The Portuguese had a very creative idea that is spreading around the world – they have transformed Lisbon cobblestones in QR codes containing historical information and curiosities about the city.
To build the mosaics they had to take out some historical stones from the floor that couldn’t just be thrown away. This led to another incredible idea – to take them to other places in the world and make other QR codes, containing information about each place with those same stones. The first place to get it was Bracelona, and now it’s arriving in Rio de Janeiro.
The idea is not only to give easy access to touristic information, but also to blend technology with tradition, and bring a creative and fun urban intervention.
The 1st QR code in Rio is at Arpoador beach, but there will be 30 more until the end of the year in Rio´s main touristic sights. That way the city will not only have a bit more of Portuguese history influences, but also an innovative way to tell its own history to the many tourist that are about to come.
To understand a bit better this Portuguese idea, check out the movie about the project!
According to the Condé Nast Traveller, Brazil is one of the “Destinations to watch in 2013”. So why not come to enjoy Carnaval? If you start planning now you can still make it! The festivities starts on February 8th and officially ends on the 12th. However, there will be plenty of things going on until the 17th.
This great party is celebrated all over the country, but Rio is definitely one of the best places to go. There you have many ways to celebrate:
The Sambadrome is the Carnival mecca. It’s where the magic happens and where the amazing Samba Parade on Carnival week takes place. It’s a must go! Rehearsals that are almost like the Parade but without costumes and with less participants also takes place there, starting already in December. It is also possible to do a tour during the day.
Rio de Janeiro, as the City of Carnival, offers a selection of Carnival balls. Though hundreds of balls happen all over the city, some are always better bets than others. The most traditional and popular ones are at the Scala and Mangueira Samba School. But the most glamorous is definitely the Copacabana Palace Ball.
Each neighborhood in Rio has its favorite Bandas or Blocos. Both consist of an orchestra marching along a pre-determined route, followed by hordes of enthusiastic samba dancers. They may come dressed in costumes, bathing suits, plain clothes, special T-shirts, or even in drag. It’s free, spontaneous, and everybody’s welcome to participate!
If you’re planning a escape to Brazil in our summer and want to run away from the big crowds, here are some of our favorite runaway destinations that will make you forget about all that crazy life at home…
The Amazon is so big that no matter the season, you will always find a quiet spot – especially if you are travelling on a private yacht or regional boat with a great staff at disposal. You can choose to navigate the Negro River or the Tapajós – both great trips, with amazing landscapes and pristine river beaches.
Sibaúma beach, in Rio Grande do Norte (northeast of Brazil), has no civilization. A 25m high red sand dune is its landmark and the 7km stretch of beach is perfect for walking. You can stay at Kilombo Villas, a hotel that is closer to a serviced community of private beach homes. Their 5 houses are very comfortable and perfectly decorated. There’s nothing around but nature and the beach, but in case you wish to see people, Pipa, a hype beach destination is only 8km away.
Picinguaba is a preserved beach at Ubatuba, a 30 min drive from the colonial town of Paraty, in between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. There’s a small pousada named after the beach, which has only 10 rooms, with no TV, Internet or telephone, so you can definitely escape from real life. All food served at the pousada is organic, produced on the Fazenda they have nearby. If staying there you can go for some great activities around the region, to visit the fishermen communities and the beautiful bay surrounding the area.
Barra de São Miguel
Of course the beach is beautiful, but it’s thanks to Kenoa Resort that it is on this list. Embraced on the north by the resplendent panorama of miles of virgin Atlantic outback and on the east by the turquoise enchantment of the open sea, Kenoa Resort is as wondrous as it is very private, a place where luxury is defined by its earth-given beauty. Its service is as great as its setting – it will be hard to remember any kind of problems while staying here… It’s located at Alagoas (northeast of Brazil), 30km away from Maceió, the state’s capital.
Pristine beaches and crystal clear waters – that’s what you will find at this historically important stretch of the Bahian coast. This stunning setting was the gateway for the first Portuguese landings on Brazilian soil in the 1500s. Thanks to the difficulty of access (4 hrs drive form Porto Seguro, the nearest airport, or 20min on chartered airplane), this paradise keeps untouched. Here we recommend staying at Fazenda São Francisco, exclusive 10 bungalows hotel with great service and local food.
The Coca-Cola Company, one of the main sponsors of the 2014 Fifa World Cup is working on with a pioneering sustainability project – that collects used plastic bottles to recycle and build seats for some of the biggest stadiums in Brazil that are under refurbishment for this big event.
