The famous hashtag #TBT – Throw Back Thursday – must be lit during these pandemic days. With stay at home orders trending around the world, all that is left for travel grammers is to reminisce about how life used to be like.
Some (including yours truly) started IG photo series named “places that I would go if I the world wasn’t collapsing” or something in those lines. Uniting this current need to my long personal effort to write more in this blog, and with you, reader, in my mind, please stand up for the Oh The Places You’d Go – Brazil edition. That is: the places you would go if there was not a deadly virus out of control out there.
Brazil is the perfect destination to start, as it is, in my super-biased opinion, the best vacation destination in the world and still poorly explored. The biggest South American country does get it’s fair share of visitors, but they, unfortunately, rarely really sees it. Because Brazil can’t be belittled to Rio and it’s Christ: there are tons of amazingplaces that are worth a visit.
This is a topic that I am confident talking about – I am a Brazilian world traveler currently living in Canada. Brazil has beautiful beaches, canyons, waterfalls, history, the best Carnaval in the world, and, of course, the Amazon forest.
South of Bahia – Caraiva, Praia do Espelho, Trancoso, Arraial, Porto Seguro
Urgh I’ve been avoiding sharing Caraiva with the world, but the time has come. It is my number one place to go due to its sand streets, its simple and vibrant nightlife, and, of course, the Caraiva river. I’ll eventually write an exclusive post about it, but this is the number one if you like simplicity and character. And the whole region is actually amazing, so you can make the trip really worth it if you plan to spend a day in Espelho, a couple nights in world-famous Trancoso, and, if times allow, venture for day trips or even overnights in both Arraial d’Ajuda and Porto Seguro.
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha is THE spot for a vacation in Brazil. It’s sad that many Brazilians can’t afford to visit, but the island is a real jewel and a center of good vibrations in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. The wallpaper beaches and other natural treasures have rigorous conservation measures – the tourist must pay an Environmental Preservation Tax (roughlyR$79 per day of stay) upon landing as well as an entrance fee of R$100 to access the most desirable coastal parks. Therefore Fernando de Noronha isn’t the cheapest place in Brazil to visit (flights plus accommodation can get costly), but it is surely worth it.
Bonito means beautiful in Portuguese, and the name absolutely does justice to this central-west town in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Packed with caves, blue lagoons, waterfalls and ecoadventures, Bonito is considered the Brazilian capital of ecotourism. It also has recently gotten the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council, which assures travelers that measures of sanitary protection are in place for the safe return of travel post-pandemic.
If Bonito was the ecotourism hit during the 1990s, Jalapao is the new sensation. Except it’s incomparable: the two regions are completely different. While Bonito is centrally located in the southwest of the country at the tip of the world’s largest wetland (Pantanal), the Jalapao State Park is in the north region and it offers a variety of cerrado savannah, plateaus, sand dunes, and waterfalls. But its biggest lure is the fervedouros, which are small pools formed by natural water springs that, due to the strong water pressure, get swimmers floating like a message in a bottle.
Alter do Chão
So you’re telling me that the best start point to see the Amazon is not in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas State? Yes, that’s correct. Alter do Chão, located in Para, became known as being the departure port for boat tours that take visitors to small indigenous communities. At the same time, the beach town is considered the Amazon Caribbean, with its river beaches like the Island of Love – a paradisiac sandbank located directly in front of Alter’s village.
I lost count of how many times friends tagged me on a picture of Lençois Maranhenses with the added: “(when) can we go there?” The national park is a not-so-dry desert, with lagoons that fill up during the first quarter or each year and that form the real lagoons that look like godly mirages for the lucky visitors that are in that right place at the right time.
Chapada dos Veadeiros
Coming down from the wonders of the Brazilian North or Northeast, Chapada dos Veadeiros is a Unesco World Heritage Site located in Goias, a central state of the country. It’s a prime location for hikers and waterfall lovers.
Cidades Históricas de Minas – Tirandentes, Ouro Preto, Inhotim
You.won’t.believe.it: Brazil is not made only of jungles, beaches and nature! If one is looking for more historical sites, head to Minas Gerais and visit the cute colonial towns of Tiradentes and Ouro Preto (there are tons of other similar towns nearby, such as Diamantina, Mariana, Sao Joao del Rey, Gonçalves, Congonhas, Sao Tome das Letras, and plus – but the three on the title would be my recommendation). Also nearby is the incredible Inhotim open air museum, the largest foundation of contemporary art in South America.
Head south of Brazil to the only capital city in this list and get to know Florianopolis, a calm town surrounded by plenty (40? 60? 100?) of the most beautiful beaches in the country. If you think of Brazil as the place where beautiful looking people come from, that’s where you want to go. Also, great spot for surf lovers (or “Board Marys”, as some would call the gals after surfers 😉 and seafood feasts.
I have included all regions of Brazil in this list, but how can I have left out the.most.important.state (add your controversy in the comments below): Rio de Janeiro. Ok, Sao Paulo is the financial heart, but Rio will always get the spotlight. I mean, some will even say that Rio de Janeiro is the capital of Argentina (or that Buenos Aires is of Brazil, but moving on). Rio has the world-famous Christ, Rio is the Wonderful City (Cidade Maravilhosa is its nickname in Brazil, FYI). Rio is the best.
BUT as this post is about highlighting other places Brazil has to offer, I would suggest a visit to Ilha Grande. You can land in Rio, drive for a couple hours, boat for a couple hours, and kaboom! You are in Ilha Grande baby, a place filled with beautiful beaches that you can hike or boat to, as well as a cute little village and accommodation options for all pockets.
OH! Those places we could go. Fingers crossed and the next edition will be “The places you will go”, as a merry-go Dr. Seuss would say.