Scroll To Top

Winter 2006 | Brazil's Sexiest Beaches

Winter 2006 | Brazil's Sexiest Beaches

Brazil's coastline is nearly 5,000 miles long, which makes deciding where to dive in a bit overwhelming without a trusty guide. Beijos!

Praia da Baía do Sancho, Fernando do Noronha
Named Brazil's best beach by Guia Quatro Rodas, the country's most reputable guidebook, this often-deserted reddish arc of sand, located on an island facing a cerulean-blue bit of the Atlantic Ocean, lives up to the hype. Watched over by the archipelago's symbol, the Two Brothers Peaks, this beach is not only picture-postcard perfect, it's extremely remote: a little hike, a stepladder between two rock formations, another ladder, then a set of stairs, and tudo bem! The bad news is that due to ecological concerns, the government limits the number of people allowed on the island at any one time to an average of 700 a day, meaning none of the island's 16 immaculate beaches has much of a scene, gay or straight. The good news, once you get down to Sancho, is that you can make your own scene. --Charles Runnette

Jericoacoara, Ceará
Sunrises and sunsets viewed from 10-story sand dunes make Jericoacoara a unique location, not just in Brazil but anywhere in South America. Four hours from Fortaleza and on the part of Brazil closest to Europe and Africa, one could almost imagine it made a clean break from the Sahara Desert across the Atlantic. Pôr do Sol, the highest of the dunes, is surrounded by hundreds of neighbors nearly as tall. With the strong winds in the Brazilian spring (our fall), it's the place to be for windsurfers and sand boarders. The beach itself is rocky in many places, with dramatic eroded stone archways set just offshore, perfectly set by Mother Nature to frame the sunsets as you watch from the dunes. --Michael Luongo

Tambaú Beach
If you want to go native--and you know more Portuguese than obrigado--try Tambaú Beach in the small baroque 16th-century city of João Pessoa. Just an hour north of Recife, this clean, out-of-the-way beach may not attract many of the A-list gays, but the crowd has something harder to find these days: an unjaded sweetness. With the turquoise-blue ocean lapping up against the fluffy sand, wind blowing through giant palm trees, colorful fish swimming about in the nearby natural coral pools, and the languid locals moving to the faint--or not so faint--sound of samba, you suddenly feel like you're experiencing a more innocent side of Brazil. And here, in this remote spot at the easternmost edge of the Americas, Brazil is a little cuter and a wee bit less sleazy. Of course, if you're over it and jonesing for sleazy, it's never far: A mixed nudist beach, Tambaba, is just a short and cheap cab ride away. --Charles Runnette

Praia dos Artistas
Even a lost tourist will have no problem figuring out Salvador's gayest beach. The first clues are the young gays sitting on the balustrades of the walkway overlooking the beach, often hanging out with their lesbian friends. A beach kiosk is on the sidewalk here, close to the bus stop, giving you reason to linger and check out the scene. Then, descend the cruisy ramp to the beach and check out musclebound locals toning their chests on the exercise bars at its base, as svelte but equally beautiful Speedo-clad admirers look on. The gentle ocean is just steps away, with Salvador's famous Farro lighthouse overlooking the action. Families hang out nearby on the edges of the gay zone and in the water, everyone mixing without an issue. As night descends, watch the sunset from the walkway, but head back home before it gets too dark; the area can be dangerous at night. --Michael Luongo

Morro de São Paulo, Bahia
Palm tree–covered rocky hills and sandy dunes typify this almost secret island getaway, a two-hour boat ride from Salvador unknown to most outsiders. The area was a little on the grungy side up until just a few years ago, but modernization, with upgraded hotels, is the current trend as people are beginning to discover the island and its nearly 400-year colonial history. Do your beach hopping by numbers, with First through Fourth beaches easy to find and play around on. Only Praia do Encanto ("enchanted beach") breaks the pattern. The main thing to do on this island is drink, eat, and sleep on the beach, with swimming breaks in the permanently warm and calm water. --Michael Luongo

Praia do Espelho
Coconut and palm trees line the beaches of Espelho, two hours south of Porto Seguro by Land Rover. The dirt roads can get waterlogged in the remnants of the Atlantic rain forest, although locals often travel by car and dune buggy. Stop at Darley's for food and drink, then let a guide lead you down to Praia do Amores and Praia do Espelho. A favorite getaway for the rich and famous, Espelho's uninterrupted coastline offers privacy and total escape in a setting of unsurpassed beauty: a sapphire sky, calm green waters, and virgin white sands. With all that scenery, who needs a scene? --Mack Friedman

