Porto da Barra is in a stunning location, at the entrance of the magnificent Bahia de Todos los Santos, with a whitewashed church sitting up on a hill at one end and a small, white colonial fort at the other. There is always something for the eye to see: small fishing boats unloading their catch, beach volleyball, football and tennis, teenage boys eyeing up the girls, young lads diving into the sea off the old stone harbour walls.
As the beach is in a bay the water is calm and also incredibly clean and clear (which is surprising given that it is right in the heart of Brazil's third-largest city), so it's perfect for swimming.
And the Porto is one of the few west facing beaches in a country with over 7,000km of east-facing coastline, so you can watch some stunning sunsets. Where to stay: Pousada Estrela do Mar