Ubatuba is in the seaside of São Paulo state, 5 hours from Rio and 1.5 hours from Paraty. With its 102 beaches and islands, as well as waterfalls, Ubatuba is a paradise that should be on your Brazil travel plans!
How to get there
Direct bus from Rio to Ubatuba (5 hours, R$100*). Timetable and sales here.
Direct bus from Paraty to Ubatuba (1.5 hours, R$15).
Direct bus from São Paulo to Ubatuba (4 hours, R$75).
* Prices checked in January 2017.
First useful info: if possible, go by car or rent one there. The public transportation system in Ubatuba is awful! For most of the beaches, there are buses, but they pass by the highway. Yes, you will have to stand there with the sun over your head waiting forever. The only time I had to do it, I’ve waited for 1 hour, and I ended up going by car because a group of friends of mine from the hostel saw me there and gave me a ride. In the worst case scenario, you can hire transfers from Green Haven Hostel.
Where to stay
Green Haven Hostel
Speaking of which… Hostel which have won prizes of best hostel of Brasil and even of Latin America, Green Haven is the right place for those who are solo travellers or in a group of friends looking for some buzz. They are a party hostel by definition, and by the time you get there you will realize it. A giant room, with bar, pool table and good music playing non-stop. The members of staff are friendly and helpful, including the owners, who lives in aside houses in the backgrounds, and are always around!
Breakfast is charged separately (R$10,00), so you better shop a few things in the market to save some money. They have a full shared kitchen, essential for those travelling in a budget.
The beach in front of the hostel (Perequê-Açú) is not one of the best on the region, but it’s clean and it has an amazing sunrise.
Tip: on Summer, pay the difference and choose the air-conditioned rooms. It’s worth it!
What to do
The favourite surfers’ beach has also conquered me at the first sunset. It has waves, but it’s not dangerous for bathers. Easy-going vibe, I loved it. To get there, the dirt road is a little bumpy. No big deal, but its worthy pointing that out.
The beach is quite big, and the points are marked by numbers of the streets. To one side, it’s even and to the other, it’s odd. Keep that in mind so you don’t make any confusion.
Between the beach and the road, there are little streets making a village. It has restaurants, açaí and surf stores. I ate at Padang: it took a while until the meal got ready, but it was really good!
Brava de Camburi
In my personal opinion, the most beautiful beach I’ve been there. We went in a cloudy day, and my group was the only one at the beach. To get there, you need to take a short trail from Camburi beach.
Félix e Praia das Conchas
Félix beach is amazing, but it’s a different style of beach. It’s more attended by families, people sitting in beach tables for lunch, etc. It gets crowded, sometimes it’s even difficult to find parking spots. If possible, avoid it on weekends during High Season. During the week, it’s often a little bit more quiet.
To the left side of the beach, looking at the ocean, there’s a entrance to a trail that leads you to Praia das Conchas (Shells Beach). There is no sign, so pay attention: close to the big stone, it’s the beginning of the trail. It takes about 10 minutes to get there, and it’s easy. The only stretch that has two directions, you will see a sign with the name of the beach, pointing to the right.
Just be careful if it seems that it might rain, especially on Summer. If it’s raining a lot and you’re there, it can be difficult and slightly dangerous to get back.
About the beach: gorgeous! It’s quite small, waveless. Some rocks make natural pools. Beautiful, but a bit muddy and the waters are warm. Hahaha, you better stay on the sea! And as the name suggests, the entire beach is made of shells.
Vermelha do Centro
We went in a cloudy day also, it was even raining a bit. So I don’t have a good references if it gets crowded or not. But from I’ve heard, this beach is also popular among surfers and not crowded.
Quite beautiful, and from I’ve been told, it’s the beach where the sun rises from the ocean during Summer!
Beach, island AND waterfall. Yes, Prumirim got it all! The waterfall has a different access, before the beach entrance on the highway. There is a big natural pool, and the waterfall is quite strong. There is also a stone with a rope to jump. Loved it!
For being easily reached, it’s one of the most visited. So, during High Season, don’t expect to find it empty. The beach is beautiful too, but the same way as Félix, its more attended by families and it usually gets a bit crowded.
One good option is to take the boat to the Prumiri Island, right in front of the beach. The round trip on High Season costs R$20,00. It’s less crowded, with big trees making shadows and waveless sea. If you want to eat, there are a few simple kiosks, but which only takes cash.
I’m not going to lie to you: Ubatuba is, in general, not an alternative/hippie/roots destination. You will often hear a car passing by with loud – and for my ears, bad – music. But there are also some alternative spots:
Especially on weekends, Green Haven Hostel throws nice parties which goes until morning. Schedule varies, but it’s usually live rock bands.
During the week, partying gets less intense, but there are also barbecues or staffs from the hostel suggest parties in other venues, even offering a cheap transfer for guests.
I’ve been on a live forró on Jardim Cultural (Av. Leovigildo Dias Vieira, 810, Itaguá), and it was pretty cool. The band and playlist were great, so as the space. Outside the dancefloor, which now has air-conditioning, there is a nice outside area.
Entrance: may vary according to the schedule, but at least in the day I went it was R$15,00.
Blues on the Rocks
Another cool place, and from what I’ve been told, more alternative too. I didn’t have the chance to go there, but the people from the hostel recommended. It’s kind of a pub, with live music. You better check the schedule on their website.