Friday, December 2, 2011


(does not include Angra Dos Reis & Paraty, Bahia, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro (city itself), & Sao Paulo)

Brazilian Beach House Company – 98 Rua Visconde de Pirajá (Rio de Janeiro, Ipanema); 011-55-21-2225-9476;; run by Steven Chew; excellent villas for rent in beach areas & some hotel recommendations.

Belo Horizonte
Mercure Belo Horizonte Lourdes – 7315 Avenida do Contorno; 011-55-31-3298-4100;; not luxurious but comfortable rooms; English-speaking staff.
Restaurante Xapuri – 260 Rua Mandacaru; 011-55-31-3496-6198;; rustic, mineiro dishes.
Sights & Sites
Igreja Sao Francisco de Assis – 3000 Avenida Otacílio Negrão de Lima; 011-55-31-3427-1644‎;; Oscar Niemeyer-designed church, open to public.
Ouro Preto –; UNESCO World Heritage site; 2 hours south of Belo Horizonte.

Nhô Hotel – 20 Rua B (at Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim); 011-54-5531-3571-9700;; onsite hotel.
Sights & Sites
Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim – 20 Rua B; 011-54-5531-3571-9700;; cutting-edge contemporary art & beautiful landscaped park.
Instituto Cultural Inhotim – Rua B 20; 011-55-31-3227-0001;; hire guide through institute; pavilions by Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, and Chris Burden’s “Beam Drop”; good café on-site.

Reserva do Ibitipoca – Fazenda do Engenho (entrada Lima Duarte III); ;; brick, mortar & spectacular location; some think best hotel in Brazil.

Solar da Ponte – Praca das Merces; 011-55-32-3355-1255;; 18 elegant apartments.
Tragaluz – 52 Rua Direita; 011-55-32-3355-1424; mineiro modern food.

Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Sorverteria Cairu – 1570 Travessa 14 de Marco; 011-54-5591-3242-2749; ice creams and popsicles; other locations.

Foz de Iguacu
Bourbon Cataratas – Rodovia das Cataratas, Km 2.5; 800-451-010 or 011-55-45-3521-3900;; beautifully appointed rooms; in original wing, standard rooms look out over front while superior rooms have veranda and look over pool; new wing houses master suites with newer furnishings and huge windows providing lovely views; 2km trail through orchards and lovely gardens; toucans, parakeets, and colorful butterflies in aviary; vast pool complex (3 large pools, 1 for children); top-notch gym and indoor pool, climbing wall and tennis courts, soccer field, and beach volleyball court.
Hotel das Cataratas – Parque Nacional do Iguacu; 800-837-9051 or 011-55-45-2102-7000;; Iguaçu’s most famous hotel; emphasis on outdoor activities; pool; standard rooms not overly large, but hardwood floors and firm twin or double beds; bathrooms have large granite countertops and modern tub/shower combos; (some rooms have carpet instead of hardwood floors, state preference when reserve); superior rooms slightly larger, with forest or garden views; deluxe rooms all have beautiful hardwood floors, dark-wood furniture, and bathrooms with large bathtubs; few have balconies; rooms spread out over wings connected by spacious corridors; large pool complex and forested area behind hotel with nature walks and trails to explore.
Bufalo Branco Churrascaria – Rua Engeneiro Rebouças 530; 011-55-45-3523-9744;; churrasco (grilled meat), such as picanha (rump steak), alcatra (top sirloin), filet mignon, maminha (fattier rump steak), and contra filet (entrecôte).
Zaragoza – Rua Quintino Bocaiuva 882; 011-55-45-3574-3084;; international cuisine with strong Spanish flavor; particularly strong on seafood; on Saturday, feijoada and on Sunday paella for lunch.
Trapiche – Rua Marechal Deodoro 1087; 011-55-45-3527-3951;; seafood.
Sights & Sites
Parque Nacional do Iguacu – Rodovia dos Cataratas, Km 18; 011-55-045-3572-2261;; Brazilian Falls; rafting and zodiac trips; pathway zigzags down gorge and trundles along cliff face, providing views across narrow gorge at water cascading down in 100 different places; 275 separate waterfalls; colorful butterflies fluttering about trail and grumbling coati (larger raccoon relative) begging for food; elevated walkway leading out in front of 1 fall.

