For a beach trip you can do in a day, your best bet is Ilha do Mosqueiro (www.mosqueiro.com.br ), 70 kilometers (44 miles) east of Belém , which has some attractive sandy beaches, particularly once you get away from the little town of Vila Mosqueiro. From the town’s main square, you can catch local buses to beaches such as Praia Morubira and Praia Marahú. The most unspoiled of all is Praia do Paraíso, where you’ll encounter white sands fringed by green vegetation and clean, emerald waters for bathing.
Should you want to spend the night, the Hotel Farol (Praça Princesa Isabel 3295, tel. 91/3771-2095, www.hotelfarol.com.br , R$70–120 d) is a once grand early-20th-century hotel that was a favorite retreat of Belém’s rubber barons. Facing the attractive Praia do Farol, the simple, but spotless rooms are divided between the original building and a more modern annex. Opt for the former with its curving walls, sweeping hallways, polished marquetry, and bay windows overlooking a tropical garden and the beach. An atmospheric restaurant with columns and wonderful tiled floors serves simple home cooked dishes such as shrimp frittata.
For access to lovely Praia do Paraíso, check into the Hotel Fazenda Paraíso (Av. Beira Mar, tel. 91/3204-4666, www.hotelpousadafazenda.com.br , R$150 d), a sprawling attractive beachfront hotel with comfortable, modern rooms and pleasant grounds that include the odd presence of a clover-shaped swimming pool. The cheery wood-and-brick chalets are ideal for families or groups of three to five. Booking ahead is recommended if you’re coming on a weekend.
Getting to Mosqueiro (connected by a bridge to the mainland) is easy from Belém . Frequent buses leave daily from the rodoviária. By car, you need merely follow the well-paved BR-316.