Every single year since 2014 the Ricardo Brennand Institute was voted the best museum in South America at Travelers’ Choice ™, promoted by Tripadvisor. The museum was on my list of destinations which I wanted to visit for quite some time already and as I went to a wedding in Recife, I took the time to get to know it and I was blown away.
The Institute is located in the district of Várzea, about 30 minutes driving from Recife’s historical center. The museum property is gigantic, with imperial palms along the road from the entrance gate to the box office, and next to it an enclosure with some exotic animals.
The architectural complex is made in a Gothic style and the exhibitions are spread between the São João Castle, the Pinacoteca, the gallery and the library. Currently, the exhibitions “Frans Post and the Dutch Brazil”, “The Judgment of Fouquet” and “Brazilian Landscapes of the 19th Century” are on display at the Pinacoteca.
The exhibition “Frans Post and the Dutch Brazil” was organized because of the visit of then Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, then Prince Willem-Alexander (now king of the Netherlands) and then Princess Máxima (current queen) in 2003. Frans Post was the first landscape painter in the New World and the Institute holds the largest collection of his work, composed of 15 paintings.
In the gallery are original sculptures and replicas of artists like Rodin, Fernando Botero, Debret. Outside is a gigantic replica of Michelangelo’s David.
In the Castelo São João Museum is an impressive collection of steel weapons (like swords, pocket knives and knives), armor, tapestries, furniture. The Institute acquired those works for more than 50 years and they come from Europe, Asia, America, Africa. They are stated between the 15th to the 21st century.
The Institute was founded in 2002 by the Pernambuco collector and entrepreneur Ricardo Brennand. The institute’s name, in fact, is a tribute to his uncle, the entrepreneur’s namesake.
Ricardo Brennand is one of those museums that fascinates children as well as adults. A place that everyone should go at least once.
Service: Address: Alameda Antônio Brennand, s / n – São João – Várzea, Recife – PE Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm Tickets:
R$ 25,00 (Adult) R$ 12,00 (People with disabilities, students, teachers and senior citizens over 60 years of age with supporting documentation). Children under 7 years old are for free. The last Tuesday of each month is free for all except for January, July and December. Contact: (81) 2121.0352 / 0365 Website in Portuguese: http://www.institutoricardobrennand.org.br/index2.html
In Jericoacoara, Ceará, the best way to get to know the main attractions is by going on a buggy tour. The most known is the tour of the East, which includes the famous Lagoas do Paraíso e Azul (lagoons of Paradise and Blue), the beach of Preá, the Sloth Tree (Árvore da Preguiça) and Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone). We did the tour with our nephews in January 2016, and they loved it. I will tell you all about it in this post. The tour can be pre-booked the day before, at your hotel or at one of Jericoacoara’s various agencies. But as the weather was rainy, we preferred not to make any reservation, and the day we wanted to do the tour, we went to Rua Sao Francisco (San Francisco Street), from where the buggies leave, to find a bugueiro (a buggy driver) and to negotiate. The ride costs between R$ 250 and R$ 300 for 5 hours for up to 4 people, depending on your negotiation skills. Buggies usually leave at 9 am and return around 2 pm.
As we were there during high season, a week after New Year’s Eve, with some negotiation, we got a deal at R$ 280.
The normal route of the bugueiros starts in the National Park, goes to Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone), then Sloth Tree (Árvore da Preguiça), then the beach of Preá, Lagoa Azul and the grand finale is Lagoa do Paraíso. When we left it was still sunny, but the black clouds already appeared at the horizon, so we decided to make the route backwards to start with the best part.
The great advantage of doing the reverse route was that we arrived at the places while they were less crowded. For example, at Lagoa do Paraíso (Paradise Lagoon), when we arrived there were very few people and we could find empty hammocks. When we left, 2 hours later, it was already full and people had to wait in order to get a free hammock.
Another positive point of doing the reverse route was that normally you stop for lunch at Lagoa do Paraíso, where the food prices are pretty touristy, so they are expensive. And the way we did it, we had lunch at a hut on Preá Beach where we ate very well and probably paid half of the prices at Lagoon of Paradise.
Jeri’s buggy ride, unlike the Genipabu dunes in Natal, doesn’t give the option of “with or without emotion” because buggies can’t drive on Jeri’s dunes. The tour is very relaxed so you can go with children. Our nephews loved it, one of them never went on a buggy ride before, so it was a lot of fun.
As soon as the bugueiro left Jeri, when he enters the area of the National Park, he stopped for taking pictures in the dunes. Then we continued to Lagoa do Paraíso. We got there at 9:30 am and as I said, there were just a few people at that time.
The entrance to the Lagoon is free and there is a bar service and restaurants. You also don’t pay anything to use the hammocks. But be careful, you pay a lot of money to lie down on the sun beds. Therefore, they are usually empty. The stop at Lagoa do Paraíso is for 2 hours and then we went to Lagoa Azul which had a low water level and very dark water due to the lack of rainfall in previous months. So, we took some photos and didn’t stay for long.
The next stop was Preá Beach, which is very beautiful, with a calm ocean and many kite and wind surfers. We ate lunch at Monica’s which offered good service, a tasty and well-served meal and also well-priced by Jeri standards. This beach is already outside of the municipality of Jijoca. It belongs to the municipality of Cruz.
After lunch, we stopped at Árvore da Preguiça (Sloth Tree) for photos and then continued to the Pedra Furada trail. The buggy can’t drive until the stone which is a typical postcard motive of Jeri. From the place where the buggy parks until there it is a very easy walk down to the waterfront of about 20-30 minutes walking. For those who go on the trail leaving from the village of Jericoacoara, the trail takes around 1h30 and it is only possible to go along the beach at low tide.
