The perfect (and desert) beach

October 3, 2007 | By More

Six long years of experiments, measurements, field work and such nonsense have allowed the team behind this blog – that is, myself, produce a valuable thesis. It will not grant you eternal happiness but it will get you closer to the most wonderful beaches in Brazil. If you want to find out more about the path to the perfect desert beach, keep reading.


The main secret in the magic formula to find the perfect beach usually has four wheels, pollutes the environment, and transforms perfectly normal people in real lunatics: the car. I’ve written about the car before – here in this blog and elsewhere. Suffice it to say that complex genetic mutations have transformed the average Brazilian DNA (especially the townie’s), that now contains the nucleotid of car dependency. There are no other worlds there where the car doesn’t take you. This dependency can be broken down as follows.

75,87% of Brazilians will not simply go to the beach unless they can reach it by car. For some, a 100-meter walk enters falls into the “can’t reach it by car” category. In some parts of the country an incredible display of cars parked on the beach itself can be seen, along with chairs and sunshades. The car owners do not seem too bothered by the corrosive effect of the salt and the sand.

10,83% of Brazilians are willing to walk a maximum of 10 minutes from the place where they park their cars to the beach. If the path to the beach is on a steep slow, that tolerance to physical exercise diminishes.

7,38% of Brazilians are willing to walk a maximum of 10 minutes from the place where public transportation drops them (bear in mind the 10,83% and 75,87% above do not contemplate the possibility of using public transportation).

Bear with me, we are getting to the juiciest bit of the formula. If we add the percentages above, what we have left is a residual 5,92% of Brazilians willing to walk as far as it takes (within limits) to get to the beach of their dreams. That 6% constitutes the only obstacle on the road to the desert beach.

The conclusion of this soundly underpinned theory is, therefore, that the longer you have to walk to get to a beach, the higher the chances are it will be completely deserted. A thirty-minute walk (“hike”, they call it), will grant you happiness.

I know the shrewdest among you will point out a failing on my analysis, given that it focuses exclusively on Brazilian tourists – the overwhelming majority of tourists in most part of the country. Yes, my study doesn’t not fully take into account the irritating habit foreign – Europeans and Australians in particular – tourists display: they are ready to walk as long as it takes to get to the places they have read about on the guides. Although the number of foreign tourists visiting Brazil is relatively small and is concentrated on a few pockets, the presence of foreign visitors at the not so desert beach is a possibility that cannot be ruled out altogether.


To reach to the conclusions of this study several tests were carried out during an extended period of time, with the following results:

  • Cachadaço beach (Trindade, Río de Janeiro). A 25-minute walk from the final bus stop, 20 minutes from the car park. Number of tourists at the beach: 2. Number of Brazilian tourists: 0.
  • Ponta do Apagafogo beach (Arraial d’Ajuda, Bahía). 10 minutes-walk from the ferryboat or 1 hour and a half from Arraial d’Ajuda. Number of tourists at the beach: 2. Number of Brazilian tourists: 2 (a young lovey-dovey couple that had found a “remote” place where they could put into practice their love-making techniques).
  • Caburé beach (Maranhão). You can’t get anywhere near there by car. Number of tourists at the beach: 0.
  • Porcos bay (Fernando de Noronha). You can only get there by boat or walking. Number of tourists on the beach: 0.
  • praia Grande (Ubatuba). You can park your car right by the beach. Number of tourists at the beach: 3.285. Number of Brazilian tourists: 3.285.

I couldn’t finish this brainy meditation without mentioning the main two events that led me to write this text. The first event was the astounded look we got from an extremely friendly receptionist at our pousada in Arraial. We told here we wanted to walk to a beach that was a bit far from the village. “But that’s reeeeeeeeeeeeally far!” she replied, noticeably worried. “How far?”, we asked. Her answer was “an hour’s walk”.

The second event was a feature on Fernando de Noronha I saw when I was leafing through a travel magazine at a newspaper stand. The article had a list of unmissable things you had to do while in Noronha, that outstanding Brazilian paradise. On third (or was ir fourth?) place the following advice was given: “you must rent a buggy” to travel round the island (a tiny island). It will give you more freedom, we learn. Really, it’s got to be on the DNA. Because the very last thing that would cross my mind while at the idyllic Noronha would be to rent a relentless generator of carbon monoxide to get me to places where I can go using public transportation. Alright, there are a couple of places where you’ve got to walk 20 minutes from the final bus stop. But a taxi would get you a bit closer if a 15-minute walk sounded like a insurmountable barrier.

Arraial d'Ajuda

P.S.: a few disclaimers. First of all, please be aware of the tongue in cheek tone of this post. It is not to be taken too seriously. Second. Yes, there are many Europeans and Americans for whom life without a car would be meaningless. The big difference I see with Brazil is that abroad there is a larger share of the population willing to give up their car when their holiday is about being in touch with nature. And finally, no, no official body was willing to validate the data presented here.

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Category: Typical Brazilian

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