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Most people hear São Paulo and think of one of the world’s largest concrete jungles. However, only a couple hours' drive from the mega-metropolis, the North Coast (Litoral Norte) of São Paulo state is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country. Although the string of beaches that start off near Santos are over-developed, crowded, and ugly, as you go north towards Rio de Janeiro they become increasingly seductive and even secluded. Anchored by the towns of São Sebastião and Ubatuba, there are over 250 km (155 miles) of white-sand beaches backed by the lush mountains of the Serra do Mar. Much of the area is covered by preserved ...

Most people hear São Paulo and think of one of the world’s largest concrete jungles. However, only a couple hours' drive from the mega-metropolis, the North Coast (Litoral Norte) of São Paulo state is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country. Although the string of beaches that start off near Santos are over-developed, crowded, and ugly, as you go north towards Rio de Janeiro they become increasingly seductive and even secluded. Anchored by the towns of São Sebastião and Ubatuba, there are over 250 km (155 miles) of white-sand beaches backed by the lush mountains of the Serra do Mar. Much of the area is covered by preserved native Atlantic forest, which can be explored via hiking trails.

While some beaches have morphed into (overly) upscale resorts that, come summertime, are mobbed by moneyed São Paulo residents fleeing the city, others are surprisingly remote and rustic. Then there is Ilhabela, Brazil’s largest off-coast island, which combines both chic and primitive, and is home to some of Brazil’s most stunning beaches, including Praia do Castelhanos and Praia do Bonete.

Michael Sommers
About the Expert

Michael Sommers is the author of Moon Brazil and Moon Rio, as well as the blog Thrill of Brazil. He has been living in Salvador, Brazil since 1999.

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Michael Sommers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: São Paulo is located in southeastern Brazil, in southeastern São Paulo State.
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Currency: Brazilian Real
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer (high season) is hot, rainy, crowded, and expensive while winters can be chilly and deserted.