Brazil’s best beach destinations
Brazil is a captivating and diverse country, but one of its main attractions is its breathtaking coastline – all 7,491km of it. From Rio de Janeiro’s iconic oceanfront to the wild shores of Florianópolis, there is something for everyone. Here, we have shared with you five of our favourite beach holidays in Brazil:
1. Rio de Janeiro
Most people travelling to Brazil will spend at least a few days in Rio de Janeiro, exploring the city’s galleries, gardens and museums, climbing Corcovado Mountain, trying some samba and experiencing its beaches. The sight of those towering skyscrapers meeting the sandy bays is remarkable.
We recommend staying in a hotel that overlooks one of the city’s best-known beaches: Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon. One of our favourites is the Philippe Starck-designed Fasano in the upscale Zona Sul, whose rooftop infinity pool has a view of Ipanema’s sweep of golden sand. However, for clients who would prefer to stay alongside the famous Copacabana, we suggest the chic and sophisticated Emiliano Rio.
The moon-shaped Prainha Beach, just an hour from Rio, makes a lovely day trip from the city. Despite being just an hour from the bustling metropolis, this unspoilt shore is surrounded by craggy cliffs and verdant hills inhabited by spider monkeys. The restaurant here, Mirante da Prainha, serves excellent seafood.
This town, which lies on a peninsula bordered by 17 beaches, was once a sleepy fishing village, until Brigitte Bardot and her Brazilian boyfriend put it on the travellers’ map. Today, it is one of the country’s most popular seaside destinations, home to top-notch restaurants, hip bars and trendy boutiques.
Situated within a few hours’ drive of Rio de Janeiro, it is a wonderful choice if you don’t have time to travel further afield for some sun and sea. There is a delightful bolthole here called Insólito Boutique Hotel & Spa, which is just above Praia da Ferradura, one of the area’s best beaches.
We also advise our clients to spend at least a day at Geribá, which has powdery sand and crystal-clear water. But the optimum way to experience Búzios is to take to the water in a private speedboat – which we can easily arrange – so you can escape the crowds and explore the quieter coves and secret bays.
3. Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha is just a one-hour flight from Recife, the capital of the north-eastern state of Pernambuco. In the words of Condé Nast Traveller, this enchanting archipelago is “quite possibly the most relaxing and most beautiful place on Earth”.
The coral reef in this national marine park, a World Heritage Site, is pristine and the waters warm and glass-like, making this glorious island retreat a superb beach holiday in Brazil with choice for divers, although you are likely to see just as many turtles and multi-hued fish when snorkelling in the shallows.
The hotel here, Pousada Maravilha, is an amazing, exclusive hideaway, with mesmerising ocean views from a gorgeous infinity pool and just eight stylishly appointed bungalows and apartments kitted out with hot tubs and hammocks. This suits those who are looking for a truly spoiling, peaceful and secluded seaside escape.
This picturesque north-eastern state has thousands of miles of spectacular, tropical coastline dotted with towns and small fishing settlements. The beaches are vast and empty, with chalk-white sand and a mere smattering of people.
One of our favourite spots in Bahia is the incredible UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa in Trancoso, from where you can explore some of the nearby bays. Some of the rooms in this characterful hotel date back 500 years to this historic village’s foundation but have been exquisitely restored using traditional techniques and reclaimed materials.
Further north, another fabulous place to stay is Txai Resort Itacaré, a Relais & Château property, set at the end of the Atlantic Forest on the huge Itacarezinho Beach backed by coconut palms. Alternatively, if a stunning private villa appeals to you, we would be happy to select the right one for you.
To reach Bahia, it is an hour-and-a-half flight from Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro, after which it is another hour or so drive to Trancoso, but if you can spare the time, it is well worth the journey.
Florianópolis, also known as Floripa, is the capital of the southern state of Santa Catarina, located on Ilha de Santa Catarina. It is home to museums, markets, fortresses, restaurants, watersports and more than 40 magnificent beaches. The water off these wild and windswept shores water tends to be rougher, making this a good surfing destination for all levels. Brava, Mole and Barra da Lagoa beaches are particularly good for beginners and intermediates, whereas Joaquina is host to international surfing competitions, which can make for some exhilarating viewing.
Our preferred hotel in the region is Ponta dos Ganchos, on a peninsula north of the island, which has its own idyllic cove. There are stand-up paddleboards and Canadian canoes to use at will, as well as a wellness centre, tennis court, fitness centre and indoor swimming pool. We can also arrange a scenic helicopter flight or a relaxing trip along the coast in a traditional fishing boat. This would also be the perfect ending to a longer trip in Brazil, Chile and Argentina, as it is just a two-hour direct flight to Florianópolis from Buenos Aires.
Wildlife enthusiasts might be interested to know that between August and late October, you might be lucky enough to spot southern right whales, when they gather to breed here.