A greek temple-facade stands next to a pool fountaining water.

Best Beach Barracas in Fortaleza, Brazil

Throughout the Northeast, beach-going would be unimaginable without the ever-present seaside restaurant-bars where friends and family settle in for a long day of chatting, drinking beer, and nibbling on portions of fried fish and seafood.

Two men pass under the shade of a tree high up on the shore of a white-sand beach.

São Sebastião: Beaches, Nightlife, and More

When Paulistanos say they are “going to São Sebastião,” they’re not actually referring to the busy seaside town, but to the 100km expanse of beaches and resort towns around it. Read on to find the right stretch of beach for your style of travel.

View atop a grassy hill of a small strip of buildings and a span of grass between them and a long stretch of beach.

Exploring Brazil’s Cocoa Coast: Ilhéus

Today, traces of the legacy of the “colonels” can be glimpsed by wandering among the handful of grandiose mansions and civic buildings of Ilhéus’s small historical center. Surrounded by native Atlantic forest and, to the north and south, boasting some attractive white-sand beaches—Ilhéus is well worth exploring.

At dusk a couple boats are pulled up on to the sand with a long pier visible in the water.

Best Beaches in Fortaleza, Brazil

Fortaleza’s beaches are the be-all and end-all of the Cearense capital. While not suitable for swimming, many of the beaches operate as a seaside party zone where you can watch the sunset with the happy-hour crowd.

Land juts out into the placid ocean water of the bay in Baja Mexico.

Visiting Baja Mexico’s Bahía Magdalena

At the western edge of the Magdalena plain on the Pacific coast, a long string of barrier islands protects a series of shallow bays that fill with gray whales during calving season, from January–March. Sheltered Canal Gaviota links the two largest bays in the system, Bahía Magdalena and Bahía Almejas, to create some of the best kayaking and windsurfing conditions anywhere on the peninsula. Visitors here enjoy paddling the bay, climbing 30-foot sand dunes, bird-watching, and gray-whale encounters.

A surfer on a longboard turns into a crumbling wave.

Costa Rica’s Best Surf Spots

In Costa Rica, there are dozens of world-class venues and no shortage of surf camps, surf schools, and rental outlets. Christopher P. Baker discusses when and where to go to enjoy the best surf vacation.