It seems that lately, all eyes are on Brazil. The inspiration in fashion is evident, Havaianas sandals adorn the feet of celebs and even the latest OPI nail colors are a nod to the colorful Brazilian culture. With the excitement mounting surrounding the 2014 World Cup – which kicks off today (June 12!) in 12 cities across the mega-country – we thought we’d share a couple quaint getaway spots. Whether you’re looking for a bit of relaxation after jumping into the fray, donning your team colors and shouting G-O-O-A-L!, or just taking notes for a sojourn down the road, these beautiful seaside getaways are a real score.
Situated almost equidistant between the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo on the coastline where the jungle meets the ocean is the quaint and romantic town of Paraty (also sometimes spelled Parati). This historical colonial town is a step back in time, where the center is closed to cars making it a charming place to stroll cobblestone streets. We suggest a day of exploring the old town and then heading out to sea to explore jutting peninsulas and serene beaches or sublime hikes to jaw dropping waterfalls (cachoeiras). Free Spirit Adventures is our tour guide of choice for exploring the green coast, named for the emerald-hued waters. Jorge Elage will put together the perfect day trip or multi-day trip with just the right amount of adventure for you and your travel companions. After your explorations, book a massage at the Shambhala Spa. The divine coconut body scrub is not to be missed and be sure to leave a little extra time to soak in the beautiful gardens. Keep the heavenly vibe going at the famed Banana De Terra restaurant – it is truly a religious experience. There are several enchanting places to stay in Paraty, from the lovely Casa Turquesa (in the centro historico) to the luxurious Pousada Picinguaba (slightly out of town), but our preferred place is the artsy and unique Pousada Arte Urquijo.
Just south of the island city of Florianopolis in the sunny state of Santa Catarina is a surfer’s paradise. With a boasted 560 kilometers (that is about 348 miles) of coastline, the beaches are plentiful. Our favorite is Praia Do Rosa. It’s the perfect spot to try surfing for the first time or sharpen your skills on the board. Even better, just sit back relax and admire the surfer scenery. If you are traveling between July and November, be sure to set up a whale watching expedition. After a full day of beach fun, explore the boutiques and lively restaurants in the adorable town. You can find live music almost every night, not to mention someone who would be happy to teach you some samba moves. You simply can’t beat the views and the friendly staff at the Solar Mirador hotel, perched perfectly above the Praia Do Rosa bay. A short walk down a slightly steep hill through a luscious rainforest brings you to a small dock on a lagoon; the kind boat man will then transfer you across the lagoon and set you up in a prime spot on the beach with an umbrella and chairs. Talk about a getaway! We can not say enough about this place. The lobby has views, the restaurant, Urucum (which is delicious, by the way) has views, the guest rooms have views, even the hot tubs have views. Umm…wait- did we mention the views?!
In the state of Bahia not far from Salvador is a peninsula that feels almost untouched. It’s not for the fair-weathered traveler, though, as it does take some effort to get there. But trust us – it’s worth it! One of our favorite spots is an old fishing village and home to a broad spectrum of relocated Paulistas (those from the city of São Paulo) looking for a slower pace of life as well as European and South American ex-pats. Barra Grande sits at the end of the Marau Peninsula and can be accessed by boat from the town of Camamu. This special paradise has the mellow waters of the bay on one side and the bold waves of the Atlantic on the other. You can walk for miles on a seemingly endless beach in near solitude. The sunset (“por do sol”) at the point of the peninsula is how you mark the days on the calendar. Watching the sun dip into the bay from Macunaima bar and restaurant with an “anti-stress caipirinha” in hand will melt away any remaining worries you might have. Stay in town at the Pousada Ponta Do Muta, or opt for full luxury at Kiaroa Resort (which makes the “getting there” part much easier as they fly you directly on to the hotel’s private airstrip from Salvador.) Now that is luxury!