Alternative Rio de Janeiro

Maybe you have already visited Rio de Janeiro at least once, or even couple of times. Or perhaps you are spending a bit more than just few days in this marvellous city and are willing to see the alternative face of Rio, experience it just like the locals do. This is why we wanted to give you tips how to get beyond the traditional tourist attractions. Check out our suggestions and choose what mostly fits into your perfil as a traveller.

Praia Vermelha

Praia Vermelha

First of all, as always accommodation is one of the most basic needs when we are out of our homes. How to choose an alternative accommodation in Rio de Janeiro. The touristic neighbourhoods of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon are filled with hotels, some of them chic ones, others basic tourist class hotels like anywhere in the world. If you wish to feel the real Brazilian hospitality try to look for some smaller options, such as the brazilian pousadas. In a huge cosmopolitan city like Rio de Janeiro there are not that many pousadas as in many smaller villages, but still you can find some. A charming pousada with individually decorated rooms can be found right from the heart of Copacabana and a stylish luxury pousada in a hidden location is an excellent option for those looking for high quality escape. If you prefer raither simple life style, try out some of the bed & breakfast style pousadas in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa and a radical adventure minded traveller will get some unforgettable memories by accommodating in a simple pousada located inside of a favela. Some peaceful favelas controlled by police offer bed and breakfast accommodation for tourists allowing them to see from close how is the real life in these communities. An excellent choice for you who want to experience Rio beyond the touristic sights.

Biking in Rio

Biking in Rio

During the day time try out some alternative ways to experience Rio de Janeiro. If the day is sunny, there is nothing better than biking in the fresh air while you admire the breathtaking landscapes of Rio de Janeiro. You will find traditional bicycle tours taking you to the world famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro or to the cultural heritage sites of the city. Some interesting alternative options  are biking through the forest of Tijuca National Park or along the beaches of Barra da Tijuca, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Grumari and Prainha located west of Rio de Janeiro. If you are not into sports and wish to enjoy the city without practising physical excersise, get yourself a local friend. Local friend is a person, who has been chosen according to your needs and interests. Your new friend will plan a taylor made itinerary taking you to the most exciting spots of the city. This service will offer you a personalized way to explore the city just like if a local friend would be taking you to the most impressive viewpoints, the charmiest restaurants and the best parties of the city.

Bar do Arnaudo

Bar do Arnaudo

When the night falls you can always opt for some of the pulsing lounge bars of Ipanema and Leblon or enjoy the vibrating samba nights of Lapa. However, if you are looking for an alternative program check out Feira São Cristovão, a closed market place located in northern part of Rio de Janeiro. Feira de São Cristovão is an homege for the culture of northeastern Brazil. During the day time it’s an excellent place to buy local handcrafts and enjoy delicious tastes of northeastern culinary. Feira de São Cristovão is open every day, except on Monday and nonstop from Friday 10 a.m till Sunday 6 p.m . During the weekends you will have a chance to assist several shows of live music, all of the representing typical northeastern music styles. So if you are not afraid of loud music and crowds of people, Feira de São Cristovão is a alternative option for you to experience a piece of northeastern culture in the middle of Rio de Janeiro.

Jazz at the Maze

Jazz at the Maze

In case you prefer less crowded places with boheamian touch, check out the jazz jam sessions at Maze, a unique bar located inside of Tavares Bastos favela, in southern zone of Rio de Janeiro. The jams are generally organized on the first Friday of each month, however exceptions do happen so keep an eye on the schedules. The jazz night in an awasome experience and quality musicians will entertain you while you enjoy some of the most spectacular views over the bay of Guanabara,  in one of the safest favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro with all its’ attractions is waiting for you.

For further information, contact Brazil Diversity!

Snorkeling in natural swimming pools of Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco

Beach

Beach

Porto de Galinhas is conveniently located just about 80 km from Recife, the state capital of Pernambuco. Recife, on the other hand is one of the principal airports of northeastern Brazil and enjoys an easy access both nationally and internationally. Getting transferred from Recife to Porto de Galinhas is simple and a rental car can be a perfect choice for those who are not afraid of driving and enjoy discovering the attractions of their own.

