Discover beaches, islands, parks, waterfalls and other places in São Paulo that will undoubtedly impress you

You know those special places that make you hold your breath, contemplate and think “wow”? the state of Sao Paulo book these really amazing destinations. There are practically untouched beaches, conservation units, mountains with impressive views and attractions to rest and feel more relaxed, at ease with life and closer to nature.

Therefore, we have separated 20 places in Sao Paulo that are sure to impress you:

Zu Lai Temple – Cotia

Photo: Elias M Haddad/ Wikimedia Commons

The largest Buddhist temple in Latin America is located in the interior of the state of São Paulo, in the municipality of Cotia. There are 10 thousand square meters of built area, with most of the materials imported from China. The temple has become a space of contemplation, peace and beauty not only for followers of the religion, but for all visitors and tourists who appreciate its calm and serenity.

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Laundry - Cunha

Photo: Rosanetur / Flickr

Lavandário is a must-see for anyone visiting the city of Cunha. There are around 40,000 planted with lavender flowers that certainly form a perfect setting among the city's mountains. In addition, due to the climate of the region and a rotating pruning, the place is in bloom at any time of the year. Be sure to pay a visit at sunset, where the color of the flowers is accentuated.

Sand that Sings – Brotas

Photo: Disclosure

Located inside the Areia Que Canta farm hotel, is the beautiful spring with crystalline waters and a greenish tone that bears the same name. The place is composed of very white sand and tiny quartz grains, elements that produce a sound similar to that of a cuíca. The visit to the spring is free for hotel guests, but visitors can also discover the beauties of the spring by purchasing a separate ticket.

Anchieta Island – Ubatuba

Photo: Elias M Haddad/ Wikimedia Commons

Anchieta Island has been transformed into a state park and is one of the key points for a trip to Ubatuba. As a result, it is considered one of the best diving spots in the country, as the place is always busy with schooner trips. The island also offers several beaches, trails and even ruins of an old prison.

PETAR – Iporanga


PETAR is home to the largest fraction of preserved Atlantic Forest in Brazil and more than 300 caves. It is now considered a World Heritage Site, recognized by UNESCO. Surprisingly, it houses the largest number of cataloged caves in a single area in Latin America, as well as valleys, quilombola communities, trails, mountains, rivers and waterfalls. Undoubtedly, it is the ideal place for the practice of sports in nature such as abseiling, buoy cross, cascading, biking, among others.

Praia do Português – Ubatuba

Photo Photo: Brenda Santos / Flickr

Praia do Português, also known as “hidden beach”, can be considered one of the most beautiful on the coast. That's because, in the shape of a horseshoe, a large natural pool is formed with waters that would see between shades of green and blue, ideal for swimming or practicing stand-up paddle. However, it is only possible to access Portuguese through Praia do Félix, under the rocks and during low tide, as the overland path is inside a private property. 

Bonete Beach – Ilhabela

Photo: Thiago Sieiro Cunha/ Wikimedia Commons

Elected by the British newspaper “The Guardian” one of the ten most beautiful beaches in Brazil, the beach of Bonete It has a rustic and preserved charm for being located in the middle of a traditional caiçara community. Access can only be made by means of a traditional canoe of the region or by a trail that crosses the Ilhabela State Park. Still, the place attracts many surfers and adventurers in search of good waves and trails that lead to waterfalls. 

Cardoso Island – Cananeia

Photo: João P. Burini/ Wikimedia Commons

Located within the Ilha do Cardoso State Park, the place is a paradisiacal setting, untouched by man, formed by deserted beaches, waterfalls, trails and 90% of native forest. Ilha do Cardoso is divided into two parts, Perequê, with incredible trails over the mangrove that lead to waterfalls, and Marujá, a quiet fishing village that offers simple accommodation options.

Trail of the 7 Beaches – Ubatuba

Photo: Gustavo Alba

Ideal option for those who enjoy walking and exploring different and wild scenarios amidst the nature of Ubatuba, the 10km trail starts at Lagoinha beach and passes through Praia de Oeste, Praia do Peres, Praia do Bonete, Praia Grande do Bonete , Praia Deserta, Praia do Cedro (one of the most famous in the destination), ending at Praia da Fortaleza. Along the way, stunning scenery and lots of nature can be enjoyed.

Guaecá Beach – São Sebastião

Photo: Isack Ryuji Minowa/ Wikimedia Commons

With a wide strip of sand, crystalline waters and stunning views, Praia de Guaecá is one of the most beautiful on the coast of São Paulo. It has a trail through the rocks that leads to Praia Brava. In addition, the beach of Guaecá, which offers strong waves and ideal for surfing, is also bathed by the calm waters of two streams that flow there.

