By Alison McGowan, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brilliant blue skies and endless sandy beaches flanked by coconut groves exist, not only in our imagined vision of paradise, but also as an integral part of Brazil’s coastal landscape. For most travelers it is the ultimate dream to wake up right on a tropical beach, and fortunately for those who make it to Brazil there are many pousadas where you can walk straight out to river or sea with “pé na areia” – feet in the sand.
The stretch of Alagoas, between Barra de Santo Antonio and Maragogi, is where the main north-south highway BR101 goes inland, leaving the old road meandering 20km through a series of small villages into 40 km of preserved beaches. Dotted with these villages, a selection of pousadas takes pride of place on the beach.
Porto da Rua, running between Porto de Pedra fishing village, is home to two pousadas: Pousada Cote Sud, delectable bungalows cradled by 20,000 square meters of lush landscape, and Pousada Patacho, intimate and beautifully designed.
Further along the stretch is Praia do Toque and Pousada Amendoeira, and along São Miguel dos Milagres on Riacho beach is Pousada Riacho dos Milagres, extremely comfortable and relaxing.
Bahia, just below Alagoas, is home to many beach havens that are best accessed from Salvador, whether heading north or south. Just 50km from the international airport is Itacimirim, a small village just off the Estrada de Coco which runs between Salvador and Praia do Forte.
The village itself is basic, but Pousada Praia das Ondas is where you want to be. Founded on miles and miles of vast beachscape, this pousada is a well-crafted sanctuary, with the scale of a hotel (boasting two swimming pools), but embodying the personal touches of a pousada.
Another place accessible by catamaran from Salvador’s city center is the popular neighboring island of Morro de Sao Paulo and Praia do Encanto, arguably the best out of the island’s six beaches. Rarely do you find the perfect combination of total luxury and paradise than at the Vila dos Orixas Boutique Hotel located there.
This arrangement of deluxe bungalows is the quintessential setting to enjoy the tranquility of beach life, where there is nothing much to do except enjoy the superb food in the pousada restaurant and soak up the surroundings.
200km from Salvador and just a few hours south of Bahia by plane or coach brings you to Barra Grande on the Peninsula de Maraú. The easiest access to Maraú is by bus to Camamú, where there is a regular boat service over to Barra Grande.
In Maraú are the beaches of Taipus de Fora and home to the reputable Pousada Encanto da Lua. This is an idyllic place to chill out overlooking the beach and beautiful natural swimming pools.
For a suitably hidden and off-the-beaten-track beach destination, Ilheus is definitely it. Pousada Paraiso Verde has no nearby village and here you are at peace, surrounded by just the ocean, sand and palm trees and not a building or person in sight. Walks along this vast beach can feel like walking to the ends of the earth.