By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — The sizzling city of Rio can be a sensory overload during Reveillon (New Year’s Eve) festivities, with lodging selling fast and all-inclusive party packages offered at a premium. This time of year is a great excuse for a short getaway without traveling too far from the city to ring in the New Year without stress or hassle.
In general, the farther away from Copacabana Beach the calmer the streets will be. Staying in the city, Andrew Harding of Man In Rio tells The Rio Times, “Rio 180 Boutique Hotel in Santa Teresa is a great option for those looking for a more intimate NYE experience.”
Harding describes, “[You can] celebrate the New Year in front of Rio’s two most iconic landmarks of Christo and Sugar Loaf, the perfect location to view Botofogo and Flamengo beach firework displays, while being entertained by some of Rio’s favorite DJs, samba bands and performance artists.”
If that still sounds a little raucous, about an hour and a half drive south from the city is Mangaratiba, a small waterfront village adjacent to Ilha Grande. The Hotel Porto Real Resort, a luxury condominium and hotel resort is a great option for a weekend getaway anytime of the year as it offers a private beach, natural pool, restaurants, exclusive Ocean Lounge nightclub, tennis courts, gym and spa.
For Reveillon 2014 they offer a five day, six night stay with a fireworks display, live music, champagne toast, dinner, and breakfast on the private beach. If time allows, the Mangaratiba marina has ferry boats to Vila de Abraão, Ilha Grande for a day visit to the island.
Another hour or so down the coast is Paraty, a colonial village considered to be the first established in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Historical churches and architecture of the city draws hundreds of people, almost all dressed in white, to watch the fireworks display over the Bay of Paraty.
“It’s wise to stay just outside of the city center of Paraty as it can be a little noisy, especially if your room faces the city streets,” says Alison McGowan, CEO and founder of Hidden Pousadas. She suggests a stay at Pousada Vivenda, a rustic-chic pousada perfect for couples and just a 15 minute walk from the center of Paraty.
The generally more chic town of Búzios, 160 km north of Rio, is another destination to take advantage of due to its crystal clear ocean water beaches and attractive nightlife. During the high season a high volume of vacationers is expected, so McGowan suggests a few places to stay on the calmer side of town.
Away from Rua das Pedras where all of the action is, McGowan suggests a relaxing stay at Casa da Luz Guest House, a British-run bed & breakfast with an entertaining owner and fabulous views of the nearby beaches. “Guest houses are highly recommended because they are cozy and personal places to stay,” says McGowan.
For all of these destinations there are buses that depart from Rio, though it is best to depart as early as possible due to traffic conditions. Plenty of time should be give for the return trip as well, as these are all well-traveled highways that become congested after a major holiday weekend.