Oct 2, 2010

New Year´s Eve getting closer...have you made up your mind yet? (part II)

I promised I would be back with more places for you to spend the last day of the year. So here are some ideas, but not the least of the last. There will be some more to appear, let´s say, near the deadline, and when you´ll think every mortal soul will already have a booking, some last minute baits will pop out of the blue and….that´s where you´ll catch the best deals.

But for the time being, here are some places near Rio where you could consider spending New Year´s Eve. Once in your life you should contemplate the idea of watching the fireworks from Copacabana beach, though you´ll be sharing it with, errr…one million people. But ( and it´s a big BUT) you can also try to find a room at the Copacabana Palace, the iconic hotel facing the sea. Give it a click, www.copacabanapalace.com.br - you never know….

On the other hand, why not run away from crowds, and the heat altogether? Just a mere 120 kms uphill and you´ll reach the bijou hideaways of the mountainous Vale das Videiras and the Vale do Cuiabá. Two luxurious (almost secretive) retreats deserve your attention and will pamper each guest with gastronomic treats. The silence, the cool temperatures, the unpolluted and stunning scenery come for free. Try www.videiras.com.br and www.tankamana.com.br My bet is that they might still offer interesting packages for this time of year.

the Pousada Tankamana (top) and the Fazenda Vale das Videiras

Búzios, 190 kms from Rio, is not an off-the-beaten track destination, and certainly not an option for party poopers as with plenty of pousadas, restaurants and bars, New Year´s Eve is as sizzling as it gets. And you will easily find a way to have the time of your life. Consider the threat of melting your credit card, but there are occasions when it can be worth it. And the beaches are certainly the best venues for you to dip your right foot into the sea by the first minute of 2011.

To bring nature along isolation and perhaps less agitation, I also thought about Ilha Grande, a fragment of paradise, just about a 100kms from downtown. But there´s a caveat: traffic is strangled from the beginning of the BR-101 and unless you consider driving a day or two before the 31st of December, be prepared to spend hours bumper to bumper on the road. And on the way back too. Mangaratiba is your final port, from where the ferry crosses to this big island. In the Vila do Abraão, there are several small rustic pousadas. And it´s car free, so my hint is that you could hike every day to a different amazing beach.

And what if you want to discover a land absurdly rich in history, continue on this very road until you reach Paraty. Nestled between the sea and the glamorous Mata Atlantica, this gorgeous little colonial town is a must-see. Though you may probably have a wet New Year´s Eve, the cobbled-stoned pavements, the narrow alleys, the 18th century houses and churches, altogether with the inherent charm of Paraty, will get you under its spell. And if you want to splurge, take note of the Casa Turquesa, certainly one of the finest pousadas you´ll ever set foot in. www.casaturquesa.com.br It´s the place to be when you´ll want to get away from the street parties.

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