Ubatuba, on São Paulo's North Shore, is packed with things to do. These ideas will get you started on the best of local fun.
1. Find a deserted beach.
Ubatuba has 92 beaches, some of which are deserted or almost deserted.
Figueira, Ponta Aguda, Mansa, Brava do Frade, Cassandoquinha, Bonete, Cedro, Cedro do Centro, Puruba, Justa, Brava da Almada, and Brava de Camburi are some of the best.
Cedro and Brava da Almada are two of the most beautiful deserted beaches in Brazil.
2. Enjoy a romantic getaway.
Avoid summer and July if you and the one you love want to have more beaches to yourselves in a romantic getaway in Ubatuba.
3. Take the kids to a beach with calm waters.
The fact that many beaches in Ubatuba are good for surfing makes them less than relaxing for families with young kids. For safer splashing, go to beaches with calmer waters.
4. Go camping.
Camping in Ubatuba can place you smack in the middle of the summer buzz or on a quieter beach. Refer to the Ubatuba listings on MaCamp (www.macamp.com.br - click on "Campings"), Brazil’s best camping website (in Portuguese).
Itamambuca has campgrounds by the Itamambuca River.
One of them is inside the Itamambuca Eco Resort (www.itamambuca.com.br).
Another cool option is Camping do Tio Gato (www.campingtiogato.com.br), a surfer’s home away from home.
Keep in mind that it rains a lot in Ubatuba. If you want less rain on your tent top, go from May to October (better still from June to August).
5. Take a schooner tour.
Schooners leave from Saco da Ribeira and stop at beautiful beaches along the way. Ilha de Anchieta and Ilha do Prumirim are popular tours with good diving. Anchieta has the ruins of a prison.
Well-known local schooner tour operators:
6. Go diving.
7. Go surfing or bodyboarding.
There are campgrounds at Itamambuca (see item 4), as well as vacation rentals, hotels, and inns.
You'll be in the loop if you stay at the guesthouse owned by surf mom Suely Lozan, whose son Caio Sampaio is one of Ubatuba's young surf talents. Since Brazilian teens often call their friends' moms tia, or "aunt", her guesthouse is known as Casa da Tia do Surf.
8. Go trekking.
Part of Ubatuba is inside the limits of the Picinguaba Nucleus of Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar, one of the São Paulo conservation areas managed by the Forest Institute.
Trails through the rainforest lead to waterfalls and ruins of an old sugar mill. You’ll meet members of a guarani indigenous community and local caiçaras.
There are also beach trails, like Trilha das 7 Praias and Trilha das Sete Fontes.
Schedule treks with A.M.E.U., a well-known, well-meaning and experienced group of ecotourism guides who, nevertheless, have elusive cell phone contact numbers. Get the updated number from the Ubatuba Tourist Information (12-3833-9123)
9. Climb the other Corcovado.
Ubatuba's Pico do Corcovado, the highest in the area, can be reached by a steep and badly marked trail leaving from Praia Dura. Don't go it alone - find guides via Tourist Information.
10. Marvel at sea turtles.
Grown-ups and kids will enjoy getting up close to sea turtles at the Ubatuba unit of Projeto Tamar (www.tamar.org.br), Brazil's most important sea turtle conservation project.Located on Praia do Itaguá, Projeto Tamar is visited by about 100,000 people every year.
11. Visit the Ubatuba Aquarium
On Itaguá, the Ubatuba Aquarium has from a mangrove exhibit to penguins.
12. Visit a museum.
Check out the vintage cars at Museu do Automóvel (Rua Tapajós 65, Itaguá, Thur-Sun or more often during the high season).
See items made by traditional communities at Museu Caiçara (www.muscai.com.br).
13. Enjoy the night.
The best high season clubbing is at 180° (Prainha, phone 12-3832-2261). Party long enough to catch at least one sunrise in Ubatuba.
For year-long, all-night live music, go to Coyote Bar (Thur-Sat, 6p on), formerly Bar do Ulisses.
Or just walk around on the busy beaches - free fun!
14. Try "totally-Ubatuba" flavors.
Curious about regional food? Try azul marinho ("navy blue"), the dish of the local fisherman communities (caiçaras). Although it may look exotic, you know all the ingredients in the recipe.
Order azul marinho at well-known seafood restaurants in central Ubatuba, near the airport: Peixe com Banana (Rua Guarani 255, phone 12-3832-1712, closed on Tuesday), named for the two main ingredients in the dish; or O Rei do Peixe ("The Fish King", Rua Guarani 480, phone 12-3832-3272).
Don't miss Rocha ice cream. Founded in 1947, Sorveteria Rocha is a North Shore can't-miss with ice cream shops in Ubatuba, São Sebastião and Ilhabela – all owned by the same family.
Bring your pocket dictionary – there's no bilingual menu. You can choose from over 20 popsicle and 50 ice cream cone flavors.
Sucolândia honors its name – Juice Land. More than 40 kinds of fruit juices and smoothies are available, as well as the ubiquitous açaí na tigela – açaí in the bowl. Bring your pocket dictionary to make sure you understand all the healthy combinations, such as morango com melancia (strawberry and banana).
Sucolândia has two shops in Ubatuba: one at the Igreja Matriz (main church) square (phone: 12-3833-3646); the other at Rua Capitão Felipe 151.
You’ll find a tempting array of handcrafted sweets at Tachão de Ubatuba, a company started by a mother and daughter and still family-owned. They make from regional banana treats to strudels and oven baked ice cream. There are sugar-free options, too.
15. Buy handicrafts.
Stroll around the Ubatuba Craft Fair in the evening.
Members of the indigenous Guarani community near Prumirim sometimes sell their crafts at the beach.
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