Why go: Sand and sea, with few crowds and no cruise ships
The deal: Compared with other global beach destinations, Brazil's 4,600 miles of coastline are relatively cheap. Stick to Brazil's warmer northern coast, and go during the March and April shoulder season (sporadic rain showers peak in May). You'll pay just a little more in air fare than you would flying to the Caribbean, but you'll pay far less for meals and rooms.
"These are up-and-coming destinations, so hotels are not charging the high-end prices you find everywhere else," says Arabella Bowen of ShermansTravel.com. Though less glamorous than some of Rio's beaches, Morro de São Paulo offers a laid-back escape with four swimming coves and horseback riding, all a two-hour catamaran ride from the city of Salvador.
Where to stay: Bungalow-style hotels such as Pousada O Casaro (ocasarao.net) and Anima Hotel (animahotel.com) charge $100 a night or less.
Getting there: A round-trip ticket from Miami to Salvador on TAM Airlines (888-235-9826) costs about $750. From there, catch one of five catamarans that sail to Morro de São Paulo daily from the Terminal Maritimo ($50 round trip).
Tip: Want to roam the country? Buy TAM Airlines' Brazil Airpass, which starts at $572 for four flights.