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Brazil’s Best Beach Towns for Families

by Barbara Rogers

Feb 18, 2020

Photo: Stillman Rogers

Destinations / South America

If you’re looking beyond the Caribbean for a getaway vacation with long, white-sand beaches, palm trees, good food and an exotic setting, head for the coast of Brazil on the Atlantic Ocean south of Recife. Served by American Airlines, it costs about the same as a ticket to Europe — and it’s much warmer in the winter.


The local village at the heart of this place, Porto de Galinhas is a lively town of one- and two-story buildings overlooking a beautiful coast, filled with small restaurants, friendly bars and craft shops.


The beachfront in town is a Latin mélange of kids and adults, swimmers and sunbathers, souvenir sellers, bikini peddlers, kite fliers and boatmen. The latter sail and paddle shallow-draught boats, called jagandas ,to isolated lagoons off the shore where you can walk among tropical fish in warm shallow ponds. To stand on a shallow reef with bright-colored fish swimming around their ankles is an experience kids won’t forget, but it’s just as much fun for adults.


From the Rio Maracaipe, south of town, to the town of Suape on the north end, stretch miles of continuous, sun-drenched beach, with top resorts scattered along the shore.

Kite flying on the beach in Porto Galinhas, Brazil. Photo: Stillman Rogers

All along this coast, off-shore coral reefs provide a bit of a barrier to the excesses of the surf, creating beaches in their lee where water is warm, swimming is easy and splashing around is safe for kids. These lagoons also make fantastic places for snorkeling and scuba diving because colorful tropical fish are trapped in the calmer waters and easy to locate. Surfing is not allowed off most of the beaches, but there is some good surfing off the beaches at Maracaipe, south of town.


Walk along the beach beyond the resorts and find shallow pools where tiny sea horses live, and farther along is a mangrove forest you can explore by kayak. Along the busy beachfront closer to town, vendors sell fanciful kites that can keep kids happy for hours.


Each of the resorts along the beach seems to have its own style and feel. Some, such as the Enotel Resort where we stayed, has the feel of a modern grand hotel with large open spaces filled with swimming, wading and reflecting pools, The Summerville Beach Resort has the same feel, but adds a bit of a south seas look. These are mid-range options.


The South Pacific is definitely the mood at Nannia Beach Resort and at the Hotel Armaçāo where wood structures and thatched roofs set the theme. All these resorts have special facilities for children, such as wading pools, play areas, kids’ clubs and babysitting. For a less resort-style experience, we liked the brightly colored bungalows set in spacious gardens at the beachfront Xales de Maracaipe Pousada.


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