The participant cities are Rio de Janeiro, Belo horizonte & Brasília. Coca-cola wishes to make 6,700 seats in Maracanã Stadium, in Rio, 3000 in Mineirão, and at least 5% of the seats in the National Stadium in Brasilia. For making each seat, it´s necessary one hundred 600ml pet bottles – so people really need to help to make this project come true!
There are several collection points all spread in these three cities, and one of the main ideas of this project is not only to make the 2014 Fifa World Cup more sustainable, but also to encourage a recycling culture at the Brazilian homes.
We always ask ourselves – what are the best hotel rooms in Brazil? The answer is not easy, since preference and style is a very persona subject. Taking that into account, we selected 5 rooms around the country that are undoubtedly amazing, with lots of space, breathtaking views, and awarded design. You won’t even miss your home pillows while staying in one of these…
Kenoa– This Eco-resort is located at Barra de São Miguel, 30km from Maceió, the capital of Alagoas State. It´s hard to choose between so many incredible rooms at this resort, but their best suite is the must – it has a heated infinity pool, an external deck that leads to the beach and a 200m² private area.
Fasano Rio– Since its opening, Fasano is amongst the most sophisticated hotels in the country. Its Deluxe Suite was designed by Philippe Starck and has a cozy living room, a bar with a Nespresso machine and bathroom with natural lightening. The highlight is the amazing view to Ipanema Beach and very spacious balcony overlooking the sea.
Santa Teresa– Big windows with amazing panoramic views of the “Marvelous City” are one of the highlights of this boutique hotel. The Loft suite was awarded by the Wallpaper* Magazine in 2010 as the “World Best Suite Design”. The balcony faces the Petrópolis and Teresópolis mountains and the Guanabara Bay and Christ the Redeemer can be seen from the large window.
Ponta dos Ganchos– Located next to the Florianópolis Island in Santa Catarina, this is definitely one of the most charming beach hotels in the country. All bungalows are in an amazing settings, but the Special Bungalow at Vila Esmeralda deserves a special mention – with 300m² it houses a sauna, swimming pool and gym, with great views to the sea, as you can see in the picture!
Unique–The name says it all. This “watermelon shaped” hotel, designed by Ruy Ohtake, is considered one of São Paulo´s icons. It´s outrageous style is reflected outside and inside the hotel rooms. The presidential suite has 312m², with a Jacuzzi on the terrace, a kitchen and an office, all decorated by the Campana brothres.
Although it’s a folklore tradition in North America and Europe, it has little to do with our Brazilian traditions. Each year more and more people celebrate Halloween in Brazil due to foreign influences and the inevitable globalization. Our kids began to love wearing costumes and go trick-or-treating around their neighborhoods! They even end up learning a little bit of English, since most words and expressions for this holiday come from abroad.
This kind of cultural exchange is great but we end up not caring as much to our own folklore traditions. While kids are dressed like witches and vampires, they forget about the Brazilian myths, such as the Saci-Pererê: an annoying prankster boy with holes in his hand palms and a single leg, who has magical powers, smokes a pipe and wears a magical red cap that enables him to disappear whenever he wishes.
In some parts of the country the Brazilian folklore is much more celebrated. In the Amazon, for example, the myths surrounding the pink dolphins are remembered every day, since it´s part of the day to day life of many riverside communities. The myth says that at night pink dolphins become handsome young men who seduces girls, impregnates them, and then return to the river in the morning to become a dolphin again. Some also say that they are the guardians of the Amazonian Manatee. If you come to one of our amazon cruises you will sure see many of them.
We hope that Brazilian kids don´t forget these national myths while celebrating the Halloween, and who knows, your kids can also celebrate our myths some day!
We always say how great Brazil is and show you amazing pictures of our country. But now is the time to read about the real Matueté experience, written by one of our clients – The Curcio family, who chose Brazil as the first stop for their round the world trip!
They have a very interesting blog, in which each member of the family writes about their personal impressions of each place, like a travel diary. Their pictures are also very inspiring and totally worth a look!
So far they have been to Rio, Salvador and Natal, and have just arrived in Fernando de Noronha Island. This is some of their thoughts about the places they’ve been:
Rio by Sheryl – “Art is everywhere in the streets with nameless graffiti artists speaking out with color and intricate designs along main thoroughfares, on neighborhood corners and on school walls. I wish we could know the stories behind each.”
Brian about the food: “Although it’s become apparent that Brazil has an obsession with rice and beans (most likely due to the fact that protein is simply more expensive) the one thing we can’t knock is the food.”
