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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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.

Samba Carnivals in Brazil

Carnival is celebrated widely around Latin America, but there is no other so wellknown Carnival as world famous Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. The date of Carnival changes depending on the year. It starts officially on Saturday, 40 days before Easter and goes on until Tuesday. However a large number of celebration is hold both before and after the official days.

Samba Parade

Samba Parade

Carnival is celebrated widely around Brazil and the style varies depending on the geopgraphical location. The fame of Rio de Janeiros’s Carnival is one in kind, even though the world’s biggest street party is celebrated in Salvador (Bahia). One of the most traditional Carnival takes place in Olinda, which a small colonial city next to Recife. The Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro is celebrated in Sambadrome designed by famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemayer. If you pretend to assist the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, make sure you get your ticket early enough and be prepaid to pay a good price of it, as this world famous parade is not an economic happening at all.

Outside of the official parades and samba school competions the Carnival industry offers many other activities as well. A tourist who visits Brazil outside of the Carnival period can get a piece of the feeling by assisting the samba school rehearsals, which tend to start in September and go on until the Carnival. Before Carnival there are also bigger rehearsals taking place almost weekly in Sambadrome.  These rehearsals are basically very similar to the samba Carnival parade, but without floats and costumes. Another interesting place is the Samba City, located close to the port of Rio de Janeiro. It is an another place holding samba rehearsals and events both before and after the Carnival. The Samba City is also open all year around (except Tuesdays) for those who want to see how the costumes, wagons and instruments are made.

Bloco das Carmelitas

Bloco das Carmelitas

Beside of all the official events, a large number of street parties (blocos) are hold all around the city, staring few weeks before the Carnival. These colorful parades are an option for you to feel the spirit of Carnival without participating the official celebrations at Sambadrome. One of the most charming ones is Bloco das Carmelitas organized in the pictoresque neighborhood of Santa Teresa.

Please check out the Rio Carnival website for detailed information and schedules. In the mean while, let’s see if the 2009 champion, Salgueiro, will repeat the victory this year. The top 5 samba schools will show us the best of them in the champions parade, which takes place in Sambadrome on Saturday after the Carnival.

Enjoy the spirit of Samba!


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!

Paradise on the Earth: Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco


Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha

The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha lies in the Atlantic ocean, about 360 km from the city of Natal, being the eastest inhabited point of Brazil. The volcanic archipelago is both a beach and eco-tourism destination. Year after year the beaches of Fernando de Noronha are among the most beautiful ones of Brazil and thanks to the rich marine life of the archipelago it’s with no doubt Brazil’s best diving and snorkeling spot.

The only way to reach Fernando de Noronha is by air and the connections from the continent leave either from Natal or from Recife. The flying time is about an hour. Fernando de Noronha applies a tourist tax which can be paid before arrival via internet or at the airport. The amouth of the tax is about 33 R$ per day and to avoid queues, we do recommend you to pay the tax in before hand. Basically all the pousadas (=brazilian guesthouse) include airport transfers in the basic price of the stay, so therefore you do not need to worry about the transportation once you arrive to Noronha. At the airport you will meet a large number of agencies offering tours and activities. It’s a good idea for you to pick some brochures in order  to get an idea of all the activities available in the island.

Baía do Sancho

Baía do Sancho

When talking about Fernando de Noronha, it’s good to remember that we talk about a National Park and the fragile nature of this paradise island is highly protected. For an ordinary tourist this means that you will probably not find any other cleaner beach from Brazil than the beaches of Fernando de Noronha. On the other hand, it’s also good to remember that you will also be responsable of keeping them clean, otherwise high penalties will apply. Don’t expect to find a hotel located right on the beach, nor beach servicies with chairs and bars. At Fernando de Noronha the beaches are protected and no building are allowed on the beach. Basically the only so called “beach bar” can be found from the beach of Praia do Meio and the centrally located Praia do Cachorro may have locals selling drinks and light snacks as well.

Praia do Leão

Praia do Leão

Dois Irmãos

Dois Irmãos

The three most beautiful Brazilian beaches (rated by the Brazilian authorities) can be found from Fernando de Noronha. The number one, Baía do Sancho, can be reached either by sea or by descending ladders hanging in between two rocks. This color of water is a mixture of turquoise, green and light blue, and you may observe a large number of tropical fish while swimming or snorkeling around. The second most beautiful beach is Baía dos Porcos, located next to Baía do Sancho. Both of them offer some most espectacular views over the coast and the sea. Baía dos Porcos, which is located in front of the famous rocks called “Dois Irmãos“, has a number of natural swimming pools and it also excellent for snorkeling. The last but not the least at the top three is a beach called Praia do Leão.  This beach, located in the southeastern part of the Fernando de Noronha is the longest one of the island and the color of water is deep blue. This is where the sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach.  To reach all these and many other beaches for the first time it’s recommendable to have a local guide with you. One of the most popular excursions in Fernando de Noronha is a tour around the island, which takes you to all the famous beaches and ends up to being an excellent way to get to know the island.

Conceisão

Conceisão

The main attraction of Noronha is the nature, especially the under water life. This makes the island to be the best diving and snorkeling destination of the country. Some of the best beaches to observe the marine wild life year around are Praia Atalaia and Praia Sueste. Praia Atalaia is practically a natural aquarium and located within the National Park area. That’s why a limited number of person (30) is allowed to visit this it on daily basis. Praia Sueste on the other hand is the calmest beach of the island allowing diving and snorkeling at any time of the year. Like all around Fernando de Noronha, here diving is also limited to certain areas in order to protect the coral reefs. The island of Fernando de Noronha is also very popular among surfers, being the beach of Conceicão one of the best options for surfing. The wawes are ideal from December to February and this is also one of the best points to enjoy spectacular sunsets of the island. For those that are not into water sports Fernando de Noronha offers options for hiking, horseback riding or deep sea fishing. Dolpins can be seen either early in the morning at the bay of Baía dos Golfinhos or day time during boat excursions organized by the travel agencies.

Check out our itinerary suggestions including the island of Fernando de Noronha.

Sunset

Sunset

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Algas Marinhas – a small pousada located in Floresta Nova, close the to village of Vila dos Remedios. Helpfull staff together with rooms decorated with good taste and quality materials makes this pousada an excellent value for money.
  • Pousada Solar dos Ventos – wooden bungalows located in the southern part of the island with views over the the bay of Baía do Sudeste. An excellent choice for those willing to have full privacy during their stay.
  • Dolphion Hotel – Dolphin offers hotel standard accommodation with rustic charm of pousadas respecting the surrounding nature. Location just a short step away from the landmark of Noronho, Morro do Pico.
  • Pousada Zé Maria – If you want to spoil yourself with the best that Fernando de Noronha has to offer choose Pousada Zé Maria with prime location on the island.
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