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!
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.
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!
The Modern Art Museum in São Paulo is showing a collection of 42 works of the well-known Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão. The exposition called “History at the Margins” is a retrospective of all of her best work. Some of them were borrowed from permanent collections of Guggenheim Museum (New York), Tate Modern (London), Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (Paris), Fundación “la Caixa” (Barcelona), between others. There are also 3 new ones that were created exclusively to the MAM exhibition in São Paulo. It is a must for contemporary art lovers visiting São Paulo until December 16th.
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]
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!
We do know some indigenous tribes that can do the rain dance to help our travelers have the perfect trip, but unfortunately that doesn´t seems to be working on the last couple of months… This year the abundant rain – or the lack of it – is getting on the way of those whiling to travel to some of the most incredible destinations in Brazil.
At the Amazon, Saint Pedro (for Catholics, the god that controls weather) has been too generous – maybe even too much. It has been raining much more than what it used to, and the Rio Negro River’s level is much higher than usual. The river is still perfectly navigable, in the case you are planning to travel in one of your yachts in the next few months – but what gets on the way is that most of its beaches are submersed, and as you can imagine, lots of riverside communities have been seriously damaged.
On the other hand, if you are planning to visit the pristine dunes and lagoons of the Lençóis Maranhenses on the next couple of months, we would advise you to take a look at other great places to go in Brazil, since there hasn’t been raining around the region. And if there is no rain, there are only a few of the biggest lagoons remaining. What is still a great view, but definitely not as impressive as it can be. But don´t lose hope! We were told that it rained yesterday, so we will keep you posted in case the situation changes!
But if you like to wait or take this weather risks, why don´t you head to the Southwest region of Brazil and check out the wetlands of the Pantanal and Bonito? Weather is perfect by now and there is a lot adventure and wildlife to be discovered. Liked the idea? Check for more info at http://matuete.com/wpmatuete/places-to-visit/pantanall
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.