Updated on March 1, 2012A peaceful river flows into the Atlantic Ocean at the corner of crescent-shaped Barra do Sahy, one of the attractive beaches on the stretch of São Paulo's North Shore known as Costa dos Alcatrazes. In the lush ring of rainforest which encircles the beach, bromeliads cascade down the trees; the beach looks more deserted than it is thanks to the jundu, a biome which here is well preserved and hides some very expensive vacation homes.
Follow the river upstream and you'll come across an expanse of mangroves; take a boat from the mouth of the river to As Ilhas (The Islands), about a mile across from the beach, and you'll find two pristine beaches.
Other things to do from Barra do Sahy include boat rides to Ilha Montão de Trigo (Stack of Wheat Island), great for snorkeling; hiking to local waterfalls, some as far as Cachoeira do Itu in Boiçucanga; exploring Tuim Parque in the backlands of Barra do Una, three beaches down; riding a kayak by yourself along the beach.
Though much more quiet than Maresias or Juquehy, Barra do Sahy has its share of good restauants, such as the ones at hotels (Aldeia de Sahy, Pousada da Foca, Pousada Tiê Sahy) or casual spots serving lunch, acai bowls, pizza and ice cream.
How to Get to Barra do Sahy:
The beach is about 100 miles from São Paulo. You can drive down Imigrantes (www.ecovias.com.br) or Mogi-Bertioga down to Rio-Santos (BR-101), the coastal road. Barra do Sahy is the sixth beach from the Bertioga borderline.
Litorânea, a Pássaro Marron company, has buses to São Sebastião and Boiçucanga. You can ask at the ticket office about getting off at Barra do Sahy - usually that involves asking the driver in advance. The beaches can't always be seen from the road because of the rainforest.
Keep an eye out for the signs along the São Sebastião stretch of BR-101 indicating the beach you're at and the next beach up. Coming from Bertioga, Barra do Sahy is the beach after Praia Preta (see the map on Costa dos Alcatrazes.com.br.
Next page: Where to Stay on Barra do Sahy
Dec.6 correction: The photo above was provided by Hotel Aldeia de Sahy.