The stone is very crowded, so taking a photo just itself is very difficult. The natural formation became famous because, at a certain time of the year, it is possible to see the sun set through the hole. But in my opinion, the beach itself and the other natural formations are prettier than the stone Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone).
Early in the afternoon, we returned to Jeri. We asked the bugueiro to drop us off at the beach and we stayed there enjoying the afternoon to rest. Our bugueiro was called Manoel and he was very friendly and made us feel comfortable throughout the tour.
Buggy ride – R$ 250 to R$ 300 for 4 people Coconut Water in Paradise Lagoon – R$ 6 each coconut Lunch at Preá Beach – R$ 114,40 for 2 adults and 2 children (shrimps in a pineapple, portion of French fries, 2 mugs of juice) For those who want to economize The buggy ride is well worth it for anyone who is in 4-person group. But for those traveling alone or as a couple it can get expensive. A more economical option to get to know the famous Lagoa do Paraíso (Paradise Lagoon) is to go on a truck D-20. The stretch costs R$ 15 per person. To get to Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone) it is possible to go on a trail from the village which takes about 1h30.
Jericoacoara is among the most desired beach destinations in Brazil. Because it is a National Park, Jeri has some particularities that need to be taken into account when planning the trip. We traveled to Jeri in January 2016 with our nephews, aged 10 and 13, and I share with you some tips to organize a trip there, with or without children, our budget and some suggestions for a 3-day itinerary.
How to get there
Jericoacoara is 300 km away from Fortaleza. The village is in an area of dunes and therefore you can get there only by buggy or a 4-wheel drive car. All of you who aren’t traveling with a 4-wheel drive, it is possible to park your car in Jijoca (there are several parking lots) and from there to take a truck (called Jardineira D-20) to Jericoacoara. Take the route CE-085 from Fortaleza to Jijoca as it is in better conditions than the BR 222. It takes about 4h30. From Jijoca to Jericoacoara you will need another 40 minutes on the truck D-20.
Parking in Jijoca costs between R$ 10 and R$ 15 a day. The drive Jijoca – Jericoacoara on D-20 costs about R$ 15 per person. Anyone who wants to go Jijoca – Jericoacoara in a private Hilux for up to 4 people will pay around R$ 100. There is also the option to hire a guide to take your own travel car to Jeri. In that case, they flatten a little the tires and charge around R$ 80 to drive the car. I don’t recommend this option, as in addition of a risk to dammage the car, in several areas of the national park it isn’t allowed to drive around in ordinary cars.
For those arriving by plane in Fortaleza and don’t want to rent a car, you have the following options Fortaleza => Jericoacoara:
Option 1 – shared transfer in a Hilux (up to 4 people) where you can go all the way from Fortaleza to Jeri without changing cars. Costs around R$ 150 per person, leaving you at the hotel’s door or hostel (you can ask the directions to your hotel in advance). About 4 hours of driving.
Option 2 – go with a tourist agency which makes the stretch Fortaleza => Jijoca by bus or van, changing to a D-20 vehicle in Jijoca (the guest has to take his/her luggage from the bus to the truck). From Jijoca to Jeri on a D-20 truck, leaving you at the hotel’s door or hostel. About R$ 80,00 per person. Departure from Fortaleza airport daily at 6 am and hotels in Beira-Mar around 7 am. About 6 hours of traveling.
Option 3 – by Fretcar bus that offers the stretch Fortaleza => Jijoca in executive buses, changing for a truck D-20 in Jijoca (the guest has to take his/her luggage from the bus to the truck). Route Jijoca to Jeri in a truck D-20. Descent at the Fretcar agency in Jeri and walking on your own to the hotel or hostel. About R$ 76,00 per person. Purchase through the internet at www.fretcar.com.br (website in Portuguese). Departures from the airport at 7 am, 15 pm and 18 pm. About 7 hours of traveling.
The same options are valid for return.
In our case, we went in our car, leaving from Natal. If we would have went straight it would have been almost 12 hours. As we were with two children, we made the trip in two days. The first night we slept in Mossoró and the following day we went from Mossoró to Jericoacora. On the way back, we slept one night in Fortaleza, and the following day we drove from Fortaleza to Natal. For those who have more time, you can divide the trip into 3 days.
Where to stay
Jericoacoara is very visited all year round. There are several accommodation options, from hostels to luxury hotels. Prices are often high compared to other national destinations. Therefore, it is very important to make the reservation in advance. Some people stay in Jijoca. But I recommend staying in Jericoacoara, because Jijoca doesn’t have such a nice charm of the village.
The prices in Jeri vary a lot depending on the type of accommodation. But one bed in a hostel costs around R$ 50 a night. We stayed at a hostel on Rua Principal (the main street) and paid R$ 260 a night for a couple and 2 children.
What to do – our 3-day itinerary
We arrived in Jeri around 3 pm (check-in was from 2 pm). We had lunch and afterwards spent the afternoon at the beach. As it was cloudy, the sunset wasn’t too beautiful which we saw from the beach itself. In the evening, we went out for dinner and strolled along Rua Principal (the main street) and Forró Street, getting to know the village.
The tour is about 5 hours long, from 9 am to 2 pm, and you will get to know the main attractions of Jeri. We paid R$ 280 for the 4 of us. But prices range from R$ 250 to R$ 300 depending if it is low or high season.
