Brazil, football and World Cup

Brazil is basically counting days for the football World Cup to start in South Africa.  Anywhere you go, you will se streets decorated with green and yellow items. Stores are full of T-shirts, flags, hats and other material to support the national team. If you are in Brazil, there simply is no way for you to ignore this happening. The passion Brazilians have for football is something extraordinary. You might have thought people go crazy with ice-hockey or Formula 1, but if you ever happened to be in Brazil during an important football match you know what it is like to become crazy due to sports. Here the emotions are stronger than life, something that may occassionally cause even confusions if the result is not as expected. In case you are into football, make sure to assist at least one match on the stadium that during your trip to Brazil. It will assure a once in a life time experience for you, as assisting a football match in Brazil is a lot more than just a game. It’s a mixture of feelings, combined with songs and shouting whenever the team is in need of support.

In few weeks the national team starts hunting the sixth victory in World Cup. It’s not an easy challenge and even if the coach have been criticed due to his choices, each and every brazilian is supporting the team hoping for the best possible result. And what if Brazil where the next champion? What if they were the first team returning back home with the sixth victory. If this happened all the critics would immediately be forgotten and joy would fill both the streets and the heart of the Brazilians.

During the World Cup Brazil will basically be paralized. Stores will close their doors, banks will interupt the routines and only urgent cases will be attended in fields of commerce and services.  All the attention will be paid on TV screens and the further the Cup goes the bigger the emotions are. This makes me wonder, how will it be in 2014, when Brazil hosts the World Cup. When the world will look for Brazil, Brazil keeps on looking at the stadium.

World Cup 2014 in Brazil will be pure passion!


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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!

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

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!


Indigenous cultures, history and city life in Belem, Pará

Before finishing our chronicle of Pará we want to introduce the state capital Belem for you. Belem is among the most important cities of northern Brazil and is a excellent gateway for this huge region with numerous eco-tourism destinations.  The region of Belem has been home for indigenous tribes and controlled by portuguese conquerors, but today it is an interesting mixture of culture, history and present.

Ver-O-Peso Market

Ver-O-Peso Market

When travelling to Belem, make sure you get accommodated in the city center close to the old port called Estacão das Docas, which has been reformed to serve both locals and tourists with numerous restaurants, bars and shops. This elegant riverside destination is among the most visited parts of Belem and has an excellent access to other nearby attractions. Right next to Estacão das Docas you will find a famouss market place called Ver-o-Peso. Here you will find basically anything from local herbs to souvenirs and be able to taste the famous Açai of the Amazon. Ver-o-Peso is an excellent place to buy souveniers as you will find a large variety of resonably prised handcrafts. Right next to the market place stands a museum introducing the indigenous cultures and their traditions to you, it’s also a good place to shop some handcrafts done by the local tribes.

Cathedral of Sé

Cathedral of Sé

While you walk along the riverside you will come to the oldest part of Belem, which is filled with colonial style buildings reminding us of the era, when Belem was controlled by the portuguese conquerors. These colourful buildings are worth admiring and today many of them serve either as museums or as restaurants. In the hearth of the old town, right at the square of Frei Caetano Brandão you will find a number of attractions, like the impressive Cathedral of Sé, the Palacete of 11 windows (Casa das 11 Janelas) and the old fort of Belem. The Cathedral of Sé is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in Brasil and the former mansion, Palacete of 11 windows on the other hand is a well conserved historical building, which today hosts a museum and a stylish restaurant with same name. The fort of Belem takes you all the way back to the days when the portugueses landed here in 1616, and built the fort with an intention to start controlling these distant lands. Today the fort includes also a very interesting museum taking you to the history of the indian tribes and showing a large number of historical items found in the archelogical excavations.

Colonial houses

Colonial houses

Today Belem is a culinary capital of Amazon region with many stylish restaurants offering tasty meals prepared with local specilities. Try out lunch at the restaurant of Mangal das Gracas, an ambiental park that in addition to the culinary experiences introduces you also to the nature of these ecuatorial regions. For a romantic dinner at candle light, try out the fancy restaurant of Casa das 11 Janelas (the Palacete of 11 windows), where you will feel the presence of history while you enjoy your meal.

Every October the largest catholic festival the Cirio de Nazaré is celebrated in the streets of Belem as homage for the virgin of Nazaré. Once you are familiar with Belem, check out the other attractions (Ilha do Algodoal, Ilha do Marajó and Alter do Chão) of this state where all the events are accompanied by local music Carimbo.

Brasil Diversity recommends:

  • Hotel Espresso XXI Nazaré – If you search for a centrally located accommodation suitable both for business and leisure, try out Espresso XXI Nazaré  a modern hotel in the hearth of Belem.
Estacão das Docas

Estacão das Docas

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!

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