São Paulo state’s litoral norte (north coast) is popular with paulistas because of the cities, towns and associated beaches scattered along it that get them away from the hustle and bustle. Some are better than others though, so some time and effort in investigation is required in sorting the wheat from the chaff. I’ve written before about Ubatuba, another city and region along the litoral norte, and specifically Lzaro beach where I had a pleasant stay. I had my second stay towards the end of last year in Boiucanga, 3 hours drive away from São Paulo city.
Boiucanga isn’t as far as Ubatuba, situated before Maresias, São Sebastião, and Ilha Bela. It falls more into the town category, and has a smattering of shops including a small but relatively interesting shopping centre. The latter does a lot to lift the feel of the town, as it’s relatively clean and contemporary look is a bit at odds with some of the less clean back streets and run down areas – prefeitura take note. The shopping centre also has a small food court, and although it escapes having a McDonalds, it doesn’t escape a Bobs – although it appeared to be closed on our most recent visit. Further away from the shopping centre and on the main street, that runs parallel with the beach, there are a few more shops and restaurants which rapidly peter out as you go further away from the beach.
The beach itself is pleasant, about 1500m long, with a thick yellow sand – and perhaps most important of all is that it isn’t backed onto by towering hotels and apartment blocks. There’s plenty of shade in the eastern half with overhanging trees, and it doesn’t seem to attract anywhere near the level of hawkers that Guaruja and Santos do. At the very eastern end is a river, and if you’re as lucky as I was it’ll be populated by turkey vultures sunning themselves (pictured left). Swimming is only for the well practised, as the shore drops away dramatically causing you to be pounded by the waves near the beach, and there are currents to beware of as well. The other issue are borrachudos, a small black fly often found around water, both coastal and inland, that can leave a nasty bite, particularly to the allergic. Insect repellent is a must from the early evening onwards.
Although you’re unlikely to want to spend more than a day or two at Boiucanga it does provide a convenient jumping off point to places mentioned above, like Maresias, Ilha Bela, Ubatuba, and for those who don’t mind driving even places like Paraty (about 4 hours away). I recommend a stay at the pousada Tempo Rei, which is hidden away in some of Boiucanga’s unremarkable back streets, but is both pleasant and economic. Of course you can also use it as a jumping off point for investigating some of the less famous towns, cities and beaches of the litoral norte.
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