Brazil beach recomendations
August 28, 2017 9:18 AM   Subscribe

My gorgeous wife, our 10 year old son and myself are planning to vacation in Brazil this February, somewhere near São Paulo. Where should we go, what should we do?

We went to Salvador / Morro de São Paulo 2 years ago and had a good time.

We're planning to fly into São Paulo around the beginning of February and spend around 3 weeks bumming around.

We're thinking of renting a car and staying at 2 or 3 different beach towns, looking for a mix of low key beach life and some mild adventures, plus some time in São Paulo proper.

We're OK with the language (we speak Spanish) and have been to Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Aruba and Brazil recently, plus we're sudacas ourselves, so we're not especially apprehensive.

What do you recommend? What beaches shouldn't we miss? Which should we skip? Does it make sense to rent a car or should we just take buses?
posted by signal to Travel & Transportation around Brazil (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's going to be Carnaval around that time (Feb 10-13) also known as The Busiest and Most Expensive Time in any Brazilian Beach Ever. So I'd suggest to book your reservations now. São Paulo state north coast is beautiful. I generally stay in Barra do Sahy, in São Sebatião (around two and a half hours from São Paulo city), which is small but really nice. I never go during the high season though. I'd avoid going during Carnaval weekend proper, it can be hell (as in, no water, huge lines for supermarkets and restaurants, endless noise, obnoxious behaviour, upsetting traffic).

I'd totally rent a car to be able go visit other beaches/villages! São Sebastião alone has I think around 30 beaches (not counting the islands). More to the north is Ubatuba, with 72 beaches. I spent my childhood vacations in Ubatuba - we would always do a day trip to the colonial town of Paraty (Rio state). I've never been to Ilha Bela (São Sebastião), but people love it. I can talk about the north coast of SP for hours :)

Carnaval in the city of São Paulo is fun and kid-friendly! There are tonnes of street "blocos" and you can find guides online and on the dailies about the ones that are more family-oriented.

No need for a car to spend a weekend/coupla days in Rio. The plane tickets are not too expensive when on sale (it happens a lot) and the bus is an easy 5-hour ride. Rio has decent public transport and plenty of taxis and you can see/do a lot in three days. I like to take the 1 am bus in SP and get there early in the morning. Last time tho I flew because tickets were super cheap. Carnaval there is crazy and probably interesting (never been) but it takes a lot of planning in advance.

I'll probably be in São Paulo during that time, hit me up if you have any questions or want to hang out.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 12:23 PM on August 28, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for the answer! If we do go during carnival, and want to avoid the rush, is there someplace we could hole up and wait for it to pass?
posted by signal at 12:42 PM on August 28, 2017

I actually don't know... :(

I tend to stay put in São Paulo, where in most neighbourhoods you can safely ignore Carnaval. If you like big cities, there's plenty to do, museums, parks, restaurants, music. And it's pleaseantly emptier than usual due to the holiday (everybody is at the beach!). If you do a search for "ecoturismo" + "São Paulo" you will find some options, but most of them are a bit boring and just really good to unplug; or, I've never been so can't recommend; or yet still, I've been but 20 years ago so have no idea how those places are now.

Another option would be start in SP north coast and go slowly, driving an hour or two between each stop, and spending a couple of days in different beaches. When Carnaval approaches, you head to Ilha Grande, by ferry. Cars are not allowed there and it's supposed to be a lot more laid back and quiet. Tourism is well developed and you can find nice pousadas (inns) in the island. Then you could drive back directly to SP (400 km) or go stopping again a couple times in some towns/beaches along the way? But maybe only if you like road trips and are comfortable with lots of curves in the road.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 4:52 PM on August 28, 2017

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