When most people think of Sao Paulo, the first thing that comes to their mind are skyscrapers, concrete and vehicles. Even though the city itself does not reach the coast, the state itself has about 400 miles of the very same Atlantic coastline you will see in Rio and Salvador.
In fact, some of the best beaches in the country are located within less than two hours from the largest city in Brazil. Here are a few examples worth mentioning:
Located about 128 miles from Sao Paulo, this 216 square mile island has one of the best-preserved Atlantic forests in the state, where you can find blue manakins and capuchin monkeys roaming around. There are dozens of hiking trails and waterfalls, but if you are looking for a more traditional accommodation, there are a few hotel options around, both premium and economy options. By the way, it’s not uncommon to find sea turtles placing their eggs along its beaches.
The southernmost city in Sao Paulo features impressive islands and beaches that are protected by 6 different reserves and ecological stations. One of the most famous parks is the Ilha do Cardoso, featuring boat trips, guided tours and trails. There are at least four beaches that can be visited by the public without a guide, some even featuring fresh water natural pools and waterfalls.
With over 23 beaches, Guaruja is within 50 miles of Sao Paulo, neighboring the busy port-town of Santos. There are two main beaches – Pitangueiras and Asturias – but if you make the effort of hiking for an hour or two, you will be able to find some impressive untouched smaller beaches without any crowds whatsoever.
One of the best spots in Guaruja is the Prainha Branca (little white beach). It’s located to the very north of the city, and after hiking a steep hill on foot, you will find this natural and tranquil beauty with almost no infrastructure. Please note that you can be fined for littering in Prainha Branca, so if you are a smoker it’s better to take a pouch along with you. Learn more here
Just to the south of Santos and Sao Vicente lies Praia Grande, receiving its name for the impressively long coastline it has. With many miles of skyrise apartments and hotels, Praia Grande is a popular spot for townies looking for a budget accommodation just an hour and half from
About 140 miles away from the big city, Ubatuba is officially considered the Surf Capital of Sao Paulo, holding about 10 international surfing events on its beaches every year. With over 100 beaches in total, it attracts not only surfers, but divers, swimmers, hikers and regular tourists. Ubatuba has a great biodiversity, with over 565 bird species already identified.
Discovered only in 1974 by surfers from Guaruja looking for less crowded beaches, Maresias is famous for its big waves, restaurants and nightlife. It is bordered by other excellent beaches like Cambury, Juquei and Boicucanga. After Ubatuba, this is one of the most important surf spots in Sao Paulo, being the hometown of the twice-world-champion surfer Gabriel Medina, who still lives in Maresias.