On our way back, we spent some time on the beach. And at night we had dinner on Rua Principal (the main street).
If you want, you can do that day the other buggy ride (West) which goes to Tatajuba village, passes through Mangue Seco beach and crosses Guriú River. On this route, an extra ride is offered to see seahorses and it is possible to rent a surfboard to go surfing. The buggy ride to Tatajuba costs around R$ 250 for 4 people. We didn’t do this tour, so I can’t give you more details on it.
On that day, we rented a Stand-Up Paddle board, for R$ 40 (1 hour), which we split between the four of us.
In the afternoon, we finally got to see the famous sunset of Jericoacoara. We climbed the Sunset Dune (Duna do Pôr do Sol) 1h 30 earlier and the kids had fun playing on the dune.
On our way back from the dune, we stopped at Rua Principal (the main street) for dinner. At night there was a blackout (a common problem when the village is crowded), but luckily we were already in our hotel.
Even during a blackout, Jeri’s restaurants continue to function with candlelights.
On the fourth day, we left after breakfast to get the truck D-20 back to Jijoca. The trick is to look for one of the trucks leaving from Rua Sao Francisco (but we got from Rua Principal) and ask the driver to stop at your hotel to pick up the luggage.
As you know, we usually travel economically, but with children it is more difficult… The main costs of our trip:
Private Hilux for 4 people Jijoca – Jericoacoara: R$ 100
Parking Jijoca: 3 days x R$ 10 = R$ 30
Accommodation (with a private room and bathroom for a couple + 2 children, tv, air-conditioning and frigobar, breakfast): 3 days x R$ 260 = R $ 780
Meals: between R$ 70 and R$ 120 each meal for the 4 (self-services, a la carte restaurants, pizzerias)
Buggy ride: R$ 280 for the 4 (price ranges from R$ 250 to R$ 300, depending on the season)
Stand-Up Paddle Rentals: R$ 40 (1 hour)
Truck D-20 Jericoacoara – Jijoca: R$ 15 per person
I didn’t include expenses for the petrol from Natal to Jijoca, nor other expenses, such as snacks and water.
Chapada dos Veadeiros is one of the most beautiful places we have visited in Brazil. A region of cerrado (a special vegetation of Brazilian interior), in the northeast of Goiás state, home to a National Park, declared a World Natural Heritage by UNESCO. With extraordinary landscapes and beauty, the Chapada gathers hundreds of waterfalls and springs; Geological formations older than one billion years; Rare animals, at risk of extinction; Preserves areas of former mines and the history and culture of descendants of Quilombolas. The Chapada is also surrounded by mysticism and stories about flying discs. We were delighted to get to know this incredible piece of the country and in this post I share our 4-day itinerary and tips to organize your trip to Chapada dos Veadeiros.
When to go
The Chapada dos Veadeiros has two seasons: the drought is from April to September and the rainy season is from October to March. In the rainy season, the waterfalls have a very large volume of water and in the dry season there may be fires in some areas, and some waterfalls are practically dry. The ideal is to go at the end of each season, when the weather is milder. We went in early April, in the late rainy season. We had sunny days and the waterfalls were still filled with a good water level.
How to get there
The nearest airport to Chapada dos Veadeiros is Brasilia International Airport. Now a good tip: choose a flight that arrives early in the morning in Brasilia to arrive in the Chapada with spare time to visit some of the attractions near the city where you are staying. Our flight, for example, arrived at 8 am in Brasilia. Around 12 o’clock we were already in Alto Paraíso.
By car, departing from BsB airport to Alto Paraiso, one of the main cities in the surroundings of the Chapada, is 254 km, so about 3 hours away.
We took advantage of an airfare promotion for a period of one week and devided our trip into 4 days at Chapada dos Veadeiros and 3 days in Brasilia. But the Chapada deserves a week of visiting or even longer, as there are numerous attractions.
To get to Chapada dos Veadeiros, the best option is to rent a car. Because to get to know the Chapada, it is extremely helpful and most of the time you need a car anyway.
We rented a car in advance through RentalCars.com and got a great deal. As soon as we arrived at the airport, we took the company’s van which took us to the car. We even received a better vehicle than we had booked at no extra cost.
Those who choose to go by public transportation, the buses leave the Main Bus Terminal Interestadual in Brasília. See the times and rates.
Where to stay
Tourists who visit Chapada dos Veadeiros have three options to choose from: Alto Paraíso de Goiás, São Jorge and Cavalcante.
Alto Paraíso de Goiás is more recommended for tourists seeking more comfort, with several options of Bed&Breakfast, some hotels and hostels. At the main street it also offers many restaurants, bars and small shops.
Alto Paraíso is a cosmopolitan city, with locals and tourists from all over the world attracted by the mystical atmosphere of the city. There is a belief that the city would be “safe from any natural disaster like the end of the world” (Wikipedia) and also that Alto would be one of the cities with good conditions for the observation of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
São Jorge, a district of Alto Paraíso, is the most down to earth option and offers several alternatives of camping, hostels and some pousadas. São Jorge is an old village of gold miners and still maintains a village atmosphere as it is much smaller than Alto. However, it also offers dining options and bars, just simpler. It is very common in São Jorge to have parties at the campsites.
São Jorge is the closest option to the entrance of Chapada National Park.
Cavalcante is the county that includes 60 % of the Chapada National Park area and is also part of the Historic Site and Kalunga Cultural Heritage, a community formed from an ancient Quilombo.
