One of the hardest decisions when planning your perfect holiday to Brazil is deciding where to have your beach time. Exploring the gems of Rio de Janeiro is a no-brainer, learning about the coffee heritage in Vale do Cafe is normally something that is a clear yes or no for most, the fabulous Iguazu Falls are enticing – but where are the best beaches in Brazil, that is the big question.

Where should I finish my Brazil holiday? Do I go to Ilha Grande? Do I fly to Bahia? The islands of Fernando de Noronha? Or should I just stay in Rio de Janeiro? We spend more time talking about the beaches in Brazil than anything else when planning tailor-made trips for our clients. So, without further ado, let me give you my insider tips and full beach low-down (or should that be lie-down?!).

Brazilian coast offers so many options that the choice can quickly become overwhelming: Costa Verde which is between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Southern beaches, Bahia, beaches between Maceio and Recife, further to the North-East near Natal and all the way up to Fortaleza, beaches of Ceara, Fernando de Noronha. There is not one answer for everybody, each beach offers something a bit different, and each will be ‘perfect’ for different people. You will always have to consider the right airport to fly to, which does not make it any easier. So let’s dive right in.

Should I just stay in Rio de Janeiro?

Ipanema or Copacabana? Traditionally the party-vibe beaches and it remains true there is no better place to stay in Rio than in a hotel with an ocean view, preferably on a higher floor. Shall you choose the pristine long stretch of tropical beach with a fantastic luxurious hotel like Copacabana Palace? This is by far one of the best historic hotels in Rio de Janeiro with a loction to dream of. What about the best hotel in Ipanema? Avoid the international chains which all look the same, no matter if you are in Miami or in London. Stay in a hotel which has a Brazilian identity. Go for Fasano.

No Domestic Flight Needed

Costa Verde lies on the south-east coast, which has an easy access from Rio and Sao Paulo and I’ll be the first to agree that it can get pretty crowded, especially on weekends and Brazilian national holidays. But, and this is a sizeable but, here you will find beautiful white sands and clear water with lush tropical forest in the backdrop. Moreover, you do not have to take domestic flights, it is all right there, a few hours’ drive away from either Rio or Sao Paulo. There are lovely boutique hotels, relaxed rustic style restaurants and a chic-barefoot-beach-vibe. Everybody adores Ilha Grande, Ilhabela and Sono Beach. The weather is pretty nice year round, and even during the rainy season from January to March you can enjoy great moments – it usually pours down at the end of the day, short and strong.

So, on Costa Verde, the best boutique beach hotel for couples is O Sitio, whilst the best option for families with younger children is Villa Bom Jardim (if you click on their names you will find the detailed descriptions we have written on both properties).


Nordeste is the picture of perfection with soft powder beaches and the clearest of water. The only ‘tricky’ thing here is finding the right vibe and the right hotel. Allow me to break the Nordeste down a little bit more…


Let’s be honest – Bahia is a dream, sophisticated, raw and laidback – what more could you ask for a holiday? Bahia should be the first place you visit in the Brazilian North-East. If you’re searching for a beautiful boutique property on the edge of the ocean with some of the best ocean views in Bahia, Barracuda Beach Hotel & Villas might be the one for you. There is actually no beach right away, you’ll have to go down the stairs to the beach. Here, you’re in Itacare, which is nice to wander, and there is some lovely countryside nearby to explore (cacao plantations, waterfalls, Atlantic rainforest) so there’s actually ‘more to do’ here than many of the other beach options. Look at that ocean view!

For me there is just one place to stay in Boipeba – Pousada Mangabeiras – which is a stunning boutique hotel with a hilltop view over the tropical palm trees and the turquoise water. Aside from the rooms with panoramic views, beautiful grounds that are surrounded by a lush garden and a fab swimming pool, the pousada also has a focus on wellness so you can pencil in some yoga and massage time if that floats your boat.

Fernando de Noroha

Fernando de Noronha is definitely the pick if you are searching for luxury, exceptional scenery and high-end cuisine. Let’s just get the elephant out of the room right now – Pousada Maravilha is another world, it is the place that you should go to, but unfortunately it’s not in everyone’s price range (B&B prices start from about £800 per night but to be honest, this is where you will want to go full board, which adds up to the price tag). Fernando de Noroha has the most fabulous beaches in Brazil and if you’ve got the budget take my advice, throw down the cash and don’t read any further!

Unexpectedly Surprisingly Lovely

What about the beaches between Salvador and Natal? You might not have heard of them, but the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco have some of the finest laid-back beaches in the Brazilian Nordeste. Trust me, it is worth that extra domestic flight to get here! This region is often called the ‘Caribbean of Brazil’ due to the stunning clear waters and a relaxed vibe. Imagine tall coconut palm trees, crystalline natural pools created at low tide and several surprises, such as manatees, dolphins and turtles. Stay at rustic boutique hotels in Sao Miguel dos Milagres, which do not lack luxurious settings and lots of privacy. Choose Pedras do Patacho for a modern character or Pousada do Toque, for a more bucolic atmosphere. Do you want a beach with a lively ambiance and the possibility to find a good spa, practice yoga and surfing? Pipa is the right place for you. Stay at Toca do Coruja surrounded by lush gardens, or at Madeiro Beach with panoramic views of the beach.

Brazilian Beaches on a Quad

Are you more adventurous at heart and want to drive your own quad along sand dunes? You can do it together with an experienced guide who will accompany you all the way. Starting in Natal and all the way to Jericoacoara, you can easily spend 2 week, discovering endless beaches and hidden gems of the Brazilian Nordeste.

Ceara is the Goldilocks of Nordeste: if the island of Fernando de Noronha is too exclusive, and Galinhos in Rio Grande do Norte is too rustic, the Beaches of Ceara have juuuuuuuuuuust the right mix of beautiful little fishing villages with mid-range pousadas and luxury small-scale resorts. Ceara is a lovely option for those that want an amazing beach destination which is still free of crowds and resorts. My absolute favourites here are Villa Aytana and Villa Vagalume, new discoveries made this year. Go off the beaten track on a quad to discover red and orange beach cliffs, long deserted beaches, sleeping fishermen villages at the end of the world and large sand dunes. Stay at the wonderful Chili Beach or Vila Kalango in Jericoacoara, the first being an absolute luxurious oasis and the second having eco-friendly settings.

Southern Beaches

What about the South of Brazil? You gotta visit Florianopolis. It might not be obvious, but this city has some of the nicest urban beaches in Brazil. Equally, the car-free Ila do Mel, the popular Bombinhas, the hidden gem of Guarda do Embau and the renown Praia do Rosa should not be missed. It could be a bit tricky with the weather since the local summer falls within the rainy season, from January to March. You can also choose to travel during the local winter time, which is an excellent period to spot whales right from the beach, while trekking along scenic trails. More details HERE.

As always, if you would like me to help create your perfect holiday to Brazil please contact me.