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Brazil is home to so many magnificent beaches, it may be worth planning a vacation around one or more of them. This South American country boasts more than 4,500 miles of coastline along the South Atlantic with a tropical climate that practically guarantees days spent under bright blue skies while enjoying the sea and the sand. For the best of the best, you can’t go wrong with any of these fabulous stretches.
Ipanema Beach is arguably the most famous beach in all of South America and most popular destination in Brazil. Located in the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, it was immortalized in the song “The Girl from Ipanema,” with the one-and-a-quarter mile stretch of pristine white sands dotted with beautiful bodies. On just about any given day you’ll find visitors playing footvolley, a mix between soccer and volleyball, surfing the azure waves and soaking up the sun while surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery that also includes Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain.
Praia do Forte is located in the northeast region of the country, about 50 miles north of Salvador. One of Brazil’s most spectacular beaches, you can admire tide pools filled with all sorts of marine life at low tide and enjoy swimming and snorkeling through waters so clear you won’t even need a mask to see the myriad of colorful fish. If you’re here between July and October, you might even see a majestic humpback whale surface past the breaking waves.
Reaching Baia do Sancho can be somewhat challenging, as you’ll have to follow a dirt trail, head down a rickety ladder and across a few slippery steps, but it’s worth the effort to discover what’s been called one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Baia do Sancho sits within Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic, 220 miles off the Brazilian coast. Protected and surrounded by native vegetation and soaring cliffs, it’s the ideal stretch for relaxing and soaking in the sun without bumping elbows with other tourists. The crystal-clear, emerald-hued waters that edge it are bathwater warm, perfect for diving or a quick swim, while the cliffs that frame it make a perfect spot for spotting dolphins.
Voted one of the top ’10 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World’ by Vogue magazine, Lopes Mendes is a remote, hidden beach that’s not easy to get to, but if you’re looking for seclusion and spectacular beauty, you won’t mind the steep and muddy 20-minute trek from the village of Palmas on Ilha Grande. Your reward will be a two-mile, crescent beach with some of the whitest, finest sand stretching out to waters that are a striking iridescent blue. There are no facilities of any kind in sight or trees for shade, so bring plenty of sunscreen along with food and drink.
Arraial do Cabo is home to over 20 miles of gorgeous beach with crystal clear aquamarine-hued waters and abundant marine life that makes it a paradise for beachgoers as well as snorkelers and divers. Praia do Farol is arguably it’s most stunning, accessed by a 40-minute ferry ride as it sits on an island in a natural reserve. Once there, you’ll be able to take a stroll across some of the world’s softest, whitest sands and jump into waters that make it look like a dream world.
Jericoacoara is one of the top destinations for kiteboarding, windsurfing and sandboarding across the huge dunes near the shore. A beach lovers’ paradise, it’s part of a national park which preserves and maintains it as a place of natural beauty.
Quarta Praia, Morro de Sao Paulo
Quarta Praia, which translates to “fourth beach,” is located in the laid-back island town of Morro de Sao Paulo. An ideal getaway from escaping Brazil’s busier beaches, this unspoiled stretch along the eastern coast is arguably the best with its soaring palms and long sandbars. For paradise-seekers, this is definitely “it.”
One of the most incredible destinations you can visit on Earth, Lençóis Maranhenses is made up of desert sand dunes that collect water during the rainy season, from June through September. The sand is so vast and strikingly white, it’s easy to see how the park got its name, which means “bedsheets of Maranhao.” During this time of year, you’ll see thousands of crystal-clear turquoise lagoons. At the peak of the season in July, some are more than 300 feet long and 10 feet deep, ideal for swimming.
Praia do Forno is located in the Brazilian resort of Buzios on an ocean peninsula east of Rio de Janeiro. It offers the ideal secluded escape away from the city’s busy beaches, and while it has become more popular as of late, there are still plenty of stretches for finding your own perfect spot. Praia do Forno is arguably one of the best with its calm, shallow azure waters.
Copacabana is Rio’s other famous beach. The two-and-a-half-mile stretch of sand is always busy, providing the ideal spot for those who want to mingle with the locals as well as visitors from around the world. Countless beautiful people come to worship the sun, play beach volleyball and join in on one of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties on the planet.
Just 15 miles from Trancoso in Bahia, Praia do Espelho is a striking contrast from the Rio beaches. This remote stretch is what many would envision heaven to be like with its golden sands set against a backdrop of coconut palms and cliffs, edged by a crystal-clear cerulean sea and picturesque pools that are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and diving. While it’s likely to be perfectly tranquil, there are still some facilities providing deck chairs and other beach gear, and nearby in the small village of Vila do Outeiro you’ll find shops, restaurants and bars.