My top places in Brazil

Sunset llha do Algodoal

Sunset llha do Algodoal

Top Beach Destination: Brazil is full of beaches and it’s hard to define if one more beautiful than another and it’s even harder to name a favourite beach destination. Out of all the beaches that I have visited each of them have their particular beauty. However when it comes to a beach destination, it’s not only to the beach itself that matters. There are few other facts that I personally enjoy when choosing a beach destination. I know some might like popular beaches where the rich and the beautiful locals hang around during their spare time, however I like raither distant destinations with less touristic infrastucture and a touch of the good old days when all the natural resources wasn’t yet explored. I like the destination that disconnects me more than totally from the rush and the run of every day life and makes me feel myself at the edge of the world. Therefore my top beach destination with these characteristic is the Ilha do Algodoal, a tropical island in the northern corner of Brazil. This extremely beautiful place incentivates you to listen to the voices of the nature, to pay attention to the endless horizon and to breath like if there were no worries in the entire world. For me Ilha do Algodoal is a real paradise on the earth.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

Top Eco-Tourism Destination: Just like beaches, Brazil is also full of interesting eco-tourism destinations. There is everything from hiking to wildlife observation, from fishing to discovering the wonders of submarine life. There are also few unique phenomenon that can only observed here in Brazil. Pantanal happens to be world’s biggest wetland, the delta of Parnaíba on the other hand is the biggest delta of the Americas and naturally the Amazon rainforest is one in kind. However when it comes to top eco-tourism destination in Brazil, my choise  is Lencois Maranhenses, a simply unique and absolutely interesting region located in the state of Maranhão. This immense area with very fragile eco-system is formed by numerous sparkling lagoons hidden in between the white sand dunes. It’s a unique phenomenon that can only be observed in this dry region thanks to rainy season and the approximity to the Amazon basis. Lencois Maranhenses is an off-road eco-tourism experience that will surely impress you!

Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto

Top Historical Destination: I use to say that you haven’t seen all the faces of Brazil unless you have visited Ouro Preto. You might think that travelling all the way to Minas Gerais just to spend few days in Ouro Preto is not worth it, but I do guarantee that you will be surprised. Ouro Preto is the face of colonial Brazil. It’s a destination where you will be surrounded by history and art, no matter which part of the city you are. Ouro Preto takes you to an imaginary trip back to the past and captures all your attention with neverending details of this charming city. Simply a must see destination!

Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Top City Break: It might sounds like a cliché, but top city break must be the marvellous city of Rio de Janeiro, simply because of the variety of options it offers for a traveller. Beyond the traditional touristic sights Rio de Janeiro works as a city break for lovers of gourmet kitchen, for tireless party animal, for those who enjoy music and art and for the ones who enjoy chilling on the beach or practising sports. For me Rio de Janeiro is the top city break destination exactly because of its’ diversity and of course, also because of its’ unique beauty, which can be admired at any corner of the city.

Top Beach: Choosing one breach out of all the irresistible Brazilian beaches is a real challenge.  Year after year the beaches of Fernando Noronha are included into the top beaches of the country and there is no doubt that the beaches like Praia do Sancho, Praia do Leão and Baía dos Porcos aren’t some of the most  stunning beaches of Brazil, simply because of the clear turquoise and blue tones of the sea and the beautiful and well conserved landscapes of Fernando de Noronha. Beside of the archipelago, there area lovely white sand beaches with clear waters in many parts of the continent as well. In the state of Alagoas a large number of palm threes give a pictoresque appareance for the coastline, while in Ceará and Maranhão the dunes give raither a stark, but beautiful contrast for the sparkling sea.

Praia do Pesqueiro

Praia do Pesqueiro

So finally, out of all these beautiful beaches, which would I choose to be my top beach? My choise ia maybe a less known, but simply unique with a genuine feeling of an untouched beach. My top beach is Praia do Pesqueiro in the island of Marajó, located at the state of Pará, in northern most corner of Brazil. Praia do Pequeiro is a beach where the waters of a river get mixed to the sea. The water in fact is sweet, but the feeling is like if you were enjoying a bath at any seaside beach. Even smooth waves and a warm wind will refresh you in the heat of Pará. There are few rustic beach bars that serve ice cold drinks and light meals so that you can easily spend an entire day at this little paradise. The landscape is a beautiful mixture of tropical vegetation, natural swimming pools during  the low tide and endless views over this almost deserted beach. During the low season only few other tourists together with a couple of distant water buffalos and numerous sea birds will give you company. Simply a lovely place and a fantastic beach for you to enjoy youself in the middle of the virgin nature far away from the signs of modern life and from the rush and run of the cities.

