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Interested in visiting Salvador? Check out our traveller’s Trip List!

SALVADOR, BAHIA

The first colonial capital for the Portuguese in the New World, São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos (or as it is more commonly known as, Salvador) is a beautiful port city in the northern state of Bahia. Considered the de facto hub of African influence in Brazil, Salvador is THE place to explore Afro-Brazilian culture. Whether it be Salvador’s famed Capoeira schools, or its status as the birthplace of samba music, those who wish to enjoy the most Brazilian of experiences should take the opportunity to visit this historical port!

 

Sights we recommend

 

Porto da Barra (a gorgeous beach in the scenic and historic Barra Neighborhood, where we also recommend spending some time! Considered the most beautiful beach in Brazil and the 3rd best in the world according to The Guardian)

 

São Francisco Church & Convent (one of the most ornate and gorgeous churches in the world, this golden symbol of Brazil’s catholic fervor features fantastic illusionist art by José Joaquim da Rocha as well as inscriptions of Horace’s poetry!)

 

Bale Folclorico da Bahia (a traditional hour-long play hosted in a small theatre in the “Pelourinho” area of Salvador. An excellent exploration of the themes of Salvador’s colonial/slave trade history and how African influence shaped the identity of this city)

 

Dining

 

Ki-Mukeka (traditional Bahian food, known for its bobo and muceca)Avenida Otavio Mangabeira, 136 Jardim Armacao, Salvador

 

Yemanja (THE place to get Bahian street food such as acaraje) Av Otavio Mangabeira 4655, Salvador

Restaurante do SENAC (Kilo Buffet that provides diners with the opportunity to sample many different kinds of local and African cuisines) Largo do Pelourinho, Salvador

 

Transportation

 

The most efficient manner to reach Salvador from Rio de Janeiro would be to travel there by plane.

 

Cost: R$100 – R$ 200 one way flight

Time: 2-2.5 hours

 

Accommodations

 

Pousada Estrela do Mar

 

Ideally located in the center of Barra, one finds several attractions within walking distance! Irish owner Sean is known for his attention to providing all his guests with amazing service and support.

 

Cost (Daily): R$250-400

 

http://www.pousadaestreladomar.com.br/­­­­­­­_________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Casa da Vitoria Pousada de Charme

 

The #1 TripAdvisor ranked BnB/Inn in Salvador, this pousada caters wonderfully to your needs while providing some relaxation and space from the bustle of the city.

Casa da Vitoria has a wonderful view to the beach, clean, well-maintained facilities, and a very attentive staff.

 

Cost (Daily): R$ 250-300

 

http://www.casadavitoria.com/en/

 

 

La Ville Française

 

A reasonably priced pousada also located in “Barra”, highly recommended for those who want spend the duration of their trip really “in” the city, or for those who require significant multilingual help during their stay (especially French!). The two owners are known for their wealth of knowledge regarding the Center of Salvador, and are sure to enhance one’s local experiences while there!

 

Cost (Daily): R$ 130

 

http://www.lavilafrancaise.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in visiting Ilha Grande? Check out our trip list!

Ilha Grande

In a coastal area that is known for its tropical beauty, Ilha Grande stands out from the pack. Carefully controlled development and denial of access to vehicles has allowed the island to retain a significant amount of its natural beauty. Ilha Grande is host to 100’s of isolated beaches, coral reefs, hiking trails, as well as the intermingling of various species such as rare birds, whales, penguins, monkeys, and other fauna!

 

Sights we recommend

 

Aventureiro Beach (a gorgeous beach located on the rear part of the island. Well isolated from many of the more popular beaches and hiking trails. With few services and restaurants, this idyllic beach with its picturesque surroundings and tropical white sand is the perfect location to lay down and realize the concept of paradise on earth)

 

Dois Rios (A small village which houses one of Brazil’s most infamous former prisons, this charming day trip (the village is closed to visitors at nightfall) is avoided by tourist boats and requires a hefty hike! Enjoy the serenity of a village located between two rivers that flow around a tropical haven!)

Feiticeira e Iguacu Beach (if you are willing to take the hike up a small mountain, this beautifully tucked away waterfall is a nice private getaway to splash around and reward the climb preceding it!)

 

Dining

 

Dom Mario (Considered one of the best dining options on Ilha Grande, come for the ambience and variety, stay for the fusion of French/Brazilian)

Rua da Praia, 781 Vila do Abraao, Ilha Grande, RJ

Lua e Mar (Fantastic and incredibly fresh seafood! A great example of Ilha Grande’s wealth of fresh fish and beach seating) Beach front near Rua da Fabrica, Vila do Abraao, Ilha Grande, RJ

Marbella (Well-regarded pizzeria known for quality service, ingredients, and prices)Rua Da Praia de frente para o mar, Ilha Grande, RJ

 

 

 

 

Transportation

 

We recommend guests take a bus to Angra dos Reis, and then cross to the island by ferry, as there are no roads or connections from the mainland to Ilha Grande.

Cost: R$ 40-50 for bus from Rio de Janeiro to Angra dos Reis, R$ 14 for ferry from Angra dos Reis to Ilha Grande (BUT some accommodations like Vila Pedra Mar ARE NOT in Vila do Abraão, where the ferry service arrives in Ilha Grande from Angra; thus they will need to arrange transportation)

Time: Approx. 5-7 hours

 

Accommodations

 

Vila Pedra Mar

 

Winners of the Travelers Choice 2014 for Ilha Grande, Vila Pedra Mar is a delightful BnB run by a family just 5 minutes from one of the island’s more secluded beaches. Featuring luxury suites, gourmet meals served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snorkeling equipment, canoe and free boat tour!

 

Cost (Daily): R$700-900

 

http://www.vilapedramar.com/

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Aratinga Inn

 

5 star BnB that offers excellent personal service. Rennie is known for her personal attention, as well as their offered bungalows with hammocks amidst the lush Atlantic Rainforest.

Cost (Daily): R$ 350-400

 

http://aratingailhagrande.com.br/

 

 

Lonier Ilha Inn Flats

 

A well priced accommodation on Rua Santana, Lonier Ilha provides two buildings in their complex. One is styled as a hotel, and the other features flats with kitchenettes, with the first facing out over the sea! Features a restaurant next door

 

Cost (Daily): R$ 200-250

 

http://www.ilhainn.com.br/

Interested in visiting Petrópolis? Check out our traveler’s trip list!

PETRÓPOLIS

Among the state of Rio de Janeiro’s finer detours is the famed Imperial City “Petrópolis”. Just north of the states capital, this idyllic hamlet was founded around the habitation of the Portuguese and later Brazilian Imperial family in the area. After Dom Pedro I established his summer palace in Serra dos Órgãos, the royal family encouraged the settlement of German immigrants in the area to further populate the local that in the 1870’s would become Petrópolis. Visitors willing to take the short trip north of Rio de Janeiro will find a city that retains architectural and historical connections to Brazil’s colonial and imperial ages amidst picturesque scenery.

 

Sights we recommend

 

Imperial Museum (originally the summer home of Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II, this splendid history museum provides an excellent journey through the history of Brazil’s Empire with well preserved artifacts and installations)

 

Centro Historico (No trip to Petrópolis is complete without a stroll through the historic Centro district. Numerous colonial-era buildings remain intact and open, as well as Brazil’s first brewery)

 

Nossa Senhora do Fatima (visually pleasing 19th century church at the top of a hill in Petrópolis. Provides a fantastic overview and panoramic shot of Petrópolis)

 

Dining

 

Funghi D’oro (locally cultivated funghi based cuisine beautifully set in the “Rocio” Valley)Est. Caminho do Imperador 1333, Rocio, Petrópolis

Casa do Alemão (Brazilian cultivated German cuisine from the ancestors of Petrópolis’s significant german immigrant population!) 927 Ayrton Senna, Quitandinha, Petrópolis

 

Transportation

 

The most efficient manner to reach Petrópolis from Rio de Janeiro would be to travel there by bus (from the Rodoviaria).

 

Cost: R$20 – 30 one way

Time: 1.5 hours

 

Accommodations

 

Pousada Rancho da Ferradura

 

The #1 TripAdvisor rated BnB in Petrópolis, this guesthouse features great food and drink and fantastic amenities such as Jacuzzis and saunas. Rancho de Ferradura provides all these things in a timeless rustic background.

 

Cost (Daily): R$400 – 500

 

http://www.ranchodaferradura.com.br/

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Pousada Paraiso Acu

 

This scenic pousada is great for adventure tourism. Located among the mountains, the warm and helpful staff will ensure you make the most of your time visiting the Imperial City (and that you are well fed while there!). The peaceful and serene surroundings will have guests relaxed in no time.

 

Cost (Daily): R$ 450 – 550

 

http://pousadaparaisoacu.com.br/

 

 

Hotel Casablanca Koeller

 

A reasonably priced and absolutely cozy hotel inside the city proper, and a wonderful place to stay for anyone who wishes to take full advantage of the historical offerings of Petrópolis. Well designed interiors and vintage furniture add to the appeal for those who wish for a historical sleeping environment as well!

 

Cost (Daily): R$ 200-300

 

http://www.casablancahotel.com.br/CasablancaKoeler/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio, With Eyes Open

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If you want to know why people come to Rio de Janeiro, and came even during its years of bloody, decadent decline, stand on the Arpoador Beach promenade at day’s end. Before you lies an orchestral finale of a sunset: iridescent water, pastel-streaked skies and hazy silhouettes of cliffs to the west. Behind you are swarms of Cariocas, as Rio natives are known: men with phones tucked into the fronts of their bathing suits, swimmers shaking off droplets of water before ordering caipirinhas at an outdoor bar. At the moment when the neon-pink sun slips below the horizon, everyone stops, stands and claps: a nightly salute to city, beach and sky.

This was part of why my 7-year-old daughter and I traveled to Rio in December, to experience urban beauty so intense that even the locals pause to applaud it. Rio may be the most voluptuous city in the world, with soft beaches, dramatic mountains, waterfalls, a rain forest, lagoon and orchids — planted by residents — peeking out of lush old trees lining the streets. Papayas and jackfruit drop from branches all over town, symbols of the city’s overabundant sweetness. The place makes Miami look like Cleveland.

 

Read the full article here!