The municipality is about the same size as Alto Paraíso, but offers fewer lodging options. It is more recommended for those looking for a slightly less touristy option as it is more peaceful and also those who want to know more about the Kalunga Site. In Cavalcante is the famous Santa Bárbara Waterfall, considered by many the most beautiful one of Chapada dos Veadeiros.
Our choice: We chose to stay in Alto Paraíso de Goiás, as it is the most central city and is more convenient. We stayed at Pousada Casa Rosa,which is about 1 km from the city’s main street.
The hostel has options of chalets and apartments, all with hammocks on the balcony, a private bathroom and a minibar. We stayed in a nice sized apartment and the balcony had a wonderful view. In the morning we could see macaws, toucans, parrots, parakeets and several other birds.
The hostel has a swimming pool, a sauna and a very varied breakfast is included in the daily rate. A negative point was that the wi-fi had a very weak signal. But this was a problem throughout Alto Paraíso.
Because of the distance to the main street, the hostel is more recommended for those who are traveling by car.
The most difficult part of organizing a trip to Chapada dos Veadeiros is to decide on a route. Because there is so much to do, so many beautiful places that it is difficult to choose what you will visit and what you will leave for the next time. A good way to choose from is to find out the difficulty levels of the trails and the distance from the place where you will be staying at.
It is important to know that the Chapada attractions are not just within the National Park area. Moreover, it is also worth remembering that the park is closed on Mondays.
See the main attractions according to the level of access (information taken from the Alto Paraíso and São Jorge Attraction Guide):
Easy access trails (distance of one stretch, from Alto Paraíso)
– Cachoeira dos Cristais (waterfall): Cavalcante Way, 5 km of asphalt and 3 km of sand. 400 m walk.
– Almécegas II: Direction São Jorge, 8 km of asphalt and 5 km of sand. 300 m walk.
– Cachoeira Loquinhas (waterfall): 5 km of sand. 800 m walk.
– Flor d’Ouro: Direction Moinho, 12 km of sand. 400 m walk.
– São Bento Waterfall: Direction São Jorge, with 9 km of asphalt. 300 m walk.
– Vale Dourado: Direction São Jorge, 12 km of asphalt and 8 km of sand. 50 m walk.
– Thermal waters: Direction São Jorge, 50 km of asphalt. 150 m walk.
– Well Encantado: Direction Cavalcante, 52 km of asphalt. 200 m walk.
Middle grade tracks
– Almécegas I: Direction São Jorge, with 8 km of asphalt. 3.36 km of sand. 800 m walk.
– Encontro das Águas (Meeting of the Waters): Direction São Jorge, 50 km of asphalt, 6 km of sand. 2 km of walking.
– Cachoeira Anjos e Arcanjos (Waterfall Angels and Archangels): Direction Moinho, 14 km of sand. 2 km of walking.
– Cataratas dos Couros (Leather Falls): Direction Brasilia, 18 km of asphalt, 35 km of sand. 3 km of walking.
– Vale da Lua (Valley of the Moon): Direction São Jorge, 30 km of asphalt. 600 m walk.
– Waterfall Raizama: Direction São Jorge, 38 km of asphalt, 1 km of sand. 2,2 km walk.
– Morada do Sol: Direction St. George, 39 km of asphalt, 1,5 km of sand. 1,6 km walk.
– Waterfalls Santa Bárbara and Capivara: They are in Cavalcante, 109 km of asphalt, 22 km of sand.
Trail with medium to difficult grade
– National Park Saltos: In São Jorge, 36 km of asphalt, 1 km of sand. 5 km of walking.
– Macaquinho Waterfall: Direction Brasília, 13 km of asphalt, 30 km of sand. 1,8 km of walking.
– National Park Canyons: In São Jorge, 36 km of asphalt, 1 km of sand. 5 km of walking.
– Cachoeira do Macaco (Monkey Waterfall): Direction Brasília, 13 km of asphalt, 40 km of sand in 4×4. 2 km of walking.
– Cachoeira do Segredo (Waterfall of the Secret): Direction São Jorge, 48 km of asphalt, 9 km of sand. 7 km of walking.
– Trail of Mirante da Janela: It is in São Jorge. 4 km of walking.
Our 4-day itinerary
We arrived at the airport around 8 am, we got our rented car and at around 12 pm, we were already in Alto Paraíso. We took advantage of the afternoon to get to know Almécegas I and II Waterfalls and São Bento. The three waterfalls are on the São Bento farm. Admission costs $ 30 per person.
On the second day, we did the Trail to Mirante da Janela. As the level is medium to difficult, we prefered to hire a guide. But it isn’t mandatory.
The trail is an 8-km round trip and starts near São Jorge. Admission is $ 10. The guide’s daily rate is $ 150 for a group of up to 5 people.
After that trail, we visit the Vale da Lua (Valley of the Moon). The entrance to the Valley is R $ 20.
On the way back, we made a photo stop at Maitreya Garden, which is inside the National Park. But we took the photos from the outside of the fence.
On our third day, we took the opportunity to visit Cavalcante, the Kalunga Historical Site and the Santa Barbara and Capivara Waterfalls.
We hired a Kalunga guide at the Tourist Assistance Center in Cavalcante. The guide’s daily rate is $ 80, leaving the center of Cavalcante and $ 70, from the entrance to the Kalunga site. This value is also for up to 5 people.
At this day, whoever wants to combine it, can also visit Poço Encantado.