Mercurius – purpose-sunk wreck.
Sights & Sites
Olinda – artsy suburb where Europeans first settled.

Buzios (includes Rocka)
Bars & Nightclubs
Rocka Beach Lounge & Restaurant – Praia Beach (Rocka); 011-55-22-2623-6159;; sexy beach club bohemia (indoor-outdoor architecture) set along hillside outcropping series.
Casas Brancas – Alto do Humaita 10; 011-55-22-2623-1458;; reigning queen.
Insolito Boutique Hotel – Rua E1, Lotes 3 & 4 (Condomínio Atlântico); 011-55-22-2623-2172;; stylish boutique; perced on ridge above Praia Ferradura; Brazilian furniture, art, and objects decorate 11 rooms and suites; French restaurant; 2 pool decks.
Insolito Boutique Hotel – Rua E1, Lotes 3 & 4 (Condominio Atlantico); 011-55-22-2623-2172;; French restaurant.
Quintal – Praia de Manguinhos (specific address given on reservation); 011-55-22-2623-1934; semi-secret restaurant in beautiful, clay-tiled mansion; globally influenced; try gnocchi president.
Rocka Beach Lounge & Restaurant – Praia Beach (Rocka); 011-55-22-2623-6159;; not-so-serious menu of seafood classics that somehow taste like best thing you’ve ever eaten; fish specialties cooked on open grill.

Fernando de Noronha
Praia do Conceicao.
Baia dos Porco – among Brazil’s top 3 beaches.
Praia do Leao – among Brazil’s top 3 beaches; secluded; sea turtle nesting spot.
Praia do Sancho – among Brazil’s top 3 beaches; reachable only by ladder.
Brothers Bay – sharks.
Cagarras – large rock formations.
Caverna da Sapata – green turtles.
Cordilheiras – 60' drop to rock-strewn bottom; lobsters, octopi, squirrel fish, turtles.
Pedras Secas – best diving site, with electric colors and rock formations.
Ecopousada Teju-Acu – Estrada de Alamoa; 011-55-81-3619-1277;; 12 bungalows; jungly pool; Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem stayed here.
Pousada Ze Maria – 1 Rua Nice Cordeiro; 011-55-81-3619-1258;; rustic but with unparalleled views.
Ze Maria – 1 Rua Nice Cordeiro (at Pousada Ze Maria); 011-55-81-3619-1258;; Wed.-Sat. night seafood buffets.
Atlantis – 20 Caixa Postal; 011-55-81-3619-1371;; divemasters.
Sights & Sites
Buraco da Raquel – BR 363 (at road end); cave.
Morro do Pico – rocky outcropping; highest point.

Floresta Velha
Beijupira – 470 Rua Amaro Preto; 011-55-81-3619-1250;
Pousada Maravilha – Sueste Bay; 011-55-81-3619-0028;; luxe, 8-room resort.
Pousada Triboju – 133 Rua Amaro Preto; 011-55-81-3619-1370;; huge rooms with recycled hardwoods; breakfast poolside.
Beijupira – 470 Rua Amaro Preto; 011-55-81-3619-1250;; only 5 tables in this Greek-influenced restaurant.

