See our full list of Where to Go in 2015.
After a downpour, walking the mile-long dirt road (now mud) to the wild Praia do Leão, "Lion's Beach," is not the best idea. Luckily, just as I am about to give up and turn around, an off-roading buggy of young Brazilians comes bouncing by and gives me a ride. The overgrown trail down to the beach is slippery, but making it to the endless beach ahead is worth the potential tumble. The outer Mar de Fora coast is more rugged and gritty than the island's inner side. Jump in the surf to cool down (or wash off the mud) and as the tide comes in, get close to the reef tidal pools to watch blowholes shoot spouts of water into the air.
This beach is a main area for turtle nesting so make sure there is not restricted access when you go.