Porto de  Galinhas itself is one of the most popular holiday villages of northeastern Brazil and has a well developed infrastructure even for the most demanding tastes. The accommodation range  varies from a simple pousada to the most luxurious bungalows with private pool. Porto de Galinhas serves both families and singles, has a large variety of restaurants and bars for all the tastes, and pampers even those who enjoy spending time is high quality boutiques buying souveniers and items of latest beach fashion. That’s what Porto de Galinhas is all about.

Muro Alto

Muro Alto

Beside of the infrastructure Porto de Galinhas enchants with its’ natural beauty. It’s a destination of crystal clear waters, swaying palm trees and pictoresque landscapes. Some of the principal attractions of Porto de Galinhas are the natural swimming pools located in front of the village. They are ideal places for snorkeling allowing you to discover the wonders of submarine life. These swimming pools appear during the low tide and due to the proximity they can be accessed on foot. Qualifield divers will also find a number of interesting diving spots from the region of Porto de Galinhas. Another interesting place with reefs and  a natural pool is the beach of Muro Alto, just few kilometers of distance from the village of Porto de Galinhas.

Cabo de São Agostinho

Cabo de São Agostinho

When it comes to the nearby destinations one of the most interesting places to be discovered is Cabo de São Agostinho with its’ beautiful beaches of Calhetas, Paraiso and Gaibu. In the region you will also have a chance to treat your skin with a bath of argil. These destinations can be visited either on your own (if you ended up renting a car) or as part of a group excursion. South of Porto de Galinhas you will find more incredible beaches such as Tamandare with different tones of blue and green and Praia dos Carneiros, a beautiful and peaceful beach with quality infrastructure. If you end up driving down on the coast you will reach the boarder of Alagoas and an another interesting holiday destination Maragogi, which is quite a lot more simple than Porto de Galinhas, but combines perfectly with it.

Praia dos Carneiros

Praia dos Carneiros

In a nutshell Porto de Galinhas is a destination of a traveller who appreciates easy access, high quality accommodation, large variety of restaurants, and wants to have a stressless holiday surrounded by fascinating nature.

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Perola do Porto – A well located pousada with excellent infrastructure. Spacious rooms with a private terrace/balcony, just a short walk away from the hearth of the village.
  • Nannai Beach Resort – A high quality resort located in front of Muro Alto beach. Offers different room types including lovely bungalows with private pools. Highly recommended.

Beaches of Maragogi and the ecological route, Alagoas

Maragogi

Maragogi

Maragogi is a sleepy fisherman village in the beautiful coast of Alagoas, close to the frontier with Pernambuco. Its’ a perfect place for relaxation in the middle of beautiful nature.

The easiest way to reach Maragogi is by car, either from the direction of the state capital Maceio or from the direction of Recife, the capital of Pernambuco. Rent a car or hire a private transfer and get transported directly to this paradise kind of holiday village with a favourable location almost in between of two important state capitals.

The turquoise waters of Maragogi

The turquoise waters of Maragogi

Just like the major part of the Alagoas coast, the region of Maragogi is also filled with palm trees. Once you see the sea shimmering in all the possible colors of blue, turquoise and green, you really start wondering if there is any other place where the natural settings could be more similar to paradise than here. Compared to many other holiday village of the northeastern coast, the village of Maragogi is still not that developed, which is fact is an advantage making your holiday in Maragogi different compared to more explored destinations like Porto de Galinhas, a popular holiday village in the Pernambuco.

Low tide

Low tide

Get accommodated in one of the pousadas located along the coast, a short distance from the village of Maragogi, and enjoy the presence of the nature. Maragogi is also an excellent destination for families who are looking for peace and relaxation, while the kids are busy with playing on the shore. During the low tide a big part of the reefs is visible and it seems like if the waves, which still last night hit the shore, have disappered. So why don’t you just walk around the beach, sit down on the shore and wait how the warm water slowly starts rising again, just like if you were in a natural bathtub waiting for it to be filled again.