Avoid visiting Santa Bárbara on weekends, as it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls, therefore it is always packed with people. We went on Monday, but we were told that the ideal is to go on a Tuesday. As the National Park is closed Mondays, a lot of people end up going to Cavalcante.
To enter the Kalunga site, you pay an additional $ 20 per person.
We took advantage of our last day to visit a waterfall in the direction of Brasilia, which would be our next destination. We chose the Cataratas dos Couros (Leather Falls), as an indication of the guide that accompanied us at Mirante da Janela. This waterfall is free and no guide is required. But the access by car is very complicated, as the road signs have been damaged.
During our 4-day itinerary, we didn’t enter the National Park, which we didn’t prioritize as the main tracks have a medium to high level.
We tried to participate in a balloon flight, which leaves Alto Paraíso. But on the days we tried, the company failed to fill up a group for a ride. But anyone who wants information about the balloon ride, you can find them on the company’s Instagram @balonismonachapada.
The beaches of Arraial do Cabo, 140 km from Rio de Janeiro, can absolutely compete with beaches of the Caribbean Islands, Southeast Asia or any place in the world that has beaches with crystalline water and white sand. Is the water cold? Yes! But on the other hand, it’s practically sunny all year round. And to complete the perfection of this place, the sun sets along the ocean. Besides the beautiful beaches, Arraial has an Atlantic Forest National Park and offers numerous options of trails. If I still haven’t convinced you to get to know this paradise, just wait for my last argument: Arraial is a whale and dolphin route, which can be easily seen from the beaches. Convinced? Then let’s get to the tips to plan your trip.
When to go
As I said, Arraial has good weather practically all year round. But, especially in winter months from May to September, there is less rain. The temperature is pleasant and the people say that the water is less cold during this period, which is considered low season.
The high season is during summer months, December to February, which are the rainiest months.
We traveled there in mid-June, which is considered low season and was wonderful as the beaches were almost deserted, we had sunny days, although it was cloudy in the early morning and at night.
As the temperature in Arraial do Cabo vary between 18 and 29°C it is recommended to carry a cardigan for the evenings.
How to get there
Arraial is about 2h 20 driving from Rio de Janeiro and can be easily reached by car or bus. We rent a car in advance by RentalCars.com (search the best prices from the leading car rental companies, which belongs to the same group as Booking.com). We got the car at Galeão airport and headed straight to Arraial. For those who drive by car, you have to include the costs for the toll routes. There are two toll roads along the way in one direction: one at the bridge between Rio and Niterói and another one at Via Lagos. Another important detail: the toll charge is more expensive on weekends.
However, for us it was worth renting the car, because we got a good price by booking in advance. Moreover, it made everything a lot easier as we arrived in Rio late in the afternoon and wanted to get to Arraial the same day.
But it is totally possible to get to know Arraial without a car as well. For those who choose to go by bus you can go with the company Auto-Viação 1001 . Buses depart from Rodoviária Novo Rio (Main Bus Terminal) various times a day. The trip takes between 3h05 and 3h40 by bus.
Where to stay
Arraial do Cabo has a good infrastructure for tourism, offering numerous lodging options. The central beaches, where you can do everything on foot, are Praia dos Anjos and Praia Grande.
We stayed at Praia dos Anjos in Pousada do Capitão, which offers good value for the money, with a good location, rooms decorated with a rustic or a beach style, well equipped with air conditioning, a minibar and a tv. The hotel has a swimming pool, sauna and the daily rate includes breakfast with a very large choice. The staff is very helpful and helped us organize our itinerary and to book the boat trip.
From the Pousada, we went on foot to practically all the places we visited in Arraial, except for Pontal do Atalaia, because it is located on a hill and we preferred not to go hiking, but it would be possible.
We stayed two nights in Arraial do Cabo but we wished to have more days as there is a lot to do. We share our 2-day itinerary with you here. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Trail to Forno Beach
It’s an easy 10- to 15-minute walking track that’s worth the view. Praia do Forno (Forno Beach) is one of the most beautiful in Arraial, with calm water and several stalls which offer beach chairs, umbrellas, tables and even WIFI. Also in Praia do Forno it is possible to rent kayaks and surfboards from Stand-up Paddle.
For those who have problems to walk or just don’t want to, it is also possible to arrive at Praia do Forno by boat. At the beginning of the trail, which is close to Praia dos Anjos, several boatmen offer the very short route.
Praia Grande (Big Beach)
After Praia do Forno, we continued to Praia Grande. It is also very beautiful and a little different from the other beaches of Arraial, with blue water and waves.
Praia Grande offers a couple of restaurants, bars and small shops. So, it is a good choice for lunch time.
But many people prefer to go in the late afternoon, because Praia Grande is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Arraial do Cabo.
Pontal do Atalaia
As we only had one chance to watch the sunset in Arraial (because the first day we arrived later in the evening), we chose to watch the sunset at Pontal do Atalaia, which is actually a condominium, but with free access. We arrived early, the afternoon was cloudy without a lot of expectation of a beautiful sunset, but as soon as we were parking we heard someone shouting “whale!”. We stopped the car and went to watch the ocean and had at least three humpback whales showing off, doing acrobatics. After zillions of photos (which weren’t so good), we went by car to Atalaia Prainha, where the famous staircase is, which we often see in photos of Arraial.
On the way to Prainha you can have a beautiful view of Praia dos Anjos and the city.
After the visit in Prainha, we returned to the same point in Pontal where we had seen the whales to watch the sunset. And what a spectacle! On one side, the clouds left the sun through to disappear into the ocean. On the other side, the whales continued to “show off”.
