By Mark Taylor
I’ve never been one for beaches that back onto mulitstory hotels and/or roads. I’ve also never been one for beaches where there’s constant music blaring, snack huts every 50 meters, and folks trying to sell you peanuts, cheese on a stick, sunglasses, earrings, sarongs, or hats, and where if you leave a tin on the ground for more than 30 seconds it’ll be snatched up and recycled.

A beach for me has always symbolised a tranquil place; a place backed onto by trees, and with quietly or not so quietly lapping waves. So my somewhat limited visits to Santos, Guaruja and Rio, were all rather dissapointing when it came to my favourite type of beach.

Then I got the opportunity a few weeks back to stay for a couple of weekends at Ubatuba. Ubatuba is a not inconsequential 3 to 4 hours drive east north-east from São Paulo. I would imagine a similar travelling distance west of Rio do Janeiro. But it’s a worthwhile drive for beach lovers like me (whether you choose the longer coastal road, or the quicker but windier mountain road). As a bit of trivia the Tropic of Capricorn passes through the region.

Ubatuba itself is quite a large area. The capital sited on Ubatuba bay, is perhaps of less interest to folks like me, and more those who like the hotels and noise. It has a famous surfing beach, Praia Grande, and is backed onto by the usual snack huts, vendors, and a growing number of hotels. Those who want to seek the night life or shopping might want to pay a visit.

Head a little bit further north or south of the main city, and things get more relaxed though with a number of gorgeous bays and quiet beaches: such as the bays of Mar Virado, Fortaleza, das Palmas, Batumirim, and Picinguaba. Overall these contain around 70 beaches of varying shape, size and quality.

Other trivia about the region: there’s a marine park managed under Project Tamar to protect sea turtles. There’s a large island, Anchieta, named after Jos de Anchieta (a famous and influential Spanish Jesuit missionary from Brazil’s early history) which has been designated a preserved area since 1977. Ubatuba was the place where the Portuguese signed the first treaty of peace of the Americas with the Tupinamba Indians, a treaty that keep Brazil in the Portuguese hands, with one language and one faith.

We stayed in Fortaleza Bay, specifally the beach Lzaro. Fulfilling most of my requirements it’s a quiet beach backed onto by trees, and also a low key residential area. As mentioned the beach is quiet, and vendors are not permitted in certain areas, and tend to stay static rather than wandering up and down the beach, as well as being generally few in numbers. The beach and residential area are also monitored by low key security, and will check who you are and where you’re going when you drive in by car. Although I understand they cannot stop you pretty much regardless of what you’re doing as the area is a public thoroughfare.

Many of the houses in the residential area behind the beach are for rental, and although relatively expensive, because most are quite large, it can be worthwhile if there are several of you staying there. Prices are always best outside of holidays, particularly away from new year and carnival. My recommendation is to check both the inside and out of a house before renting, as houses can look a lot better on the outside than the in.

So quite simply if you’re after a quieter beach and a more relaxing stay away from the city, then I recommend looking at some of the bays along the region of Ubatuba.

Also I recommend a visit to the well organised web site http://www.ubatuba.com.br. Portuguese permitting you can browse the beaches and houses/apartments for rent, as well as seeing photos of the beaches. Although a visit to the beach and house/apartment is best, if possible.

Readers comments:

You are spot on about the Ubatuba region Mark. I discovered this area 4 years ago when I purchased my first car in Brazil and wanted to take a nice long drive from my in-laws house in São Paulo. The Ayrton Senna/Carvalho Pinto highway is excellent and the drive down to Carraguatatuba on the Tamoios road is spectacular.

Stop at Vaca Preta for morning coffee or Fazenda Comadre for a buffet lunch.

We liked the area so much that we purchased a house on Praia Dura which is 5 mins West of Lazaro. There are no commercial operations on Praia Dura and if you avoid the Xmas or Carnival holidays and assorted weekends you might find yourself alone on this enormous stretch of hard packed sand (Dura!).

With the heavily forested hills as a back-drop and a fresh onshore breeze filling your lungs you can imagine what the first explorers felt like.

Most of the houses are for rent/sale and you are correct about checking on the state of the interior before renting/buying. I looked at many houses with less than ideal electrical and plumbing.

I use Pardini Imoveis as my rental agent and have never had any problems.

To put this into perspective I live and work in Bermuda and only visit Brasil 2 or 3 times a year to recharge my batteries!

— David

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
Brazil: Feira Food
Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

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