Hidden Madonna Altar – Ubatuba, Brazil - Atlas Obscura
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Ubatuba, Brazil

Hidden Madonna Altar

A secret Virgin Mary tucked away on a Brazilian beach. 

In a country as deeply Catholic as Brazil, the Virgin Mary is bound to be everywhere. Including in a small, hidden alcove on the beach.

Praia das Sete Fontes outside of the city of Ubatuba is a quiet beach, surrounded by forest, spotted with palm trees, and featuring both white sand and crystal-clear water. No roads lead to it, so it is mostly accessible by a steep trail leading from the more populated Praia do Flamengo. As the region around Ubatuba has over 100 beaches, only a few people care to venture to a beach as out of the way as Praia das Sete Fontes. Even fewer walk along the beach to find what’s hidden under a few rocks at its end.

The hidden altar is tucked away under an sudden, yet unassuming rock pile, seemingly placed there by a giant. The shrine features a painted representation of the Virgin Mary, framed by offerings of flowers brought by the locals who know where to find her. Although each devotee likely comes to the site with their own thoughts as to Mary’s purpose at Praia das Sete Fontes, she seems to be benevolently and patiently available for whatever hopes her visitors place at her feet. And with temperatures in the Ubatuba area hitting 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, she must be happy to be catching some shade.

Know Before You Go

Praia das Sete Pontes is a bit remote, but it is reachable by visitors on foot. The 3.5-hour trek begins at Saco da Ribeira and also goes through Praia da Ribeira and Praia do Flamengo. Some boat tours of the region include visitation to Praia das Sete Pontes.

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