Arraial d'Ajuda
A lovely historic village in the Bahia region, Arraial d'Ajuda is an ideal locale for a romantic vacation. Fly to Porto Seguro and take the ferry across the channel, then catch the public bus ($0.50) to a friendly guesthouse. The lesbian-owned Pousada Verde Agua Praia offers charming rustic rooms and access to a slender beachfront with clear turquoise waters, perfect for snorkeling and cuddling. If you have kids, try the Ecoparque Aquatico water park and Praia Parana. Catch the bus to town (it runs every 10 minutes) and enjoy delicious Bahian cuisine, souvenirs, and caipirinhas (a cross between mojitos and margaritas, with sugarcane liquor and limes). --Mack Friedman

This small colonial town rests on the grassy plateau of a bluff overlooking the Atlantic and the Discovery Coast. Each house in the main square, the Quadrado, is painted a different color, and there are no addresses: Mail is addressed to the blue house, the red house, etcetera. The main beach at Trancoso is accessible by trekking through the emerald rain forest behind the Jesuit mission São João Church, or down paths behind well-appointed hotels that hug the hillsides. The beaches are quiet and relaxed--excellent for sunning, swimming, and admiring the yellow and green warblers chirping in the mangroves. --Mack Friedman

Praia Geriba
Of the 23 beaches that surround Buzios, Praia Geriba is the biggest and most popular--good for surfing, swimming, and revelry of all kinds. The hard flat sand is great for running and soccer. This beach is serviced by food and drink vendors and is close to less-expensive hostels. Those wanting a more private experience can walk to nearby Praia Ferradurinha, following a path between the last two bars on the eastern end of Geriba. Spend the morning on Geriba, then head to downtown Buzios for afternoon crepes or fresh Thai seafood on the Rua das Pedras. --Mack Friedman

Olho de Boi
A spectacularly beautiful enclave, Olho de Boi is a 20-minute hike up and over a steep hill that divides it from the south end of Praia Brava. Park at the entrance to Brava and wander toward the snaking red path. The path itself is easy to navigate: Just follow the trail that goes straight up and straight down. Olho de Boi is a naturist beach popular with straight couples and gay men. Surrounded by smooth basalt cliffs with perfect tanning ledges and accessible only by foot, Olho de Boi has no natural shade or beach vendors, so stock up on water and bring a parasol if you're planning to spend more than an hour. --Mack Friedman

One of the most incredible urban beaches in the world, Ipanema is a sublime blend of sports, sun, flirting, surfing, and people-watching. The neighborhood is upscale, with trendy shops, sleek clubs, and fine dining, but you can still buy steamed corn and cold beer from beach vendors for a dollar. Ipanema is almost a mile long, divided by lifeguard towers (postos). The gay and lesbian section is wide and well-integrated into the rest of the beach. It is demarcated by rainbow flags that fly from the white kiosks between Postos 6 and 7. When the sun goes down, shimmy over to Farme de Amoedo and Teixeira de Melo streets for snacks, drinks, cruising, and dancing. --Mack Friedman

Copacabana is famous for gentle curves and jaw-dropping views of Sugarloaf Mountain. Go in the winter (June–September) if you surf: Swells can reach seven feet. If you'd rather loll in the hot sun surrounded by eye candy, time your trip for December through February. Buy an acai copão (a luscious frozen slush of purple Amazon berries) from the promenade stands, don't forget to wear your board shorts (you too, girls) over your bikinis, and don't dare come without your havaineros (flip-flops). The gay and lesbian kiosk cuts a smaller swath than in Ipanema, but it's more diverse and is very transgender-friendly. --Mack Friedman

After hosting the world's biggest pride celebration this year (3 million strong), the question is, where do the throngs of young landlocked gay Paulistas (people from São Paulo) get those sexy tan lines? When they don't have time or money to jet off to Ipanema or Punte del Este, they head south to long and lively Maresias. On weekends the trip by car along Route 55, which should take an hour, takes over two, but that's when the scene heats up. There is boy-on-boy bikini-clad flirting on the beach, girl-on-girl dancing at Sirena nightclub, and the new gay guesthouse, Ilhas Helênicas, proving that this is a beach and town is not just bi-curious, it's straight-up queer. --Charles Runnette

Praia Mole
Hometown of crazy, sexy 2(x)ist model Raphael Verga, the only South American stop on the World Surfing tour, and a favorite Brazilian vacation hangout for Gisele Bundchen, it should come as no surprise that the gays have staked a partial claim to the best of the 42 unspoiled beaches on the 300-square-mile chic resort island of Santa Catarina. Praia Mole has got it all--beautiful white sand, killer waves, and lush vegetation. And even though it's not close to Florianopolis, the island's main town, there are always plenty of hot, honey-skinned locals and sexy surfer boys and girls to ogle in the high season (September to May). And if you're feeling too constrained in that slip of a bikini, there's a nude section (galhetas) that's very popular with the gay crowd…shocker! --Charles Runnette

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Christopher Harrity