When I was around 11 years old, my family and I went on a beach vacation to a place called Angra dos Reis (Anchor of kings) in the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For three days we explored the numerous beaches there. On the afternoon of the second day a local told my older brother about this beach called The Secret beach and gave us directions. We drove there, and parked at the shoulder of a freeway. There was only one other vehicle there, and my 11 year old excited mind didn’t wonder about that, only that there was a beach and I wanted to swim. There was a small opening by the guardrail, I remember that, covered by all the trees and foliage that went on and on and on as far as I could see.
At the opening of that guardrail were stone steps, leading down and curving, the end hidden by the greenery. So down we had gone, able to hear the waves of the beach still hidden from sight.
It was like this: descending stone steps, trees on all sides, the music of birds, scurrying animals, the scent of salty water and the green scents of a place barely touched by humanity.
The last stone step ended onto a rocky, uneven ground, edged on both sides by trees. We moved forward, and there, at the edge of the rocky ground started the sand, bleached almost white by the sun. The sky was blue, the water just a deeper shade. Trees surrounded the beach on both sides, a sweet cascade of water tinkled like soft music to my left. That’s how I remember it.
It was the best beach we had visited during that vacation. We had been the only people there that day, and I remembered I swimmed (not too far) and splashed and played with my brothers.
I am sorry though to say that today, over two decades after that trip, the beach is no longer a secret. It is still called that, The Secret Beach, but there are people, boats, small tents erected (that look permanent), and plenty of tourists.
A prompt about ‘places you remember’
brought this place to mind, and I asked a family member to see if she could find some photos for me to place it here. She found this video that showed all these boats and people and beach towels and… no secret left.
Here’s a link to a video she found on YouTube that is closest to the place I described above: