Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Brazil is famous for a lot of things. From its festive Carnival to the Amazon rainforest, there’s something here to draw any sort of traveler. Perhaps something virtually anyone who comes to Brazil can appreciate are the country’s beaches.
No matter where you find yourself on Brazil’s coast of over 4,000 miles, you’re bound to be near one of the nation’s many beach spots. However, each of these beaches offers something different, so figuring out which you should set your sights on can be overwhelming. That’s especially true for first-time visitors, but even those who’ve visited before might need a little advice.
Whether you’re planning a summer vacation or a birthday getaway, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the best beaches Brazil has to offer.
Map of the 12 Best Beaches in Brazil
The 12 Best Beaches in Brazil
1. Alter do Chão, Pará
According to many, Alter do Chão in Pará is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Alter do Chão is located on the banks of the Rio Tapajós River, making it a freshwater beach, unlike many of Brazil’s other shores.
Though it’s beautiful all year, tourism really picks up between August and December, so the river can get crowded with beachgoers and boats. If you’d prefer to relax and have some peace and quiet, come on a weekday between January and March.
The beach is known for its calm waters as well. Though there’s a current, it’s gentle near the shore, where the water is most shallow. However, it can pick up after heavy rains and when there are storms in the area, so keep an eye on the weather forecasts before you head out of the day.
2. Caraiva Beach, Bahia
Caraiva may be a small village, but its pristine, secluded beach is well worth the journey it takes to arrive. Caraiva can be found about 18 miles away from the nearest busy road, so it’s difficult to stumble on, and you have to know it exists in order to find it. For that reason, it’s rarely frequented by tourists, and even locals typically choose more easily-accessible beaches.
If you’re looking for a place to have some quiet by the water, this is the place for you. However, since it’s a hidden gem of a beach, there aren’t any nearby amenities for tourists. So you’ll want to make sure you bring a bag with all your beach-day necessities before you head to the shore.Hot Tip:
There isn’t much natural shade near the water either. That means you have to rely on the trees backing the shore or bring your own sun protection.
3. Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana is easily one of Brazil’s most well-known in Rio de Janeiro, but many people are surprisingly only familiar with the song bearing its name and don’t know about its beach.
This 2.2-mile shore is as diverse as the neighborhood it’s located in. There are large sandy expanses that are perfect for a peaceful stroll, but it’s also a lively place with parties and crowds that social butterflies love. Crowds are at their peak between December and February, though.
Since Copacabana is a bustling neighborhood, the beach is rarely completely empty, which can be a good thing if having easy access to amenities is important to you. If you forget or don’t feel like bringing a beach bag with you, there are plenty of places to grab food or other essentials like sunscreen or an extra towel.
4. Gonzaga Beach, São Paulo
If you find yourself around Santos in São Paulo, make sure you plan a day to visit Gonzaga Beach. This shore is a lively spot that both locals and tourists love. The promenade that lines the beach has multiple shops and eateries, so if you need or forget anything, you can just walk a short distance to find it.
The beach is also lined with palm trees which offer a little natural shade, though they’re not terribly close to the water, so you’ll want to make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen to avoid getting sunburned.
From the sand and the water, you get a great view of the city’s skyline and the mountains in the distance, which is even more dramatic around sunrise if you’re a morning person. The water here is great for swimmers of all ages, too, since it’s shallow and gentle.
5. Lopes Mendes Beach, Rio de Janeiro
Ilha Grande is an island in the state of Rio de Janeiro that’s pretty synonymous with beach paradise, though Lopes Mendes Beach might be its most beloved. The beach is relatively undeveloped, so it’s pristine and natural, unlike some of the shores on the mainland.
Though tourists are beginning to take note of this beach, it hasn’t attracted the same crowds as other places, largely because you have to take a boat to reach it. So, it’s able to offer visitors some seclusion and peace to lay out on the sand or enjoy the water.
The view is perhaps one of the best things about the beach. From the shore, you get a great 360-degree look at the clear horizon, lush greenery, and contrasting ruggedness of the mountains on the island.
6. Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Ipanema is one of the most popular spots in Rio de Janeiro for a multitude of reasons. It’s fashionable, lively, and full of things to do. However, the area’s most popular destination is its namesake beach.
The Ipanema shore draws visitors from around the world with its wide expanses of sand that are perfect for sunbathing or walking and its open waters that are especially inviting for surfers. Since the beach is so vibrant, it’s rarely completely empty. However, finding pockets of quiet space isn’t too difficult if you visit during Brazil’s winter between June and September.
On the other hand, if you’re a social butterfly, make sure you visit between December and March when you can mingle with locals and tourists from around the world. That period is also when you’ll find most beach parties taking place on the sand.
7. Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco
Porto de Galinhas‘ bright blue and turquoise waters and natural pools created by shallow-lying landmasses have made it one of the most picturesque and popular spots in Pernambuco. This beach was even voted the best beach in Brazil 8 times in a row by national publications.
