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Brazil Property Group and Market Intelligence - Brazil Real Estate for Sale

The Beaches of Brazil

Beaches By Gérard Bourgeaiseau

In Brazil one can go to the beach all year round. The coastal area stretching from Rio Grande do Sul to Amapá runs for 7,000 kilometres interspersed by hundreds of beaches, some of them still semi-wild. Whilst the rain on the North-East coast falls mainly in autumn and winter, in the South and South-East it falls only in summertime. Therefore it is simply a case of planning a route to include the best season for catching the sun in each place and enjoying the beaches, tracking through island interiors and exploring bays by schooner, yacht or even a modest fishing raft.

With a wind system that is ideal for sailing, the Brazilian coast attracts a large number of water-sports devotees. One of the most popular centres for this is Búzios in Rio de Janeiro. However, yachting is popular throughout the country where since 1948, Brazilian yachtsmen have been involved in all Olympic competitions.

The Beaches of Brazil

A tourist route to include beaches could be planned with Rio de Janeiro as the main starting point being the main gateway for visitors to Brazil. Situated in the most dynamic region of the Brazilian economy, approximately one hours' flying time from most cities - such as São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Brasília - the city of Rio de Janeiro is well-served by ports, airports and road and rail links with the rest of the country, with South America and the world. Renowned for its natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene, tourism in Rio de Janeiro is backed up by a vast network of hotels, conference and trade fair centres that year on year, welcome ever more visitors.

Continuing along the coast, the tourist starting from Rio de Janeiro could head either towards the South or the North-East of the country. Travelling south by car, the route is via the 550 km long Rio-Santos highway linking Rio de Janeiro with the city of Santos, in the state of São Paulo. The landscape through which the highway passes is a mixture of plains, mountains and valleys as well as a magnificent coastline. The first compulsory stop is Angra dos Reis, a paradise consisting of 365 islands and around 2,000 beaches, in particular Ilha Grande.

Immediately after Angra is the historic Parati. In addition to its narrow streets and town houses preserved since colonial times, Parati has beaches and islands that are worth exploring, such as Trindade, Brava, dos Ranchos, Figueira and Caxadaço. Under a full moon it is possible to take a boat trip to see the phosphorescent ardentia, the plankton that glow purple underwater.

Continuing along the highway, the state of São Paulo is soon reached and the beaches of Ubatuba, Caraguatatuba, Ilhabela and São Sebastião. This stretch is one of the most beautiful of the north coast of São Paulo. Further south is a region with large areas of the preserved Atlantic Forest. This is the location of the Lagamar, a wide band stretching along the coast and containing some of the most important conservation units in the Atlantic Forest, including the Juréia-Itatins Ecological Station and the Island of Cardoso.

Of all the beaches of the South region, one of the major attractions is in the state of Santa Catarina. The capital Florianópolis is divided in two - one consisting of mainland and the other on the Island of Santa Catarina, where it is called "Floripa". A tourist's dream, the island has more than 40 beaches, including Joaquina, the venue for some of the most fiercely contested surfing championships in Brazil and on the world circuit. Santa Catarina also has beaches for those seeking a lively time (Camboriú), those keen on diving (off the peninsula where Porto Belo and Bombinhas are situated) and those interested in history (São Francisco do Sul), with buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as white sandy beaches and boat trips round the bay.

Returning to Rio de Janeiro and turning towards the North-East, the first stopping place for the tourist could be in the Lagos region, the Costa do Sol where Búzios and Saquarema are situated in what is one of the best areas for surfing. Further north is the state of Espírito Santo where the main tourist destination is Guarapari, a city with monazite sands and more than 20 beaches washed by transparent waters. Continuing north is Bahia, gateway to one of the regions and which has a particularly magical coastline, with beaches and islands forming a dream landscape.

The Beaches of Brazil

By the sea at Bahia is Monte Pascoal, the first point to be glimpsed by the Portuguese sailors in 1500, located in the so-called Rectangle of Discovery formed by Trancoso, Arrial da Ajuda, Porto Seguro (Number 2 tourist centre in the Brazilian North-East after Salvador) and Santa Cruz Cabrália. If five centuries ago the Portuguese were enchanted by the region's natural beauty, what must those think who discover it nowadays, knowing that the beaches and surroundings still retain that same enchantment, described by Pero Vaz de Caminha in his Letter of Discovery.