Together with the sun, warm turquoise waters and beautiful landscapes, the principal attraction of Maragogi are the natural swimming pools. Make sure you take an excursion to the most famous of them, As Galés, and enjoy the colorful underwater life by snorkeling around in these clear water of Maragogi. If you arrived to Maragogi by car, don’t forget to experience the ecological route, departing from Maragogi in the direction of south. This route will show you some of the most breathtaking views while you drive along the coastline surrouded with numerous palm trees. One of the attractions along the route is a possibility for an excursion, which allows you to observe the presence of sea cows in the region.

Beach

Beach

Maragogi is a real hidden pearl of Alagoas, a natural paradise with relatively easy access, amazingly beautiful nature and fully relaxing tranquility. If you are looking for a peaceful and easygoing holiday under neverending sun with no need for shopping, night life and excessive number of activities, Maragogi might be just a perfect choice for you.

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Barra Velha – A very cozy and comfortable pousada right in front of the sea with excellent level of service. Stay in Barra Velha and feel yourself at home.
  • Restaurante Calamares – An excellent restaurant on Pernambuco’s side, right after the frontier of the two states. Try out some of the delicious seafood dishes, specialities of the house.

Follow the footsteps of Bridget Bardot in Búzios

Búzios bay

Búzios bay

Búzios is a real pearl of Rio de Janeiro coastline. It’s a small, but very charming and pictoresque village located roughly 2½ hours from Rio to north. The access to Búzios is simple and you have a wide choice of transportation options. If you wish not to enter to the city of Rio de Janeiro, you can always take a minibus or a private transfer directly from the international airport of Rio de Janeiro and reach Búzios quickly after having landed to Brazil. Once you are in Rio you can take a regular bus or one of the transfer services offered by diverse tourism companies, either on private or on shared basis.

Rua das Pedras, Búzios

Rua das Pedras, Búzios

Búzios is a place to relax and enjoy both an excellent level of services and the beauty of the nature. Tha bay of Búzios is extremely pictoresque and no wonder this lovely place has often been called St. Tropez of South America. In the 60´ the French movie star Bridget Bardot felt in love with Búzios and chose it as her summer retreat. Even today you can find many places, such as stores, cafes and restaurants named after her.

Beach boulevard, Búzios

Beach boulevard, Búzios

Once you reach this little paradise you will immediately realize what Búzios is made of. It’s a place of pure relaxation with no need to hurry or rush and run. You can enjoy the numerous beaches of the peninsula, walk along the beach side and enjoy fine dining on the famous street of Rua das Pedras. If you are into surfing Búzios offers you two interesting options. Best waves can be found from Geribá beach or from neighbouring Tucuns beach, which is basically a deserted beach due to the strong currents. A smaller Praia Brava beach is suitable both for swimmers and for surfers, and it fascinates you with the beauty of the bay.

On of the principal tours offered in Búzios is the schooner cruise along the coastline. It takes about 2½ hours and is an excellent way to see the beauty of this idyllyc coast and have a refreshing bath in the sea. During the high season the schooners are basically fully booked, but don’t worry there is departure almost once in an hour. If you wish to be able to sit in the shadow make sure you arrive to the port a little bit before the departure time or otherwise the only option might be simply sunbathing on the deck. The cruise has three stops allowing you to swim and snorkel on the turquoise sea.

Turquoise waters of Búzios

Turquoise waters of Búzios

Búzios has a extremely wide offer of accommodation options for all the tastes. If you are looking for a romantic escape in a boutique pousada you will find it with the same facility as a more economic but still charming place to stay in. Búzios is an excellent place to be combined with a stay in Rio de Janeiro. Such a combination will allow you to see the famous landmarks of Rio de Janeiro together with the city life and then after relax in the easygoing atmospheare of Búzios, this littel pearl of Rio de Janeiro’s coastline.

