By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The State of São Paulo has some of the most beautiful beaches from Southeastern Brazil and remains relatively undiscovered among tourists. Those who visit cities like Ubatuba, Ilhabela and São Sebastião will certainly be pleasantly surprised by São Paulo’s stunning natural landscapes.
Composed by the cities Ubatuba, Caraguatatuba, São Sebastião, Ilhabela and Bertioga, São Paulo’s north coast is the perfect weekend getaway for residents from São Paulo city. Offering beaches for all tastes, from luxurious to wild ones, the region attracts tourists interested in water sports, fishing, boat trips, scuba diving, among other activities.
Situated approximately 73 kilometers away (about one hour) from Paraty, historical city from Rio de Janeiro’s southern coast, Ubatuba owns at least 100 beaches, spread across a hundred kilometers of coast.
Among Ubatuba’s best beaches, Praia da Puruba is certainly on the list. Located 24 kilometers away from Ubatuba’s downtown, Puruba is the right beach to escape from the crowds, offering a chilled pace and tranquil waters. At Puruba, it is not hard to spot jumping dolphins, which characterizes the area as a true spot of environmental preservation.
Despite of Puruba’s little infrastructure (there are not many food kiosks around) and its considerably hard access (it is necessary to cross two rivers by boat), visiting this beach is definitely worth the adventure.
Also in Ubatuba, Praia de Itamambuca offers a whole different atmosphere, characterized by strong waves and offering a great variety of bars and restaurants. Around 12 kilometers away from the city center, Itamambuca is a true surfing point, frequently hosting national and international championships.
Possessing 130 kilometers of coast and 42 beaches, the group of islands of Ilhabela is one of the most trendy summer destinations among São Paulo’s residents. Known as Brazil’s Sailing Capital because of its great winds, Ilhabela gathers natural beauties with an eventful nightlife and a lively sports’ scene.
Those visiting the islands cannot miss Bonete and Castelhanos beaches, considered the most beautiful in Ilhabela.
Carefully preserved by the “caiçaras”, who descent from the indigenous people who used to live in the region, Bonete’s 800 meters of extension is marked by blue, calm waters, a peaceful environment and the “sambaquis”, seashells monuments made by Bonete’s first inhabitants, which currently present great archaeological relevance.
In Ilhabela, surf practitioners will absolutely love Praia dos Castelhanos, characterized by a short sand strip, high waves and crystalline waters. Offering a good structure of kiosks, Castelhanos is also famous for its environmental park, where visitors can enjoy the Cachoeira do Gato waterfall.
Another great destination in São Paulo’s north coast is São Sebastião, municipality that amazes for its history and spectacular nature. Founded in the seventeenth century, São Sebastião owns 100 kilometers of stunning beaches, high standard restaurants and good hotels.
Maresias, the coolest beach in São Sebastião, usually attracts younger tourists, specially for its eventful agenda of parties in its diverse bars. What’s more, Maresias’ wavy sea is one of the favorite spots for surfers in São Paulo’s north coast.
Also in São Sebastião, the beautiful Praia do Camburi stands out for its great culinary scene and infrastructure. There, one can find fresh sea food at Nica’s Restaurante, japanese culinary at Restaurante Taitiros, traditional caiçara food at Restaurante Taioba and contemporary cuisine at Ogan.
Additionally, praia do Camburi is a great option for visitors into ecotourism, offering diverse trails that lead to rivers and waterfalls.
All the above mentioned municipalities include accommodation options for different tastes and budgets, like camping areas, lodges, hotels and houses for rent.
To get to Ubatuba from São Paulo, one must take Dutra Highway or Ayrton Senna/Carvalho Pinto Highway until São José dos Campos; afterwards, one must turn in the Rodovia dos Tamoios until Caraguatatuba, and then take Rio-Santos Road (direction Rio de Janeiro) until Ubatuba. Coming from Rio de Janeiro, one must take the Rio-Santos Road.
To get to São Sebastião, one must take the same path until the Rio-Santos road, and then turn in São Sebastião. Once in São Sebastião, one must take the ferryboat to get to Ilhabela.