The coastline of Bahia has additional attractions. The Marinho de Abrolhos National Park, for example, where divers can enjoy the extensive coral beds; the cities of the cocoa era, such as Ilhéus, set in a region of almost deserted beaches such as Camamu and Barra Grande; Morro de São Paulo, a small village on the Island of Tinharé, reached by boat from the town of Valença and where the calm sea forms natural swimming pools and the beaches are almost deserted; Itaparica, an island on which one of Brazil's largest hotel complexes exists side by side with the tranquillity of hamlets where time seems to have come to a standstill. Of course, there is Salvador, the capital of Bahia where the white sandy beaches mingle with the buildings and colonial architecture of Brazil's first capital, with the all year round liveliness, the musicality, the mysticism and religion, being features of the Bahian people.

Leaving Salvador and driving northwards, the visitor can take a route along the Linha Verde which links Bahia with the state of Sergipe - 142 kilometres of well-signed coast-hugging highway. On the way, the visitor will discover vast coconut plantations, lakes, waterfalls and sand dunes on the Praia do Forte and also on the beaches of Imbassaí, Porto Sauípe, Sabaúma, Baixio, Sítio and Mangue Seco, the end of the Linha Verde and which can only be reached by boat from the town of Pontal. Aracaju, capital of the small state of Sergipe, is a metropolis with provincial magic, offering beaches and regional handicrafts in ceramics, leather and wood.

In the neighbouring state of Alagoas, the visitor will frequently come across natural swimming pools in the green water of the sea. As well as the capital, Maceió, with its beautiful beaches, Alagoas also has the coastal towns of Coruripe, Barra de São Miguel and Marechal Deodoro, the latter having a lively beach called Francês. For those who prefer tranquillity, one possibility is the fishermen's colony at Barra de Santo Antônio.

The next stop is the state of Pernambuco where one of the most popular beaches is Porto de Galinhas with its naturally formed swimming pools and blue waters, good for diving. The capital, Recife, with its canals is bordered by the busy Boa Viagem beach. When visiting Pernambuco, the tourist cannot miss a visit to Olinda, a historic city registered by UNESCO as being Cultural Heritage of Mankind, and the beaches on the island of Itamaracá.

With 230 kilometres of coastline, the state of Paraíba also offers some magnificent beaches. In Conde, a small town near the capital, João Pessoa, is Tambada, the first naturist beach in the North-East region. From Cabedelo, a town situated at the mouth of the River Paraíba, boat trips may be taken to the river beach of Jacaré and the island of Areia Vermelha, where a natural pheNamenon - a vast sandbank emerging from the water - may be viewed in December and January. In the capital, as well as the excellent beaches, early birds should not miss going to Seixas point, the first place to see the sun rising over Brazil.

A great deal of sun, lakes, beaches, typical cuisine and gigantic sand dunes are waiting for the tourist in Rio Grande do Norte. The main attractions here are Tibau do Sul where there are cliffs and reefs; Natal, the state capital; Genipabu, with vast dunes, and the Lagoa de Jacumã, a lake set in an exotic landscape.

Further on, the stretch of Brazilian coast linking the capitals of Ceará with Maranhão consists of kilometres of dunes which change place according to the wind and act as guardians of little villages that are only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle. This is the case with Jericoacoara, or Jeri as it is known, a beach to the west of Fortaleza, considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world because of its rare and varied scenery. Ceará has dozens of large beaches. The best ones include the popular beach of Porto das Dunas, with a water-sports complex, Futuro beach and beaches that are scarcely used, such as Morro Branco, in Beberibe.

Fortaleza, capital of Ceará is a city that is well-served by hotels and restaurants (where lobster is a typical dish) and which also has fine beaches. East of the capital is Canoa Quebrada with one of the best known beaches in the state. Its residents maintain that to discover the delights of the place, the visitor must spend at least twenty four hours there, experiencing the sun and the moon, symbols of this peaceful little place.

Considered to be the "capital of Brazilian Reggae", at night time the beaches in São Luís, in Maranhão turn into dance-floors. The long shoreline has beaches that are highly developed as well as some that are semi-wild. Less than one hour's boat ride from the capital is Alcântara, with its ostentatious colonial ruins and ecological retreats such as the islands of Cajual and Livramento. Another of Maranhão's attractions is the Lençóis Maranhenses State Park formed by 270 km2 of sand. It is a rare geological formation with dunes 40 metres high and coloured rainwater lakes.