Quick question: What’s the first drink that pops on your mind when you think about Brazil?
Ok, and besides caipirinha, can you name another one?
Hummm… no worries, we are here to make it easier and introduce you to others Brazilian delicious beverages, that may only appear too exotic, but we guarantee it’s worth trying.
1. Caldo de cana
Also known as garapa, caldo de cana literally means “sugar juice.” If you peel a sugar cane and then run it through a pressing machine, it yields a greenish-yellow juice. It’s available in street markets practically everywhere in our country and feels like a refreshing bomb of sugar exploding in your mouth. Don’t miss it!
The Brazilian version of yerba mate, also popular in Uruguay and Argentina. This special tea is both symbolic and social, and is commonly shared among friends. It’s considered to have many of the same health benefits as Chinese green tea and has plenty of natural caffeine in it. The drink is more common in the Southern states of Brazil where the cold weather helps enjoy this delicious tea.
Guaraná is the national soft drink of Brazil, and it has a sharp, distinct flavor. This drink gets its name from the guaraná berry, an Amazonian fruit that is a natural energy booster; it has twice the caffeine of coffee beans. Guaraná, the soda, has very small amounts of guaraná, the fruit. It taste like childhood for us.
Brazil’s version of an alcoholic smoothie. It’s basically a mix of cachaça, fruit, ice and lots of sugar. Batidas are a favorite at the kiosks that line along the beaches of our coast. All you have to do is name the fruit (coconut, strawberry, passion fruit…) and blend your customized refreshment.
*Fun fact: caipirinha is a type of batida.
5. Vitamina de abacate
Brazilians, to the contrary of North Americans, think of the avocado as a fruit (and one that should be sweetened rather than salted). Vitamina de abacate is made by blending avocado, sugar, and milk. Try one first thing in the morning and you’ll be surprised by how much energy you gonna get and how well the flavor of avocado works as a sweet ingredient.
A fairly widespread trend in places like New York, Berlin and Buenos Aires, starts to gain popularity in some Brazilian cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
We’re talking about irreverent and exclusive dining experiences that happens in the most unusual places such as an art gallery, or a bookstore or even a terrace in Morro do Vidigal, (a pacified favela between Leblon and Ipanema, in Rio) for example. And the best part is that, sometimes, you just find out about the location, the chef and the menu at the minute you arrive!
Quite risky huh? But we guarantee it’s fun, spontaneous and a great way to get in touch with a new culture.
So, we selected a few options for curious and audacious travelers, willing to live a unique unforgettable experience. Check this out:
The secret is the key for this project of chef Gustavo Rigueiral and journalist Larissa Januário. The location of the dinner is only revealed during the day, by e-mail and it could happen in a residential dining room, or a studio, or even in an outdoor garden at some city park. The menu is also a surprise, exclusively created for each edition, according to the climate and the availability of seasonal ingredients. All you have to do is pic a date, write an email to email@example.com and receive all the details.
The cozy house located in a charming village in the middle of Vila Mariana in São Paulo, is the residence of the musician Gustavo Araujo. 4 years ago, mostly on Friday nights, Araujo gets into his home and cooks for about 20 people. In one word: Delicious!
The project led by renowned chef Raphael Despirite, organizes dinners in unusual places. The events have happened in bookstores, theaters, in Morro do Vidigal, in a kitchenware store, a public library… and is so sucessful that already won a cub, the Knock Knock, with a bar atmosphere.
The cook Lea Silva, or Aunt Leah, as it is known in the Vidigal community, receives since 2008 up to 20 people for lunch or dinner on the slab of her home during weekends. Besides the famous feijoada, the view from the top of Vidigal mountain makes the meal extra special.
We believe that a powerful soundtrack is a lovely way to get in touch with the culture, soul and vibe of a place, and Brazil is a sanctuary of musical treasures! It’s almost impossible to visit our country and not get touched by the strenght of the rhythm around here.
To get familiar with our bossa, all you have to do is click the links below to get inspired by our 11 selected jewels of Brazilian music.
It’s almost like being here… almost!
