Ubatuba is one of the most impressive destinations on the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dominated to the rear by the Serra do Mar cloaked in tropical vegetation, the sinuous coastline of Ubatuba includes more than 100 beaches and 15 islands. Spread over one hundred kilometres, the attractions emerge in the form of coves and bays of green and blue waters It is the surfing capital of the San Paolo state, where at least a dozen international events are organised each year. Even the bus stops depict waves. Yet when arriving there after a four-hour drive from Sao Paulo, the sea seems calm.
A little further south, there will be numerous endless beaches with warm sand. If you go further north, you will find the right environment to provide strong emotions. It is impossible to get lost, as the sound of the waves will guide you along the tiny path that crosses the forest. The whole area is also filled with dozens of hiking trails that meander through the lush rainforest. In the Serra do Mar State Park there is the possibility to trek on routes that run along deserted beaches, coasts, rivers and ruins of farms, always surrounded by the Atlantic forest.
The secluded corners, however, can also be explored on schooner trips or on local fishing boats. The region is dotted with treasures: not to be missed is The island of Anchieta, a lovely destination where you will have the chance to observe magnificent birds and rare fish that live undisturbed in their natural habitat.
Let's discover together the 10 beaches not to be missed:
- Praia Ilha Anchieta
- Praia do Tenorio
- Praia do Cedro
- Praia do Portinho
- Praia do Alto
- Domingas Dias Beach
- Itamambuca Beach
- Sete Fontes Beach
- Praia de Fazenda
- Prumirim Beach
Praia Ilha Anchieta
Few places can combine nature and history in such an organic and successful way like the island of Anchieta in Ubatuba, in the state of Sao Paolo. The largest coastal island in the state has crystal clear waters, full of shoals of mullet, sardines, flying fish and sea turtles. The island is one of the best places for night diving on Ilhote Sul, and is part of the protected area of the State Park, an area of 828 hectares with vegetation typical of the Atlantic Forest and unparalleled wildlife. On the island, in addition to 72 species of birds, there are also armadillos, badgers, lizards and monkeys. Populated by the Indians until the nineteenth century, a state prison was established in Anchieta in 1902. The prison was closed in the 1950s, after many rebellions. There are seven beaches on the island of Anchieta, some of which are not open to the public as they are used for research. Of those that allow access to tourists, the most famous is Praia do Presidio. Most of the boats that bring tourists to the island come to its calm waters. And right on this beach are the ruins of the prison built to hold political prisoners between 1904 and 1955.
There is also the administrative centre of the park and a base of the Tamar project, one of the first initiatives for the conservation of sea turtles, started in Brazil and that has become a reference point for the international community, thanks to the development of a network that includes the territory and the local population. The project was set up in the 1980s, when the killing of turtles and the consumption of eggs for food by local fishermen and people in poor areas was jeopardising the life cycle of these animals.
Those who disembark at the pier have convenient access to Palmas Beach, California. The route takes about ten minutes and crosses a flat, pleasant path with various local wildlife animals greeting tourists. At the end of the trail you will find an ideal beach for resting, ideal for children as the waters are calm, shallow and waveless. Praia do Sul is a favourite of divers. Nature is pure, the waters are green and transparent, so it's ideal for fans of diving and snorkelling who go beyond the coast to explore the large stones carved into the rock and the crevices that are home to many species of fish. You can reach it by boat or by a path from Palmas beach. An effort that is rewarded with an exclusive beach.
Praia do Leste is synonymous with tranquillity. Great for those who want to relax in the sun, bathe, get back to tanning on repeat for a few hours. You can get there from the trails from Praia do Presidio. Divers arriving in Praia do Leste will have a surprise. In 1997, The Association of Divers in Ubatuba placed a life-size statue in honour of the scientist French "father of diving" Jacques Cousteau there. The statue is located near the rocky coast 9 metres deep.
Another of the most popular beaches is Praia Grande. Here everyone can find what they are looking for: long stretches of fine white sand and water with crystal clear colours. One end of the beach is suitable for surfers, with waves reaching remarkable heights, while the other part is much calmer and ideal for families or for anyone looking for a relaxing swim. A path 1.5 kilometres long runs from the ruins of the old military village and barracks, crosses the woods and reaches the beach. The calm sea also allows boats to dock and facilitates the experience of travellers.
Praia do Tenrio
Heat, beauty and relaxation: Praia do Tenrio is a beautiful family beach located near the centre of Ubatuba. The beach has a tree-lined border, where you can relax in the shade, and is backed with cliffs that give it a unique look. The beach is generally calm and great for swim. The exception is the right corner, where the current tends to be very strong and the area is often marked as unsuitable for safety reasons. On sunny days with few waves, the sea takes on beautiful shades of blue. There is a secret spot to enjoy the beauty of the beach in Tenrio in all its glory. You can climb the rocks that are in the left corner: here you can have a unique view. From this beach you can reach easily Praiah Vermelhinha. It is a 600-metre-long beach, with soft, reddish sand, full of shells, in a varied setting that is lost in the middle of the lush Atlantic Forest: it is always very popular with surfers, especially when the waves come from the east and southeast.
