It’s not yet THAT time of year, but if you want to spend Christmas & New Year on the beach in Brazil, it is better to start planning your vacation early.

December and January are wonderful months to visit the Brazilian coast. It doesn’t sound too bad to find yourself on the beach on Christmas Day, eating crab cakes and drinking fresh coconut water, opening the presents under a palm tree. Take yourself away for a couple of weeks of Brazilian sunshine and hassle-free Christmas preparations. I am delighted to share with you some of my favorite places in Brazil to hibernate for the festive period. Beautiful beaches combined with great food, music, history and culture make Brazil an unforgettable vacation for the whole family.

Where to go for Christmas & New Year in Brazil

1. Rio de Janeiro

Author: Pedro Kirilos

I spent Christmas 2015 here and it was bloody brilliant. In fact seeing so many people dressed fully in white is simply fantastic and made me almost forget there were no mince pies! Rio’s charming beaches with a plethora of fabulous restaurants and bars are fabulous during Christmas and New Year. Rio’s bay with its lush tropical hills is a feast for the eye if you’re into natural beauty, and what’s more, you can enjoy your favorite drink on Christmas Eve at one of the panoramic rooftop bars on Copacabana, which have enough varieties of caipirinhas to make even the biggest cocktail snob cackle in delight. The New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach is fabulous, with live music, bars and lounges, massive crowds, and a breathtaking 15-minute fireworks display at midnight. Almost everyone at Copacabana’s New Year’s celebrations wear all white, a color which wards away evil spirits. My top three accommodation options for Rio are as follows:

Mid-range boutique: Casa Beleza

Ooh having a bit of a splash out: MGallery Santa Teresa

It’s Christmas – I’m going ALL OUT: Copacabana Palace

2. Bahia

Did somebody say paradise?! If you’re after the perfect beach break this coming winter holidays, complete with tropical beaches, tranquil water and sunset cocktails with the feeling of sand between your toes than look no further. Bahia is the best beach destination in Brazil for Christmas & New Year. Spend Christmas Day soaking up the rays, bobbing in the water and enjoy an alternative Christmas dinner at one of the many rustic restaurants in Trancoso, Itacare or Caraiva. Let yourself submerged to the Brazilian rhythms of axé, frevo and forró, as well as Afro-Caribbean styles such as calypso in Porto Seguro. The captivating Trancoso, with the magic of fairy lights strung between the trees of the car-free Quadrado, and the impeccable beach chic of the holidaymakers, bring a sense of the unreal. It’s full of colorful shabby boutiques and you can often spot celebrities here, who run away for some tranquility and quality time. The hotels here are charming: a mixture of traditional Bahian buildings with bright furniture and peaceful gardens, plus stunning, more contemporary, airy reception and restaurants. My top accommodation options for Bahia are as follows:

Mid range boutique: Casa dos Arandis

Ooh having a splash out: Barracuda Beach Hotel & Villas, KA BRU, Fazenda Sao Francisco do Corumbau

3. Fernando de Noronha

If your idea of Christmas & New Year’s bliss is hanging hammock-style with beautiful turquoise water in sight from your infinity pool terrace, than be sure to check out the Atlantic archipelago or Fernando de Noronha. This lovely island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with beaches, which have often been ranked the best in the world, such as Baia do Sancho. Wherever you will look, there will be a wonderful view in Noronha! Hire a quad bike, cycle to the beaches, go snorkeling or diving with dolphins, turtles and more! This is a perfect destination to combine with Recife and Olinda, adding in some culture and history. My top accommodation options for Fernando de Noronha are as follows:

Mid range boutique: Pousada Morena

Ooh having a splash out: Pousada Maravilha (it may have a hefty price tag but it’s totally worth it).

4. Pipa

If you’re looking to hibernate in a beach bungalow on one of Brazilian north-east most stunning beach towns, then book your holiday to Pipa. It is a haven of sandy beaches, turquoise waters and charming boutique accommodation. Be sure to take walks through the coastal trails during the day and enjoy some casual dining at the local restaurants and bars. Pumper up in a spa, take yoga lessons, go surfing or take a quad to explore more distant beaches. There is also a day long gastronomic boat trip, allowing you to enjoy the views back on the shore from the sea. To get here you can fly to Natal or Recife and then take a transfer down to Tibau do Sul, where Pipa is located. My top accommodation options for Pipa are as follows:

Mid-range boutique: Filha da Lua, Toca da Coruja

It’s Christmas – I’m going ALL OUT: Madeiro Beach Hotel

5. Alagoas

Want to get a bit off the beaten track? Explore the pristine beaches of Alagoas, spending lazy days snorkelling in crystal clear turquoise waters of Maragogi and Sao Miguel dos Milagres. There are charming boutique hotels within a walking distance to wonderful beaches and emerald-colored sea and tall coconut trees framing wide strips of sand. All seafood lovers will be spoiled with a rich fresh gastronomy! Visit the tidal pools for snorkeling, go dolphin watching or learn about manatees in Tatuamunha river. Sometimes there is nothing better than cycling peacefully along rustic beaches. My top accommodation options for Sao Miguel dos Milagres are as follows:

