Matueté Blog

Culture & History @en

15 de August de 2012

:: Brazil - Southeast Region @en | Culture & History @en

The Brazilian Olympic Committee launched on Monday a video clip with the official theme song for the Olympic Games in Rio in 1016 – it is called “Os Grandes Deuses do Olimpo Visitam o Rio de Janeiro”, which means “The Great Olympian Gods visit Rio”. Written by Arlindo Cruz, Rôge e Arlindo Neto, this samba-funk tells the story about the time the Gods came to Rio and fell in love with the city and danced samba all night long – just like you will when you visit Rio!

The song is played by some of the most important names of Brazilian music, such as Zeca Pagodinho, Mart’nália, Ed Motta, Mr. Catra and Velha Guarda da Portela.

Check out the video and have a taste of what is waiting for you in Rio here:


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23 de July de 2012

:: *Beach @en | Culture & History @en

Time has come to start planning your New Year’s holidays, and Brazil holds the reputation of being one of the greatest places in the world to celebrate it! And that is because this is not only one of our main holidays but it has a mystic symbolism that is contagious. And of course, it is undeniably an unforgettable party time in the country!

Brazilian New Year is characterized as the icon of new hope, fresh beginning and total renewal. Traditions are to everybody dress in white, the color of peace, and by the sea people give offerings, like flowers, to honor the Queen of the Sea Yemanja. And that is why for this date you must choose a beach destination. Rio is a must for anyone who wants to start the forthcoming year with style and company, but for those willing to a more relaxed environment, there are some great beach hotels in the northeast region that can be a good choice.

Rio is the number 1 choice due to the Copacabana huge party that attracts over 2 million people every year. At midnight, with the turning of the year, the fireworks display begins and lasts for about 20 minutes. Spectators on the beach and in the buildings along the Copacabana ocean avenue have different views to the spectacle, but share the same exciting atmosphere and cheerful spirit that only Rio knows how to provide.

And you are lucky that Brazilians are always late on planning… the best beach front hotel rooms are still available. Just remember that for this period of the year, there is a minimum stay of 4 to 6 nights minimum in all of them and prices are significantly higher than on regular season.

If you want to have a taste of new years in Brazil, but somewhere less busy you can chose between some of the beautiful beach resorts we recommend in the northeast. You will have the same mystic traditions, and will be able to enjoy the perfect weather of the region. Usually they have a longer minimum stay, but trust us – you will want to stay that long anyways.

Wherever you choose to go, this will be a once in a lifetime experience. Count on us to help you organize the perfect experience for you – as it is a busy season with many restrictions imposed by the hotels, it is important to plan smartly!

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6 de July de 2012

:: Culture & History @en | Top 5 @en | Uncategorized @en

We are not only known by our beautiful beaches and pristine nature. Brazilian culture is very rich and so is our music. We have many different rhythms, and all around the country you will hear something new.

In the last few years some great female singers emerged in the country influenced by this musical diversity and also by some external references. This top 5 list brings some of the best – their beautiful voices and rhythms will give a Brazilian touch to your playlist.

CÉU – born in São Paulo, she is one of the great breakthrough artists of the decade. Inspired by Samba, Jazz and Hip-Hop, her first CD was launched in 2005 and was a big success. It was a nominee for the 2006 Latin Grammy Awards and was ranked as a “Heatseeker” for Billboard Magazine.


ROBERTA SÁ –  born in the Northeast region of the country but moved to Rio when she was still a child. With 5 recorded albums, Roberta is one of the most well-known singers from the new generation, with plenty of great hits. Her sweet voice is influenced by Samba and other Brazilian rhythms.


KARINA BUHR – she is not only a great voice but a talented song-writer as well. Born in Bahia but raised in Recife, she lived all the musical effervescence of the region and was highly influenced by the Maracatu and other northeastern rhythms.


CIBELLE – a multi-media performance artist born in São Paulo and influenced by Bossa Nova, Neofolk and Electronic music. Not only well-known here in Brazil, but all over Europe, where she resides nowadays.


MART’NALIA – daughter of the great sambista Martinho da Vila, Mart’nália is the new name of Samba. Her father’s musical influence, together with her authentic voice, made her a big success here in Brazil.  [youtube][/youtube]

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4 de July de 2012

:: Culture & History @en | Insider @en

We can´t wait until the London Olympic Games start! We have plenty of favorites for medals, and Fabiana Murer, Brazil´s greatest pole vaulter ever, is one of our bests! She didn´t have much luck on the last Olympic Games, but since then she has been getting better and better. Fabiana won the gold medal on the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, but even holding the title of best pole vaulter of the world she remains very down to earth when asked about her expectations for London 2012– “I want to get to the finals and work hard for the gold medal, but for me there´s no “gold or nothing”, I want gold, silver, bronze…”

We´ll keep our fingers crossed!

