Praia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco
Often voted Brazil's best beach, Praia do Sancho is a bay on the island of Fernando de Noronha, facing the coast of Brazil rather than out into the Atlantic Ocean.
Covered in vegetation, its steep, rocky cliffs form a backdrop to clear waters that are accessible only via ladders attached to the cliff face or by boat.
Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco
For those whose tastes run to popular beach resorts, Brazil has mass tourism sites beyond Rio, the biggest including Paraty and Buzios.
The most respected major tourist beach in Brazil is Porto de Galinas, about 45 minutes south of Recife. Its lower-key, more eco-centric approach attracts fans on both the independent and mass travel side.
The beach is a perennial winner of the "best beach in Brazil" award by readers of "Viagem e Turismo" ("Travel and Tourism"), a popular Brazilian travel magazine.
A former fishing village, Porto de Galinhas is famed for its crystalline reef pools, which make for great snorkeling and swimming.
Small sailboats (jangadas) take you out to explore the pools, though the most treasured of the pools, which resembles a map of Brazil, is protected and off-limits.
Porto de Galinhas is the complete package -- a beautiful 11-mile beach, sailing, windsurfing, diving, kayaking, rafting and restaurants and lodging for all budgets.