Mid-range boutique: Pousada do Amendoeira, Casa Acayu, Pousada do Toque

It’s Christmas – I’m going ALL OUT: Pedras do Patacho

6. Jericoacoara

Looking for a place which is chic, but also has an international vibe and good nightlife to celebrate Christmas and New Year? Jericoacoara is by far the most perfect destination: remote, relaxed and vibrant at the same time. The good news is that now you can take a direct flight to Jericoacoara from Sao Paulo, avoiding the long 5-hour transfer from Fortaleza. Located in the north-east of Brazil, hidden behind big sand dunes, Jeri is actually placed inside a national park. Beauty is all around you! Discover the dunes on a quad bike, balance in hammocks and watch beautiful sunsets with a festive champagne picnic. What I love most about Jeri is that it’s developed in the perfect way – there are luxury and lovely hotels on offer but it’s still a laid-back destination with a fabulous wide sandy beach. I went for two nights and could have stayed for so many more. My top accommodation options for Jericoacoara are as follows:

Mid-range boutique: Vila Kalango,

It’s Christmas – I’m going ALL OUT: The Chili Beach, Villa Mandi

7. Paraty

Because admiring a historic place is a brilliantly alternative way to spend Christmas! Paraty Bay is home to one of the cutest heritage towns in Brazil and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend your day lazily wandering around the cobble-stone streets, admiring the white-washed houses, trying different varieties of cachaca and eating at rustic restaurants with live music. Hire a bicycle to get around and stay in some of the nicest boutique pousadas in Brazil. The beach is never too far away – take a short boat transfer to get to the nicest islands or a kayak to make your way through the calm waters of the bay. Paraty offers a good selection of villas with your own private beach, just a short 15-30 min ride away on a motorboat. My top three accommodation options for Paraty are as follows:

Mid-range boutique: Pousada do Ouro (in the historic centre)

Ooh having a bit of a splash out: Sandi Hotel, Casa Cairucu

It’s Christmas – I’m going ALL OUT: Loft Bom Jardim, Villa Bom Jardim

8. Alter do Chao in Para

Did you know that there are white-sand beaches in the Amazon? Alter do Chão is one of the most beautiful freshwater beach towns in the world. Located on the Tapajós river in the northern state of Pará, its pristine white sands and warm, brilliant blue water make it one of the most relaxing places in Brazil. On New Year’s Eve, Alter do Chão hosts the Vai Tapajós festival. The celebrations start on December 27 and last up to New Year’s Day. The Amazon River is home to hundreds of criss-crossing streams, rivers and canals – this vast river is the lifeline of the people in the Amazon who live, work and breath the river. Observe how palm leaves are turned into everything from pots to bowls and baskets at the local handicraft shops. Alter de Chao offer the chance to spend a really private family celebration, either on a small river cruise, or on a secluded beachfront jungle resort with a private beach, such as Villa Arapiuns. My top three accommodation options for Alter de Chao are as follows:

Mid-range boutique: Casa da Arvore

Ooh having a bit of a splash out: Vila de Alter

It’s Christmas – I’m going ALL OUT: Villa Arapiuns

Rover cruise for the entire family: Tapajos River Cruise

9. Florianopolis

New Year is a good time to start something new, like the dream sports you always wanted to learn, such as surfing. Are you looking for a relaxed placed where you can also get a bit more active? Florianopolis, in the south of Brazil, is the perfect destination for those seeking sun, sand and outdoor activities in December-January. Floripa has more than 42 stunning beaches lining its coasts, along with mountains covered by Atlantic Rainforest and beautiful lagoons. To the north, the beaches have calm waters and good facilities. To the east, you have many beaches ideal for sports. To the south you will find tranquillity, colourful boats and fishing nets. Don’t miss out visiting Ilha do Campeche, an island with beautiful, crystalline waters. You’ll not be left without tasty seafood in Florianopolis – the local oysters are considered some of the best in the world. My top three accommodation options for Florianopolis are as follows:

Mid-range boutique: LK Design Hotel

Ooh having a splash out: Quinta das Videiras, Fuso Concept Hotel

Father Christmas does exist in tropical Brazil

And there you have it. After spending the last three winters abroad these are, in my opinion, nine of the best places to spend Christmas in Brazil. You may not get your fill of mince pies or turkey, but you will get blue skies, sunny adventures and a taste of the tropics. And if you’re really lucky you might even find a Brazilian Father Christmas walking the streets… I was delighted to find this chap in Rio on last Christmas Eve!

P.S. If you would like me to arrange your tropical Christmas & New Year’s holiday this year don’t hesitate to contact me.