As you approach along Rodoviaria Rodovia Padre Manoel da Nóbrega, BR101, from the direction of Santos, Peruibe is the last in a series of coastal cities before the highway turns inland. It has miles of clean sand, excellent surfing waves and a selection of beach-front kiosks, each with its own speciality, serving drinks and snacks. Live music can be found in some of these kiosks during summer evenings and open air rock concerts are a big attraction during holidays. The town council has prohibited the rows of tower blocks that are to be found in coastal cities further north, this and the relatively low prices make Peruibe one of the most popular beach resorts with Brazilian holiday makers in the Littoral Paulista during the high season from December to February.
Here you can enjoy a swim in the warm summer waters, surf the waves, enjoy the beach `theatre` where all shapes and sizes vie for attention in the latest swimwear designs. You can sip a Caiperinha, snack on bolinhos de bacalhao, watch kids flying kites ,enjoy a game of beach football or volley ball or just meander along the sands. All of this within walking distance of your hotel!
As you stroll through the beach front park on a clear day across the sparkling waters you can just make out the off-shore islands of Queimada Pequena and further away, Queimada Grande. The latter island is unique as being the most snake infested place on earth! Thankfully it is safely located far off-shore, is a prohibited zone used only by scientists and definitely not on the tourist map!
New Year is at the height of the season and at midnight on New Year`s eve the entire beach area is the scene for a spectacular firework display to which many hundreds of people add their own displays. This is a hugely popular event and be warned that car-parking is nigh on impossible to find anywhere close by, and that your health and safety is entirely at your own risk. After the firework display it is traditional to go into the sea and jump over seven waves to bring you good luck for the year to come. As many have brought their own alcoholic refreshments with them, the results are predictably hilarious and considered to be all part of the festive fun!
Temperatures reach into the high thirties centigrade and occasionally forty degrees or more, particularly during December and January, which is the hottest month. This is also the rainy season with `Chuva de Tarde`, which is an afternoon thunder storm, occurring on many days.
At this point Brazilians hurry off the beach to reach the safety of a kiosk or other place indoors, and with good reason, as spectacular forked lightning often accompanied by high winds, makes the beach temporarily unsafe. Otherwise the area is quite secure by Brazilian standards, although caution should be taken with money and valuables left in a secure place. The beach itself is particularly secure in front of the Bombeiros` station, (Firemen), where the Surf School is also located. A system using green and red flags is used when sea conditions are judged to be hazardous. Peruibe has a modern drainage system enabling high water quality and the area is litter picked daily along the entire beach.
Carnival closes the high season in late February or early March when it is celebrated along the beach front Avenida Presidente Mal Arthur Da Costa E Silva, with many `Escolas` represented and thousands of other participants. Spectacular dancers, live samba music, crowds of revellers and a heady mixture of alcohol combined with a total lack of inhibition make it a night to remember!
Night life is mainly concentrated in one of the disco clubs, such as ‘Cannil Clube’ to be found on the beach side of the Centro area. There is also a fun-fair during summer months which is again located near to the central beach zone.
Although outside of the main season, the months of March and April offer a quieter period when, especially for Brancinas, or `Whiteys`, the sun is not so scorchingly hot, the sea is still warm and prices are considerably lower. The city celebrates it`s birthday on the 18th of February each year with an enormous cake made for the occasion. A free slice is on offer for all who attend!
Peruibe is virtually empty for the remainder of the year except for locals jogging along the sands and surfers looking for big winter waves. If you decide to visit during the winter months of June, July, August and September, it is advised to check on hotel accommodation in advance, as some close for the winter. As a winter bonus, last year`s beach-wear is on sale at reduced prices!
Peruibe makes an excellent base for exploring the Jureia -Itatins area, is well provided with a range of accommodation, shops and excellent restaurants. Car hire is available for those who arrive by one of the numerous coach services, and taxis are reasonably priced, but ensure that you agree the tariff prior to your journey. It also has a number of visitor attractions apart from the beach.
If your interest lies in local history you can visit the ruins of the 15th century church built by Jesuit priests or see the pre-historic finds in the Museu de Mirante located at the base of the Torre del Mirante, (TV tower), where there is also a spectacular viewpoint across the city.
On Sundays there are a wide variety of places of worship, including the catholic church of Sao Joao Batista in the main city square, Praca da Matriz. A large street market is held in the old commercial area near to the bus station on Sunday morning.
There are also markets held on Saturday on the other side of the bus station near to the disused railway and on Thursdays in a side street off of the main Avenida Padre Anchieta near to the telephone tower. There is a craft bazaar in the Praca Redonda in Centro where local souvenirs can be purchased and a visitors` centre nearby where information is provided free of charge.
For those ladies who like to be pampered there is a range of beauty treatments available in the city, but unique to Peruibe is `lama negra`, which is a type of black volcanic mud applied to the skin. Demonstrations and appointments are provided at the Lamario.
This is located adjacent to the newly built beach aquarium not far from the fishing port.
The aquarium has sharks and some 80 species of sea life on display in a modern environment close to the beach.
For those who prefer to get to grips with marine life, there is spectacular sea-fishing to be had off-shore. Anglers can join a fishing boat for an all night session by arrangement at the port, which is adjacent to the fish market. Those who are disappointed with their catch can top up at the market on their way home! The market and port area is at the extreme south end of the beach near to the road marked for Guarau.
For the even more adventurous, a flight in an `ultra leve`, motorised hang glider can be arranged at Peruibe landing strip, which is to be found not far from the old disused railway station. Flights on offer vary from a short circuit around the beach to longer flights over the Jureia coast and mountains.
`A Ponte` Superb fish restaurant run by ex fisherman whose wife cooks prime ingredients to perfection. Excelent wine list. Modest setting. Excellent service. Not cheap at approx $R100 per head incl wine and starter. Credit cards not accepted.
`Alfamare` Excellent Italian style food offering a wide menu and excellent wine list.The Tornedo steak with mushroom sauce is highly recommended accompanied by the Miolo reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Not cheap. Book a table well in advance.
`Boi Nobre` Churasco menu with a wide range of meats and buffet style salads. A cut above the usual Rodizio. Book a table to avoid disappointment. Medium priced menu.
Beira Mar Sea-front restaurant run by family of German descent offering a wide menu including traditional German cuisine. Not for slimmers! Not cheap, but excellent value.
Irashai Price per kilo buffet style restaurant on the corner of Avenida Sao Joao and Rua dos Pescadores that is always busy at lunch time. Particularly good sushi and Yakisoba dishes. Inexpensive and centrally located.
Copyright Alastair Kinghorn
8th August 2013