It seemed that our day was already more than perfect. However, when we descended from Pontal, we saw the full moon rising beautifully on the horizon.
During the winter months, Arraial is very quiet, without many options for nightlife, besides the restaurants. As it was close to our hostel, both nights we had dinner in restaurants near Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Church. I will recommend some in “Where to eat”.
For the second day, we booked the boat tour. The listed price for the tour that includes Praia do Farol, Gruta Azul (Blue Grotto), Prata do Atalaia and Forno Beach is R $ 60 per person. Walking along Praia dos Anjos where the marina is, you can get a discount. You need to pay an extra R $ 5 mandatory boarding fee, which is apart.
We chose to pay the listed price, but getting the different tour from Saveiro Don Juan, which had been recommended by Carla Boechat from the blog Fui, Gostei e Contei (I went, I liked and I told) and our hostel.
The big plus of Don Juan is that they leave at 9 am, 1 hour before the other boats, so they manage to get to the beaches when they are still empty.
The boat also has a great crew and great music (we saw other boats with very loud and weird music. = P). I won’t tell more details because later on I will make a post just writing about the tour. But I’m telling you to take the tour, because Praia do Farol is just accessible by boat and is one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen in the world.
The tour takes about 4 to 5 hours and the staff of Saveiro Don Juan will pick you up and bring you back to the hostel.
Since we had to return to Rio de Janeiro the same day we went on the tour and later in the afternoon we drove back to Rio. But if you have another night in Arraial, you can enjoy this day to watch the sunset at Praia Grande.
Where to eat
As well as hostels and hotels, Arraial has several dining options, ranging from self-services paying per kilo to restaurants with more sophisticated cuisine. The strength of the local gastronomy are the dishes with fish and seafood. As I said, we know more about the restaurants near Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Church, two of which I can recommend are Saint Tropez and Tuga Cod. I liked the second one more, because it has a cozy and well-decorated atmosphere, good service (as I am vegetarian, even without having it on the menu, they prepared a special dish for me) and good food. I left Arraial do Cabo already dying to return, I hope these tips can help you to get to know this Brazilian paradise! =)
Winter is the ideal time to get to know the cities in the mountains in the state Rio de Janeiro. Petrópolis is the largest and most famous of them and was our choice to make a return trip from Rio de Janeiro. Known as the Imperial City, Petropolis was founded by Emperor Dom Pedro II himself and was baptized as a combination of the two words: Peter (Petrus) + city in Greek (Pólis), called “City of Peter”. During the time of the Empire, Italian and mainly German colonists immigrated to the city. The imperial buildings and architectural constructions with German influence give the city an European city feeling. Very special atmosphere!
Petropolis is only 66 km away from Rio de Janeiro, less than 1 hour by car driving up into the mountains. The trip takes nearly 1h40 by bus from Rio’s main bus terminal and costs between R$ 20,33 e R$ 32,61 per person one-way. Values and timetable can be checked here: http://www.unica-facil.com.br/
For those who want to do a return trip: the best would be to arrive early to enjoy the whole day because in Petrópolis there is a lot to do. Don’t drive back down the mountain at night because there is a lot of fog. If you have time, spend at least one night in the city. I recommend to check the dates for some special events at night because the city has a great cultural agenda.
I left Germany on 19th October 2016 with luggage of about 15 kg and eight months later on 11th June 2017 I came back with 18 kg. It didn’t change a lot as I didn’t buy many things during my trip crossing nine countries. However, I brought a lot of memories with me.
Before I left Berlin, I knew I would learn something about myself travelling alone for months. Nevertheless, I didn’t just get to know myself better, but I see the world different. Mostly not because of the places I have visited but because of the conversations I had with the people of the different cultures. In my very first post of my series Worldlust (Travelling alone for 6 months) I already said “Deep within myself, I felt that for me it is more important to talk to people in person, to share special moments with them than to see a nice panorama or do something spectacular.” I want to thank each and every one of you who changed my trip to the most amazing journey of my lifetime. I want to thank all of you for the laughter, tears (happy or sad), interesting conversations we shared and all the great moments we had together! I want to share some examples of the things I have learned from all of you.
Alper. An honest hug from a person you know can help in the darkest hour – thank you.
Anastasia. Love and accept yourself for who you are and enjoy the life you have, no matter what.
Alvin. You will always look for your roots and try to figure out where you come from. Sometimes it needs a shock moment to wake you up and let you live the life you choose as the best one for yourself.
Mama Loca. Have fun during your work no matter what you are doing and the people will feel it and give joy back to you.
Ferdi. Muslim culture is incredible interesting and the basics are not different to any other religion. You should never give up on your dreams!
Leo Club Bali Shanti. There is no price for the laughter of orphans when you take your time to play with them.
Meliana. With time passing you might change your mind – even about marriage. HHH Bali forever, on on on!
Wayan. Every living human or animal has a soul and we shall respect and cherish all of them.
Rafting-group Bali. You will always meet at least twice in your life, sometimes even on different islands.
Martin (left), Mount Batur. Small trips are better than none. Even in 100 different smaller travel tours you can get to know the world like in one big one. So, just take your time as you can.
Markus. Traveling the world and jet setting is not always fun. It can get very tiring as well.
Luke. Don’t give up your own dreams for somebody else – it can’t be worth it.
Ketut. Happy people who are playing barefoot with local children, smiling people who help out wherever they can, they do exist and one of them is Ketut, my savior!
Fifin. Some women in our world are not allowed to dress or live the lifestyle they would prefer. I wish that one day all men will understand that we are as human as they are.
