Apr 18, 2009

The 10 best beaches in Brazil

Everywhere I look there’s a list of best beaches in Brazil. Condé Nast Traveler did one in its last issue, for example.
It wasn’t a top 10 list per se, but rather, a “South American Beach Finder”. My #1 travel guru Ricardo Freire found their choices faulty and did a scathing point-by-point critique of the chosen beaches, here.

Soon thereafter, UK’s The Guardian published its list of best Brazil beaches.
Interesting choices.... The list starts off with Fernando de Noronha, which isn't a beach, but rather, an ISLAND, which happens to contain several of Brazil's most untouched and gorgeous beaches.

Also on the list is Arpoador. But… since when is Arpoador a beach?! It’s actually just the tip of Ipanema beach, as far as I know. Editor Gavin McOwan says “At the end of Ipanema when the traffic curves round to Copacabana, pedestrians can carry on walking to Arpoador. A continuation of Ipanema beach, Arpoador ends with a tall rocky headline, an easy 60m climb, offering stunning views of the whole length of Ipanema, Leblon and the famous Dois Irmãos mountain.”

Ok, so far, so good, we agree that it's just the continuation of Ipanema.

But then he goes on to say “the Azul Marinho restaurant, the only beachside restaurant in Arpoador and Ipanema”. Say WHAT?! What does he mean by beachside? As far as I know, the Al Mare, at the Fasano hotel, is beachside AND has a view of the Arpoador! And it sure beats Azul Marinho… In fact, they're worlds apart.

Differences aside, below you'll find the (quite useful) The Guardian’s list, as well as two other lists published recently by the Brazilian guide Quatro Rodas (the country's version of the Michelin) and by Brazil’s biggest travel magazine, Viagem e Turismo. At first glance, you'll soon discover that when it comes to Brazilian beaches, only one thing is for sure: other than Baía do Sancho, in the stunning island of Fernando de Noronha, nobody agrees on anything!

TOP 10 BEACHES IN BRAZIL according to the Guardian
(from North to South and NOT in order of preference)

  1. Alter do Chão (Santarém), Paraíba state
  2. Fernando de Noronha, PERNAMBUCO STATE
  3. Praia do Toque (São Miguel dos Milagres), PERNAMBUCO STATE
  4. Taipu de Fora (Maraú), Bahia state
  5. Caraíva (Porto Seguro), Bahia state
  6. Arpoador (Rio de Janeiro), Rio de Janeiro state
  7. Lopes Mendes (Angra dos Reis), Rio de Janeiro state
  8. Praia da Fazenda (Ubatuba), SÃO PAULO STATE
  9. Bonete (Ilhabela), SÃO PAULO STATE
  10. Lagoinha do Leste (Florianópolis), SANTA CATARINA STATE

TOP 10 BEACHES IN BRAZIL according to the Guia Quatro Rodas

  1. Baía do Sancho (Fernando de Noronha), PERNAMBUCO STATE
  2. Baía dos Porcos (Fernando de Noronha), PERNAMBUCO
  3. Praia do Leão (Fernando de Noronha), PERNAMBUCO
  4. Praia do Espelho, Bahia state
  5. Carneiros (Tamandaré), PERNAMBUCO STATE
  6. Jericoacoara (Jericoacoara), Ceará state
  7. Taipu de Fora (Barra Grande), Bahia state
  8. Lagoinha do Leste (Florianópolis), SANTA CATARINA STATE
  9. Praia do Amor (Pipa), RIO GRANDE DO NORTE STATE
  10. Antigos e Antiguinhos (Parati), Rio de Janeiro state

TOP 10 BEACHES IN BRAZIL according to Viagem e Turismo magazine:

  1. Porto de Galinhas (Ipojuca), PERNAMBUCO STATE
  2. Jericoacoara (Jijoca de Jericoacoara), Ceará state
  3. Bombinhas (Bombinhas), SANTA CATARINA STATE
  4. Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro), Rio de Janeiro state
  5. Praia da Pipa (Tibau do Sul), RIO GRANDE DO NORTE STATE
  6. Praia da Joaquina (Florianópolis), SANTA CATARINA STATE
  7. Canoa Quebrada (Aracati), Ceará state
  8. Baía do Sancho (Fernando de Noronha), PERNAMBUCO STATE
  9. Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
  10. Praia do Gunga (Barra de São Miguel), Alagoas state

TOP 10 BEACHES IN BRAZIL according to Viaje na Viagem by Ricardo Freire:
  1. Praia do Gunga (Barra de São Miguel), Alagoas state
  2. Baía do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha
  3. Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia
  4. Arraial do Cabo, Rio state
  5. Praia do Espelho, Bahia (near Trancoso)
  6. Praia do Toque, Pernambuco state
  7. Ipioca, Maceió, Alagoas state
  8. Porto da Barra, Salvador, capital of Bahia state
  9. Azeda, Búzios, Rio state
  10. Lopes Mendes, Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro state
  11. Praia Mole, Santa Catarina
  12. Praia do Amor, Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte state

More about Brazilian beaches on this blog:


  1. I’m so excited to read about your trip – Rio’s a great city, and the beach is hard to beat. I just sat in a beach chair under an umbrella. Didn't even want to swim or walk on the beach because I was just too uncomfortable in my skin. Just too much of me “in my skin”.

  2. Okay, so maybe it was one too many Strawberry Daiquiris on the beach at sunset… or maybe just way too many
    Cheeseburgers in Paradise. No excuses, Professor beach got FAT! 225 lbs FAT. After years of exploring and enjoying beaches around the world it just wasn't fun anymore. No more fun because when I got to the beach I was ashamed to take off my shirt. Ever feel that way?

    Remember to bring your camera, to take photos of the many fantastic sights and beautiful people.
    By night, with a Caipirinha in hand (the Brazilian national drink), you can watch the sunset from a rooftop hotel bar in chic Ipanema Beach. Then enjoy some of the best food the world has to offer in a wide variety of fantastic restaurants, including the popular Brazilian Churrascaria Steakhouses .

  3. Thanks for an amazing article. was very helpfull to explore beaches.I found another website usefull too
    http://worlds-exotic-beaches.com which could provide information regarding beaches.

  4. Thanks for your sharing and please keep updating with your views.I insist please share some more info for the betterment of our knowledge.

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