Besides all that coffee, Brazil has more than 4,500 miles of shoreline, most of it one long, glorious beach. During the week it's deserted save for fishermen and kids playing pickup soccer. But on the weekends it is thronged, and throbs with the beat of the bossa nova from pickup combos. Implausibly, there are even sandy beaches 1,000 miles in the interior, like those on the Rio Negro in storied old Manaus. Whether turning heads on the coast or in the jungle, the swimsuits on the following pages are fashioned in fascinating ways for bagging the most rays. On the cover, Maria Jo‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬£o wears an intriguing little number by Maria Elzira of Rio de Janeiro ($40).
Christie Brinkley, posed by a fishing boat on Bahia's Itapo‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬£ Beach, sure doesn't have to fish for compliments. Her suit is by Anne Collins for Bobbie Brooks ($25).
Intrepid Cheryl Tiegs explores the jungle near Manaus with trusty Raimundo Monteiro. Her suit by Gottex of Israel ($48) parrots the local "papagaios."
At dawn on It‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬£poa Beach, Maria checks out the fishermen hauling in their nets. Her nylon bikini is from Anne Collins for Bobbie Brooks ($21).
Monique Moura de Carvalho reflects at twilight in a tranquil inlet off the Rio Negro at Manaus. Her Brazilian bikini is from Blue Man ($17).
Peeled down to her cotton banana print bikini from Blue Man ($17), Maria is clearly the best of the bunch at the weekly market in Itapo‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬£.
On a hidden lagoon near the Amazon in Manaus, Monique glides among victoria regia lily pads, which are often five feet wide. Her bikini Is from Blue Man ($17).
At the Tropical Hotel on the outskirts of Manaus, Cheryl looks hip in a Lycra suit with extra stretch from Gottex of Israel ($48).
Christie appears in the pink for an early morning dip at Bahia's Lake of Tears. Her net-and-lace maillot is by Monika for Elon ($33).
For poolside at the Tropical, Cheryl gets the most out of a ruffled suit ($35) with matching skirt by Sant' Angelo for Sinclair ($38).
At Piat‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬£ Beach in Bahia, Christie wears a Lycra suit cut out for a dynamite Brazilian suntan. It's designed by Monika for Elon ($31).
Cheryl's suit, which is also designed by Monika for Elon ($31), looks something like thermal fishnet, but hers is to stay cool in.
Maria in Bahia on the crest of a Stela Maris dune outshines the midday sun in a gold suit with drawstring sides ($36) and shawl ($60) by Gottex of Israel.
WALTER IOOSS JR.