11 Best Beaches in Brazil

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11 Best Beaches in Brazil

With miles and miles of beach, Brazil won’t leave you wanting for choice for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. From the fashionable favorite, Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, to far-flung secluded isles that make you feel like you have the ocean to yourself, there are swaths of toe-pleasing sand for every taste. Most beaches are neighbored by lush jungle or hillsides so it’s easy to take a mid-day hike or walk, then return to cool off in the surf. Here are 11 great spots to take advantage of the brilliant Atlantic Ocean when you’re visiting Brazil.
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1. Copacabana Beach
Let’s start with the biggest name in Brazil beaches: Copacabana. Stretching for miles along the Rio de Janeiro waterfront, this is the place to people watch, surf, swim. It’s certainly not a quiet, secluded beach – but if you want to feel like a part of the city and the beach scene, this is where to blend in. Along the boardwalk, you’ll find cafes, restaurants, hotels, two historic forts and more.
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2. Ipanema Beach
In between the bustle of Copacabana and a secret beach, Ipanema offers a less busy, thought not totally quiet ambience. It was made even more famous with the advent of the song, “The Girl from Ipanema,” but it’s true allure is its classic beach beauty – actually, even a bit prettier than its Copa sister. There’s less action here, and more sunbathing and swimming. It’s also a top surfing destination in Brazil. Take a break from the beach and climb the nearby Dois Irmãos hill, for one one of the best views of Rio de Janeiro.
P.S. To the west, over the hillside, there’s another lovely beach – Lebon, known locally as Posto 10, that’s a quiet reprieve from both Copacabana and Ipanema.
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3. Buzios
North of Rio de Janeiro, Buzios is gaining cache among international celebrities and jetset travelers in the know. The beach town was a favorite of Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s and took off after that. The most famous beaches in town are Ferradura Beach, with outstanding snorkeling, and Geriba Beach for great surfing. Another popular spot, Praia de Tucuns, is a bit windy for simply hanging out in the sun with a good book, but it’s a nice spot to visit for its lack of crowds and pristine pink sand.
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4. Ilha Grande
Nature lovers will adore Ilha Grande (Big Island), a roadless, no-vehicle-allowed island with pristine forests and beaches. You’ll take the boat to Vila do Abraão, then take another boat or hike through the tropical forest to the beach. There are two main beach areas on the island: Lopes Mendes, a popular surfing spot, and Praia do Aventureiro, known as “postcard beach” for its quintessential beauty.
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5. Jericoacoara s
A vision of windswept sand dunes and turquoise seas, Jericoacoarra is worth the hours-long drive it takes to get here. What in-the-know surfers have long been privy to, tourists are catching wind of. Literally. The surf-friendly winds make it a popular spot for the water sports crowd. Not your thing? Come for the dramatic sunsets and the clear, star-studded sky after nightfall.
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6. Praia do Rosa
With its crystal-clear waters, unbelievably soft sand and great water sports options, the quiet Praia do Rosa is for those who want a truly peaceful beach vacation. There is no nightlife to speak off and just a few small inns and restaurants scattered throughout the tiny town. Try to visit between July and November, when you can catch a glimpse of the southern right whales who come to the waters off the coast to give birth.
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7. Florianopolis
Want a different beach for each day of your visit? Head to Florianopolis Island, home to 42 beaches. The large lagoon, Lagoa de Conceição, is the most popular spot on the island, with its soft white sand and lushly forested hillsides. You’ll find a lot of wellness options here, like yoga and meditation, as well as hiking, windsurfing and sailing. Surfers and hikers will want to head directly to Praia Mole – from here, you can hike to the one of the world’s tiniest, most secluded islands, Praia do Gravatá. Also not to be missed: Praia dos Ingleses and Santinho Beach. Fun fact: Sandboarding was actually invented in Florianopolis, between these two beaches. Try it yourself – you’ll surf down a rolling golden sand dune on a board. Great fun!
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8. Praia de Pipa
It’s little wonder the locals know where the very best beaches are and if they had to vote, the winner would likely be Praia de Pipa, with its golden sands and pink cliffs. Local laws protect the area from expansion, but there are plenty of hotels and restaurants that will satisfy both backpackers and upscale travelers without feeling too overrun and touristy. Dolphins are a frequent site here – at both Praia de Pipa and nearby Praia do Madeiro (you can rent a kayak here or swim, perhaps meeting those dolphins up close!).
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9. Porto de Galinhas
Another one of those tucked-away beach towns where you can get lost among the local life and just simply “be,” Porto de Galinhas is a quintessential tropical paradise. Eateries and food stalls line the main beach. Seek out one of the quiet natural pools for a spot to yourself. For further adventure, take a boat ride to Praia dos Carneiros, known for its cute white church on the shoreline and its golden sands. One more option: Toquinho Beach, never crowded, and from there, a boat ride to Ilha de Santo Aleixo, a secluded, uninhabited island – on weekdays, you might even have it completely to yourself!
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10. Espelho
For truly remote, head to Espelho in Bahia. There are reef pools, clear blue sea, tents and deck chairs available and a cute village, Vila do Outeiro, nearby for some boutique shopping and snacking – make sure to eat the deliciously fresh seafood.
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11. Praia do Sancho
Set on the island of Fernando de Noronho, Praia do Sancho is regularly ranked as Brazil’s best beach. You’ll descend the cliffs by ladder or stone steps or arrive at the beach via boat. The rocky cliffs, lush green jungle, golden sands and azure waters make for a striking scene.

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