Max (Ng Yin Teck). Death is coming sooner than you expect it – live life to the fullest! I want to encourage everyone to take a moment to think of what YOU want in your life and if you are working towards that goal right now. If not, please change your life. Because it can end in a second. Life is too short and too valuable to be wasted. Do more of what you love. Always live right here, right now – don’t wait for tomorrow. On our earth, we experience too many deaths because of all kind of different reasons. So, use your life to find your inner happiness and share it with as many people as you can!
Anan. We should be all one big family and help each other in need wherever we can. On our difficult long walk, you became my little brother forever!
Bayan. Take hard work one step at a time, just keep on getting forward and you will finally reach the finish line.
Noe. Sometimes there are no words needed. Just the presence of another human being can give you the strength to carry on. I can’t thank you enough for being there for me in my darkest moment of my life, Noe!
Florian. There are nights, you just can’t sleep and it helps to simply listen to the breath of somebody next to you to realize that you are still alive. Thank you for your unconditional presence in that very first night full of silence and emptiness inside myself, Flo!
Sue. Two girls (Tess & Elli) on four paws can be the best therapeutic running companions.
Josh. Everybody has a different perception of life goals.
Ariane & Asher. As much as taken life can hurt, as much can new born life bring joy. Welcome to this world Isac Nathan.
Howard. You don’t need to be The Tallest Man on Earth to be the greatest friend and best road trip companion – I will be forever grateful!
Jeff. Taking the time for someone who needs your help no matter what you are doing, that’s what really counts in life. Thank you so much!
Paul. Do what you love and you will be successful. Be happy with what you achieve, you just need to impressive yourself with your music and poetry. Nobody else can ever judge you for that! You are amazing regardless what anybody else would say.
Julie. You can’t get too old for physical activities. Just follow your dreams!
Scott. From the first plan to the final product is a long way… But once it is complete, never forget the beginning. Everything starts with one first idea.
Dean. We love people for who they are and not for who they think they might should be for us.
Nicole & Matt. If you keep in contact, you will meet your friends once a year around the world. If you can’t manage to meet within Europe, you might end up meeting each other in Africa or Australia!
Daniel. You can try to turn your life upside down and express your emotions through music but in the end what really matters is to live the moment with people – even walking towards the beach with snake alert.
Zissi. The love of your family can heal your heart and soul. Sister-power forever!
Douglas. The ideas of participating in the Mongol Rally 2018 and traveling the mysterious country Iran are growing.
Pieter & Raewyn. Having an own house with a big farm full of animals like yours, is a dream and who knows, one day it might be reality.
Dor. Some people wear a scarf when it is cold, some people wear a cape when they want to have superpower and according to Dor, I wear a carpet and it looks ridiculous. Well, it seems that I never had a very established fashion style… ^^
Sam & Regan. While playing cards together you can learn so much about different cultures and laugh together till the fire burnt down in the fireplace.
Scott. Not everybody understands the hospitality of CouchSurfing…
Katha. If you are living and sharing the small space of a car for three weeks 24/7 and are still happy together – then you know, you are really good friends!
Wolfgang, the jungle man Tarzan. At your place in the middle of the rainforest I learned about the outdoors, an ecological healthy lifestyle and that living outside without any walls with the animals and plants is freedom. Our earth is beautiful and has so much to offer. So that it can stay that way an ecological lifestyle is necessary. Love, a bed with a mosquito net, a river for hydroenergy, a place to grow your own food and some leftovers to earn money from time to time is everything you need in life.
Carina. Better spend a penny more than not experiencing things in a place where you probably never will go back. Everybody brings us joy: Some people when we meet them and others when we can say goodbye.
Michelle. Having children, working hard and be full of joy and happiness is possible. You are an inspiration as a woman!
Wayne. Starting a new sport and participating in competitions is not a matter of age but a matter of focus and determination.
Nicole Ba. Not everybody is born to want kids. There is so much more in life to enjoy.
Ben. Learn things to do on your own so that you are more independent like fixing a bike. Also learning the rules of rugby and football is very helpful for small-talk with orthopedists. ^^
Prof. Martin Richardson. You are never done learning in life. What 10 things have you learned today?
Prof. Richard De Steiger. Take your time if you are operating on a patient, also if you do that operation already for the thousands time. Because every patient is different, it is always another life.
Mike & family. “To be disabled” is a label in our society which seems to bring more joy than a lot of us think…probably a lot of other people are “the disabled” ones for the lack of happiness.
Thach. Being friendly, smiling and kindness are universal. If you understand and use that universal language, you can communicate with everybody.
Surj. If your name is Surj, you might be born with superpower! You are impressive and there is nothing you can’t do like training at midnight after operating the whole day, operating for free, watching an Australian football game before operating again, right Audrey?
AJ. Somebody exists whom you confide your biggest secret after a few minutes of getting to know each other, with whom you have amazing conversations for hours without noticing the time passing, but at the same time don’t have any conversation at all because you don’t need to, with whom you laugh out loud, with whom you can be just you because that person will understand. You meet each other for a reason even though that sometimes you don’t know the purpose right away. The stars don’t create our future but they unite us and can lead us to where we want to get. Moreover, God can be everywhere, even in a drawing. You will have a very special place in my heart forever.
Lalo. Take a day off, explore your surroundings, meet people – just be.
Dr. Jason Chan. Usually there exist also unconventional ways than the straight way of studying to work in the field you want to.
Brian Devitt. Giving people the helping hand who want to learn from you is so important for our future generations.
Jason Harvey. Some people still can’t believe that women are capable of being surgeons…however, thank God that some doctors defend their female colleagues.
Prof. Juliane Feller. If you want to do medical research, you just need to start somewhere and then it might grow faster than you think.
Laura & Ryan. Sometimes it is unreal how coincidences happen and you listen the right radio channel just on time while you become a local “celebrity. ^^
Annie. From the outside, I can’t hide that I am a white girl, but I hope one day I will be recognized to be multicultural from the inside.
Youwen. Magic has no age limit.
Hong. Paying for your brother’s education and giving him a place to live is already something very unique. But welcoming a stranger to your home and making them part of your family, is something very special. Hong, you are an incredible good friend and when is the next time karaoke?
Pham Ngoc Quang. Unfortunately, not all countries can go traveling due to visa restrictions. I am very lucky with a German passport to be able to enter nearly all countries around the world without any problems. It is a privilege. I will try to help out wherever I can, so that all people who want to go traveling can fulfill their dreams.
Doctors at Hospital for Traumatology & Orthopaedics in HCMC. Being a doctor is not about earning a lot of money but about a passion you have. I don’t have words to describe how impressed I am with the work of the doctors I have met in Vietnam. Every day, they find the strength to get up in the morning and to help hundreds of people in a sufficient way, I would love to establish in Germany. Although that they have less resources and a lot of them even work for free as volunteers for up to 5 years, they always try their best for the patients.
Children at Hospital for Traumatology & Orthopaedics in HCMC. A small step is better than nothing as already a bottle of milk can make so many children smile.
Nicole Bobo. Best friends are there for each other – even if you are living on the other side of the world.
Zac. The Brazilian fever did not just invade my heart with all the love for the Brazilian culture and people. Even though we were losing a lot, we are still a great team!
Martin. From time to time you need to go dancing till the morning sun.
Mohammed, ääähm I mean Philipp ^^. Definitely eat scorpion and laugh for a long while in Thailand – hahahahahahahahahahaha
Adam. Don’t be too critical with yourself and smile every day for yourself and your friends around you. Life is just so precious!
Mati. With reggaetón comes so much joy and energy – let’s dance again!
Marta. Love it, that there are more crazy people like me out there, who prefer to travel and make their time to fulfill their dreams!
Fabian Eduardo. An inspiration how you can combine working, studying and caring for your family.
Luis. Take your time to meet friends even if you are a workaholic.
Larissa (@compviagens). Traveling around the world with fun, joy and happiness is so much easier and greater if you are around! Yes, a perfect couple with barely any arguments, enjoying traveling together 24 hours, open for any new ideas and different cultures does exist! Fred and Larissa, you are the perfect friends and part of my own family forever! <3 “Life is a journey” – Therefore, it doesn’t matter where you are, you are always traveling.
Fred (who is so much more than just the driver!). Right here and right now life is beautiful, so it isn’t always necessary to reach higher and for better. If I could get just half of your discipline in getting up for work at 3 am in the morning, so that we can go sightseeing for the rest of the day, I would be able to succeed so much more in life. You are an inspiration for everybody.
Camila (@omelhormesdoano). For love you learn another language and move to another country, to be near each other and create a future together.
Lizz, Megan & Shoshana. You can’t decide where you are born but you can decide what you think about that country, how and where you want to live. Girls are having the same opinions about love all over the world.
Gui (@queroviajarmais). If you teach other people what you have learned, they will listen, learn and later on give it back to you and help you to get stronger.
Cris (@raizesdomundo). Even though you love and enjoy traveling, you need a place where you feel home.
Fabian Mauricio. The only dangerous thing about Colombia is to lose your heart to a Colombian. Your family is always going to be your family – no matter what!
Emanuelle. If you really want to and believe in it, you risk and do everything for love.
Davi. No matter how long you haven’t seen each other, for true friends the feelings and conversations are the same as where they ended last time.
Marina. You shine as bright as the stars when you have an honest laughter.
I am very grateful for all the things I have learned with you guys. You changed me to the person I am today. THANK YOU!
For almost 5 years, I dreamed of visiting Chapada Diamantina in Bahia. Several times, I planned a trip, I said I will go for sure and when everything was almost right, something made me cancel the trip. I had decided that I would end up going on a special occasion. That special moment was New Year’s 2017. Everything was settled to spend New Year’s in Lençóis and when we left Natal-RN, the car broke down early during the trip. I couldn’t believe it. In the end, we ended up going the next day, accompanied by my parents. We arrived in Lençóis on the planned day and each year of waiting was compensated during the days of travelling Chapada Diamantina. What an amazing place! And how much energy this place provides to start the new year! As it was our first time in Chapada Diamantina and we were with my parents, we did a 5-day itinerary, with light to medium level trails.
The most famous tourist destination of Rio Grande do Norte, after the capital, Pipa Beach pleases everybody. The place is the most cosmopolitan one of the entire state and attracts people from all over the world. Many of those who visited the beach adopted it as their home and ended up staying.
The truth is that Pipa is one of the districts of the county of Tibau do Sul, which unites eight beaches of incredible beauty, in addition to the Lagoa de Guaraíras. Two of Pipa’s beaches are among the top 25 in Brazil, according to TripAdivisor 2016. As if it wouldn’t be enough beauty, the destination offers options for all types of tourists: the more relaxed once that just want to enjoy the beach, those who come with family, those seeking adventure and sports, those who love nature and also those who like to enjoy the nightlife.