The present work identified the patterns of spatial and temporal use of Boa Viagem Beach. The levels of use were determined during the dry and rainy seasons. Four areas with different environmental and social characteristics were considered. In eight 100-m-wide transects, ranging from the pavement down to the water line, the level of use was determined through counting of beach users throughout the day. The patterns of use of the beach were the same for summer and winter, but frequency was threefold higher in summer weekends. The most frequented days were the same between seasons, but not the same among areas. The number of beach users varied from 1–1610 in winter to 6–3610 in summer. The area occupied by beach users varied from 1.3 to 34.6 m2/person. The main arrival time was from 0930 h to 1130 h. The peak time of users was between 1130 h and 1330 h for all parts of the beach, during the whole week. The main departure time was 1530 h for all parts of the beach and days of the week. People seemed to prefer areas and stretches of the beach where the backshore was longer. The landscape was probably highly rated as an attribute in visitor's choice. The north and central parts of the beach are better preserved, and they were also more used. The south part of Boa Viagem is undergoing a severe erosion process, which made the beach disagreeable for some beach users. This was clearly reflected in beach use patterns.
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Vol. 24 • No. sp1