1. Aquele abraço – Gilberto Gil
Aquele Abraço is a samba written by Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil during a period of cultural censorship in Brazil. The lyric celebrate neighborhoods, landmarks, samba schools and popular culture figures of Rio de Janeiro. A beautiful classic!
2. Descobridor dos 7 mares – Tim Maia
This lively song written by Brazilian soul man Tim Maia is a contagious tribute to some of our famous beaches. Groovy
3. Aquarela do Brasil – Ary Barroso
One of the most popular Brazilian songs written by composer Ary Barroso in 1939. Due to the huge popularity achieved in the United States, the song received an English version composed by Bob Russell to Frank Sinatra in 1957. Since then, it has been interpreted by singers from almost all parts of the world. A hit!
4. Filhos de Gandhi – Gilberto Gil
Newly arrived from London in 1972, Gilberto Gil spent the Carnival in Bahia and found his favourite Carnival block – “Gandhi’s Son” – reduced to only 40 or 50 people, which inspired this beautiful song. The theme was also responsible to encourage people and rekindling the movement.
5. País Tropical – Jorge Ben
Composed by one of samba-rock legends Mr. Jorge Ben in 1969, quickly the song became a huge success just in time for the atmosphere of jingoism that the military regime was using in its advertising in the country. It simply says that Brazil is a tropical country, blessed by God and beautiful by nature… and we cannot disagree.
6. Querelas do brasil – Elis Regina
First performed by Elis Regina in April 1978, the song is a reference to “Aquarela do Brasil” and to Brazil’s economic elite that was attacking the popular culture of the country with an Americanized culture which can be perceived by verses as “Brazil does not know Brazil”.
7. Sandálias de prata – Ary Barroso
Also written by master Ary Barroso, this song from 1942 is a simple and gentle portrait of our culture: happy and fearless.
*performed by João Gilberto
8. Sampa – Caetano Veloso
Caetano Veloso wrote this song in 1965 about his first time in Sao Paulo. The way his heart felt when he crossed famous avenues, landmarks and how quickly people take in the city’s reality. <3
9. Canta Brasil – Gal Costa
This samba is considered one of the country hymns composed by Alcyr Pires and interpreted by singer Gal Costa. Talks about miscegenation and exalts the beauty of national culture.
10. Aquarela Brasileira – Martinho da Vila
And we could not miss a Carnival theme on our list, right? Aquarela Brasileira (or Brazilian watercolor) was composed by singer Martinho da Villa and was the representative song for the Imperio Serrano samba school in 1964. So powerful!
11. Brasis – Seu Jorge
A fresh vision composed by singer Seu Jorge that explains the existence of several different and contrasting Brazils.
As it’s widely known, UNESCO aims to promote the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage, which are considered especially valuable for humanity. It’s a beautiful mission, that we truly admire! Brazil has several natural and cultural treasures considered world’s patrimony by UNESCO and we are super proud of that, so we’ve decided to share some of them with you.
Which one would you like to visit first?
Brasilia was a landmark in the history of town planning. Urban planner Lucio Costa and celebrated architect Oscar Niemeyer intended that every element should be in harmony with the city’s overall design. Not to mention the beautiful sunlight and natural landscape from cerrado (or brazilian savanna, as you wish), contrasting with the concrete.
2. Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia
Brazil’s first capital, Salvador witnessed the blending of European, African and Amerindian cultures and it was also the first slave market in the new world. The city has managed to preserve many outstanding Renaissance buildings and a remarkable feature of the old town are the brightly coloured houses.
3. Historic Centre of São Luís
This historic town has preserved the original street plan in its entirety. An exceptional number of fine historic buildings have survived, making this an outstanding example of an Iberian colonial town. And not too far from São Luis, there’s Lençois Maranhenses National Park which Unesco should seriously consider including as a natural patrimony.
4. Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea
The site consists of an exceptional urban setting encompassing the key natural elements that have shaped and inspired the development of the city: from the highest points of the Tijuca National Park’s mountains down to the sea. Rio de Janeiro is also recognized for the artistic inspiration it has provided to musicians, landscapers and uurbanites.
5. Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves
These reserves represent a large proportion of the island surface of the South Atlantic and their rich waters are extremely important for the aquatic environment. The islands are home to the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the Western Atlantic. The portrait of paradise…
6. Central Amazon Conservation Complex
The Central Amazon makes up the largest protected area in the Amazon Basin and is one of the planet’s richest regions in terms of biodiversity. The site protects key threatened species including the black caiman and two species of river dolphins.
7. Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks
One of the World’s oldest and most diverse tropical ecosystems. For thousands of years these sites have served as refuge for several species and will be vital for maintaining the biodiversity of the Cerrado region during future climate fluctuations. To include on your must see destinations!
8. Iguaçu National Park
Iguaçu National Park has one of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfalls. It is home to many rare and endangered species, among them the giant otter and the giant anteater. The clouds of sprinkle jet produced by the waterfall are conducive to the growth of lush vegetation. Breathtaking!
9. Pantanal Conservation Area
Located in Central Western Brazil, the site represents one of the world’s largest freshwater wetland ecosystems. The headwaters of the region’s two major river systems are located here and the abundance and diversity of its vegetation and animal life are spectacular. The best place in America to observe wildlife!
10. Serra da Capivara National Park
Many of the numerous rock shelters in Serra da Capivara National Park are decorated with cave paintings, some more than 25,000 years old. They are an outstanding testimony to one of the oldest human communities of South America. Wow!
It may appear that Sao Paulo has become the Street Artists’ “sweet heart” from day to overnight, but this recognition is the result of persistence and audacity of many urban enthusiasts that, for years, have been investing in creative art, promoting awesome artists and really cool galleries, comparable to the ones in Berlin, Tokyo or L.A.
Jardins and Pinheiros are renowned neighborhoods wich still dominate the scene, but if you walk around unusual areas like Cambuci, Glicério or the city center itself, you’ll see more and more venues appearing and constantly renewing its programs with workshops, lectures, soirees and even pocket shows, to become even more attractive and complete for the general public.
We love this topic so much that we decided to list 11 must-see galleries in the city, to enjoy and inspire!
A7MA (pronounced A-setima), is located at a very strategic point of Vila Madalena’s neighborhood, just in front of Beco do Batman (the best spot in the city to check graffitis) and had become a reference amongst artists/connoisseurs, filled with works of emerging artists, friendly staff and honest prices. On Wednesdays, they promote a famous Soiree with great performances, and on Saturdays there’s always nice exhibitions and interesting fuss!
King Cap started as a graffiti shop (the first one based out of the city center), selling spray cans, marker pens, sneakers and t-shirts. Nowadays, it has an area on the top floor which houses some of the best exhibitions in town, always top quality! It’s worth the visit and a look at the cool books and magazines they have there. We suggest you also check out King Cap’s Instagram
Located in the historic city center, Tag Gallery derives from the old Tag and Juice, wich used to be a mix of gallery and bike shop. Curated by Billy Castilho, the space promotes the development of Street Art and connects artists from all over the globe. The vernissages are always fun, with beautiful people and an incredible view of the city, a real portrait of São Paulo!
Not far from Pinacoteca de São Paulo (one of the city’s most famous museums/art centre), Overground is a creative studio in which the concept is to present daring artists and taggers veterans. Under the supervision of Zezão (celebrated artist who draws in the sewers of worldwide urban centers), the gallery has a very avant-garde underground language. If you feel like getting out the obvious, this is the spot …
In the mezzanine of Copan building (projected by master Oscar Niemeyer), the PIVÔ is a cultural non-profit association that promotes experimental activities using art, architecture, urban planning and other contemporary manifestations. The program includes exhibitions, speeches and workshops, alternating design projects and self-made productions. For those who like to photograph, the location is very appealing!
Founded in 1998, this rustic little house started with the intention of showing the historical and contemporary engraving in all its diversity, with temporary exhibitions and a precious collection. The gallery claims to be the only exhibition space in the country dedicated solely to engraving, with over one hundred exhibitions held in the past 10 years. A real classic!
