A quick and steep descent down the Rua do Mucugê will bring you right onto the soft white sands of Arraial’s closest beach, Praia do Mucugê. If you turn left, you will pass the more populated beaches of Apaga-Fogo and Araçaipe, lined with pousadas, from which you can rent equipment for water sports activities such as kayaking and windsurfing. Turning right will take you past the trendy Praia do Parracho, with its many barracas, to the startlingly beautiful Praia da Pitinga, whose sugary sands are backed by jagged red and white stone cliffs.
Continuing onwards, you’ll reach the equally beautiful and deserted Praia de Taipe, where sunbathing in the nude is de rigueur. During low tide you can continue on to Trancoso  (a 12-kilometer/7.5-mile stroll) and then take a bus back.
Although the coral reefs make for safe swimming on most of these beaches, adults with and without kids find it hard to resist the aquatic options offered at Arraial d’Ajuda Eco Parque (tel. 73/3575-8600, www.arraialecoparque.com.br , hours of operation vary according to season, adults R$49, children R$25), located not far from Praia do Mucugê on Praia dos Coqueiros. Supposedly the biggest water park in Latin America, its attractions include a wave pool, twisting water slides, and rappelling and tree-climbing in the native Atlantic forest.