The Best Eco Resorts in Brazil

Set between sand dunes and a long curve of beach, Carmel Taiba and its infinity pool is a luxurious eco-retreat
Set between sand dunes and a long curve of beach, Carmel Taiba and its infinity pool is a luxurious eco-retreat | © Carmel Taiba
Sarah Brown

Absorb yourself in Brazil’s extraordinary ecosystems via its stunning array of ecoresorts on the Atlantic coast, and all bookable with Culture Trip.

The wilds of Brazil aren’t limited to the Amazon. The Atlantic coast is backed by rolling sand dunes, cactus deserts and jungle-swathed mountains. There are thousands of beautiful beaches: coconut-palm shaded coves, turtle-nested sands and huge bays backed by vast mangrove forests. Large stretches are protected as national or state parks, others as private reserves. Ecotourism in Brazil is concentrated here, with many beautiful small hotels in natural surrounds, a few of which are genuinely conservational.

1. Txai Resort

Boutique Hotel, Eco Hotel

Txai Resorts, Itacaré
© Txai Itacaré

With some of the best surf beaches in northeast Brazil and a string of bays and coves backed by steamy rainforest, the Chocolate Coast in Bahia has long been a popular destination with wealthy surfers from São Paulo. Txai is the most luxurious resort in the region – with large, thatched bungalows with four-poster beds and wooden sundecks set in a palm grove on a secluded beach. The spa is one of the best in Brazil and the hotel supports local environmental education programs.

2. Carmel Taiba

Resort, Eco Hotel

Carmel Taiba
Courtesy of Carmel Taiba / Expedia.com

North of Fortaleza city in the northeastern Ceará state, long broad beaches are backed by wind-swept dunes. At the village of Taíba they stretch many kilometers inland – forming a mini desert. Carmel Taíba sits between the dunes and a long curve of beach – neo-Frank Lloyd Wright glass-fronted villas faced with raw stone watch over the sea from a palm-tree garden, infinity pool merging with the horizon.

3. Rio do Rastro Eco Resort

Resort, Eco Hotel

Rio do Rastro Eco Resort
Courtesy of Rio do Rastro Eco Resort / Expedia.com

The interior of the southern Santa Catarina state is wrinkled with rainforest-covered ridges that plunge towards the beach-fringed coastal plain in a series of deep valleys and canyons. The Rio do Rastro Eco Resort sits at their heart – in rolling hills, next to a lake a few minutes’ drive from a series of spectacular mountain-view points. Rooms are farmhouse comfortable in faux-European cottages with roaring fires and are popular in the winter when temperatures plunge to around 53F (12C) – almost Arctic for Brazilians.

4. Santa Clara Eco Resort

Resort, Eco Hotel

Santa Clara Eco Resort
Courtesy of Santa Clara Eco Resort / Expedia.com

Popular with weekenders from São Paulo city, this ranch-house resort (with accommodation in glass-walled bungalows in bucolic surrounds) offers light adventure for families. There’s a large pool, a sports play area and lots of activities suitable for children of all ages – including horse riding, rope-bridge walking, tennis and soccer. The resort uses solar power, recycles water and waste and supports local educational projects.

5. Eco Resort Refúgio Cheiro de Mato

Resort, Eco Hotel

Eco Resort Refúgio Cheiro de Mato
Courtesy of Eco Resort Refúgio Cheiro de Mato / Booking.com

Overlooking the Juqueri river on the edge of the Serra da Cantareira mountains less than an hour’s drive from metropolitan São Paulo, Cheiro de Mato is a family-orientated weekend escape from urbanity. Rooms are set in a shady tropical garden, painted in muted tones and with hammocks on the balconies. There’s a large pool and lots of activities – including assault courses for kids, rope bridge walks in the trees, hiking, paddleboarding and waterskiing on the lake.

6. Araras Eco Lodge

Hotel, Lodge

Araras Eco Lodge
Courtesy of Araras Eco Lodge / Expedia.com
The eco-credentials of Araras Eco Lodge are strong. It sits in the Pantanal, one of the most important wildlife sanctuaries in Brazil, with a design to minimize its impact on the surrounding wetlands. Additionally, a hotel-run environmental project aims to nurture local wildlife, and includes monitoring hyacinth macaws and protecting bees. You’ll feel good about a stay here. Rooms are rustic and relatively unfussy, but you’ll be spending most of your time touring the Pantanal, horse riding or dipping in and out of the pond-like pool.

7. Itamambuca Eco Resort

Hotel

Itamambuca Eco Resort
Courtesy of Itamambuca Eco Resort / Expedia.com

Flanked by dense forest on one side and pristine shores on the other, Itamambuca Eco Resort is surrounded by natural habitats rich in wildlife. The coast is clean and tropical, home to dolphins, turtles and rare fish species. You can get deep into nature by pitching a tent on the camp grounds, or get comfortable in one of the apartments or bungalows. Whichever you choose, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the wild, with river kayaking tours, guided hikes and surf lessons available.

8. Paraíso Eco Lodge

Lodge

Paraíso Eco Lodge
© Paraíso Eco Lodge / Expedia.com

Set in the heart of the Atlantic Forest, Paraíso Eco Lodge enjoys a stunning position best enjoyed from the many hikes and trails that surround it. The lodge was built to be as sustainable and ecofriendly as possible, constructed from leftover industrial and indigenous materials. Even better? It sits in a nature sanctuary with waterfalls, luscious vegetation and remarkable wildlife.

9. Zagaia Eco Resort

Resort, Hotel

Zagaia Eco Resort
Courtesy of Zagaia Eco Resort / Expedia.com
Spacious rooms are dotted throughout large gardens at Zagaia with an architectural style paying homage to the local indigenous Kadiweu people. From the resort, there are plenty of hikes and nature trails, and it’s near Pico Bonito nature park, home to crystal-clear pools and caves ideal for diving and snorkeling.

10. Arraial D'ajuda Eco Resort

Spa Hotel

Arraial Dajuda Eco Resort
Courtesy of Arraial D'ajuda Eco Resort / Expedia.com
The beachside location of Arraial D’ajuda provides excellent opportunities to snorkel or dive among diverse reefs teeming with tropical fish – get lucky and you might spot a turtle or a migratory whale. The resort has rustic wooden structures that blend into the surroundings, with hammocks slung between palms and grass-woven mats laid out for optimal sunbathing. There’s even an on-site waterpark

11. Kilombo Villas & Spa

Spa Hotel, Hotel

Kilombo Villas & Spa
Courtesy of Kilombo Villas & Spa / Expedia.com

Kilombo embraces a prime spot next to a secluded beach with daily offerings of fresh seafood, water sports (kayaking, surfing and sailing,) and outstanding marine-life watching. You’ll also find sea turtle breeding grounds here. While they’re fiercely protected, if you’re lucky you might see one of these endangered animals for yourself. There are also plenty of dolphins swimming the coastline.

Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.

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