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28 de June de 2012

:: Brazil - North Region @en | Culture & History @en | Matueté on the road @en | Nature @en

It is now exactly two years since I first accompanied guests to the Xingu Indian lands – an oasis of natural and cultural preservation of the Amazon – fulfilling a personal objective and dream.   See some of the pictures in the gallery to try to get a glimpse of what I was privileged to see!

The Xingu National Park, created 50 years ago by the pioneering efforts of the Villas Boas Brothers, is the home of around six thousand Indians of over thirty different tribes, who in varyingdegrees, still lead a culturally preserved way of life.   Matueté has formed a relationship with one of the most interesting of these tribes – the Kamayurá – and are now experimentally taking guests for a night or two with the Indians.

When I first visited, I was incredibly lucky to be there for one of the most beautiful of all their Ceremonies – the Jawari – or War Games.   In this incredible twelve hour party – two tribes ‘play-fight’ each other in various different games.  At the end of the Ceremony the men of one tribe dance with the women of the other tribe and then switch around, to make sure there are no hard feelings between them.   I can safely say that it was one of the most beautiful and moving rituals I have ever seen.

Taking people to visit culturally preserved tribes is a controversial topic in tourism.  Many argue that they should be left intact.   And we believe that those that still have not been contacted (and there are around 50 or so tribes like this in Brazil) should remain like this – and thankfully this the official government policy too.    But the Xingu peoples, have had regular contact with the white man for over 50 years.  And the temptations to abandon tribal life and move to the cities are almost irresistible, especially for the younger people.  How to prevent this is a foremost thought on any Xinguan Chief’s mind.  There are many demands from the members of the tribe for the Chief to provide them with some measure of modern comforts such as diesel for their motor-boats, radios, etc.

Our partnership with the Kamayurá tribe, aims to provide an important source of income (their other sources are selling jewellery or relying on donations) to the Indians to buy whatever cannot beproduced locally and they see as important for the tribe.     We are especially hopeful that this partnership will be successful and provide an interesting model for others, since the Chief of the Kamayurás understands well that Cultural preservation is possibly their most valuable asset.  Providing a revenue stream to reward this seems a good idea from everyone’s perspective.

Visitation fees are kept high, and go straight to the Indians, so as to bring a reasonable income from a very limited number of visitors.

If you would like to know more about the Xingu, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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:: *Urban @en | Culture & History @en

So Rio +20 is over and most of the media says it was a failure. And if we look closely at the document named “The future we want” that came out of it, we can understand why they say so.  But it was not a complete waste of time and money – the civil society movements showed that not everything is lost.  What did fail was Rio´s capacity to hold a big event such as Rio +20.

About the general disappointment with the document produced by the conference – no big news. Everyone was already expecting that.  To start, we knew that Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Obama weren´t coming. And we know that economic interests are much bigger than the environmental ones, no matter if the world is about to explode. No consistent goals were defined and the “The future we want” according to those people is to maintain the status quo.

On the other hand, we can´t ignore that outside of the conference rooms civil society was doing its part.  Scientists discussed sustainable practices, activists protested on the streets… Of course they won´t change the world now, but at least it gives us a  glimmer of hope – as more people are engaged with the cause, harder it will be to postpone effective measures.

What both governors and civil society would agree is that Rio was not exactly prepared to hold such a large international event. To begin with, prices were exorbitant and many delegations threatened not to come because of this. Of course there were no hotels and due to the heavy air traffic (private and commercial) many flights had to be cancelled and even us here at Matueté were affected by this chaos. There was also lots of traffic, internet issues… It all shows that we weren’t totally  ready for it.

Now everyone is back home and apparently everything will remain the same. The “Future we want” will end up being a document full of good intentions and small actions, and as for our concerns around here about our capacity to host major events, let´s hope that Rio and all Brazilian cities can learn with the chaos that was the Rio +20 conference.

The Fifa World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016 are coming fast. For us the RIO +20 taught us invaluable lessons as to how we can help our travelers have amazing experiences in these major events.

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26 de June de 2012

:: Culture & History @en | Matueté on the road @en | Nature @en | Uncategorized @en

The São José Mountain, around the historical site of Tiradentes, in Minas Gerais is a great place for those who love escaping the big city and immerse on nature.  Pedro Treacher, one of our team members recently discovered this paradise full of history on his last travel around Minas Gerais. He walked up hill on stone paths from the 18th century, when the region was one of the most important of the country due to the gold rush.  Take a look at some of the great pictures he took from the beautiful preserved nature around him!

