Although the central beaches of Porto Belo and Perequê are nice enough, only a few kilometers east en route to Bombinhas (easily reached by walking) are the more enticing and secluded beaches of Estaleiro and Caixa d’Aço.
For an easy island getaway, hop a boat from the dock in front of the Praça dos Pescadores to the Ilha de Porto Belo (tel. 47/3369-4146, www.ilhadeportobelo.com.br) which can be visited 8 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily October–March and 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily April–September. The 10-minute trip costs R$8 (return-trip included). Aside from sunning and swimming, you can hike to Pedra da Cruz, a rock with 4,000-year-old inscriptions, or don diving gear to follow seven underwater trails. The Eco-Museu Univali (Ilha de Porto Belo, tel. 47/3261-1287, daily Sept.–Mar., R$4) has a few interesting treasures, including some 20,000 year-old fossils.
Only 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Porto Belo are the twin beaches of Bombas and Bombinhas (separated by a promontory), both of which have become a little too trendy and crowded of late. It’s best to visit during off-season when you can take advantage of their alluring natural attributes: a sheltered bay with white-sand beaches backed by rolling green hills.
Continuing east from Bombinhas, less crowded but easily accessible beaches include the small, very pretty Lagoinha and Sepultura, with calm waters that are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Facing the open sea, Quatro Ilhas and Mariscal are prized by surfers in search of swells. The continuation of Mariscal is Canto Grande, from which a 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) trail (or dirt road) leads to the beautiful and secluded Praia da Tainha.
For guided hiking trips to even more far-flung beaches, contact Casa do Turista (Av. Governador Celso Ramos 2460, Sala 5, tel. 47/3369-5030, www.casadoturista.com.br) in Porto Belo or Caminhos e Trilhas (tel. 47/9973-0584, www.caminhosetrilhas.com.br) in Bombinhas.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition