The world’s fifth largest country hosts many ethnicities, cultures and wonders. Here are three breathtaking destinations outside the obvious for the uninitiated to explore.
“Samba! Caipirinha! Carnaval!” – These are only some of the words and visuals that come to mind when one thinks of Brazil, the tropical and welcoming land of eternal summer. Every year thousands of tourists from all over the world travel to see the ‘Cristo Redentor’ statue on top of the Corcovado Mountain in Rio and lay for days on the sands of Ipanema. Together with São Paulo and Bahia, these are some of the most popular traveling destinations. Manaus and Florianópolis are also well known.
These are indeed beautiful places, but there is so much more to be seen in Brazil. Don’t get me wrong here, I grew up in Rio de Janeiro – “a cidade maravilhosa” – and if somebody came to me and asked where they should go to in Brazil for the first time, I would point out Rio without hesitation. But I know that this city cannot represent Brazil by itself. One can’t fully say they know this country if they did not visit at least one city in each of its five regions. They are unique in every way. From economy, to climate; from language, to folkloric traditions.
This is why, when asked to write about traveling to Brazil, I couldn’t resist bringing three lesser-traveled, yet stunning, destinations. I would like to introduce you to Bonito (“Beautiful), Pipa (“Kite”) and Ilha Grande (“Big Island”).
Bonito is located in the Central-West Region of Brazil in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The municipality is becoming more and more famous as an ecotourism site. In the heart of Pantanal, a Brazilian wetland ecosystem, Bonito is not an easily accessible location. One must travel by plane and truck to get there. But I promise you that it will be worth it! Surrounded by nature, Bonito gives a feeling of a place untouched by progress. Waterfalls and lakes are everywhere to be seen and most of the time you will be able to enjoy them in solitude.
Pipa is located in Northeastern Brazil in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. Imagine a place where you can walk in a bathing suit and ‘havaianas’ all day long; imagine a place where the ocean water is warm and the coconut water is so refreshing; imagine a place where huge orange cliffs meet the sea protecting small white sand beaches. Welcome to Pipa! Still a village, where paved roads are not yet the norm, travelers can escape the densely populated neighbor beaches in the Northeast to find a safe heaven in Pipa. Forget taking the sand out of your shoes, relax, lie on the closest hammock and enjoy either the sun or the star-studded sky.
Ilha Grande is located in the Southeast Region of Brazil in the state of Rio de Janeiro (yes there are both a city and a state with the same name, pretty much like New York in the U.S.). Actually, the island is located no more than two hours out of the famous ‘cidade maravilhosa’ by car plus one hour by boat. Ilha Grande is getting into the spotlight because of its proximity to Rio, but there are already many plans in place to prevent a touristic boom on the island. Don’t get your hopes up for a five star resort there. The few villages in Ilha Grande are mainly populated by fishermen, biologists and sea lovers, giving it a sense of ‘undeveloped paradise’. There are a few hotels and several luxury compounds where the Brazilian elite maintains their boats to come and go from the island as they like on the main continent. With over 100 beaches to choose from, Ilha Grande offers great waves to surfers and Caribbean water to divers. You can’t miss the Lopes Mendes beach, always rated among the top ones in the country.
Well my friends, one last piece of advice: experiment with the huge variety of fruits from all these regions, always have a caipirinha in your hands, a bikini in your bag and flip flops on your feet and you can’t go wrong! Go and explore the South American giant (away from the crowds)!
By Ana Roselli.
All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting www.charlescomm.com.