Sep 18, 2011

Whale watching in Praia do Rosa

by Antonella Kann

Ok, I know, no excuse for me. I won´t spend time explaining why I haven´t posted anything for the last month. So, let me just introduce you to this wonderful place, called Praia do Rosa, in the southern state of Santa Catarina. It´s about 70 kilometers south from capital Florianópolis, but it can - and it will! - take you at least two hours by car to get there, because traffic congestion is a fact. Try getting there in midmorning instead of late afternoon, as you´ll have to cross city center and it means huge delays. But even these caveats are no reason to avoid visiting this gorgeous region where whale watching is a must during the months of july through october.

Everyone who has seen whales know that catching a glimpse of its tail is somewhat difficult. But in Praia do Rosa all the way to Garopaba - 15 kilometers away - and around, you can view as much as 5 of these enormous mammals in just a couple of minutes, depending where you stand. You might be on the beach and observe them playing, caring for their pup and take a lot of pictures such as those here. Or you can also board a 1,5 hr guided tour in Garopaba( and get so close that you could actually touch them - as they approach fearlessly and harmlessly.

We spent a lovely weekend in a charming pousada called Solar Mirador( from which we had an incredible view of the Praia do Rosa in its whole extension. You are also steps away from the beach ( surf, STP and good hiking around) and the setting is amazing, the service very kind and professional and we were extremely lucky with the weather. Two sunny days on a row after a week of rain. And if you´re around, don´t miss the whales, which are called francas, and I promise it´s one experience of a lifetime and you´ll be thrilled!

Bookmark and Share

Aug 15, 2011

Gastronomic festival in Tiradentes

by Antonella Kann

Just a quick reminder, because maybe you´ve just heard some rumors about the gastronomic festival which will be held in Tiradentes, the charming colonial town located 333 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro. Dates? It´s starts on Friday 19th and finishes on the 28th of August. Your best bet is to check their site or through the phone 31-30291686 .

The Gourmet Fest is only one of the events which take place in Tiradentes, but it´s certainly one of the busiest time of the year. People come from all places and the hotels are probably booked long in advance. But don´t loose hope: try to find accommodation somewhere in the vicinity. My suggestion would be a place called Hotel Fazenda Rochedo ( tel.55 32 3354 2439 or check their site This cozy hotel is located some 30 km from Tiradentes. While away from the buzzling festival, you can go horseriding and hiking. Best of all, sleep amidst a beautiful landscape. On the other hand, you can spend the day in Tiradentes and enjoy several workshops and demos which are presented in spaces open to the public.

Reputed chefs, such as Paco Roncero and Alex Atala are going to be present at the Fest and will host special dinners. I am not sure if you are still on time to get tickets for these festims, as they are called, but nevertheless try through the phone 55 31 30291686. Or check the festival´s site These culinary treats do not come cheap, but it´s a once in a lifetime experience.

Bookmark and Share

Aug 10, 2011

Barra de São Miguel, a place to be revisited

by Antonella Kann/photos by Rogério Maranhão

Can you see that picture above? Well, that´s where I will head to in October. Okay, I understand if you feel a bit envious. Off the beaten track it is - a marvellous beach called Barra de São Miguel, 30 kms from Alagoas´ state capital, Maceió. I remember going there...hummm...20 years ago, to spend New Year´s Eve. Our family and some friends had rented a house for 10 days and spent a memorable vacation. There was nothing besides a few villas lined along the deserted beach and the weather was perfect. So, that´s the place filled with memories where I want to go back. Now, in style, as a host of this eco-chic design resort called Kenoa, a new kid (just off) the block, which opened less than 2 years ago.

This impressive architecture is home to 23 luxurious suites, ranging from 45 to 200 square meters, depending which accommodation you choose. Some even have a private jacuzzi overlooking the beach. Whow! I am looking forward, that´s for sure! Specially when summer´s crowds have not yet arrived and this stretch of sandy beach is the perfect haven for relaxing, fancy long walks and tan yourself under the nicest weather ever.

Barra de São Miguel could easily become the destination on everybody´s lips, specially when you can stay in such a serenely stylish paradise known to only the savviest of travellers. But I´d feel bad if I wouldn´t share this secret with you, and though I still do not know the Kenoa personally, there´s little doubt that it will be a knock-out! Besides all the ammenities in the room, there´s a spa, a restaurant and a lounge to feel as pampered as royalty.

Spending nights in this beautiful environement is a vital part of any holiday. As I am focused on suggesting special spots for spending New Year´s Eve, I wouldn´t be pushing the envelope if I didn´t tell those nature buffs to consider Barra de São Miguel as a perfect choice. It may - as usual! - cost you a leg and an arm, but trust me, it´s worth it. I´ve been told that they still have availability, so...rush!

Every detail in the Kenoa draws my eyes like a magnet, as creature comforts were not overlooked: huge luxurious bed, peerless views, wi fi, huge TV, you name it. I expect my stay to be deliriously good and I promise to keep you posted.

tel.55 82 3272 1285

Bookmark and Share

Aug 4, 2011

Flexeiras, very secluded hub for New Year´s Eve

by Antonella Kann

Just take a deep breath - and a good look! - at the picture, then at the tiny swimming pools behind the coconut trees, then at the sandy beach, the translucid sea...Yes, it´s real. Doesn´t it make you want to transpond yourself immediately into that pretty setting? Now, just fancy yourself arriving in this fishing village called Flexeiras - just about 40km from capital Fortaleza, Ceará - which, did I mentionned before, is my favorite state in the whole of Brazil. Chances are that after reading this post you´ll have the urge to consider spending New Year´s Eve there, just splurging but also enjoying one of the most privy place on earth. The resort is called Orixas Art Hotel ( and is relatively a new kid on the block - oops! sorry, on this beautiful fragment of sandy beach located a world away from the agitated places.

But, even if it can cost you a leg and an arm ( which usually happens during high season and specially the end of the year), you´ll need to look no further than a few feet to unearth the best unspoilt beach ever. From your suite - which bear names like Babalaós, Oxum, Yemanjá , Obaluayá, all deities from Afro-Brazilian culture, revered by locals of the northeastern coast - you can have peerless views of the sea, coconut grove and the jangadas, the typical fishermen´s boats. Ah, by the way, you can go for a nice ride on one of them, I guarantee you´ll enjoy it.

Blissfully unpeopled, pocket size Flexeiras is not for an urbanite. It´s been a while since I´ve known this small village, and was impressed. Hopefully, it has maintained its characteristics, so that you´ll have the feeling of being a traveller instead of a tourist. Hopefully.

Bookmark and Share

Jul 23, 2011

New Year´s Eve will strike again soon!

by Antonella Kann

I can´t believe we are already thinking about New Year´s Eve, but if you are like me, it´s already late. I´ve booked mine months ago - and guess where? Same place than last year´s. Yes, it´s Tibau do Sul alright. And next week I´ll have good news for you about this spot, because I just found out that there´s a new luxurious place for you to try your luck. In the meantime, let´s figure out what can be done from now on. Well, Bahia is always on everybody´s mind, so we´ll begin our list with a very discreet though very upscale Boipeba, not an easy access ( but who cares, once there, it´s paradise!).

As all places out of (easy) reach, this secluded location retains its cachet. And so does the Pousada Mangabeiras ( where you´ll find the very relaxing way to spend the most sought-after vacation of the year. The pousada is part of reputed Roteiros de Charme, a well-known chain of charming small hotels in Brazil.

With intimacy combined with rustic sophistication in the bungalows, you are deep into the surrounding nature, which is unspoilt and unexplored. And also blissfully unpeopled.