Castelhanos Beach – Ilhabela

Photo: Louise Cristina Araujo Ferri / Wikimedia Commons

Located in Ilhabela State Park, access to Praia de Castelhanos can only be done via a 15km road by 4×4 cars, bicycles or motorcycles. There are those who do the route on foot, but it is quite steep and difficult. The result is a long beach with clear waters, exuberant nature and waves ideal for surfing. Finally, when viewed from the top of a viewpoint, the outline of the beach's bay forms the design of a heart.

Pedra do Baú – São Bento de Sapucaí

Photo: Izabel Tartar/ Wikimedia Commons

Pedra do Baú, in the heart of Serra da Mantiqueira, is certainly a popular spot for adventurers who enjoy climbing, hiking, mountain biking and paragliding. With its 1850 meters of altitude, it is a perfect place to see the beauties of the Vale do Paraíba region and the south of Minas Gerais. Its access is carried out by a trail of approximately 5 hours.

Angel Grotto – Socorro

Photo: Disclosure

A paradise cave with blue and diverse waters that can be traveled by pedal boat. Formed by an old quarry deactivated for more than 20 years, Gruta do Anjo was formed due to water infiltrations that, as a result, created an incredible scenario of natural pools several meters deep.

Barra do Una – São Sebastião

Eduardo M./Flickr

The main attraction of the incredible beach of Barra do Una, in São Sebastião, is, without a doubt, the meeting of the River Una with the sea, forming one of the most beautiful scenarios of the north coast of São Paulo. With clear and soft sands and calm sea, the place is suitable for a relaxing swim in the sea. It is also from there that boats depart for islands and other attractions in São Sebastião.

Cachoeira do Veado – Cunha

Photo: Fred Schinke/ Flickr

Cachoeira do Veado is the most famous in the Serra da Bocaina National Park and is part of the Ouro Trail, an old colonial path built in the 17th century. Cachoeira do Veado is approximately a 20km walk from the park entrance, has two waterfalls and several wells for bathing. The first fall is very difficult to access, requiring the help of ropes.

Fall of My God – Eldorado

Photo: Luan Alves Chaves/ Wikimedia Commons

Elected one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state, the Queda do Meu Deus is surprisingly 53 meters high. That's because its origin comes from a spring that crosses the Devil's Cave, in the Petar region. Its cold and clean waters are ideal for a good swim in the midst of stunning scenery. The most common access to the imposing waterfall takes about an hour, but there is a longer one that passes through another 11 falls and takes a five-hour walk.

Paranapiacaba – Santo André

Photo: Diego Torres Silvestre/ Flickr

Just 50 km from the capital, the charming Vila de Paranapiacaba is a throwback to the past, as it was built in 1865 to house engineers and workers from the British Railway company during the inauguration of the first railway in the state. Located amidst the top of Serra do Mar, the village is framed by the beauties of the Nascentes de Paranapiacaba Municipal Natural Park, an area of 400 hectares that preserves an important area of Atlantic Forest with several ecological trails.

Pico dos Marins – Picket

Photo: Marcos Felipe Faria Terra Siqueira/ Wikimedia Commons

For those who enjoy mountaineering, Pico dos Marins is a true paradise. With 2420 meters of altitude, it is located on the 26th highest mountain in Brazil and, therefore, the view from up there is one of the most beautiful you will see. That's because from up there it is possible to contemplate the Vale do Paraíba, Serra da Bocaina, South of Minas Gerais, among other places. Despite being well signposted, the trail to the top is full of rocky walls and climbs that require physical preparation. Therefore, the indication is that it be carried out with the help of an accredited guide.

Furnas do Bom Jesus – Pedregulho

Photo: Eurípedes Evangelista Macedo/ Publicity

The Furnas Bom Jesus State Park is a conservation unit widely used as a field of research and environmental activities. Located in the municipality of Pedregulho, it has dense vegetation and several canyons with slopes of up to 200 meters. There are also waterfalls and viewpoints that can be accessed via trails. The most famous attraction is the Cascata Grande, with a drop of 132 meters.

Cedro Beach – Ubatuba

Photo: Matheus Usero/ Wikimedia Commons

Finally, the Cedar Beach, or Cedrinho, is a very beautiful and peaceful option in the middle of thenorth coast of São Paulo. Access is via a dirt road and then a trail lasting forty minutes. Also, for those who are not used to it, the trail can be a little more complicated, but it is worth facing. The waters are crystal clear, the place is quiet and there is a bar serving tourists.

Read more:

» Application maps trails in protected areas of São Paulo
» 30 trails to do in the State of São Paulo
» Hot spring destinations in São Paulo
» 13 natural pools to visit near São Paulo

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