Closest to Arraial do Cabo is Praia dos Anjos, an attractive strip of sand with enticing turquoise waters whose only flaw is that it can get a little packed with water-sports enthusiasts. If you’re after seclusion, it’s only a short walk to the beaches of Prainha (north of town) and the sweeping stretch of Praia Grande (to the west)—equipped with barracas serving fresh fish and seafood—that extends all the way up to the Brazilian surfers’ paradise of Saquarema.
You can also follow a steep 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) trail from Praia dos Anjos (or take a boat) to the lovely and deserted Praia do Forno, where you can snorkel and then relax on a floating restaurant/bar.
The most fantastic beach of all, Praia do Farol is on Ilha do Farol, a small island paradise fringed with fine white sand and sculpted dunes, whose 390-meter (1,280-foot) peak offers magnificent views. You can get a boat to the ilha from Praia dos Anjos.
To spend the day on the beach on your own, you’ll have to get authorization from the local marinha (naval base) in town. Otherwise, you can go on an excursion.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition