Planning a trip to Brazil isn’t an easy task, right?
Dealing with seasonality is tricky, being a large country there are many different cultures, ecosystems and destinations that offer amazing nature and beach landscapes, but how to choose among so many options?
Copacabana beach will be the location for beach volleyball contests, the cycling road races will pass through Ipanema neighborhoods and the inshore waters off the Lagoa and Gloria neighbourhoods will host the sailing competitions, which already guarantees a brand new look of Rio.
Lots of visitors combine a stay in Rio with a flying visit to the Amazon, Pantanal or northern beaches, but there are plenty of overland options close to the city that will be less crowded after the games.
It’s not rare, for city locals, to pass by the Paulista Avenue and not even notice the boldness of this modernist building which is the authentic portrait of the city: four red beams supporting an almost suspended concrete block, under an exceptional urban landscape. Some people like it, others not that much, but the impact caused by the building is undeniable!
MASP was projected by famous Brazilian/Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi in 1947, with the concept of creating an artistic platform (shaped as a container), and has become one of the most important museums in the Southern Hemisphere, with a very impressive collection of more than eight thousand pieces including renowned names in national and international painting, such as Van Gogh, Cândido Portinari, Anita Malfatti, Renoir, Rembrandt, Degas, Velázquez, Goya just to mention a few.
There’s nothing better than feeding the soul with remarkable experiences, so, whenever you’re in town, don’t miss the opportunity to feel like a real paulista, by walking around MASP and checking out all the cool events and expos happening there every month, such as the awesome retrospective of 200 years of French Art (From Delacroix to Cézanne) which is happening until October.
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.
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.
Eat like a champ! Brazilian food is really yummy, not to mention the variety. Wow! Say what you like to eat and we will indicate the place. Simple or fancy. Sao Paulo is a paradise for pizza lovers, shrimps from Maranhao are incredibly juicy, the feijoada…. and what about fruits and coffee with pão de queijo from Minas Gerais?
2. The Culture
Open your mind! Our roots are a mixture of Indian, African and European blood. You can meet an afro-brazilian friend with blue eyes. That makes us unique when it comes to cultural heritage. This atypical combination has left impacts on our Music, Architecture, Sports, Fashion and even the way we communicate.
Brazilians are friendly and funny.
3. The weather
Tropical vibes! It doesn’t matter which time of year you choose to visit Brazil, you can always bring a swimsuit with you. Most of the country lies in the tropics, so it’s mostly warm all year round. The average temperature is 23ºC to 27ºC. The further south you travel, the more varied temperatures will be. During winter (June to September) the weather in Rio is similar to summertime in Northern Europe.
Havaianas for life!
4. The Cities
Urban Citizens! Brazil is not only rainforests and beaches, no no… you will be impressed by our cities. Avant-garde, exciting and delightful to explore. Just to name a few: Brasilia (the modern futuristic capital, with architectural masterpieces of legendary Oscar Niemeyer), Salvador (the lively city boasts colonial buildings, gold-laden churches and wild festivals) Sao Paulo (the third-largest metropolis on earth) and Curitiba (one of the world’s best models of urban planning).
Come out and play.
5. The Accommodations
It feels like home! Places to stay that could be destinations in themselves. Rainforest lodges, charming pousadas, sophisticated hotels or private villas. You define the experience and we offer the most appropriate spot.
Because there’s no perfect trip without a perfect stay.
6. The Music
We got the Funk! Girl from Ipanema may have rocked generations worldwide, but despite its success, Bossa Nova and Samba aren’t the only music styles derived from Brazil. According to Caetano Veloso, the country has “an abnormal music taste”, probably influenced by the variety of cultures and ethnicities manifesting here.Chorinho, Forró, Axé, Funk Carioca, Folk… our music comes from the heart.
Be happy and go with the flow.
7. The Adventure
Take a walk on the wild side! Brazil is unrivalled for its energy, flamboyance and exotic atmosphere. It takes you on a visual journey across stunning landscapes, unusual nature and interesting lifestyles. Fear and insecurity are no longer issues to worry about, just keep an eye for sketchy situations, use common sense and you’ll be fine.
To be here is to feel free.
8. The Nature
Go Green! No way we could list Brazilian highlights without mentioning our natural exuberance. And there’s a huge list of outdoor activities to do: trek within the Amazon, kitesurf in Lencois Maranhenses, dive shipwrecks in Fernando de Noronha, explore Iguaçu Falls, gaze at birds and jaguars in Pantanal or just relax at the beach in Trancoso… so many places with so many possibilities.
Experience them all sustainably.
9. The Celebrations
Party people! Yes, we have Carnaval, but up-and-coming cities are gradually drawing more attention as options for Rio and Salvador. The New Year in Brazil is also a remarkable life experience: summertime, fireworks, everybody dressed in white, jumping waves to guarantee good luck and protection. And if you like some action, Sao Paulo, Bahia and Santa Catarina got high level events that attract jet setters from everywhere. Not to mention the upcoming Olympics…
Uhhh the Olympics!
10. The Street Art
Talking Walls! Sao Paulo has become the ultimate hot Spot for graffiti, inspiring visitors from different countries to walk by Vila Madalena to guarantee some pictures. We got great artists, lots of creativity, audacity and quality. The whole city is an outdoor gallery! Besides all the cool exhibitions happening frequently.
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!
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.