So, the above image came to me via Street Smart Brazil, though the article associated with it is from Answers.com (which apparently publishes articles). The title of their post is 10 Deadliest Tourist Destinations in the World, with Boa Viagem being their only Brazilian location. On the flip side, a Brazilian publication lists Boa Viagem as one of the country’s most popular beaches. So, which is it, deadly or popular? The answer: It’s both! See what locals had to say when I asked them, below.
Here’s real advice from an actual Recife resident, regarding Boa Viagem: “Its completely safe until the reefs (where water is up to one’s waist). The reefs create a natural wall against the sharks. After that, consider a big number floating above your head, saying “You are 95% safe here”, then you go a little bit deeper, and it says “Now you are 80% safe here”, and so on. Boa Viagem/Piedade are more “social” beaches… you go there for jogging, or a cold beer… cheap fried shrimp. These days you only see a few locals swimming.”
And yet another local has this to say: “Just respect the caution signs. Almost everyone who has ever suffered a shark attack in the last 10 years were tourists who thought they were safe because of the reefs, but some parts have openings where the sharks hang around for fish brought in by the tides. Swim only where there aren’t caution signs, and it’s best that it’s during the low tide. If you’re in doubt, talk to a lifeguard. The beaches in Porto, Tamandaré, etc are much better for swimming, safer, cleaner and less crowded. Boa Viagem is great for sitting and having some caldinho and beers or caipirinhas, but not much for swimming.”
So, there you go! It’s more popular for hanging out and being a beach bum than it is for swimming. From the image above, you can also get an idea of how far locals go into the water.