While natural pools aren’t uncommon in Brazil, those found in Porto de Galinhas are the closest to the open water, allowing for the most one-of-a-kind experience. The beach is also surrounded by nature trails you can wander around that let you get a closer look at the areas that haven’t been developed.
While you can do the usual beach activities like swimming and sunbathing, this particular beach also allows you to explore the water’s depths a little more. In fact, scuba excursions depart from the shores here if you’re licensed.
8. Praia das Pedras Miudas, São Paulo
Praia das Pedras Miudas, located on Ilha das Cabra, is a picturesque beach surrounded by thick greenery. Though the beach is mostly sandy, there are pebbles as well, especially the closer you get to the water, so make sure you walk carefully or pack waterproof shoes.
Perhaps one of the best things about the beach is its size. It’s relatively small, which means crowds can’t get too overwhelming. However, most of the beach is taken up by beach chairs that are available to rent. If you’d prefer to lay directly on the sand, make sure you arrive early, as this free space can fill up quickly.
Praia das Pedras Miudas is also a great family beach. Since it has on-site amenities like showers, restrooms, and a restaurant, and the water is gentle and shallow for kids, you can have a stress-free day by the water.
9. Praia de Maragogi, Alagoas
Though it takes a little effort to get to Praia de Maragogi, this beach is worth it. The road to get to the shore can be a little difficult if you’re not familiar with the roads in Alagoas, but there are ridesharing apps that operate in the area. However, evening rides can take a while to get, especially if you’re traveling alone.
The beach itself is made up of a long expanse of sand that’s relatively secluded and usually not very crowded. From the sand, you can get a great view of the horizon, and the clear water around the shore offers great opportunities to explore under the surface.
There are even a few establishments on this stretch of the coast where you can rent an umbrella or get some refreshments if you don’t want to deal with toting around a beach bag.
10. Praia do Sancho, Pernambuco
If you picture a tropical island, something like Praia do Sancho probably comes to mind. This pristine beach is hidden away from view by the cliffs and trees that line it. This seclusion is furthered by the effort it takes to reach the sand. In order to reach the beach, you have to climb down a metal ladder set on the cliffside or take a boat to the shores.
Unfortunately, that means this isn’t the best beach for people with mobility concerns or who need to use aids like walkers or wheelchairs.
You also won’t find any establishments on the beach. However, that rustic, natural ambiance is part of Praia do Sancho’s charm. Instead of luxuries, you’ll get the chance to see birds, fish, and turtles that call this part of the world home.
11. Praia do Toque, Alagoas
Praia do Toque, Alagoas is a remote beach that looks like it belongs in a postcard. Covered in soft white sand, the wide beach is the perfect place to lay out or go for a stroll. The sea near the shore is shallow and gentle for swimming and wading. You can even take a raft to the natural pools just off the coast.
The water around Praia do Toque is so clear and bright that it’s also a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling since you get a great view of the fish that live around the area. If you’d prefer, you can also take a pole and tackle box and try your hand at fishing.Hot Tip:
If you’re an avid surfer, this might not be the place for you because the water tends to be rather calm and wave-free.
12. Praia Principal de Jeri, Ceará
Praia Principal de Jeri is a quiet beach that’s perfect for people who want to relax and unwind while they’re on vacation. Though regularly considered one of the best beaches in Brazil, it’s managed to fly under the radar of most travelers. However, that helps keep crowd levels to a minimum.
If you’re not a big swimmer or are traveling with small children, this is a good beach choice since the water is shallow for quite a distance, without any sudden drop-offs. The biggest things to keep an eye out for are seaweed and jellyfish. The seaweed isn’t dangerous, but it can make the water less clear.
The jellyfish likewise won’t cause any serious harm, but getting stung can put a damper on your day. They tend to be most active between December and March, which is the Brazilian summer season.
Brazil’s beaches deserve a spot on anyone’s travel bucket list. Whether you’re a surfer, a swimmer, or prefer spending your days on the sand, there’s a Brazilian shore with your name on it. We hope that this list has helped bring you one step closer to planning the Brazil beach trip of your dreams.
Featured Image Credit: João Pedro Vergara via Unsplash
Frequently Asked Questions
Brazil is a popular beach destination. Not only is it famous for its 4,600-mile coast and over 2,000 shores, but also for its greenery, blue water, and soft sand. However, the beaches around the cities tend to attract more crowds and can get dirty.
Brazil has multiple clear-water beaches. These shores can usually be found further away from the country’s major cities, so the lack of foot traffic and boats allows the water to remain crystal-clear. Even if there’s debris, it’s usually natural, like driftwood or dispersed sand.
It’s generally pretty safe to swim in Brazil’s beaches, though there are a few things to keep in mind first. Keep an eye out for signs warning against swimming. Be aware of the tides, currents, and temperatures as well so you can swim safely.
Brazil’s clearest water can be found in the country’s more pristine and undeveloped areas. For example, the Chapada Dos Veadeiros National Park is generally considered to have some of the cleanest water in Brazil. This is due to a lack of boats and tourists.
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