4 April 2016 by Rachel Mostyn
Brazil’s pristine sands are its golden crown sitting on headlands of lush rainforests, rhythmic cities and coral-fringed islands. And its undisputed jewels are the collection of luxury beach resorts with features that range from private coves to secluded spas. However, with over 20,000 miles of coast, there’s plenty to choose from, so we’ve panned through the silt to bring you only the very best in beach stays.
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro (Click here for Map ref A)
Combine the cultural icons of a world-beating city with a stay on Copacabana’s iconic beachfront where locals soak up the sun and the games of volleyball and beach football never stop. Follow the curve north for the quieter sands of Leme – the perfect place to sip on a cold caipirinha. Stay in the 1920s Art Deco elegance of the Belmond Copacabana Palace where characterful rooms are adorned with original works of art and period furnishings while guests relax after their pilgrimage to Cristo Redentor in its excellent spa.
Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro (Click here for Map ref B)
Despite its name translating as ‘bad waters’, Ipanema is Rio’s top surf spot and holidays to Brazil aren’t complete without a visit to see how the beach is exquisitely framed by the Dois Irmãos mountains to the west. Here, artists and progressive thinkers rub shoulders with sun worshippers as all come to experience one of the world’s best-known surf cultures. Back on land, there’s everything from theatres and cafés to carnival festivities and art galleries. You’ll also find the excellent Caesar Park whose rooftop pool is a five-star salute to the evening sunset.
Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro
Rio Das Pedras, Costa Verde (Click here for Map ref C)
Just a short hop from Rio, the Green Coast stretches west towards the country’s biggest city – São Paulo. Here, mountains carpeted in verdant jungle and streaked in wildflower-speckled waterfalls fall into azure waters. It makes for a stunning backdrop to some of South America’s best beaches. Trindade, just outside the 17th-century port-city of Paraty, is one of its gems while for resorts look to Club Med’s offering in Rio Das Pedras. Nestled among the greenery of Brazil’s second largest nature reserve, Mata Atlantica, its neo-colonial tranquillity is ideal for families. Get a dose of adrenaline with its professional water-skiing and wakeboarding teachers.
Ilha Grande, Costa Verde (Click here for Map ref D)
Once a penal island – and before that a pirate’s hideaway – Ilha Grande has enjoyed a unique history. Today, however, its tropical beaches – including the famed arc of white sand called Lopes Mendes – and pristine virgin rainforest have remained untouched and the only cars allowed on the island are emergency services. Enjoy it all with a stay at Estrela Da Ilha, an eco resort whose wooden gables are cloaked in Atlantic forest. Simple but elegant rooms lead onto covered balconies, themselves decked out in string hammocks. Of course, there’s also the private beach, sauna and jacuzzi to relax in.
Ilha Grande Praia Lopes Mendes beach, Rio de Janeiro
Jericoacoara (Click here for Map ref E)
Jeri – as it’s often affectionately known – is set in Brazil’s less travelled northeastern corner where sugar cane plantations, festivals and costal cuisine are an atmospheric celebration of Afro-Brazilian culture. National park protection has ensured that its fishing-village charm has been carefully maintained – streets are still paved by sand and palm trees sway gently on undeveloped beaches. Sail, kite surf or wind surf on the bright blue waters and hike up a dune to catch the brilliant red of the sunsets. In terms of accommodation, look to Hotel Hurricane Jeri where thatched roofs look out over tropical gardens to white sands and jacuzzi baths.
Jericoacoara beach, Natal
Natal – where Brazilians come to holiday – is best known for its golden sands and colonial history exemplified by the 16th century star-shaped Portuguese fort. You can even hire a beach buggy to explore over 150 miles of pristine dunes. Or, find a danceteria or seaside bar to while away the evenings. Look to SERHS Natal Grand Hotel – situated on the city’s Ponta Negra beach – for balconies and pools with stunning vistas and everything from a fully featured spa to a Brazilian beauty salon.
Ponta Negra beach, Natal
Salvador, Bahia (Click here for Map ref G)
Those who like a strong shot of culture with their sunny getaway need not look further than Salvador on Bahia’s coastline. Here, brightly coloured 17th-century architecture – best seen in the golden domes and ornate decoration of its Igreja de Nosso Senhor do Bonfim church – plays host to powerful festivals and plaza dances. Once a seat of the Brazilian slave trade, today mouthwatering African fritters, rhythms and dances light up the nights. Stay at Zank by Toque, just minutes from Paciencia Beach – it’s a century-old mansion that’s been converted into ultra-contemporary chic by a Brazilian designer. There’s even an infinity pool that looks out over the Atlantic.
Pelourinho (Historic Centre), Salvador
Trancoso, Bahia (Click here for Map ref H)
For more rustic sophistication on Bahia’s coast, Trancoso’s relaxed open-air bars and restaurants huddled around car-free squares are ideal. It’s set on a grassy headland and looks out over superb beaches to travel-magazine-blue waters. While most accommodation is set away from the beach, Villas de Trancoso is right on the shores. Its exquisite rooms are appointed in native woods and white netting and are just a few landscaped garden steps away from the pool, spa and – most importantly – beach.
Espelhio Beach, Bahia
Búzios (Click here for Map ref I)
The perfect antidote to Rio’s bustle, Búzios is a peninsula of 17 scooped out beaches. Once a sleepy fishing village, the Portuguese brought with them cobbled streets and seaside boutiques, which now form a postcard-perfect waterfront. Whether it’s afternoons spent on a luxury yacht, mornings in tiny coffee shops or an evening in an upscale bar, Búzios has it all. Insólito Boutique Hotel’s contemporary rooms, hot tubs and curved pools that cling to a leafy hillside are some of the best accommodation in town, overlooking a glorious curve of sand.
Ossos beach, Buzious
Fernando de Noronha
As an archipelago of 21 volcanic islands, some 200 miles from the Brazilian mainland, this is one of Brazil’s best-kept secrets. And, it’s well worth the flight with some of South America’s best snorkelling and dive spots to see lemon sharks, sea turtles and even whales. Stay in the water for superb surf and excellent sailing and then retreat to the spa and pool views of Pousada Maravilha for local gastronomy and a world-class spa.
Beach in Fernando de Noronha
If you want to explore more Brazil's legendary beaches, take a look at the holidays we offer as well as all of our Brazilian getaways. Don't see what you're looking for? We can tailor-make any holiday to create your dream trip, so send us an enquiry today.
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