And if swaying in a hammock while sipping a caipirinha doesn’t appeal, these ilhas offer adventure aplenty – from surfing and wildlife watching to diving in pristine coral reefs and scrambling up rainforest-covered peaks.
Fernando de Noronha
Some 350km east of Natal, off Brazil’s northeast coast, this archipelago has picture-perfect beaches and eco-friendly resorts. Noronha boasts Brazil’s best diving – truly world class with warm seas, abundant marine life and excellent visibility (up to 40m). You can also go horseback riding, take dolphin-spotting boat trips or simply soak up rays on a gorgeous beach against a backdrop of the island’s dramatic rock formations.
Although prices are higher here, the payoff is that you won’t have to share that bit of paradise with the teeming masses. Visitor numbers are limited, keeping the islands blissfully uncrowded year-round. Gol (www.voegol.com.br) and Trip Airlines (www.voetrip.com.br) have daily flights between the island and Recife, with onward connections to São Paulo.
Morro de São Paulo
A two-hour catamaran ride from Salvador, this laid-back island village is a perfect place to unwind after a few days in the spirited Afro-Brazilian capital of Bahia. There are no cars on the island, just sandy lanes, seafront pousadas (guesthouses), candle-lit restaurants and a handful of open-air nightspots.
The beachfronts here are calm and ideal for swimming, and by night adroit barmen whip up fresh fruit caipirinhas right on the sands. Don’t miss a boat trip around the island, which stops at offshore reefs, the historic village of Cairu, and a floating restaurant famed for its oysters…