By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Just like its north coast, São Paulo’s southern seaside can be a pleasant surprise, possessing a variety of stunning beaches. Completely different from the grey megalopolis of São Paulo, the southern coast is a great destination for enjoying nature and refreshing yourself on an autumn’s weekend.
One of the things that make São Paulo’s south coast so special is its incredible diversity. There is Santos, the most economically significant port city in the region, and Cananéia, an ecotourism reference. The region offers beaches for all tastes, attracting families, couples and groups of friends.
Known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic”, Guarujá, only 73 kilometers away from the capital, is a favorite destination among visitors for its exciting nightlife and impressive infrastructure.
Among the most popular beach is Praia do Tombo, close to Guarujá’s center and a surfers’ paradise for its great waves. Then there is Pitangueiras, the most touristic, where one can go up to the top of Morro do Maluf hill and enjoy a privileged view of Guarujá.
More off the beaten track, Praia Preta, Praia Cheira Limão, Praia do Saco do Major and Praia das Conchas are worth checking out, offering a more tranquil environment, far from the crowds of Tombo and Pitangueiras. Once in Guarujá, also make sure to visit its aquarium, the biggest in Latin America.
Situated 265 kilometers away from São Paulo, the city of Cananéia stands out for its incredibly preserved nature and picturesque architecture. Considered an ecological sanctuary, Cananéia is mainly famous for Ilha do Cardoso, an island under environmental protection; Camboriú, a favorite for scuba diving practitioners; and Prainha, which neighbors a mangrove.
Right next to Cananéia lies Iguape, the biggest municipality of São Paulo state in terms of area (1,977 square kilometers). Possessing a charming historical center that is preserved by Brazil’s National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage, Iguape is a favorite destination for São Paulo’s residents for its beaches, history, and lively carnival.
One of the coolest beaches in Iguape is Praia da Juréia. Nature-loving visitors will absolutely love this beach, characterized by an absolutely preserved ecosystem, some colonial buildings, and a good selection of accommodation and restaurants.
Certainly the most famous beach destination among São Paulo’s residents is Santos, the biggest coastal city of the state, located 70 kilometers away from the metropolis. Because of its high economic importance (Santos is home to one of Brazil’s most dynamic ports), the city offers sophisticated infrastructure and services.
Santos’ most popular beaches are Praia do Gonzaga, where many hotels and residences are located; Praia do Boqueirão, with its many bars and restaurants and considered the nightlife hub of Santos; Praia da Aparecida, known for its calm waters; and Ponta da Praia, great for water sports like windsurfing, jet skiing, and sailing.
What’s more, many alternative attractions can be found in the city of Santos, such as its recently revitalized historical center, its aquarium or one of its many parks.
To get to Santos from São Paulo’s capital, one must take the Anchieta road (SP-150) and then Imigrantes (SP-160). Those who come from Rio de Janeiro, the best option is starting from BR-101, and then take the Rio-Santos road.
To get to Guarujá from São Paulo, one must also take the Anchieta road, and turn onto the Cônego Domenico Rangoni road afterwards. Those who come from Rio can also get to Guarujá through the Rio-Santos road.
To get to Cananéia from the capital, one should follow the BR-116 highway and, when passing by the city of Registro, turn right into the city of Pariquera-Açu. Afterward, one must continue on the road that leads to Cananéia. To get to Iguape from São Paulo, one must also take BR-116 and then SP-230.