Nearing the state of Rio de Janeiro , Ubatuba and its surrounding coastline offer some of southern Brazil’s most varied and attractive sand beaches , along with a mesmerizing green ocean dotted with islands. Like many towns along this coast, Ubatuba rocks hard during the summer months, when it is invaded by vacationing Paulistanos and Cariocas, and then settles down during the rest of the year.
As is the case with São Sebastião , when Brazilians talk about going to “Ubatuba,” they are actually referring less to the town than to the surrounding 90 kilometers (56 miles) of coastline that stretches along the Rio–Santos highway from Praia da Figueira to Camburi.
Aside from some rather uninspired nightlife options, the town of Ubatuba itself holds few attractions other than the local branch of the Projeto Tamar (Rua Antônio Athanasio da Silva 273, Itagua, tel. 12/3822-6202, www.tamar.org.br , 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.–Tues. and Thurs., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily Dec.–Feb. and July, R$5), a refuge and study center for Brazil’s endangered species of sea turtles that will especially appeal to curious kids.
Ubatuba’s Rodoviária Litorânea (Rua Maria Vitória Jean 381, tel. 12/3832-3622) in the Centro offers bus service to and from São Paulo , Rio de Janeiro , and Paraty . From São Paulo’s Tietê terminal, daily bus service is operated by Litorânea (tel. 0800/999-701, www.litoranea.com.br ).
The town itself is 235 kilometers (146 miles) from São Paulo and is right on the Rio–Santos highway (BR-101/SP-505). The travel time from São Paulo to Ubatuba is roughly four hours by car and five hours by bus.