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Vila d’Este – A high quality boutique pousada with prime location in front of the sea. Excellent choice for those looking for a romantic escape.
  • Pousada Abracadabra – A lovely pousada in a peaceful corner close to all the attractions of Búzios. Pousada Abracadabra offers an excellent value for money.
  • Cafe del Mar – A beautiful restaurant decorated with white colors. This is a place to relax with smooth music and enjoy the stunning sea view while tasting small, but delicious tapas and having a cold drink.
Beach, Búzios

Beach, Búzios

Honeymoon in Brazil: turquose sea, white sand beaches and palm trees

During many years I worked closely with travellers looking for a dream destination to spend their honeymoon. Of course there are as many different attributes for a honeymoon as there are wedding couples, but based on my experiences I would say that 80% of all the honeymoon requests include the following three elements: Crystal clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches and palm trees. Simple, isn’t it?

Honeymoon

Honeymoon

Well once the requirements related with the natural setting has been full filled the next question coming up is often related with the accommodation. First of all it has to be private, preferably a villa or bungalow type of accommodation with a private pool if possible. Secondly the standard of the facilities and the services has to be high and offer something special for honeymooners, like welcome champagne, free candle light dinner…or at least some rose petals over the bed or the bath.

I used to ask myself what makes honeymoon so special then? Why is it different from the other trips and why people have so many expectations on it? Sometimes it sounds a like a very stressful thing to be organized, as each and every moment of it has to be more than perfect. However I do agree that the stress over the honeymoon is morely likely to happen during the preparations. Once you reach the destination with your spouse, get accommodated in your bungalow, step on that white sand beach and see how the palm trees sway in the breeze all the stress you had suddenly disappears.

Well, why am I writing about honeymoon requirements then? Simply because Brazil has several destination fullfilling these expectations, and we would like to give you some tips where to spend your dream honeymoon in Brazil. As there are as many ways to spend the honeymoon as there are couples, we haver listed below some possible honeymoon destinations with short description.

Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha

Among the top tree honeymoon destination in Brazil are certainly is the island of Fernando de Noronha, the southern coats of Bahia and the well developed region of Porto de Galinhas with large variety of accommodation option. Why these three then?

First of all Fernando de Noronha is a destination for a lover of nature and virgin beaches, which should always be the main reason when planning a trip to Noronha. The beauty and the pureness of the island are indescribable, sinceraly there must not be too many places where the conservation of the nature has been so well done as in Fernando de Noronha. Here you will be accommodated in a small pousada, whether the nivel is luxurious or raither cozy with personalized treatment, it’s up to your personal choice. Fernando de Noronha is a once in a life time experience!

Porto de Galinhas

Porto de Galinhas

The region of Porto de Galinhas has a large infraestructure when it comes to tourism. The large variety of accommodation options will guarantee the fact that during your honeymoon you will be accommodated exactly in the kind room, villa or bungalow as you wish. Here you will find bungalows with private pool, stressless all inclusive hotels and large range of other services and activities without forgetting the beautiful natural settings of this coast with plenty of white sand beaches and palm trees. Do you want to pamper yourself during your honeymoon, go to Porto de Galinhas!

Last, but definitely not least the southern coast of Bahia. I could bet that among the Brazilians themselves, such destinations as Arrail d’Ajuda, Trancoso and Maraú in the southern coast of Bahia are probably the top destinations when spending their honeymoon in Brazil. These destinations are real hideaways with magnificant nature, seducing beaches and lush vegetation. Here you will find some very luxurious, but still intime accommodation options, where you will be able to a the most romantic honeymoon ever. The southern Bahia is a place to relax and simply enjoy the pure harmony and tranquily of the region.

Maraú

Maraú

These are just three examples of perfect honeymoon destinations, of course Brazil has a lot more to offer and like I mentioned earlier it’s all up to your personal choice. Some may prefer a city break in the marvellous city of Rio de Janeiro combined with a beach extention in chic Búzios or tropical island of Ilha Grande, others may prefer adventures in the Amazon…Whatever it is, you will find it in Brazil!