Natal, by Brian: “by far the sunniest and warmest place we’ve been yet; surprisingly, it’s quite clean too. Located 4 degrees of the equator, Natal seems to be as close to a touristy paradise as you can get – even the girls here seem to have a certain ‘sparkle’ to them. “
Check out their blog to learn more about their experiences and perceptions about Brazil so far!
Brazilian gastronomy is a mosaic of European, African and Indigenous traditions and ingredients. The country is so big, that depending on where you go, you will find completely different flavours and ingredients.
If you go to the Northeast region, in most of the cities by the coast, you will find a delicious fish stew called Moqueca (pronounced “mo-KEH-kah”). It is basically a fish and vegetable stew, with a special extra touch depending on the city you go. We will teach you how to cook a Bahian style Moqueca so you can have a special and delicious Brazilian dinner at home.
As exotic as it may sound, you probably have most of the ingredients already in your pantry. You’ll want to get fresh fish of course, and with prep, the total cooking time is less than an hour. The only special ingredient that may be hard to find is this red palm oil that we call dendê. It has a very particular taste that brings the exoticness to the dish. If you live in a European or American large city, you can look for a Brazilian store and they will have it for sure. If you don´t find it, just use a good olive oil – It will be delicious as well.
This recipe serves around 8 people and we usually eat it with white rice.
Here are the ingredients:
800kg of fillets of firm white fish such as halibut, swordfish, or cod, rinsed in cold water, pin bones removed, cut into large portions
½ kg of shrimp (this is optional – don´t worry if you are allergic or don´t have it)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Palm oil or olive oil (at taste)
2 big onions sliced (around 1cm)
2 red or green pepper, seeded and sliced (one of each will give a beautiful color to the dish)
3 big tomatoes, sliced
Red fresh chili, finely minced, at taste
1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped with some set aside for garnish
300ml coconut milk
Place fish pieces and the shrimp into different bowls. Add to each the minced garlic and lime juice so that the pieces are well coated. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper. Keep chilled while preparing the rest of the soup.
In a large covered pan (we like using clay pots), coat the bottom with about 2 tbsp of palm or olive oil and heat on medium heat. First, add a layer of the sliced onions, the peppers, the tomatoes then the fish, and so on, layer by layer. Then add part of the cilantro, all the coconut milk and the water. Cover the pan and let it cook.
Do not strew! After 20min, check if the fish is almost cooked. If it isn’t, leave it for a little more time. Then add the shrimps and leave it for 5 more minutes.
When the shrimps are cooked, add some palm oil (around 3 or 4 tbl spoons) and the rest of the cilantro.
If you enjoyed the recipe, contact us when coming to Brazil – we can tell you where you can find the best Moquecas and take you to a Brazilian culinary class so you can learn more about our cuisine!
Think about a luxury resort exclusively for you and your family for the New Year ‘s Eve celebration. Now imagine that it is settle in one of the most authentic part of the Brazilian coast, by Salvador, in the beautiful Bay of All Saints with all its mysticism and good energies for this special date. If you liked the idea, Ilha das Canas is still available!
Ilha das Canas is a private island and one of the most exclusive properties available for rent in Brazil.
Groups of up to 26 people can have this entire small island for themselves, with a 30 person staff at disposal. They are always ready to produce special events to make your experience unique, just like having a whole resort only for you and your family and friends. The island has a wide range of water ‘toys’, such as kayaks, sailing dingy, motor boats and a 46ft yacht, that are available to bring even more fun to the experience. Take a look at these pictures to have a better idea of what we are talking about.
We also have a wide range of incredible beach properties available for New Year’s. Consult us for more details!
Official Mascots have come to play an important role in the FIFA World Cup as they represent the fun side of the event. Cast as a variety of animals, fruit, vegetables and children (plus one or two abstract characters), their infectiously positive attitude have added to the atmosphere of each competition in their own unique way. This week an important Brazilian magazine published what the Brazil’s World Cup Organizing Committee (COL) chose to be our mascot for 2014!
As South Africa in 2010, Brazil chose an animal that represents the country and in some way, has something to do with football – the three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus). Here we call it tatu –bola, or “tatu-ball” in English, because of its ability to roll into the shape of a ball under its leathery shell as a mode of self-defense.
It is native to South America, and many of them live at the Pantanal wetlands, in the center of Brazil. A great place to visit to observe wild animals and many species of birds, by the way! Check out our website to learn more.