Chapada Diamantina

Chapada Diamantina

Top Combination: Top combination is a region or state that allows you to experince the different faces of Brazil with no need for domestic flights or endless travelling. My top destination of this category is the regions of Salvador combined with eco-tourism experiences in Chapada Diamantina and beachside extention in the tropical islands of Tinharé and Boipeba. This simple combinations allows you to enjoy the afro-brazilian culture and colonial architecture in Salvador, the capital of Bahia, experience the inlands and practise hiking in South America’s top one hiking destination, Chapada Diamantina and last but not least enjoy the stunning beaches of Morro de São Paulo and maybe even extend your stay to the less crowded island of Boipepa, both of them filled with palm trees and most importantly with no motorized traffic to disturb you. A facinating combination that allows you to experience the best of Bahia with no need to spend and time on the airports!

Top Pousada: Naming a top pousada is a pretty tough question, maybe because I’m pretty critic when it comes to perfection or maybe many of them have been at expected level, but still it’s hard to say which one would be simply outstanding. So after having tought about the options, I decided to let you know my overall top pousada, my top charm pousada and my top service pousada.

Casarão da Amazônia

Casarão da Amazônia

The first one goes to Casarão da Amazônia, a simply lovely pousada in the island of Marajó, in Pará. Casarão da Amazônia has a perfect location in the village of Souré, close to the top beaches and interesting eco-tourism sights. It’s an old colonial mansion reformed with excellent taste and surrounded by a garden with pool area. And after all it’s not just the appearance and comfort, it’s also about the friendliness of the stuff and the great value for money that Casarão da Amazônia offers for its’ guests.

When it comes to charm I would name Vila Serrano, in the village of Lencois (Chapada Diamantina), in Bahia. This tiny pousada is a enchanting combination of colonial style, feng shui and comfort. The individually decorated rooms have and romantic ambient and even the public areas of this lovely pousada are in full harmony with the nature. Simply charming!

Top service wasn’t actually difficult at all. It goes clearly to Barra Velha, a pousada located in Maragogi, the state of Alagoas. I know the northeastern Brazil is known for hospitality, tasty food and generous breakfast, but still a stay at Barra Velha went over all my expectations when it comes to the hospitality. Being welcomed by the owners and attented with an attitude that went beyond our needs and expectations was something that made the service of Barra Velha extraordinary. Really a place to feel yourself at  home!

Top Restaurant: When I travel I usually enjoy trying different restaurants, tasting several options and discovering new experiences. Basically this means that unless the food is simply irresistible I rarely eat more than once or maximum twice in the same place, and in that case I surely taste two different dishes. However there do have been few exceptions being one of them over the others. I usually ask for restaurant recommendations from the staff of my pousada or hotel. This is exactly what I did in Canoa Quebrada as well. I was recommended to eat in a restaurant called Cabana, located right on Broadway, the main street of Canoa Quebrada. After having experienced Cabana I found myself repeating the experice even more than tiwce. I tried several dishes and time after time ended more and more satisfield. Cabana offer absolutely tasty food with first class incredients and great value for money. Cannot recommend more!

Vila Serrano

Vila Serrano

It wasn’t easy and my top places might change at any moment of time,

but today these are top choices in Brazil.

Travelling in Brazil is always a pleasure, it’s full of nice surprises and after all…

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Ouro Preto, the real pearl of Minas Gerais

Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto

Many of the mayor Brazilian cities do have their colonial side with colorful buildings, mosaics and traditional architecture, however I would say that you haven’t seen colonial Brazil before you have seen Ouro Preto. Ouro Preto is different, it’s unique, it’s a must see destination which will surprise you. What makes Ouro Preto so special then? Ouro Preto is not just a colonial old town with beautiful historic churches, Ouro Preto is an another Brazil that you will not find by visiting the well-known cities or beach destinations. After having seen a large number of less conserved cities in Brazil, what mostly impressed me with Ouro Preto was the consciousness of conservation. Without taking into account the entrance, even today the streets of Ouro Preto are made of stones and the new construction has to follow stricktly the tradional architecture. Here you will not see any modern high rising buildings netx to a lovely colonial house, no Ouro Preto is still like decades ago. Basically in the heart of city there is only one modern building. It happens to a hotel, designed by famous Brazilian architecture Oscar Niemayer. A little detail that can easily be forgiven. So once you walk in the narrow streets of Ouro Preto you can enjoy the atmospheare without running into any signs of modern construction. This fact gives Ouro Preto its’ special charm and attracts tourist both at national and at international levels.