If you want to know more about our tours in Minas Gerais take a look at our website:

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22 de June de 2012

:: Culture & History @en

We just love the month of June… It’s quite chilly in the southern cities of the country, but we just don´t care, since there is a lot of party going on! June is the month of three of the most important catholic saints: Sain João, Sain Pedro and Saint Antonio, and as we are a mostly catholic country, we love throwing them great birthday parties!

We call this parties Festa Junina, or Festa de São João. They came as a Portugal tradition and has adapted to the Brazilian culture and according to each region of the country along the years. Although they are a catholic tradition, you won’t feel like in a religious event in the case you have the chance to go to one.

They take place all long the month of June and are celebrated nationwide, but the semi-arid hinterlands of Northeast Region is known as the best places to celebrate it– in some places, it is as big as carnival. This festivity celebrates the rural lifestyle, and people dresses like the caipiras, how we call farm people. Men dress up with large straw hats and women wear pigtails, freckles, painted gap teeth and red-checkered dresses, all in a loving tribute to the origins of Brazilian country music.

The traditional dance is the quadrilha that features couple formations around a mock wedding whose bride and groom are the central attraction. There are also many regional dishes and sweets, many of them made of corn.

Think of if next time you are travelling to Brazil – no matter where you chose to visit, if you came in the month of June, you will for sure have the opportunity to have a little taste of it!

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21 de June de 2012

:: Culture & History @en | Top 5 @en

Imagine yourself travelling throw the origins of Brazil… or participating of a Carnival parade in Bahia on the twenties. If you like reading, prepare yourself to discover all of this and more of Brazilian history and culture with these great authors of our classic literature.

We have chosen 5 between the best writers we had along our history – all of them a must, especially if coming to the country anytime soon!

JOSÉ DE ALENCAR – one of the greatest of our nineteenth century, Alencar wrote Iracema, a short romance that metaphorically tells the origins of Brazil with the story of love of a colonist with a beautiful Indian, whose death is an emblem of the extermination of the indigenous population by the Portuguese when they first colonized our lands.

MACHADO DE ASSIS – Considered by many the best Brazilian writer ever, his romances have very strong characters and tell how life was at nineteenth century Rio. He has many novels and short stories translated to English and other languages, but definitely one of the best is Don Casmurro, a sad and darkly comic novel about love and the corrosive power of jealous of Bentinho for his wife Capitú.

JORGE AMADO – he is a Bahian modern writer, author many novels about his contemporary Bahian lifestyle. If you like well written comic stories, you will fall in love for his characters – he has many books translated to English, but Dona Flor and her two husbands deserves a highlight. It’s impossible not to laugh while reading Vadinho’s adventures with his beautiful wife Dona Flor. If you like cooking you can even try some of Dona Flor’s regional delicious recipes!

GRACILIANO RAMOS – another Northeast writer, Graciliano Ramos is mostly known by his novels about the dry northeast hinterlands. His book Barren Life tells the story of a peasant family that driven by the drought, walks to exhaustion through all that arid land. It is a very dense story that is a contemporary portrait of the population that still suffers with the constant droughts.

MARIO DE ANDRADE – not less important than the others, Mario de Andrade was one of the founders of Brazilian modernism, and a landmark precursor of Latin American magical realism. He wrote many poems, but one of his masterpieces is definitely Macunaíma, a comic folkloric rhapsody about the adventures of a popular “hero without a character” whose fate is intended to define the national character of Brazil.

Enjoy your reading!

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13 de June de 2012

:: *Urban @en | Art & Architecture @en | Brazil - Southeast Region @en | Culture & History @en | Uncategorized @en

The Rio +20 is about to start, but here in Matueté we have already started doing our part to build a greener and more sustainable world. For many years we have been supporting different social projects that we truly believe in. One of them is the Morrinho Project in Rio de Janeiro. Located at favela Pereira da Silva, Morrinho is a cultural and social project that consists in a 400m2 model of a favela cityscape built with old bricks, remains and other recycled materials. It is a cultural oasis for children of the community that can interact with art, play and express themselves and their reality in a creative manner. It started in 1997 and in 2007 was one of the sensations of the 2007 Venice Art Bienalle.

If you wish to learn more about the project, take a look at their website or contact us to take a tour around the project on your next visit to Rio – It is a one-of-a-kind visit, you won’t see nothing like this in any other favela visit or art gallery.

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