A short distance away there is also the Ubatuba Aquarium. You can admire 12 tanks of salt water, including one of the largest in Brazil with as many as 80,000 litres, where specimens of local fauna and other oceans swim. It was founded in 1996 by a group of oceanologists with a very specific purpose: to raise awareness amongst young people about the importance of preserving the marine environment and the richness of its diversity. Teaching students in particular, through contact with animals and monitoring key concepts biology and conservation. A lesson that wants to integrate environmental education with applied research. Among the property's most curious attractions is a penguin enclosure where visitors can get up close to the curious and fascinating Magellan penguins and feed them interactively.
Praia do Cedro
It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the district of Ubatuba: Praia do Cedro, a small cove submerged in the lush vegetation of the Atlantic forest. The beach, shaded by numerous swaying palm trees, is lapped by fabulous Waters, which attracts beachgoers in search of relaxation and lovers of Diving. Going snorkelling here is natural and allows you to discover enchanted underwater landscapes. In the warm waters, the favolosa vision of underwater life opens up: multicoloured fish, sea urchins, starfish and rich vegetation.
Praia do Portinho
Simplicity and warmth in a small space full of charm. Praia do Portinho is a popular destination for families in Ilhabela. It is located near Praia da Feiticeira, and is part of the Underwater Ecological Sanctuary on the island of Cabras, which is one of the islets in the Ilhabela archipelago. Here you will find a quiet setting, with a few kiosks serving snacks and drinks on the beach. Surrounded by rocks and trees, it has a calm and green sea, which attracts visitors who love tranquillity and contact with nature. As in the nearby beaches, it is an ideal place for snorkelling and diving. Portinho Beach comes alive and is very busy at weekends and in high season. The view is immediate, but impactful: wooden canoes coexist in the old fishermen's houses. A short distance away there is also a small square and the old chapel of St. Anthony, built in 1938. The island of Ilhabela is one of the most sought-after destinations for holidays. There are dozens of beaches around the island, including some accessible only by boat.
It is in this area that the Underwater Ecological Sanctuary, protected by the law of hunting and underwater fishing since 1992. In these waters, the most varied species of ornamental fish and other marine inhabitants, such as turtles, starfish and seahorses are found. This oasis is considered a real paradise for amateur and professional divers, who have several diving schools in Ilhabela where they can take courses and get all the necessary equipment. In addition to clear waters and natural attractions, divers can find a statue of Neptune 7 metres deep: here corals are formed attracting even more marine species.
Praia do Alto
This is a small beach about 200 metres long, practically deserted and surrounded by vegetation, where you can bathe or dive in calm waters crystal blue in colour. The sand is soft, the frame is of rocks mixed with woodlands. To reach the shore you will have to cross a path and walk for about twenty minutes, but it will be worth it. The beach is located north of Ubatuba, near Vermelha do Norte and Praia de Itamambuca. A magical place for who needs peace and silence to admire the colours and calm of the sea without expecting anything else. On a weekday day there will be no need to fight for space or you will not have to listen to the music of your neighbour at full volume. In high season and holidays there is a kiosk where you can refuel with snacks and drinks, but also rent kayaks and underwater masks and fins.
Domingas Dias Beach
The beach is only 400 metres long, the sea is crystal clear and calm, the sand is white, fine and soft. Domingo Dias, 16 kilometres from the city of Ubatuba, is the ideal destination for anyone looking for peace and quiet. The beach is clean and, in front, you'll find some colonial-style houses and a lot of vegetation: a mix that helps to create a quiet environment where you canstroll or relax with friends for a day of sharing. The bay is almost completely closed off by the surrounding hills, so the sea is still. It is perfect for swimming or snorkelling. Not far away is another lovely beach: Praia do Lazaro. The sea is quite calm and shallow, great for the kids. It is like a large swimming pool surrounded by greenery and inviting for kayaking.
Itamambuca is known to be one of the favourite beaches of surfers, you can surprise them training at every hour of the day. Here the highest waves in the area can be found, reaching up to 3 metres in height. On the beach there are various gazebos that rent out equipment and offer surfing lessons. There are also many aterfalls and trilhas, paths that are of varying difficulty to tackle on foot, that wind around and through the Mata Atlantica, the typical vegetation of the region, and that lead to other more hidden and wilder beaches. There is another beach particularly popular with surfers, Praia Vermelha do Norte. High waves, calm beach and thick sand. The surrounding landscape is picturesque with a rocky outcrop, completely covered by forest on the south side.
