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.
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Rio de Janeiro, Part I: Where to stay and not to stay.

The Marvellous City of Rio de Janeiro

The Marvellous City of Rio de Janeiro

During the short existence of Brazil Diversitys blog we have noticed that many of our readers are looking for detailed information about travelling in Rio de Janeiro. Therefore we decided to come up with this topic as soon as possible, even if there are plenty of other attractive places to visit in Brazil and it’s hard to choose in between them. With no doubt Rio de Janeiro is a marvellous city and has some of the most beautiful views in the world. It’s also a city of  huge contrats and probably due to this travelling to Rio always brings up some questions such as the security. When I first stepped the ground of Rio de Janeiro, I do had to admit that there is something unique and very special in marvellous city. The beauty of the city and the life style of the Cariocas (=native Rio born) left me speechless and fullfilled all my expectations. And it’s was just a start for a long term relations with Rio de Janeiro. So let’s get started!

There are two airports in Rio de Janeiro,  the centrally located airport of Santos Dumont serves only domestic flights and about 25 kilometers from the city you will find the airport of Galeão, serving both international and domestic flights. The simplest way to get to your accommodation is to book an arranged transfer in before hand or take a taxi. The yellow taxis of Rio de Janeiro are everywhere and they are reasonably priced. As anywhere in the world the first time tourist arriving to the international airport has a danger to become cheated by the taxi drivers. All the taxis do have a taxi meter, but the driver may not speak your language, so if you are unable to communicate in portuguese we do recommend you to contract a taxi with fixed price. This is easy! Even before you step out from the airport’s international area you will find a number of ladies calling for you and offering taxi service. Take an advantage of this and book a taxi with fixed price to your destination. The price depends on the neighborhood you are going to.

Copacabana adn Sugar Loaf Mountain

Copacabana and Sugar Loaf Mountain

Now that you are in the city you will start circulating the in neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro. The most well know ones are without any doubt Copacabana and Ipanema. They both give a name not just for the beach, but for the surrounding neighborhood as well. This is also where most of the hotels are concentrated. If you are looking for a beach front hotel with seaview, but are not ready to pay astronomic prices your choice will most probably be located at Copacabana. At this world famous beach you will find a large number of hotels in all categories. Many of them are located right on the beach boulevard Avenida Atlantica, but less pricy hotels can be found few blocks from the seaside. Ipanema on the other hand is one of the fanciest neighborhoods of the city and the beach front has mostly residential buildings. Some highly priced hotels enjoy direct sea view, but also here you will find some larger number of options few blocks away from the beach boulevard.

Centro

Centro

Other interesting neighborhoods, when it comes to tourism are Leblon, an another fancy and most residential neightborhood located right next to Ipanema. Flamengo is a residential neighborhood for local middle class with large number of good quality budget hotels and easy access (10min) by metro to Copacabana Santa Teresa, the bohemian up hill neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro with smaller boutique hotels and an excellent alternative choice thanks to its’ relaxed small town kind of atmospheare. The center of Rio de Janeiro is called “Centro” and it’s basically home for many offices and financial operations of the town. The hotel’s located in the center will not bring any special interest for an ordinary tourist, unless you are travelling on business. It’s recommendable to vist Centro and it’s attractions from Monday till Friday during the day time, when the numerous restaurants and shops are open and you will find many Cariocas in the streets of Centro. At night time and during the weekends Centro remains empty and can turn out to be unsafe for a traveller.

Rio’s location at the Tropic of Capricorn on souther hemispheare means that the winter months June, July and August, temperatures are lower (20-25 degrees) and on the summer time an average temperature is over 30 degrees, occassionaly reaching 40 celcius. Rainfall is highest during the summer time, but usually it means thunderstorms at the end of the day. What would be a good time to stay at Rio then? Some people stop only for two days, other stay two weeks. We would recommend something in between. You will certainly always find something to do in Rio de Janeiro, but nearby in the state there are other interesting places worth of visit like Angra dos Reis, Ilha Grande, Búzios and Arraial do Cabo. All these are beach destinations, ideal for swimming, snorkeling and diving with clearer waters than the capital itself. In the inland, you will find the mountainous areas with options for hiking, mountain biking, river rafting and horseback riding. We do recommend you to take a short escape out of the urban life of Rio and visit at least one of these beautiful areas located nearby. To get an idea take a look at our blog post about Ilha Grande.

