We went to Brazil for our honeymoon, two days after tying the knot. I know lots of people do the smaller mini-moon now, followed by something bigger later into marriage, but for me the honeymoon, the big getaway together, had to come as near to getting wed as poss. It was just one of those important things to me, to get that wonderful away-from-it-all time together as soon as.
WHAT WE WANTED ON OUR HONEYMOON
As it was to be the first two-week holiday we were to have together, and given the long-haul, extra-special honeymoon’ness of it all, we were to do a bit of exploring; so a few different bases spread over two weeks. But I was not keen to set an itinerary that involved internal flights as Brazil is BIG and for this holiday we did not want to spend hours in transit when there are such beautiful sights in big areas anyway which could be travelled by land.
We are not big adrenaline junkies or trekkers, neither were we unfortunately going to make a long flight up to the amazon on this occasion. We like different beaches, simple areas to walk, cute towns full of character and great food and drink.
I’d describe our travel needs as explorative beach junkies… Gem loves to sunbathe and properly relax on the beach, and I like seeing different places, so it suits both of us well!
OUR ITINERARY IN BRIEF
After flying to Rio de Janeririo, I kept our itinerary simple. Here it is in very compact description:
- We went straight from our 5am landing flight up to Buzios; this gorgeous, small-scale town is up the coast from Rio, with many handfuls of cracking beaches in its reach.
- Then we traced our steps back to the mega-city of Rio! Some of the biggest famous beaches on the planet… hello, Ipanema and Copacabana! World class sights and incredible food.
- Our third stop took us to the green heaven of car-free Isla Grande; dusty beach town, great character, simple nature walks, and beaches full of memory.
- Our final base was in Paraty; colonial era old town, huge cobble stone roads and so many random bright coloured boats in the harbour.
MY FAVOURITE BEACHES FROM OUR HONEYMOON
Over our two week holiday we visited approximately 19 different beaches – this high number isn’t due to fast travel - some we visited for whole days, but some only for an hour as we did take two boat trips that went to a whole host of different beaches in a day.
Here below though are my FIVE FAVOURITE beaches - in no particular order - simply in the chronological order in which they fell over our holiday. These five, dotted through our honeymoon, were the most memorable… there were others maybe more beautiful, or with more conveniences for tourists visiting, but it’s these five, that for me, were truly WOW!
JOAO FERNANDINHO BEACH, BUZIOS
Found at the end of a stunning lush green path winding downwards, this simple beach was rustic, but so beautiful. There was an unused boat just off shore laden with birds, and trees full of noises.
It might be that this beach was also so memorable as it was the first beach we sat on for a little while and had the first of many of our beach based caipirinhas!
FERRADURA BEACH (AKA HORSESHOE BEACH), BUZIOS
A huge scooping horseshoe shaped beach, hence the name. It was a fairly slim beach which made it ideal for regular dips in the sea. Sitting up on the sand and looking out "through" the narrow of the horseshoe, made it feel like you were sat on the edge of a lagoon.
IPANEMA BEACH, RIO DE JANEIRIO
What can I say about Ipanema Beach that won't have been said before... nothing probably because it is one BUSY, well visited, well used beach, and I absolutely LOVED it!
Firstly, is the scale, it's massive. It's a beach that makes you feel tiny, and there is cracking scenery at each end to squint down to.
Secondly, it's used, it's busy, it's packed with real Brazilian life. Young to old, tourists and locals, rich and poor... everyone is normalised to be the same beach dweller here and that was a wonderful reason to enjoy beach days!
And thirdly, you can do a whole shop of anything you may need from the beach sellers. Forgotten swimwear? That's OK - just wait for the guy selling a whole swimwear shop from his head (see pic below I'm not making this shit up)! Snacks? Ice cold drinks? Made-in-front-of-you, any fruit you could wish for, caipirinhas - with ice - no problem! Grilled to order cheese sticks? All these things, and so many more, made the industry on the beach the best thing to watch!
LOPES MENDES BEACH, ISLA GRANDE
Isla Grande takes a bit of effort to get to to start with, and Lopes Mendes beach involves a boat ride plus a bit of a hike through jungle like bush from the town on the island. However, this beach is worth the effort as it is what sets the bar in terms of beach quality. Cornflour soft white sand that squeaked as you walked, and crystal clear waters. Hard to get to but so worth a trip!
ABRAAOZINHO BEACH, ISLA GRANDE
What I find funny is that this beach, which I truly adored, is one I literally had to find on google maps to find the name of last night. It's not a famous beach you've heard of, and it wasn't in our guide book, but we walked here about an hour from base along a lush nature trail on the guidance of our pousada owner.
I don't know what it was about this beach that holds in my memory so much, but I really loved it. It felt so tropical, and so away from it all. It was a very narrow beach, and backed onto dense rainforest - the trees were making a raquet with wildlife!
I'm a beach fan, can you tell!?
Feel free to pass on any awesome beach suggestions to me to add on the ever-growing would like to visit list!