolphin playground reigns supreme for a Brazilian beach break. Think fine white sand, hospitable locals and fresh fish dishes from beachside kiosks accompanied by shaken cachaça cocktails and frosty pints of Brahma.

Porto de Galinhas, Ipojuca

Fringed with coconut palms and all-inclusive resorts, Porto de Galinhas takes a prime position on Brazil’s eastern point (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A sprinkling of beach resorts fringed with coconut palms and all-inclusive hotels line the east coast, but Porto de Galinhas takes a prime position on Brazil’s easternmost point. Turquoise waters, crystalline natural pools and an ambient village have positioned the “Port of Chickens” as one of Brazil’s best beach destinations for snorkelling, dune buggy rides and swinging hammock sessions in the balmy breeze.

Praia Mole, Florianópolis

A hot spot with the LGBTQ+ community, Praia Mole is a dream for sunning and surfing (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Santa Catarina island, with its 42 beaches, a mountainous interior and windsurfing waves, offers something for everyone. A hot spot with the LGBTQ+ community, Praia Mole is a secluded dream for sun seekers, surfers, yoga enthusiasts and nightlife lovers visiting Florianópolis for boozy sessions in surf shacks punctuated by spectacular sunsets.

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