Happy Holidays

We want to thank you all for positive feedback and for sharing your passion for travelling with us. More exiting news and interesting blog posts next year.

Now it’s time to wish you all…

Happy Holidays and all the best for the year 2010!

Christmas tree in Lagoa

Christmas tree in Lagoa


Rio de Janeiro in 5 days

Are you planning to visit Rio de Janeiro, but don’t know how many days you should stay in the city and what should you experience during your stay? We have retailed you an itineray including some of the most interesting attractions of Rio de Janeiro. Of course all of them may not interest you, but our aim is to give you a complete example of all the possibilities.

View over Copacabana

View over Copacabana

DAY 1:

  • Head early in morning to the Corcovado train station (opens at 08.30 am) and get to the top where the world famous Christ statue is located. After having visited Corcovado head to the downtown of Rio de Janeiro and catch one of those old fashioned trams up to the artistic neighborhood of Santa Teresa. This picturesque uphill neighborhood is an ideal place to enjoy a delicious and traditional Brazilian meal. After your lunch enjoy the views from Parque das Ruinas and visit the museum of Characa do Ceu with images of Rio de Janeiro before it became a city of millions and millions of inhabitants. After having explored Santa Teresa, the next stop is one of the most traditional landmarks of Rio de Janeiro, the Sugar Loaf Mountain. Visiting Sugar Loaf Mountain in the late afternoon has the advantage of both daylight and sunset, which is a spectacle itself!

DAY 2:

  • Botanical Garden

    Botanical Garden

    Start you day by having a walk in the Botanical Garden, which is a real oasis in the middle of such a huge city as Rio de Janeiro. After having enjoyed your lunch participate in one of the guided Favela tours. These tours are an excellent way to see the other face of Rio de Janeiro and especially to understand a little bit better the causes of social problems in the city. In the evening participate in a rehearsal of a samba school (available from August to February) and bring a piece of carnival feeling with you.

DAY 3:

  • Star your day with emotions and try hang gliding admiring the views from the top of Pedra da Gavea and landing to the beach of Praia do Pepino. If you are not into adventures, have a walk in the downtown of Rio de Janeiro visiting the museums, churches and monasteries, or just have a relax at one of the world famous beaches. After having enjoyed your lunch have a refreshing swim in the sea and get prepared to more emotions in soccer game at the world’s biggest stadium Maracanã. If you are not into soccer, enjoy shopping in the fashionable stores of Ipanema and have a walk in the shores of the lake Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. The restaurants of Parque dos Patins located in the edges the lake are also excellent places to enjoy your dinner with live music.

Pele, the legend

Pele, the legend

DAY 4:

  • Start a day with a visit to the National Park of Tijuca located within the city of Rio de Janeiro. You can choose either a sightseeing tour that takes you to the most interesting points by car or take a light hike up to the highest peak of Rio de Janeiro, the Tijuca Peak. After the tour enjoy your lunch at one of the many sea front restaurants in Copacabana and have leisure stroll inside of the Fort of Copacabana (situated at the end of it), which is also an excellent place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a delicious desert at the famous coffee house Confeitaria Colombo.

DAY 5:

  • Take a day trip outside of Rio de Janeiro and get an idea of the beauty of this state. Tours (private or scheduled) to Búzios or to tropical island of Angra dos Reis are ideal options and a schooner cruise in the destination allows you to enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters of these regions. Enjoy your last night in Rio de Janeiro at one of the samba clubs of Lapa, the most popular neighborhood of nightlife. Easygoing atmospheare, traditional live samba and delicious snacks/dinner are guaranteed, no matter which of the many bars you choose.
Angra dos Reis

Angra dos Reis

Obs. Activities such as Samba school rehearsals and Soccer games are not available everyday, so check the schedules and modify the plan according to them.

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