Sete Fontes Beach
Residents consider it to be a magical place for its pristine waters and for the beauty of its nature, alternating rocks with forest. Here in the past an ancient fishing colony stood. The sea is calm, transparent, ideal for swimming and relaxing. The place is visited by boats, mainly by schooners that carry tourists on a tour from various parts of the city. The beach has its name, as it would hide drinking water sources on its slopes and, according to legend, one of these springs of fresh water, has the elixir of youth. Thanks to a trail and the help of a specialist guide you can then discover the Pirate's Cave, a lovely setting that provides spectacular views. With the help of lanterns, you can explore the caves and let yourself be carried away by the imagination of the stories told. A journey among hidden slaves, escaped prisoners and even treasures that pirates and corsars would have preserved Here.
Not to be overlooked by those who want to continue the tour, a visit to Ilha do mar Virado. The island is part of a series of atolls on the coast of Sao Paolo, where magma and granite rocks predominate. Among the other curiosities here was the discovery in the area of an archaeological site, which has been studied by the experts from the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at University of Sao Paulo since the early 1990s. Over 80 human skeletons and 216 artefacts were found, including tools and utensils. According to the researchers, these early residents were very short, lived no more than 25 years old and ate mainly fish.
Praia de Fazenda
This beautiful beach is rather secluded and is located west of Ubatuba, near the town of Lagoinha. The clear and calm waters represent the ideal scenery for relaxing and enjoying the surrounding nature. There are more than 3 km of uncontaminated beach without any construction to deface the natural scenery. The beach is accessed via a narrow road that starts from Praia Dura, and which loops through some wonderful landscapes before ending up in Praia da Fortaleza. The beach has wonderful views, as well as several paths leading to pools hidden amongst the rocks or up to the top of the nearby hill, Pontao da Fortaleza: a perfect place for taking photos or for enjoying the view. Although it is slightly more out of the way, there are several kiosks, restaurants and bars in the area where you can find refreshment. From here you can reach Praia Taquara, Praia Brava da Almada, Praia Bicas and Praia di Picinguaba.
Praia de Fazenda is located within a nature reserve, the Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar. The park covers 37.5 thousand hectares of land between the cities of Sao Paolo, Itanhaém, Juquitiba and Mongagua. In it, within the area that houses the Ecotourism centre, there are the springs from the Capivari and Embu-Guacu rivers, which are very important for the Guarapiranga reservoir, which supplies part of the capital. The centre was created from the old farm of Curucutu, expropriated by the state in 1958, when the main activity carried out on it was coal production. The biodiversity of the park is unique. It protects about one-fifth of all bird species that exist in Brazil, nearly half of those in the Atlantic forest, some of which are endangered. It is also home to 270 species of mammals. For those who want to enjoy nature, the trails are an opportunity to take advantage of. Three of these are open to visitors: the Bica Trail, the Mirante Trail and the chapel path of Santa Rita de Cassia.
Prumirim Beach, California
The beach, which stretches for almost a kilometre, is located in the Ubatuba region. Considered by visitors as one of the most beautiful on the Brazilian coast, Prumirim Beach has an unforgettable charm. The sand is amber, the sea is for everyone. In some places it is good for surfing as there are remarkable waves. On the right side, where the Prumirim River flows, it has huge rocks and calmer waters, ideal for swimming with the family or for diving. There's a peculiarity: access is through an apartment building complex. For those who want to take a trip you can also visit one of the most beautiful falls in the city of Ubatuba: Cachoeira Prumirim. It is one of the most coveted attractions by tourists, both due to its incredible beauty, the large size of its natural pool, but also and especially for its ease of access. The source of the beautiful waterfall lies in the middle of the lush Atlantic forest, with the river following the silhouette of the mountains from the highlands to the sea. In the many "pools" that are formed you can enjoy small natural whirlpools and relax your body, that is lulled by the water.
Visit the beaches of Ubatuba with Costa Cruises
Mindblowing beaches, unspoiled beauty and relaxation, waves to tame and ride, but not just that: Ubatuba is also full of movida and occasions for sharing an enjoyable evening. In the centre, the colourful handicrafts shops and cosy bars abound, offering the tasty specialities of the place. Younger people won't get bored and they'll also be able to do a little bit of sport, taking advantage of the skate rink, the basketball court, the football on the sand.
There is also a playground available to the little ones: all in front of the sea. In the evening, Ubatuba is lit up by a thousand lights: places to indulge in a cold beer or the famous Caipirinha while listening to good live music, restaurants performing delicious fish dishes or tender meats like the renowned Picanha.
And for those who love to live the nightlife, discos overlooking the sea. All you have to do is discover this city and get carried away by its waves.