One of the many favelas

One of the many favelas

Then the never ending question of safety. Is it really safe to walk in the streets of Rio de Janeiro? On my opinion it’s as safe as walking in any other large city. It’s good to remember that Rio de Janeiro has more than 6 million inhabitants and you should not be wandering around at any part of the city on your own. The favelas (=slums), mostly located up on the hills are not to be visited by yourself. If you want to see this part of Rio de Janeiro, take a tour. It’s an interesting way to find out how big part of the population lives and in addition to sightseeing the tour guide provides you lot of information concerning the social system of Brazil. Highly recommended! Also leave all you jewellery, extra money and other valuable articles at hotel any time going out. There is absolutely no need to carry them with you. At the night time take a taxi, like we mentioned earlier they are everywhere and they are cheap. If at any moment you end up in a dangerous situation, stay calm, hand over all your belongings and contact the Rio’s tourist police afterwards. As a general mnemonic a street with few people should be avoided.

Last but not least, now it’s time to enjoy Rio de Janeiro! Shortly we are going to publish an another blog post discussing about the attractions that Rio de Janeiro has to offer. In the meanwhile, have a walk on the beach and enjoy a glass of chilly caipiriha!

Check out our other blog posts related to Rio de Janeiro:

Our suggested itineraries including Rio de Janeiro

Sunset at Ipanema

Sunset at Ipanema

Brazil Diversity recommends:

Accommodation:

  • Rio Guesthouse A small and stylish penthouse pousada right in the heart of Copacana.
  • Mama Ruisa – A mansion style pousada located up hill in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa.
  • La SuiteYour hideaway design guesthouse in Rio. Choose this option if you want to enjoy the spectacular views without leaving your pousada and don’t mind taking a taxi when willing to discover the attractions of the town.
  • Astoria Palace – A reasonably priced new hotel right in front of the sea at Copacabana.
  • Sofitel Copacabana – Beach front hotel, located just a short step from Ipanema allowing you to enjoy easily the attractions of both world famous beaches.
  • Travelling with tight budget and looking for a hostel? Try out Bamboo Rio Hostel or Vila Carioca Hostel, both offering private rooms and dormotories.

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.

Vote for your favourite Diversity!

Each and every traveller is on the road seeking for something, therefore our preferred holiday type may reflect our values and spare time activities. Many of our friends also share our passion for travelling, though it doesn’t mean that our interests are equal. Among our friends, there are those who look for ultimate comfort and total relaxation on the beach, just to compense the stressfull every day life. Some choose the destination so that they practise their favourite hobby under a sunny sky…or a blue sea, and others prefer finding out as much as possible of the culture and the history of their destination.  There are travellers who travel on the other side of the globe, just to be in touch with the wildlife and those who cannot stay out of the shops, not even during the holiday and for them returning back home with a number of new items is the fullfillment of the trip. We also know backpackers, charter lovers, travellers who prefer the beach and those who prefer the mountain.

Let us know what is your favourite Brazilian diversity by choosing one or more of the following options:

Escape Urban Life: Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro

Ilha Grande is one of the wonders located in the state of Rio de Janeiro. This former prison island is nowadays a popular tourism destination that has conserved the charming intimacy and unspoiled touch.

Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande is easy to reach and we warmly recommend travellers who come to Rio, experience the alternative lifestyle of  this tropical island. To reach Ilha Grande, you can choose between few options, first of all you have to travel either to Mangaratiba or to Angra dos Reis by bus or car, and then after take a ferry boat/catamaran/speed boat to Ilha Grande. The shortest boat connection is from Angra dos Reis. There is a regular bus from Rio to Angra dos Reis via Mangaratiba, however we do recommend you to take a speed transfer, which includes a van transportation directly from the capital of the state to the port  and vice versa. The schedules of speed transfer are adjusted to the catamaran schedules, making it clearly the fastest and simplest way to reach Ilha Grande. We also recommend catamaran over the ferry boat, due to the time save. By crossing the sea with catamaran (about 50 min) you will save about 2 hours compared to the ferry boat. The speed boat transfers (25min) are available requiering a minimun number of participants and therefore being suitable especially for small groups.

Beach Ilha Grande

Beach Ilha Grande

Once you reach Ilha Grande you will quickly find out that this paradise island has no cars (expect few available only for the militar use). The streets are sandy and the peaceful atmospheare can be felt immediately. Feels like you had travelled far away from the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro. The main village of the island, Abrão, is tiny village located in a beautiful bay offering a wide range of tourism services such as pousadas (=brazilian guesthouse), restaurants, shops and bars.  Due to the mountainous tropical vegetation the other villages of the island can be reached either by sea or by longer walk through the few pathways crossing the island.

