A friendly little town
72 beaches on the Tropic of Capricorn
Sea turtles conservation projects

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Lose yourself in the splendid natural inlets

Ubatuba is a friendly little town on the Tropic of Capricorn, 50km northeast of São Sebastião. The main draw waiting to be discovered on an MSC South America cruise are the local beaches, 72 in all, on islands and curling around inlets, and reckoned by some to be among the state’s best.
Ubatuba is centred on Praça 13 de Maio, a couple of blocks from the rodoviária on Rua Conceição. Although there’s nothing wrong with the town’s own Praia de Iperoig, Ubatuba is best used as a base from which to visit some of the numerous other beaches accessible by bus or private boat.

A shore excursion on your MSC South America cruise can also be the opportunity to visit the local branch of the environmental organization – Projeto Tamar –, which has display panels (in English and Portuguese) on their work protecting sea turtles (mainly loggerheads) that graze offshore, and live turtles on view in pools.

Of the beaches, the least developed – and the most attractive – are to the northeast of town, with the furthest,     , 46km away on the border with Rio state. One possible point to make for is the Bairro do Picinguaba, a fishing village with a couple of bars and simple restaurants set alongside a very pretty beach and connected to the main road by a 3km-long narrow winding road.

The more popular beaches are to the south of Ubatuba and also easily reached by bus from the town centre, although almost all of them are fringed with hastily built condominiums as well as shopping and entertainment complexes. Enseada, 9km from Ubatuba, is lined with expensive beachfront hotels; nestled in a bay protected from the lively surf, its beach is popular with families.

Must see places in Ubatuba

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    South Brazil

    Past Christ the Redeemer
    Past Christ the Redeemer

    In Brazil’s south-east, the three largest cities – São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte – form a triangle around which the economy pivots.

    All are worth visiting, but the must-sees during your cruise to Brazil are Rio, which really is as beautiful as it seems in the pictures, and the ravishing colonial relic of Paraty which lies between here and booming São Paulo. North of here, the city of Belo Horizonte sits at the heart of Minas Gerais, where the old Portuguese towns of Ouro Preto, Tiradentes and Diamantina drip with colonial history.

    The south, encompassing the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, boasts the spectacular Iguaçu Falls on the border with Argentina – one of the great natural wonders of South America. From Curitiba the scenic Serra Verde Express snakes down to the coast, where you can chill out on Ilha do Mel or beach-hop around Florianópolis.

    Despite its proximity to the city, São Paulo’s 400km coast has sometimes been overlooked in favour of more glamorous Rio. North-east, towards the border with Rio state, the area is developing rapidly, but still offers great contrasts, ranging from long, wide stretches of sand at the edge of a coastal plain to idyllic-looking coves beneath a mountainous backdrop.