By Alison McGowan, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Those looking to spend the Christmas or New Year holidays on a sun-soaked beach may want to head to the Northeast of Brazil where lazy days by the ocean, cocktails by the pool and total relaxation in beautiful surroundings are the way to celebrate the year ending. A long ways from Rio’s famous Copacabana Beach Réveillon party – with literally millions of people – are a number of fantastic pousadas offering intimate getaways.
In the state of Alagoas, one of the smallest in Brazil, is the Pousada da Amendoeira on the wonderful Coral Coast at Praia do Toque. Known for its exceptional style, service and gourmet food, visitors are in for a festive treat here, and plans are for a delectable Christmas dinner to be served in the pousada gardens overlooking the beach.
In Porto da Rua, a village just a few miles away, is Pousada Côté Sud, and a last-minute stay here over the holidays promises designer luxury, infinity pool and coconut palms as far as the eye can see.
If you prefer Afro-Brazilian charm and spirit at this time of year, Bahia offers several options, some of the most wonderful places to stay in Brazil and hundreds of miles of beaches with as much action or as little as you want .
One of the most popular ‘chic’ beach resorts here is without doubt Trancoso, a beautiful town with colorful Seventeenth century houses flanking the main square (Quadrado) which is curiously rectangular in shape. The town is situated at the top of a cliff and the sea views are as spectacular as the beaches below and the freshly cooked fish at the Bar do Jonas – not to be missed!
Getting there will take you an hour’s drive south from Porto Seguro, and one of the most beautiful places to stay is without doubt the Capim Santo, a pousada set amongst beautifully kept tropical gardens which offers not only a gorgeous pool but superb service and a highly recommended gourmet restaurant.
For those who are more adventurous and prefer peace and tranquility there is again no shortage of options. The peninsula of Maraú lies between Salvador in the north and Itacaré in the south and easiest access is by bus to Camamú where there is a regular boat service over to the main village of Barra Grande.
Arrange a twenty minute transfer onwards down to Taipus de Fora and you will find the gorgeous Pousada Encanto da Lua, a large beach-side pousada with an amazing pool. Famous for its natural swimming pools and laid back beach bars Taipus de Fora has something for everyone and is equally attractive for both romantic getaways and family fun.
The pièce de résistance on any trip to Bahia is a visit to the breath-taking island of Boipeba. Like all hidden gems the journey to get there from Salvador is an adventure in itself, but the pay-off is miles of unspoilt beaches, no traffic and lovely small fishing villages where everyone is friendly.
Just outside the main village of old Boipeba you will find the chic Pousada Mangabeiras overlooking beautiful beaches in each direction, and closer to town the Pousada Santa Clara, an old favorite with its relaxed atmosphere and fabulous restaurant.
However take the tractor across to Morerê on the other side of the island if you really want to go back in time. Here you will find the British owned Pousada Mangueira a lovely three suite pousada hidden amidst the lush tropical foliage just a minute from the beach, local bars and restaurants like the recently opened Samburá de Morerê. If you are looking for simply delicious Bahian food over the holidays, this is exactly where to find it.