All of Brazil consists of beach – this is the impression you get when you land on the Brazilian coast. Many of the top dream beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana have made it to world fame.
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Who doesn’t know „Girl from Ipanema“? As beautiful as the song by Antônio Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes is the beach with a magnificent view of Sugarloaf Mountain and Corcovado. Connoisseurs think that it is now more popular than the Copacabana. Beach and water are not only cleaner. Ipanema is also the jet set of Rio, as the city district of the same name belongs to the upper class. With its chic boutiques, bars (for example for Bossa Nova lovers: „Vinícius Piano Bar“), nightclubs and restaurants, it looks more elegant than the Copacabana. However, hotels are less to be found here.
Ipanema (which means „churned water“ in the Tupí language) lives up to its name: the district of Arpoador, located between Ipanema and Copacabana, is very popular with surfers because of its constant surf. When bathing in Ipanema, this generally means: a little caution. Because of the partly strong current and the suction, one should only swim where the Cariocas (inhabitants of Rio) are on the way.
Fun at every beach section
The beach is divided into different sections. At Posto Nove (post nine) you’ll find the most beautiful and tanned bodies of the city, but also the „Cemetério dos Elefantes“ („Elephants‘ Cemetery“) with some aging hippies and artists. At the beach section „Bolsa de Valores“ („Stock Exchange“) or „Crystal Palace“ homosexuals meet, at the Posto Oito (post eight) the kids from the poor quarters, the favelas, cavort.
In Ipanema, life rages, and especially on weekends you should secure a place early. Sun worshippers lie close together, children romp around, volleyball and football are played. Nobody goes hungry or thirsty. The many beach vendors and beach bars take care of that.
Fernando de Noronha
This archipelago consisting of 21 islands on only 26 square kilometres is one of Brazil’s top travel destinations. Here, besides sunscreen and hat, you need a lot of space on your camera memory cards, as you can’t get out of taking pictures. Not only the tropical beaches with crystal clear water, but also the variety of sea animals like turtles, whales, sharks and many other fish species make these islands so unique. To protect the sensitive ecosystem the National Marine Park „Parque Nacional Marinho de Fernando de Noronha“ was founded in 1988.
The day begins with a unique spectacle: In the Baía dos Golfinhos (Bay of Dolphins) hundreds of dolphins gather, jumping and spinning through the floods. It is the largest collection of dolphins in the world. On the beach „Praia de Atalaia“, where a plate of volcanic rock extends far into the sea, colourful tropical fish shoot back and forth in the pools at low tide.
Swimming with sea turtles
In the Baía do Sueste (southeast bay) you can swim with sea turtles as part of a nature project. If you want to dive deeper into the fascinating underwater world, the Marine National Park is the right place for you: due to the ideal conditions it was chosen as the best diving area in Brazil. Noronha is also ahead in terms of surfing: between December and March the archipelago is one of the best surfing areas in Brazil.
The superlatives continue with the beaches: the Baía de Sancho is considered by many to be Noronha’s most beautiful and lonely beach. And it makes the hearts of all snorkelling fans beat faster, because countless shimmering tropical fish swim in the turquoise blue, crystal clear water.
The other beaches of the archipelago are no less sensational, however. Framed by impressive rock formations, the water is of the same color and quality, the sand just as fine and the climate just as perfect as at Baía de Sancho. Although it is hard to establish a ranking of Noronha’s most beautiful beaches, some visitors to the islands believe that Sancho should share the podium with Praia do Leão (Lion Beach) and Baía dos Porcos (Bay of Pigs).
Jericoacoara in the northeast of Brazil is especially popular with honeymooners. The scenery could have been taken directly from a love movie: tropical dream beaches with powdered sugar sand make you forget time, coconut palms sway gently in the wind, the water is crystal clear and pleasantly warm.
„Jeri“ lies in the middle of an impressive shifting sand dune area, which extends up to 20 kilometres inland and was declared a national park in 2002. Wind- and kite surfers as well as sailors like to visit the beaches of this area especially between the end of July and the end of December: with its strong winds, the area is one of the best areas for wind surfing.
