While a good chunk of the Northern hemisphere is busy cranking up the thermostats and/or huddling between their down quilts, Brazil is in the throes of summer. And when the going gets hot, Brazilians are quick to climb into a form-fitting biquini or sunga (the male equivalent), and head to the nearest beach.
Considering there are close to 8,000km (5,000 miles) of them, the selection is mind-boggling. If (like me), you like to avoid the crowds, here is a list of Top Ten Secluded Getaway Beaches (from South to North) that offers a sampling of well and lesser-known beaches from around the country that are guaranteed to satisfy the most jaded sand-and-sun seekers.
Lagoinha do Leste (Santa Catarina)
On the wild and deserted southern coast of the island of Florianópolis, this beach, backed by rugged mountains and poised between the blue Atlantic and a freshwater lagoon pulls off a seductive balancing act.
Domingas Dias (São Paulo)
Come summer, São Paulo residents swarm the coastline around Ubatuba – and with good reason(s) such as forest-carpeted mountains, emerald waters, and sugary sands. Amidst the crush, this secluded cove (accessible by foot) remains a delicious oasis.
Cachadaço (Rio de Janeiro)
Located near the colonial town of Paraty, getting to this deserted beach involves a hike through Atlantic rainforest. The contrast between the fine white sand beach and the lush topography is bewitching.
Praia do Joá (Rio de Janeiro)
If you’re stuck in Rio itself, a great getaway within the city is this small but hip insider’s beach; all it takes to get there is a R$20 cab ride from Ipanema to São Conrado, followed by a steep climb down dramatic cliffs.
Bahia’s best kept secret is the hardest-to-get-to beach on Ilha de Boipeba, a remote island close to Morro de São Paulo, that’s as idyllic and calm as Morro is a constant Carnaval.
Carro Quebrado (Alagoas)
The name – “Broken Car Beach” – hints at the difficulty at reaching this splendid beach by conventional means. However, fans of red cliffs, warm jade waters, and a palm-thatched bar serving shrimp and icy beer won’t mind a bit.
An hour’s flight east of the mainland, the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is already pretty remote; its pristine, protected beaches all have their charms, but Sancho is the most stunning of all with diaphanous waters that beckon divers and dolphins alike.
Jeri’s fabulous dunes, endless beach and charming fishing village have become such an alluring symbol of primitive seclusion (and great surfing) that an airport is on its way (instead of the 8-hour drive from Fortaleza) – so get there as fast as you can.
Lençois Maranhenses (Maranhão)
Conjuring up sheets (lençois) billowing in the wind, this microcosmic moonscape of sand dunes is like a chunk of the Sahara, only instead of mere mirages each dune boasts its own turquoise lagoon reflecting the sky.
Altar do Chão (Pará)
Along the Rio Tapajós (between Belém and Manaus) lurk river beaches whose sands are so white and waters so green that they’re known (with great understatement) as “the Caribbean of the Amazon”