Keep An Eye Out For Sharks When Swimming At This South American Beach

Boa Viagem in Recife has a beautiful urban beach that has created headlines for all the wrong reasons due to the number of shark attacks that have occurred here. It is because of this that Redbook Mag named it "one of the most dangerous beaches in the world." Boa Viagem means "have a good journey" in Portuguese, however, the sharks that ply the waters here mean that may not be the case.

There are many thrilling adventures to be had in this country, but being bitten is certainly not one of them. Thankfully, there are plenty of beach options in a country some consider one of the most friendly in South America. It is believed that these attacks are mostly carried out by bull and tiger sharks, which are some of the more aggressive species. Recife is a popular Brazilian city with tourists, but the prevalence of sharks means that it is important to do everything you can to stay safe here.

Staying safe from shark attacks at Boa Viagem Beach

Before 1992, there were no shark attacks reported on this 12.5 miles of coast. However, the building of Port Suape in Recife has disturbed the marine life that lives here and particularly impacted the behavior of the sharks. The beach is now a hunting ground for the sharks on their migration routes. Between 1992 and 2012, there were 56 attacks, 21 of which resulted in death. There have since been attacks in the Greater Recife area as recently as 2023.

People have been bitten in the shallow waters of Boa Viagem, and even while surfing, so it is important to follow the rules at the beach and not go near the water when the warning signs are up. Many Brazilians don't go in the water at all, and surfing is now banned in the city. Scientists have implemented a catch-and-release program and created an artificial reef to try and keep them away. However, the easiest way to avoid a shark attack is by simply not going into the water. If you have any concerns about sharks at a beach, it is important to avoid murky water as you may not know if dangerous creatures are lurking there. There are also many other beautiful Brazilian beaches to swim with friendlier wildlife instead.

Where you can swim near Recife instead

Brazil is blessed with many stunning beaches, but the best ones for swimming have a barrier reef that helps to keep the sharks out. The best swimming beaches are south of Boa Viagem, as in their waters you can see the type of marine life that is more welcome, like turtles and tropical fish. Porto de Galinhas is one hour away, and when the tide goes out, natural pools are formed where you can swim and snorkel. It is also protected by its reef system.

Further south, Praia dos Carneiros is another tourist favorite, with a small white church perched on the white sand. Here, you can swim and snorkel amongst shoals of brightly-colored fish. If you travel even further south, you will reach Maragogi Beach, nicknamed the "Brazilian Caribbean" for its beauty. It is another beach with natural pools and reefs where you can snorkel in clear, shallow waters. All of these beaches can be visited as a day trip from Boa Viagem, or they can be added to your Recife itinerary. As well as being absolutely stunning, they are also an opportunity to have a positive experience with Brazilian marine life in a way that will add to your vacation instead of ending up on the news.