In 2018, the latest available data prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil had an influx of over 6.6 million international tourists, nearly 64,000 of which were from Japan. Boasting the largest Japanese community outside of Japan, with Japanese-Brazilians accounting for approximately 2.3 million of the Latin American country’s population as of 2022, it’s no wonder that Japanese nationals are drawn to Brazil. They come to visit Asiatown and take in its vibrant Nikkei-Brazilian culture, as well as connect with the generations descended from the Japanese migrants who came to work on São Paulo’s fazendas or coffee plantations in the early 1900s.
They come for Brazil’s most popular tourist attractions: the iconic hilltop statue of Christ the Redeemer, breathtaking Iguazu Falls, picturesque Ibirapuera Park, the serene scenery at the Botanical Garden of Curitiba, the stunning dunes and freshwater lagoons of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, the mystery and lushness of the Amazon Rainforest, among many other destinations. Of course, Japanese tourists also visit Brazil to soak in the warmth of its culture, as well as sample the nation’s delicious and hearty cuisine, a mouthwatering fusion of European, Amerindian, African, and Asian influences.
In 2018, the latest available data prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil had an influx of over 6.6 million international tourists, nearly 64,000 of which were from Japan.
And — as if the charismatic culture, exciting cuisine, and compelling tourist spots were not great reasons enough to visit the country — Brazil is every beach lover’s dream destination, as well. Because it is located right along the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil is home to an array of pristine, paradisiacal beaches. Here are some of the top sundrenched shores to check out on a Brazilian holiday.
Brazil’s most famous beach is located at the center of Rio de Janeiro. With four kilometers of sand, surf, and a scintillating lifestyle scene, crescent-shaped Copacabana beach is a bustling seaside attraction, brimming with beauty and teeming with all the thrills of a thriving getaway. Popular among South American and international celebrities and models for people-watching, water activities, and beach entertainment, this beach is always busy, and is where people typically go to see and be seen.
There are several cafés, restaurants, and upscale hotels at Copacabana, many of which afford stunning seascapes and views of the Atlantic.
Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro has been well-known for decades for its 2.6 km expanse of white sand beachfront, azure waters, as well as its mention in the popular bossanova song, The Girl from Ipanema. Moreover, this beach is known for its nearby affluent neighborhoods, trendy and popular restaurants, posh boutiques, vibrant pubs, and other amenities — like its famous promenade — that enhance the enjoyment of being on the beach.
For all these reasons, Ipanema draws locals and tourists, alike, and can become rather crowded, especially on the weekends. Still, it is more laidback than the typically frenzied vibe of Copacabana, and people also come precisely for the upbeat energy that the beach-loving crowds bring.
Buzios Resort Town
Armação dos Búzios, known locally as Buzios, boasts a number of famous beaches. This resort town is located north of Rio de Janeiro and is popular with worldwide celebrities and the international jet-setters crowd who prefer the privacy and seclusion of Buzios over the hubbub of Copacabana and Ipanema. Often referred to as the South American St. Tropez, the most famous beaches in town are the u-shaped Ferradura Beach, which provides wonderful snorkeling, and Geribá Beach, which has amazing surfing and several restaurants.
With its soft, pink sand beach, Praia de Tucuns on the town’s south end is ideal for those searching for a picturesque spot with far fewer people than the main beaches of Buzios.
Baia do Sancho
Baia do Sancho beach is renowned for its crystal clear cerulean seas, the main reason that TripAdvisor has ranked it among the world’s best beaches. Locals as well as international tourists have also listed Baia do Sancho as one of the most desirable beaches to visit for its agreeable, temperate climate, as well as its stunning pristine beauty.
Nestled within the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, a remote and sparsely populated location that is fairly difficult to reach, this beach offers unrivaled seascapes and the utmost in privacy. It likewise provides the most romantic setting, and is great for swimming and snorkeling.
Originally utilized as a quarantine facility for patients suffering from leprosy, Ilha Grande (Big Island) has, since those years, become renowned for its Eden-like beaches. This is because when the island’s last hospital shut down, the area was abandoned and left deserted for decades. It has since been rediscovered as an eco-tourism destination for its unspoilt, lush forests, and for its stretches of sun-kissed seashores. Lopes Mendes Beach is the primary attraction; a white, sandy length of coastline best known for its surfing scene. It isn’t all that easy to reach the beach, which makes for an added layer of privacy and protection: the journey involves a boat ride to Pouso, followed by a 20-minute hike through the woods.
Alternatively, visitors may opt to trek seven kilometers through lush jungles from Vila do Abraão, Big Island’s main village. Praia do Aventureiro, often known as “the bent palm tree beach” or “the picture beach,” is one of the Ilha Grande most stunning beaches, also accessible by boat and hike through the forest.
Originally utilized as a quarantine facility for patients suffering from leprosy, Ilha Grande (Big Island) has, since those years, become renowned for its Eden-like beaches.
To date, the whole area is officially protected by the state constitution of Rio de Janeiro. As such, regulations are in place to oversee tourism to Big Island, as well as to keep its development under control, so as to protect the flora and fauna — including endangered species such as the brown howler monkey.
When it comes to secluded, serene seaside sanctuaries in Brazil, Jericoacoara Beach is one of the best. The area is so pristine and preserved; it had no electric power until 1998, and has remained incredibly unspoilt, to this day. While the area is now electrified, street lights are still disallowed, making for the perfect nighttime conditions for stargazing. Jericoacoara is not only known for its crystalline blue waters and white sands that evoke a far-flung paradise, but also for its magnificent sunsets, breathtaking dunes, and mellow windsurfing spots.
If the area is reminiscent of some sort of remote virgin island, that’s because it is. The trip to Jericoacoara Beach takes several hours, past little fishing settlements along the sea, and includes a 45-minute stretch of off-road travel over sand dunes.
Lagoinha do Leste, Florianópolis
Florianopolis Island, also called Floripa, in Santa Catarina is every beach lover’s fantasy, come true. With more than 42 awe-inspiring beaches, the island is nothing short of paradise on earth in Southern Brazil. While beach aficionados may be hard-pressed to pick just one favorite spot in the gorgeous territory, Lagoinha do Leste is perhaps among the most beloved of secret beaches, with those looking for a more private seaside sanctuary.
Boasting the lush backdrop of the Atlantic Forest (a largely protected rainforest), picturesque dunes, a lake and rocky crags, a stunning stretch of white sand beach, and jewel-tone sapphire waters, Lagoinha do Leste is a blissful feast for the senses, and is every bit worth the hour-or-so-long hike through the rainforest.