Best Beaches in Brazil’s São Paulo State
The popular but mistaken belief is that Brazil’s São Paulo state has no beaches. Though the city of São Paulo itself may not sprawl languidly along the ocean like certain other Brazilian cities or towns, São Paulo state boasts almost 400 miles of tropical Atlantic coastline, which beckons beachcombers from inside and outside Brazil for swimming, surfing and sunbathing.
Accommodations can be found at inns and “surf chalets,” as well as swanky beachfront properties like the Beach Hotel Maresias and Coconut's Maresias Hotel, but book ahead -- the party scene runs unabated from just before Christmas through Carnival, and major surfing events such as the Stand Up World Tour make the pickings slim.
Explore some of the 360 registered waterfalls, including a few dozen where swimming is permitted. Private homes and inns, such as the upscale but intimate Barra do Piuva Porto and the trendy DPNY Beach Hotel, dot the edges of Ilhabela island, whose placid bays and inlets entice visitors and residents alike to take to the water in their sailboats and yachts. Large crowds converge on the island, especially during summer weekends (November to February), because it’s only 128 miles away from the city of Sao Paulo.
Go kayaking at Tabatinga, try jet skiing off Mocóca, play beach volleyball at Indaiá or marvel at Ilhabela from a distance on Massaguaçu. Close-in beaches, such as the main strand at Centro, the nightclub-centric Martin de Sá and tiny Prainha with its pointy outcropping of Pedra do Jacaré (Alligator Rock), attract the well-heeled crowds, many of whom spend Brazilian summers in luxury high-rises fronting the ocean. To swim or surf in solitude, head to the quieter beaches of Praia Brava or Praia do Romance.
Sete Fontes, with its pink sand and impressive phalanx of boulders, and Praia do Sul, peeking out from under a canopy of oceanfront foliage are examples of more intimate beaches. Beachgoers can only access to these beaches by boat or footpath. Hiking trails of varying intensity thread up through the coastal highlands and down into the Atlantic forest, making Ubatuba a major draw for adventure-seeking travelers.