Praia do Espelho, Porto Seguro, Bahia

Praia do Espelho, Porto Seguro, Bahia

From the ocean, you see coconut trees reflected in limpid pools. A stretch of white sand curves in a wide arc into the distance, where cliffs rise with a promise of neverending ocean views.

Praia do Espelho, in Bahia, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and part of the Discovery Coast's Atlantic Forest Reserves, a Unesco Natural Heritage Site. It's also a hamlet where locals preserve a sense of beauty in the things they create. Beauty is in an immaculately white wall, in clay artifacts, in flowery cotton pillows, in a table top decorated with colorful tiles.

Praia do Espelho, also known as Espelho das Maravilhas ("Mirror of Wonders") is, to many natives and travelers, the same beach as Curuípe. Others think of them as the southern end (Espelho) and northern end (Curuípe) of one beach, or as neighboring beaches divided by a river that's easy to wade.

Espelho often comes to mind along with Trancoso, a few beaches to the north. Both places are part of Caraíva, one of four main destinations in Porto Seguro, and they have much in common in their looks and style. They're also removed in distance and pace from Taperapuã, for example. That's a beach to the north of central Porto Seguro where leisure complexes like Axé Moi thunder with music and crowds, including thousands of high school graduates and spring breakers.

Best Time to Visit:

Don't limit yourself because of the weather. Southern Bahia is subject to spring and summer rains as well as cold fronts from the Southeast which may change the weather suddenly, but the region is lovely year round.

It tends to rain less between May and August, the cooler season. You may need a sweatshirt or cardigan for the beach at night.

New Year's Eve on Espelho is wonderful, with beach parties and fireworks. It's also expensive and requires reservations a few months in advance.