Brazil is a haven for beach lovers. Boasting approximately 4500 miles of coastline, Brazil has a seemingly infinite number of beautiful beaches. Most beaches have calm, warm water, making an excellent place for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports such as snorkeling, kite-surfing, and wind-surfing. For visitors heading to Rio de Janeiro, it's easy to create a beach lover's vacation in Brazil:
The Costa Verde
Just outside Rio de Janeiro, the Costa Verde is every beach lover's dream.
This stretch of coastline gets its name "the Green Coast" for the lush green mountains of the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) that hug the coast west and south of Rio. This highway makes the perfect place to explore Brazil's beach scene due to the high concentration of pristine beaches.
The first stop should be Ilha Grande, an island off the coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Known for its beautiful beaches and lack of development, this island makes a good place to unwind and enjoy nature. Once you've arrived in Angra dos Reis, you can take a boat from there to Ilha Grande, where you'll arrive in Vila do Abraão, the island's largest town. Cars are not allowed in town, giving it a laid-back vibe.
One of Brazil's best known beach towns, Paraty doesn't actually have any good beaches but is an excellent place to start while explore the many nearby beaches. The best way to explore the islands that dot the waters off Paraty is by boat.
You can do this as part of a small group tour or ask for someone to take you. The many tiny islands show no trace of development and therefore provide perfectly clean, idyllic beaches where you will often be the only visitors.
From good restaurants and souvenir shops and colonial style churches and cozy guesthouses, Paraty is a comfortable and convenient place to base your beach vacation.
Just 30 miles down the road from Paraty is Trindade, a lesser known beach town that can be visited as a day trip from Paraty. There's little development here besides simple cafes serving fresh-caught fish with rice and beans and some basic pousadas (guesthouses).
Trindade is worth visiting not only for its quiet, relaxed atmosphere but also for the naturally-formed swim holes that are created by the boulders that dot the beach. Hiking trails will take you up into the forested hills for excellent sea views. Trindade is also a good place to visit nearby waterfalls--just ask the locals where you can find the cachoeiras.
Farther down the road just after entering the state of São Paulo is the tiny fishing village of Picinguaba. The village's population is just several hundred, and the town is actually protected as part of the state park, so development will never spoil the beauty of this place. Quiet, pristine beaches and friendly locals await, and there is a cooperative of local artists where you can view local craftsmanship and maybe find some unique souvenirs.
You could easily spend several days exploring Ilha Grande, Paraty, Trindade, and Picinguaba. They can all be reached by car, and the beautiful drive from Rio down the coast is truly one to remember. The local bus system is an option for those who do not have or rent a car. Buses go from Rio de Janeiro to Angra dos Reis (the city where you can catch a boat to Ilha Grande) and Paraty. Once in Paraty, you can take the local bus to Trindade.
The most common accommodation options are pousadas, guesthouses that are typically family-run and include a nice breakfast and clean, comfortable rooms.