Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande

Backpackers and boho chic Brazilians flock to the gorgeous island of Ilha Grande for its sweeping beaches, laidback living and fabulous seafood. A couple of hours’ drive from Rio and a short hop in a boat takes you to its glorious sands where bronzed beauties take respite from the throb on Lopes Mendes – consistently voted one of Brazil’s best beaches. Grab a bottle of cachaca, dip your toes in the flour-soft sand and gawp at the surfers cruising the shore. It’s a dead cert for lovers of out-there travel.

Joao Fernandes, Buzios

Snorkellers will relish the calm waters of this buzzy beach – the sea is gin-clear and wonderfully warm. After a soothing dip, head to one of the beach huts dishing up sweet lobster and shrimps, surrounded by gorgeous groups of revellers eyeing up the talent.

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Praia do amor, Pipa

Pipa lies on one of Brazil’s easternmost points – all pretty bays, tall cliffs, fun nightlife and traveller types having larks on the beach. And this superb stretch is hipster HQ with cool-as-they-come surfers and couples smooching hand in hand. Privacy can also be found in the natural warm pools that gather at one end of the beach. You might even spot a passing dolphin from your seaside nook.

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Ipanema, Rio

Ok – so it’s hardly escaping the madness of Rio, but we have to mention this legendary beach in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain. And if you want to live like a local, you have to know where to dig your heels in; Ipanema is split into subcultures – from the strapping sands for tanned posers, to the stomping ground for hippies and artists, to the LGBT neck of the woods. It’s all gorgeous though – and the people-watching is epic.

Taipus de Fora, Bahia

For envy-inducing Facebook snaps, head to the glam state of Bahia – with its seemingly never-ending coastline of swoon-palmy beaches. And it’s easy to go weak at the knees for this little beauty on the Marau Peninsula – think superbly clear waters, natural swimming pools, kaleidoscopic marine life and fun-centric bars. What’re you waiting for?