As you are framed by blissfully deserted beaches, the most exquisite torture will be to tan the days away under plentiful of sunshine or submit yourself to sessions of massage and/or acunpuncture, offered in the pousada. For New Year´s Eve, the 6-nights package is still available at rates which range from R$7.910,00 to R$ 9.260 for the Master Bungalow. But, hurry up, as space is limited!

Bookmark and Share

Jul 19, 2011

Itaipava Fair :a small shopping enclosure for good deals

by Antonella Kann

I really feel awfully guilty for not posting more while away from Brazil. But as soon as I´ll be back home, there´s a promise that I will sink into the latest good news for you. In the meantime, let me tell you about a little secret which is known only by the locals who spend time in the mountain region of Itaipava, Araras and neighborhood areas. It´s the Feirinha de Itaipava, which packs around 400 stalls of locally made clothes and accessories. And there´s more...

It´s not a tourist-trap and the attraction lies partly in browsing all of the stalls ( it won´t take a day, just a couple of hours) for good offers, besides getting the experience of shopping in a typically clothing fair. From bags to pets´clothes, you may find excellent children´s trousers, sweatshirts, shorts, dresses, socks, overalls and an infinite list of have-to-buy stuff, like underwear and hats...

The fair is partially outdoors, but on a rainy day will be okay as the stalls are protected. By the way, this fair happens only during the weekend, from 10 till 7 pm and is an ideal year-round program if you are on your way to Itaipava, Três Rios, Araras or Bonsucesso.

Of course, do not expect anything fashionable or fancy, or any well know brand, but the clothes have quality : Itaipava is reputed for its jerseys, which come in handy during winter time, when temperatures fall under 10º C in these places - which is considered frosty by the cariocas´standards. So, if you are not after a famous label on your sweat shirt, consider it a child´s play to look around and find yourself something comfy to watch TV in front of a fireplace.

By the way, you are only a couple of hours from busy Rio, so if your way passes along the BR-40, remember very few places pack as many hidden "gems" into such a small space. It´s an outlet for those who are inclined to spare a couple of bucks...Why not?

Bookmark and Share

Jun 17, 2011

Búzios after and before the crowds

by Antonella Kann

Yes, I know, shame on me for not feeding you guys with new stuff regarding Brazil. I haven´t been around much myself, although crossing borders to neighborhoods like Bolivia and Chile might sound familiar. Though picturesque landscapes appeal to me, there´s nothing like going to places off-season, so I take the advantage to escape the crowds whenever - and wherever - there´s an opportunity. So before I begin thinking about the suggestions for you to spend New Year´s Eve in crowded places of Brazil, let me give you a short hint on where to go this winter.

Affordable-chic Búzios is a must-go destination between June and November - but bear in mind to skip the public holidays ( 23rd of June, 7th of September, 12th of October, 2nd and 15th of November) when the crowds do appear out of the blue. Other than those crucial dates, this seaside resort is a magical place, an Aladdin´s cave of quiet - almost deserted - beaches, secret coves and a handful of blissfully unpeopled restaurants to choose from. The location is fabulous, only a couple of hours from Rio, and the road is well maintained.

Pocket-sized enough for you to stroll around biking, hiking or even horseriding, there are some other relaxing ways to enjoy Búzios off-season: plenty of sunshine so you can guarantee a perfect suntan in just a weekend; low rainfall and enviable climate even if elsewhere the sun is not shining...Combine intimacy with grandeur, choosing one of the seaside boutique hotels which have mushroomed during the last few years. And act as a discerning traveller, spending time in a beautiful environment - which is a vital part of any holiday.

Bookmark and Share

May 12, 2011

Quads in the Pantanal

by Antonella Kann

I am an adventure buff. Anything that´s off the beaten track appeals to me. But it doesn´t mean that I ´m involving myself in a risky trip. On the contrary. It´s just that as an outdoor enthusiast I believe there are many un-googleable ways to travel.

