Cananéia tourism tips: discover the main tourist attractions to know and visit in the destination

Very close to the Sao Paulo how Paraná, in the extreme south of the coast of São Paulo, is Canaanite. The charming city reserves a dense area of untouched nature, beautiful beaches, waterfalls, trails, a cozy hotel structure, tasty caiçara cuisine and a pleasant historic center.

One of the oldest villages in the Brazil, the city is also known for being the access point to Cardoso Island, impressive environmental sanctuary full of rivers, mangroves, beautiful beaches and virtually untouched waterfalls.

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For those who enjoy seafood, Canaanite one of its main activities is the extraction of oysters, which are offered fresh, directly from the collectors and at very affordable prices for tourists.

Located right in the center of one of the most important biological corridors in the country, Canaanite forms one of the largest nurseries of marine life on the planet.

A show apart are the schooners and boats that carry out trips to the Cardoso Island and its beaches, where schools of porpoises, a species of dolphin that has become a symbol of the city, accompany the boats and even swim very close to the visitors. Look must-see places to visit in Cananéia.

Things to do in Cananea

Photo: Leandro Negro/ Wikimedia Commons

Cardoso Island

Practically untouched by man, the island is a paradisiacal setting formed by deserted beaches, waterfalls, trails and 90% of native forest that are part of the Cardoso Island State Park.

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. There are several beaches that can be accessed, all with a wild environment and almost uninhabited.

Historic center

Walking through the charming and colorful historic center of Cananeia is like stepping back in time. In the place you can see several houses built at the end of the 18th century, built with sand, lime from oysters taken from the sambaquis and oil extracted from the whale. Still in the colonial setting is the Church of São João Batista, built by the Jesuits in 1577.

Long Island 

Neighboring municipality of Cananéia, llha Comprida is a huge sandbar with 74 kilometers of extension. The place has almost deserted beaches – some further away even have small white sand dunes.


Who enjoys good waterfall baths surrounded by nature, Cananéia is the ideal place. The ideal to carry out these tours is the accompaniment of an environmental monitor, who will know how to better guide the access to the trails.

The Pitu waterfall is the closest to the city and has a large natural pool. The Mandira Waterfall, a little further away, is accessed through a trail that starts from the road. The place is beautiful and brings together several examples of local fauna and flora, however, the water is deep and ideal for those who know how to swim.

There is also the Rio das Minas waterfall and the Encanto waterfall, in addition to those on Cardoso Island.

Municipal Museum of Cananea

To discover more about the history of the city and get in touch with the caiçara culture, it is worth visiting the Municipal Museum of Cananéia, a building made of stones, oyster lime and whale oil. The collection has the second largest stuffed white shark in the world.


The sambaquis are large mountains of shells, formed by the disposal of food and utensils over thousands of years on the Brazilian coast. It is possible to find dozens of sambaquis along the entire length of Ilha Comprida and in some points of Cananéia.

St. John the Baptist Viewpoint 

Who wants to have a privileged and panoramic view of the city, should go to Mirante São João Batista. The ascent is steep and has a staircase with uneven steps, but from up there, the view of the entire channel, of Cardoso Island with its exuberant Atlantic Forest is well worth the effort.

Mandira community

Mandira is part of the quilombola communities of Vale do Ribeira. The families that live there, with the impossibility of farming and raising animals for subsistence due to environmental restrictions, live today from activities such as handicrafts, making bags, beekeeping and also handling oysters, their main source of income. Those who want to taste fresh oysters should plan a visit to the place.

dolphin watching

In Cananéia, tourists will have a truly unique opportunity: to observe dolphins swimming free in their natural environment. The gray dolphin has become a symbol of the city and can be easily seen both on the ferry that connects Cananéia to Ilha Comprida and on the boat tours that depart from the city pier and take visitors to Ilha do Cardoso.


A municipality close to Cananéia has the air of a small town in the interior. It is worth a stroll through its historic center, with mansions from the 18th and 14th centuries and the curious Basilica of Bom Jesus de Iguape.


The city of Cananéia, being surrounded by open sea and canals, does not have beaches. To enjoy a good stretch of sand it is necessary to travel to Ilha Comprida, a neighboring municipality, or to Ilha do Cardoso, accessed by boats that depart from the city pier.


Located right on the border between Paraná and São Paulo, Ararapira is a ghost town and does not have a single inhabitant. The abandoned town has a church, a jail, several small houses and a cemetery. It is not known for sure the reason that led to its abandonment. It is possible to make the visit departing by boat from the pier of Cananéia.

Bom Abrigo Island

Bom Abrigo Island is a practically deserted environmental preservation area, so it is not possible to fish or camp there. To access it, it is necessary to take a boat from the Cananéia pier, preferably with the help of an environmental monitor. The island is a true paradise of greenish waters and is home to a small waterfall.

How to get to Cananea

Photo: Cananéia City Hall

By car

For those departing from São Paulo towards Cananéia, there are 270 km of road along the Régis Bittencourt highway (BR-116). In the city of Registro, the first access on the right passes through a viaduct that continues the road to Cananéia. There are two possible ways to get there: by ferry, which departs from Ilha Comprida, or by a bridge.

For those coming from the south of the country, such as Curitiba, you should also access Régis Bittencourt (BR-116).

By bus

The bus that makes lines in this region is the south valley. For those departing from São Paulo there are buses that depart from Rodoviária do Tietê or Rodoviária da Barra Funda.

It is possible to take a bus to the city of Registro and, from there, to Cananéia, since in some municipalities there is no direct bus to the place.

Best time to visit Cananea

Photo: Cananéia City Hall

Canaanite It has a tropical climate, which makes it rain a lot regardless of the season. The condition, however, does not hinder the tours and the beauty of the region. Temperatures are mild throughout the year, ranging from 15°C to 29°C.

July is a month of celebration in the region and ends up attracting tourists to mullet party and the Party of the Sea, festivals that value the caiçara culture and feature regional music shows.

As it is a place with many preservation areas, it is important to accompany an environmental guide for the tours. Most establishments in Cananéia accept cards, but on Ilha do Cardoso and for boat trips, cash is required.

Another tip is to always use repellent, because in the most remote places there is a high incidence of mosquitoes and blackflies.

Read too:

» 13 natural pools to visit near São Paulo
» The most beautiful beaches on the South Coast of São Paulo
» Discover the PETAR caves in São Paulo
» 10 places with crystal clear waters to enjoy the summer in SP

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