Category Archives: Brazil

Hidden beaches with amazing hotels on the North East Coast of Brazil

Brazil is one of those countries that instantly conjures up vibrant images of samba, carnival and beaches.  And there are a lot of beaches, 17 out of the 26 states have coast and each state has its own beach life and style.  The Brazilians love the beach and they have a lot of choice, so when a Brazilian say’s somewhere has the best beaches – sit up and take note – it’s going to be something special.  Alagoas is one such destination.  The state is hardly known outside of Brazil, yet it has some of the hippest and most sought-after beach destinations in the country.

One of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches is on Alagoas Costa do Corais (Coral Coast) near the village of São Miguel dos Milagres.  This particular stretch of sand regularly features in the press as one of the best beach destinations in the country.  However since the main highway is inland only those in the know turn off to the sleepy beach side villages that make up the Costa do Corais (Coral Coast).  There is not a single branded hotel or high-rise resort in sight, just miles and miles of pristine sandy beaches lined by coconut palms. And thanks to the fact that public transport is practically non-existent and the nearest airports are miles away in Recife and Maceió these villages are quiet places, retaining their traditional ways and rural charm.

São Miguel dos Milagres lies on the stretch of coast that runs from Maragogi in the North to Barro do Camaragibe in the South. One of the best things about this particular part of the Brazilian coast is the pousadas (small hotels).  The area is famous for its luxury style pousadas that excel in gourmet food, fine wine, excellent service and sit right on the beach.  Nothing beats this, being directly on the beach is a real treat and nothing comes close to walking out of your room and straight onto the sand.  Although if you do tire of the beach there is plenty of exploring to do; take one of the local Jangadeiro’s (a small traditional fishing boat) out to the tidal pools, go snorkelling on the coral reefs or visit the eco-reserve and see the Manatees that live in the protected marine reserve.

We stayed at Pousada do Toque, which was one of the first pousadas to arrive in the area and has lead the way in defining the luxury style of relaxed accommodation that has made the area so in-demand.  Pousada do Toque still remains one of the most sought-after places along the coast but competition is stiff and we have heard excellent reports about Vila do Patacho, Pousada Riacho dos Milagres and Pousada Amendoeira.

Click here to take a peek at the gorgeous beaches on the Coral Coast in Alagoas, Brazil.

For more information visit:

Pousada do Toque:  http://www.pousadadotoque.com.br/

Vila do Patacho:  http://www.viladopatacho.com.br/

Kenoa Beach Spa & Resort:  www.kenoaresort.com

Pousada Riacho dos Milagres: http://pousadariachodosmilagres.com.br/

Pousada Amendoeira:  http://www.pdamendoeira.com.br/

Transport:  Nearest airports are in Recife and Maceió.  All the pousadas offer a transfer service and can arrange transport if you want to explore the region.

Beach Praia do Toque
Beach Praia do Toque
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Ronco do Bugio – one of São Paulo’s best kept secrets

You don’t associate São Paulo with nature or outdoors activities, it is Brazil’s largest city and one of the most populated in the world.  But people often forget that São Paulo is also the name of Brazil’s 12th largest state (which is about the size of the UK) and has plenty of beautiful places to visit, many within reach of the city.  The beautiful São Paulo coast and the idyllic island Ilhabela are within driving distance; as are the mountain villages of Brotas and Socorro, which are famous for their cool climates and eco-adventure activities.  However, the real gem, Ronco do Bugio, is only 100km away and is probably one of the Paulista’s best keep secrets.  This small hotel is hidden deep within Brazil’s beautiful Mata Atlântica forest and offers the perfect place to escape the crowds and relax.

Brazil’s Mata Atlântica forest is special. It is an endangered habitat and the second-largest rainforest in Brazil, after the Amazon.  What makes Ronco do Bugio even more interesting is its location, it backs onto the Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar, which is the largest continuous area of the endangered Mata Atlantic in the country.  This makes the area pretty unique and it is home to many endemic species as well as the rare howler monkeys that give the hotel its name.

Great care has been taken to ensure that Ronco do Bugio is integrated into its natural surroundings and the buildings, garden and forest intertwine to great effect.  At the heart of the Pousada is a comfortable lounge and bar; a separate V.I.P lounge for dogs; and a pretty restaurant with a large open fire.  On the second floor is a separate breakfast lounge.  Breakfast is a long and delightfully serious affair at Ronco do Bugio and since it is a something that shouldn’t be missed they serve it all day to avoid disappointment.

All the buildings at Ronco do Bugio have been constructed from Hidden Chapel at Ronco do Bugioreclaimed and recycled materials from old and historic buildings.
This means the hotel is full of hidden charms and unusual details.  Keep an eye out for the tiny old chapel hidden away at the hotel’s entrance and the banisters in the main building, which are decorated with musical notes because the materials were salvaged from an old music school.

The Fazendas of Minas Gerais provide the inspiration for the architecture and the interior designs and there is an abundance of Brazilian textiles and art used throughout the pousada.  There are 14 beautiful suites hidden away in the gardens that surround the main building.  Each has a discrete little path leading up to its own porch and a private veranda or garden.  All the suites are uniquely decorated and have cosy living areas with working fires.

There is a pool nestled in the naturally occurring boulders, which is fed by a natural spring and surrounded by forest flowers and plants.  There is also a dry sauna that looks directly out onto the rainforest with a small waterfall directly outside so it is easy to cool off.  There are numerous activities on offer, for the energetic there are walking trails, waterfalls, horse-riding expeditions and mountain biking trails. Whilst for those who prefer to relax there are massages, an extensive video library and tea tasting sessions.

Food and wine are taken very seriously at Ronco do Bugio and the kitchen is overseen by Eduardo Duo, an exceptionally talented chef, whose passion for food shines through in every dish.  Eduardo sources 90% of all his ingredients from the area and the freshness and quality of the produces can be tasted in every mouthful.  The area has the perfect climatic conditions for herbs and the kitchen and bar make good use of them in the food and a range of fresh teas and fantastic cocktails.  The region is also the largest producers of artichoke in Brazil and Eduardo has created a special tasting menu dedicated to this delicacy.  As one might expect Ronco do Bugio has an outstandingly good wine cellar too, so that you can be sure to find the perfect wine to accompany your meal.

It is said that the Paulista knows how to live life well and if Ronco do Bugio is anything to go by we are inclined to agree.

Ronco do Bugio is in the Sao Paulo State just a couple of hours drive from the city.  For more information visit: http://www.roncodobugio.com.br

Prefer to head to the beach?  Then check out these images of Brazil click here

Ronco do Bugio VIP dogs lounge

A little piece of paradise in Alagoas, Brazil

A Taste Of Brazil

 

I had the privileged of living in Brazil for many years and travelled extensively throughout the country.  Here are a few of my favourite places:  from the iconic cityscapes of Rio de Janeiro to the fantastic beaches of Rio Grande do Norte and Alagoas and the beautiful Sitio de Burle Marx hidden away in the countryside outside Rio de Janeiro.  Click here to read about my favourite mountain hide-away Ronco do Bugio and here for secret places in Alagoas.

Roberto Burle Marx was an internationally acclaimed architect and designer who created the famous mosaic pavement along Rio’s beach front .  His house and gardens are inspirational.

More information about these fabulous destinations can be found at:

Brazil:  http://www.visitbrasil.com/

Rio de Janeiro:   http://www.rioguiaoficial.com.br/

Sitio Burle Marx:  http://sitioburlemarx.blogspot.com.br/

Praia de Pipa:  http://www.pipaonline.com.br/index.php

Alagoas:  http://www.turismo.al.gov.br/