When my friend Dedeco, who owns a company called Trip Tur, based in southern state of Santa Catarina, told me that he was organizing a quad expedition to the Pantanal ( Brazil´s wet lands located in the middle of the country ) it was like ringing a bell: with the quads, he intends to deposit you in areas which you´d never have access otherwise or by other means of transportation.

Although it´s not exactly a laidback sort of trip – you drive a powerful machine which demands a bit of energy and good physical condition - there´s no reason to groan about it: it allows you to explore the incredibly beautiful terrain of the Pantanal, which harbors eye-filling views and specially wild animals in their habitat.

Think monkeys, blue macaws, deers, birds of all species and crocodiles in their environement…of knee-trembling beauty. The region is blissfully unpeopled, and you´ll be hipnotized by natural gems.

But let´s talk quad: a 4x4 vehicle which can be driven by anyone over 16 years old. It´s so easy to operate that within 15 minutes Dedeco will teach you the basics. Then, follow the guide! It´s more a toy than a vehicle, believe me. I also am positive that it´s the most enchanting way to have the Pantanal revealed to you. And I have been there a couple of times.

There will be a few expeditions from the end of June to beginning of August. As they´ve not done this itinerary before, I can´t provide you with local pictures. But, I can assure you that although the Pantanal is not devoid of tourist gloss, the path taken by quads will certainly be a wander through virgin spots.

The trip includes accomodation, food and guide. And all the guidance that you´ll need. I recommend browsing their site to get more details and the precise dates of departure. Groups are small – max of 10 participants – and fun is guaranteed! I am looking forward for my turn to come - in the beginning of August.

Bookmark and Share

Apr 17, 2011

Goiás Velho, beautifully restored colonial town in Goiás

by Antonella Kann

Did I ever mention that the state of Goiás is one of my favorites but overall also one of the least mentioned. Places like Goiás Velho, a historic town which is an unusual tourist-brochure destination, deserves much more than just the simple tag as a preserved colonial town.

It´s not too far away from capital Goiania, so you can drive safely and easily from the airport right into town in well preserved roads. Then, just park your vehicle and start walking. There´s the usual main praça (place), typical to any old configuration of city planning. Around, there´s some commerce but locals tend to stroll around this strategic location at sunset and on Sundays too, after mass.

Goiás Velho is a laid-back sort of place and the main attraction is the traditional hospitality: as a gesture of welcome, and quoting words from famous local poet Cora Coralina “ Every door remains open, as a habit,” she used to say. And it´s true. Nowadays, this kind of gesture is not only rare but something to be proud of. And heartwarming….

While strolling along cobbled streets, colored façades and old sobrados , charming right to its pavements, I realize that this town is an ideal year-round destination. And you won´t bump into tourist-trap restaurants nor be stalked by wish-to-be-guides or even fooled to pay more for a piece of artcraft in one of the souvenir shops.

But do not miss the opportunity to hire a horse-driven carriage to explore every corner of Goiás Velho, which hide a dashing assemblage of 18th century colonial houses, churches and architecture gems. It´s great for capturing pictures of the inhabitants who usually sit in front of their homes, watching the world go by – with their door wide open, naturally.

Eventually you´ll feel hungry and should try the regional specialty called empadão goiano, which is a pie filled with all sorts of meat, from pork to chicken, as well as sausages and other invigorating seasonal produces. Look for menus featuring this dish – quite easy to bump into.

Local artcrafts featuring religious characters are sold widely around town. These dolls are known as the fogaréus

Also, don´t miss a visit to the Casa de Cora Coralina, across a beautiful bridge. It used to be the poet´s home and is now a museum. To spend the night, although there´s no stylish or boutique hotel around town, try the Pousada do Ipê ( , well located in the center of town. Rustic and simple, it even has a swimming pool and it´s mentioned in the Guide du Routard, so you can trust it´s worthy.

Bookmark and Share