Florianopolis (includes Jurere & Lagoa da Conceição)
Bars & Nightclubs
Barraco da Mole – Praia Mole; 55-48-3232-5585; popular with beach set.
Confraria das Artes – 31 Rua João Pacheco da Costa (Lagoa da Conceição); 011-55-48-3232-2298; nightclub niched in colonial edifice and outfitted with vintage furniture;
Pacha – Rodovia Maurício Sirotsky Sobrinho; 011-55-48-3282-2054;; megaclub chain member.
Parador 12 – Servidão J. Cardoso Oliveira; 011-55-48-3284-8156;; beach club awash in Champagne served to bronzed bodies on white canopy beds.
Praia Café – 1B Avenida dos Merlins; 011-55-48-3282-1325;; where parties go until 4 am.
Praia Mole – long strip talcum-like sand and world-class waves on Santa Catarina Island’s east coast; popular with bikini-clad girls, sculpted tanners, and surfers.
Il Campanario Villagio Resort – 1760 Avenida dos Búzios (Jurere); 011-55-48-3261-6000;
Mergulhao – Porto de Santo Antonio; 011-55-81-3619-0215; innovative seafood with lovely harbor views.
Nascimento – Vila do Trinta; 011-55-81-3619-1546; windows and wood spot by water that serves grilled fish and traditional dishes.
Ponta dos Ganchos – 104 Rua Eupídeo Alves do Nascimento (Santa Catarina Island); 011-55-48-3953-7000 or 800-643-3346;; on little island linked to peninsula by long, wooden bridge; most romantic dinner ever; in gazebo; menu changes every day; must try world-famous Santa Catarina oysters with drizzle of lime juice.
Porto Marlin – Porto de Santo Antonio; 011-55-81-3619-1452; rustic room with 12 tables; sushi at dinner.
Praia Café – 1B Avenida dos Merlins; 011-55-48-3282-1325;
Sights & Sites
Lagoa da Conceição – boho-chic, inland village; artists, intellectuals, and media types.

Governador Celso Ramos
Ponta dos Ganchos – Rua Eupidio Alves do Nascimento (on Costa Esmerelda); 011-55-48-262-5000;; 20-bungalow retreat spread over 20 acres Brazilian beachfront, rain forest looming just beyond shore and fishing village provide only land action; off Arvoredo Biological Marine Reserve (less than hour away), sustaining rainbow of aquatic life, from 300-pound green sea turtles to tiny pocket-size sea horses.

Quinta do Bucanero – Estrada Geral do Rosa; 011-55-48-3355-6056;; carved into cliffside; luxurious, 10-room pousada with beautiful gardens and small spa.
Lua Marinha – Estrada Geral de Ibiraquera; 011-55-48-3354-0613;; unfussy but refined seafood dishes using local ingredients; wooden deck overlooks lagoon.

Praia do Rosa
Bars & Nightclubs
Beleza Pura – 313 Rua Jardim da Lagoa (Praia do Rosa, near Praia da Ferrugem); 011-55-48-8829-1253;; heats up after dark (early) and closes around 3-4 am; open daily December-April and weekends rest of year; cosmic-themed mural on ceiling; outdoor patios; live bands.
Morada da Praia do Rosa – Rua Geral da Praia do Rosa (Praia do Rosa); 011-55-48-3355-7342;
Sapore di Pasta – Caminho do Alto do Morro; 011-55-48-3355-6100;

Vila do Trinta
Varanda – 130 Rua Major Costa; 011-55-81-3619-1546; seafood.

São Luis
Sights & Sites
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park – Barreirinhas; 011-55-98-3349-1267;; known as Brazilian Sahara; 155K hectares; rains 3 times more than in African desert; rainy season, from November-June, so intense that creates enormous temporary crystalline fresh water lagoons; golden and white sand meadows, constantly shifting shape, extend around oases; along 90 kms littoral, beautiful, deserted, and extended beaches are linked; some dunes resemble mountains up to 40 ms h and sometimes cluster along 50 ms of beaches and inland deserts; lagoons, whose surfaces undulate with strong trade winds, range from blue-turquoise to green-emerald; vegetation limited to relatively small area where mangrove reach up to 12 m h; diverse fauna, such as blue-winged cassin’s auklet, woodcutter deer, southern spectacle caiman, and paca; no roads, so use sports utility vehicle; most common accesses are through Atins, Barreirinhas, and Bella Balsa, or through Sucuriju; worth seeing are: Blue Lagoon; Boa Esperanca Lagoon; Bonita Lagoon (beautiful natural pool that keeps its waters perennially); and Santo Amaro Lagoon.

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