Lopes Mendes

Lopes Mendes

At Ilha Grande you will find some of the most beautiful beaches of Brazil, the most well-known of them is Lopes Mendes, which was recently chosen within the top 10 of Brazil. This beach can be reached by one of the several boat tours departing from Abrão every hour during the morning. The boat will take you to another beach, easy to embark from where you can reach Lopes Mendes after a short walk through the Atlantic rainforest. Lopes Mendes is a white sandy beach with no beach services (sometimes you may find people selling water, soft drinks and beer). This is a perfect place to relax, enjoy the beauty of the nature and have a long walk along the beach.

If you are not afraid of longer walk through the pathways we recommend you to preserve one day for Dois Rios, a beautiful beach located further away from Abrão. Most of the year the waves of this bay do not allow boat to embark in front it, therefore Dois Rios can be reached only by walk (about 2-2½ hours/oneway). The walk through the pathways is enjoyable for those like active holidays. It allows you to be in touch with the local nature, observe the vegetation, flowers and birds. From the top of the hill you will have a beautiful view over the village of Abrão. Dois Rios itself is a small village where the former prison is located. The sea is often very strong and not recommendable for a swim. However the two river (Dois Rios=Two Rivers), one at each end of the beach, are not only beautiful but also perfect for a swim. Personally we preferred the one at our left hand side, but it’s up to you to choose your favourite. No beach services can be found from Dois Rios and there are few restaurant offering home made food in the village, so we recommend you to take at least some light snack and drinks with you before you leave Abrão.

Beach Dois Rios

Beach Dois Rios

River Dois Rios

River Dois Rios

Ilha Grande offers also a number of other activities for tourist. You can hike through the pathways, being Dois Rios one of the most popular light hikes. Another beautiful beach of Caixadaco (close to Dois Rios) requires hiking through more difficult forest areas and it is recommendable to have a local guide with you. The most challenging hike that requieres certain physical condition is the Pico do Papagaío, the second highest peaks of the island. This full hike takes you up to 990 meters from the sea level and from the top of the peak you will have stunning views over the whole island.
Ilha Grande is  a paradise for the lovers of water activities. From the village of Abrão, you will find a number of different tours organized in the island. One of the best places for snorkling are the Lagoa Verde (=green lagoon) and Lagoa Azul (=blue lagoon), both with large number of tropical fish. If your schedule is tight or you just want to take the maximum out of your stay, we recommend you to take a speed boat tour around half of the island. Thiss tour stops at several beaches as well as at Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. This way you will not spend the entire day travelling back and forth by a schooner.
The Brazil Diversity recommends the following pousadas in Ilha Grande:
BossaNova – a simple pousada located in the heart of the village. Located in one of the principal streests, close to the restaurants and the piers.
Só Natureza – a pousada with large, simply furnished rooms and garden with pool area. Located in the heart of the village.
Naturalia – Lovely pousada with excellent value for money, surrounded by the tropical vegetation and located in a peaceful corner, a short walk away from the heart of the village.
Asalem – a small pousada further away from the village, totally isolated allowing full interaction with the surrounding nature.

Ilha Grande offers also a number of other activities for tourist. You can hike through the pathways, being Dois Rios one of the most popular light hikes. Another beautiful beach of Caixadaco (close to Dois Rios) requires hiking through more difficult forest areas and it is recommendable to have a local guide with you. The most challenging hike that requieres certain physical condition is the Pico do Papagaío, the second highest peak of the island. This full hike takes you up to 990 meters from the sea level and from the top of the peak you will have stunning views over the whole island.

Ilha Grande is  a paradise for the lovers of water activities. From the village of Abrão, you will find a number of different tours organized in the island. One of the best places for snorkling are the Lagoa Verde (=green lagoon) and Lagoa Azul (=blue lagoon), both with large number of tropical fish. If your schedule is tight or you just want to take the maximum out of your stay, we recommend you to take a speed boat tour around half of the island. Thiss tour stops at several beaches as well as at Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. This way you will not spend the entire day travelling back and forth by a schooner.

Check out our recommended itineraries with Ilha Grande.

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • BossaNova – a simple pousada located in the heart of the village. Located in one of the principal streests, close to the restaurants and the piers.
  • Só Natureza – a pousada with large, simply furnished rooms and garden with pool area. Located in the heart of the village.
  • Naturalia – Lovely pousada with excellent value for money, surrounded by the tropical vegetation and located in a peaceful corner, a short walk away from the heart of the village.
  • Asalem – a small pousada further away from the village, totally isolated allowing full interaction with the surrounding nature.
Tropical Islands

Tropical Islands

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