Rio de Janeiro – City of God

8 Nov

Rio de Janerio is a city living life at full throttle. It’s energetic, vibrant and dedicated to pleasure. Famous for its hedonistic carnival, fanatical beach culture, pulsating music and passion for sport, nothing is ever done half-heartedly. Rio’s intense urban beauty is also nothing short of mind-blowing. Undulating mountains covered in lush forests overlook curving bays of golden sand and sparkling blue sea. Old districts with colonial mansions and leafy parks blend seamlessly with soaring skyscrapers and modern stadiums. Even the ramshackle favelas stacked high into the hillside add colour and life to this diverse and open-minded city. Locals love to boast, with a cheeky smile, that “On the eighth day, God created Rio” and it’s easy to believe this city has truly been blessed.

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Bohemian Beach Heaven – Bahia’s Discovery Coast

24 Aug

Travelling south of Porto Seguro, there are three beautiful holiday villages, each with their own characteristics and magical charms. Arraial D’Ajuda, Trancoso and Caraiva all started life as fishing villages on Brazil’s palm lined Bahia coast and have developed into trendy getaways with completely distinct personalities. There’s something for every taste here and the further south you go the more remote and rustic the locations become. With a passion for the beach and everything that goes with it, it’s not surprising that Brazilians have developed a saying for the things they love – “é minha praia” – which literally translates as “that’s my beach” so we decided to do a little research of our own and spend time in each of these villages to see which one we would call ‘our’ beach.

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Surf’s Up at Itacaré

2 Aug

Watching the Atlantic surf roll in on Itacaré’s picture perfect beaches is mesmerising. As the swell rises, white spray rides on top of deep blue water, leaving a champagne fizz in its wake. A short way out, toned and tanned bodies lie half submerged in the water looking out to sea, counting waves and waiting for the perfect ride. Then they begin paddling fast on the swollen wave before it breaks. It looks so simple, so effortless: in one smooth movement the surfers mount their boards and gracefully ride the wave all the way into shore. They are lost in the moment, totally at one with nature, and we are transfixed by the show.

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The Dazzling Gems of Chapada Diamantina

26 Jul

With thousands of kilometres of tropical beaches, happening cities and hedonistic festivals to be discovered along Brazil’s coastline, it might seem incredibly hard to drag yourself away and head inland. If you were at all tempted to haul yourself off your sun-lounger and hang up your dancing shoes to make just one trip into Brazil’s interior, this would surely be it! The National Park of Chapada Diamantina (Diamond Highlands) is located 300 kilometres west of Salvador and for a short time it was the diamond mining capital of the world. These days, its true value lies in eco-tourism and those who make the effort to travel here will rewarded beyond their wildest dreams. This is the Outback of Brazil: where space and big skies seem to go on forever; where larger than life landscapes filled with mountain plateaus, waterfalls, wooded valleys and underground caves stir your imagination; where a slower pace of life and laid-back attitude ensures you appreciate the smaller things; and where the range of exciting activities will leave you bewildered.

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Festival Fever – Festa do Bonfim

19 Jul

Brazil is famous for its vibrant festivals and raucous celebrations. Naturally outgoing and full of life, smiles and laughter, Brazilians instinctively know how to have a good time making their parties amongst the biggest and best in the world. Images of streets thronged with carefree revellers, live bands playing every kind of music and curvaceous ladies dancing in sequined bikinis is not a marketing ploy, this is the real deal! The Brazilian calendar is chock-full of festivals and if you spend any length of time in the country, it’s highly likely you’ll stumble across one. For those lucky enough to be swept up in the festival spirit, the anything-goes celebratory vibe is infectious and it will undoubtedly be the highlight of any trip to Brazil.

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THIS is Salvador

9 Jul

A cacophony of drums pound out rhythmical African beats. This is Salvador. Muscular bodies soaked in sweat kick, flip and twist inside a Capoeira circle. This is Salvador. Parades of people holding religious statues aloft, march on ancient churches where singing and clapping congregations watch miracles performed. This is Salvador. Young boys with jet black skin and tight curly hair, tirelessly perform back flips on golden sandy beaches. This is Salvador. Baiana women wearing traditional Bahian dress weave along the old town’s cobbled alleyways and past colourful colonial buildings evoking imagery of African slaves. This is Salvador.

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Urban Beach Dreams – Maceió

28 Jun

Meandering along the palm-lined promenade and looking out across golden sand to painted sailboats bobbing on the clear green sea, it was easy to see why Maceió is a destination on the up.  Located in Brazil’s northern state of Alagoas, the modern city of Maceió initially thrived due to the sugar industry but is now fast becoming a hotspot with tourists in the know. The laid-back city has vibrant nightlife with excellent restaurants and bars but its biggest crowd pleaser has to be the miles of urban beaches and access to idyllic shorelines to the north and south.

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Explore Beautiful Olinda

7 Jun

Olinda is a highlight of any trip to Brazil’s north-eastern Atlantic coast. It has bags of personality and looks to die for. The historic centre offers one of the largest and best preserved examples of colonial architecture in all of Brazil and earned Olinda UNESCO World Heritage status in 1982. The city is built into rolling green hills and is studded with beautiful painted houses, baroque churches and tree-lined plazas. The views out to the turquoise sea and back towards Recife from one of Olinda’s many look-out points are simply magnificent. Over past decades artists and creative types have settled in Olinda, making it a hotspot for art and creativity. The city is also home to one of Brazil’s most famous carnivals, rich in folklaw traditions.

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