Choque Cultural was the pioneer of this Street Art frenesi in SP, with epic exhibitions in the late 90’s, with artists like OsGemeos,Bijari Collective and Speto. The casting of artists represented by the gallery is still one of the most powerful in the country. Be sure to stop by and check out the facade which is renovated every season. Maximum respect!
Branch of the famous gallery with the same name in London, White Cube landed in São Paulo to expand the contemporary art scene in mid-2012 and still remains fresh and original. Lodged in a converted warehouse, brings many international artists to exhibit frequently. Avant Garde!
This one is especially for photo lovers, like us! (and we’re not talking about Instagram). The gallery, which also works as an office, is focused on what is sensed by other people’s lenses, with incredible proposals. In addition to the expos, the space also organises workshops and meetings to discuss Photographic Art.
Since 1988, Casa Triangulo is one of the most important and respected Brazilian galleries of contemporary art, and plays a crucial role in the consolidation of relevant artist’s careers in the recent history of Brazilian art, like graffiti artist Nunca, for example. A must see!
And, as it should be, we have a definite urban representative: Museu aberto (or open museum), consists of 66 pillars of the subway’s support, painted by 58 different graffiti artists. The initiative of the project came when 11 of them were trying to paint these same pilasters and ended up arrested by the police. After solving this, they matured the idea and even won the support of the Ministry of Culture, which paid for all spray cans used for the project!
São Paulo has thousands of must-see attractions for all types of curious visitors. No matter if you’re in the mood for art, gastronomy, listen to good music or just a walk in the park, the city has it all! But we decided to select five absolutely classical highlights that cannot be missed the next time you decide to explore our city.
Take a peek:
Copan is a beast! A whole city in itself… It swerves like a giant wave, defying your sense of scale and perspective and stamping its huge footprint in São Paulo’s downtown. The building was designed by celebrated architect Oscar Niemeyer and currently has 1.160 apartments, 2.038 residents, 20 elevators and 221 underground parking spaces. Due to the large number of residents, the Brazilian postal service assigned the building its own postal code. The ground floor is home to 72 establishments, including an evangelical church, a travel agency, a bookstore, and 4 restaurants. Once there, we suggest you stop for one of the best caipirinhas in town, at Dona Onça bar
2. Liberdade, the biggest “japantown” in the world
A sprawling neighborhood centered around Rua Galvão Bueno, at Liberdade neighborhood, is home to 1.5 million Japaneses, the largest population outside of Japan. Liberdade is cherished by local people and tourists alike for its trendy shopping, top-quality oriental food, reasonably priced sushi and an unbeatable atmosphere. The area is also used for Japanese cultural events, including Buddhist festivals and a sumo wrestling championship, as well as a weekly craft market.
3. Central Market
The best urban market in South America, nicknamed “Mercadão” (or “Big Market”), is a Belle Époque beauty of Russian-designed stained glass and vast domes opened in 1933. Inside, are aisles and aisles of mostly gourmet food-related products: fresh fruits, fish, meat and several worthwhile snack stalls, bars and restaurants. After your sightseeing, don’t miss the best mortadella sandwich in the planet, at the Hocca Bar - a real gastronomic heritage of the city!
4. Afro-Brazilian Museum
Located in São Paulo’s most loved Park, the Ibirapuera, this hugely important and absolutely fascinating museum, features a permanent collection chronicling five centuries of African immigration (a nod to the 10 million African lives lost in the Brazil’s formation) and hosts a rotating array of contemporary Afro-centric exhibitions on its bottom two floors.
5. Sala São Paulo
The headquarters of São Paulo Symphonic Orchestra and one of Brazil’s most important concert halls, this former railway station was designed by Christiano Stockler das Neves in 1925. Situated in the city centre, the venue quickly became a key institution in the region’s cultural revitalization. Listed as a Historical Patrimony and targeted to be maintained as an important cultural landmark in the city, Sala São Paulo was officially inaugurated on the 9th of July 1999 with a performance of the Resurrection Symphony by Gustav Mahler.
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.
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.
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]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXd7drlYr-s[/youtube]
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.