The once sleepy fishing village of Jericoacoara (the name means „cave of the turtles“ in Tupí language) consists of five sandy streets and simple houses. A suitable infrastructure has been created for tourists, and accommodation and restaurants have been built. On excursions in and around Jeri, for example, you can take a sandbuggy to discover the beautiful dune landscape or drive to the picturesque lagoons.
Lagoons and romantic sunset
The two most beautiful lagoons, Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon) and Lagoa Paraíso (Paradise Lagoon), are located 20 kilometres from the village. Another highlight is the Pedra Furada (holey rock): the basalt rock hollowed out by the waves is considered the landmark of Jericoacoara. Between June and September you can experience a great sunset through the rock opening; the dune „Pôr do Sol“ is even available for great sunsets all year round.
Those who go to Jeri by land (usually starting in Fortaleza, which is about 350 kilometres away) can take the interurban bus or car. The roads are in good condition by now. However, for the last 30 kilometers from Jijoca you need a 4×4 vehicle. The most comfortable, but also the most expensive way is by helicopter.
Praia do Forte, Bahia
Praia do Forte on the Costa dos Coqueiros (coconut palm coast) is the ideal place to take a few days holiday, enjoy a lazy weekend or recover from carnival. It is only 80 kilometres from Salvador and can be easily reached by car or bus.
The infrastructure of the former fishing village invites you to stay longer with hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, bars and shops, and there is even a historical sight nearby: the ruins of a medieval castle – probably the only one in Brazil.
Everyone will find what they are looking for on the extensive tropical beach: children build sand castles, splash around in the natural pools and marvel at the colorful fish while snorkeling. Stressed-out city dwellers take long walks along the beach or rest in the shade of the coconut palms. Some picnic in the fine white sand, play football, volleyball or frisbee.
Project to save the sea turtles
A giant attraction directly on the beach is the nature project TAMAR, which strives to preserve the sea turtles threatened with extinction. Five different species lay their eggs on this part of the beach, which are hatched by the warmth of the sun. On the site you can learn about the project work, the life and protection of the turtles and other sea inhabitants (for example small sharks) and of course you can admire them live.
Between July and October local travel agencies also organize whale watching tours. Before going on board, biologists explain the lifestyle and habits of these mammals in the maritime ecosystem to the participants. If you still have enough energy in the evening, you can sip caipis in one of the many bars, go to a concert on the beach or to a restaurant where local and international dishes are served.
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Once to the „Copacabana“ – who does not dream of it? Countless songs, pictures and books have been dedicated to this famous crescent-shaped beach in the heart of Rio. Especially in the 1930s to the 50s, everyone who had rank, name and money romped here.
The city district with the same name is said to have been named after the Bolivian place of pilgrimage Copacabana at the Titicaca Lake, from which Marian artworks were introduced. With the meaning of the name, the spirits are divided. Some believe it means „view of the lake“ in an Indian language, others associate it with an ancient water deity.
Beauty has an address
Today, more than 300,000 people live in the densely populated district; the high-rise buildings are only separated from the magnificent beach by a street. And it is a place of superlatives: here the prettiest girls in the tightest bikinis stroll, here the most tanned bodies flirt, here the most muscular men flex their muscles. At night the beach is illuminated by floodlight.
There’s always something going on at the Copacabana, no matter what the time. At street parties, parades, concerts, carnival or New Year’s Eve, people celebrate as if there were no tomorrow. Those who find the hustle and bustle too much can switch to one of the many good restaurants, go to a bar, to the theatre or cinema. Nobody has to sleep on the beach, as there are more than 70 hotels in the district.
But also sportsmen get their money worth at the Copacabana. Beside water sports, they can cycle, roller skate or jog on the boardwalk. Especially in the mornings and evenings, there are many athletes and those who want to become athletes. Because those who want to show themselves on the beach with a touch of nothing first have to train model measurements. This also applies to the Brazilian men, who are no less vain than the girls.