Streets of Ouro Preto

Streets of Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto enjoys an easy access from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais. The distance from the city is only about 100 km and a little bit more if you depart from the international airport of Belo Horizonte. The simplest way to reach this lovely town is to hire a private transfer unless you are not into renting a car and driving by yourself, which in fact is an interesting option as it allows you to discover the nearby cities such as Mariana as well. Once you arrive to Ouro Preto the best way to move around is on foot, but pay attention on the shoes you are wearing. Forget the high heals and any slippery shoes, as walking in the city means going up and down and up again. Also, make sure you get accommodated in the heart of the city which allows quick and easy access to all the attractions at any time of the day.

Igreja São Francisco de Assis

Igreja São Francisco de Assis

Praça de Tiradentes, the main square of Ouro Preto is a starting point for your adventures in this colonial town. Visit the Museum of Betrayal (Museo de Inconfidência) to learn a lot about the history of the region. On the other end of the square stands the Museum of Mineralogy with varied collection of minerals from quartz to diamonds. Ouro Preto has 13 traditonal churches dating from baroque and rokokoo eras. All of them are worth visited but if your time and interest is limited include at least the three most important ones into your schedule. They are city’s oldest church Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Pilar with almost 1000 pounds of gold and nearly 900 pounds of silver, Igreja de São Francisco de Assis which is a unique rokokoo church known as a masterpiece of Aleijadinho one of the most highly-regarded Brazilian artists.  The museum and the grave of this famous painter, scupltor and architect are located at the church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, also worth visiting. Aleijadinho suffered leprosy and the legend says that after having lost his fingers he c0ntinued working by strapping tools to his stumps. Beside of his talent this is one of the facts that makes his art extremely interesting and definitely worth admiring. When planning your trip to Ouro Preto remember that most of the churches and museums stay closed on Mondays.

Matriz Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Matriz Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Ouro Preto means black gold, name that was given to the city due to the minerals (including gold) found from the region. Today, as a tourist, you can visit the mines which during the gold rush were the working place of hundreds and thousands of slaves. Narrow alleyways inside of the mine tell a cruel history of unhuman working conditions of the slaves, who made all the hard work not only in Ouro Preto but many other parts of Brazil during the slavery.  Once you have visited the principal sights, wander around the pictoresque streets of Ouro Preto, take pictures and enjoy the unique atmospheare of this charming city. In case you are visiting Ouro Preto during the summer time visit the waterfalls of the region for a refreshing bath.

Colonial Ouro Preto

Colonial Ouro Preto

When the night falls, Ouro Preto invites you to enjoy fine dining with live music. Jazz and Brasilian popular music (MPB) are the two principal rhythms heard in many restaurants. The offer of cultural events in Ouro Preto is pretty good and one of the most popular events is the festival of Jazz organized every year in September. However even outside of special dates you will always find a cozy place to enjoy a cup of coffee, a class of wine or a delicious meal while you listen to live music. On your next trip to Brazil, don’t miss Ouro Preto, it’s pure magic and easy to fall in love with.

Praça Tiradentes

Praça Tiradentes

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Hotel Solar do RosarioThe best hotel of Ouro Preto with top service and all the facilities. Solar do Rosario is well located in a peaceful corner of the city, next to the church of Rosario and just about 10 minutes walk from the main square. It offers high quality accommodation with colonial touch of Ouro Preto and all the possible services including meeting facilities, 2 pool (natural and heated one) and a gym. Highly recommended!
  • Pousada do Mondego A quality pousada next to the São Francisco de Assis church and just a block from the main square.
  • Hotel do Teatro – A tiny hotel in a silent street just a step away from the main square. Rooms of Hotel do Teatro are decorated with traditional colonial style and it offers good value for money.
  • Cafe Gerais – Tasty meals, ambient decorated with good taste and high quality live jazz in the evenings. An excellent place to enjoy your dinner together with couple of drinks.
  • Restaurante Acaso 85 Looking for a romantic ambient for special celebration? Then your destination must be Acaso 85, a restaurant that from outside doesn’t impress at all, but hides an extremely romantic ambient, with different spaces, one of them an open air garden with candle light. Highly recommended!
  • Casa do OuvidorA recommended place for lunch or dinner. Taste dishes, good ambient and great value for money. Try especially the tradional meals from the region of Minas Gerais!
  • O Passo – A pizzaria with a lovely terrace, for you to have a drink, light snack or a while while listening to live music in open air.
Igresa Nossa Senhora do Carmo

Igresa Nossa Senhora do Carmo

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