If the beach is your thing: Lencois Maranhenses
Once a preserve for backpackers, this breathtakingly beautiful national park located on the Northern coastline of Brazil is the latest discovery for luxury travelers.
If you’re looking for deserted beaches, rolling white sand dunes that stretch for miles interspersed with a series of deep blue freshwater lagoons, one more dazzling than the next, this is the perfect destination for you!
Ferme de Georges, in the tiny beach village of Atins, and Casana, located further down the coast in the little-known town of Prea, are just two of the boutique hotels I’m in love with. If speedboating through mangrove line deltas, off-roading by ATV along deserted beaches, learning to kite surf or just relaxing surrounded by local culture appeals to you, I urge you to discover Lencois Maranhenses before everyone else does!
If eco-tourism is your thing: Trijuncao
When most people think of Brazil, the Amazon rainforest comes to mind, or even the Pantanal wetlands, famous for its wildlife. But few outside of Brazil have ever heard of the Cerrado, better known as the Brazilian savannah, which is the most biodiverse grassland in the world with over 13,000 species of plants, 850 birds, 251 mammals, 482 reptiles and amphibians, and 1200 fish species.
Until now, accommodations were scarce, but the recently opened six suite, luxurious Trijuncao, modeled after a high-end African safari lodge, changed all that. The real star, however, is the wildlife- and adventure-based activities from the maned wolf conservation program (this is the only place in the world where you can almost guarantee a sighting of this rare animal) to viewing some of the most unique animals indigenous to this region. When was the last time you saw a giant anteater, tapir, emu or blue and gold macaw? There’s even an expert biologist on this 80,000-acre private reserve.
If nature is your thing: Ibitipoca
If you have the opportunity to venture inland, you will not only be rewarded by some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, but you will also discover little-known, stunning country resorts like the Comuna de Ibitipoca, a vast, private reserve where guests spend their days hiking up to viewpoints that look out over the entire Minas Gerais state. You can also ride horses to the waterfalls where gourmet picnics await, swim in one of the many natural pools or bird watch with an expert guide.
This is the real, authentic Brazil at its best. You will get a sense of the traditional, rural cultures and have an opportunity to experience the vast landscapes and diverse flora and fauna. Be pampered at the full-service spa, take a private yoga class, savor a home-cooked, organic meal or overnight at the remote Eagle’s Nest hut and stargaze the night away.
If sightseeing is your thing: Salvador
This is Brazil’s colonial capital, known for its Portuguese architecture with over 300 baroque churches, colorful buildings and cobblestone alleys with a rich, historical culture.
Take a food tour with one of the best-known chefs, Dada (success means you are known by your first name only!) who will introduce you to the city’s food markets, street stalls and kitchens far off the beaten track. FYI: some of the beaches off the coast of Salvador are the best in Brazil.
If just chilling is your thing: Paraty
Since there are no cars allowed in the historic center, Paraty is the perfect town to explore as you wander through the cobbled streets leisurely passing the many art galleries, local cafes, high-quality bars and restaurants. Head just a few miles inland, and you will find one of the best-preserved tracts of Atlantic rainforest where you can hike to the waterfalls, bird watch (this is one of the best places in the world to view hummingbirds) or perhaps visit an artisanal cachaça (the local rum) producer — after all this activity, you’ll probably be mighty thirsty!
A stay would not be complete if you didn’t take a private speedboat for the day to visit the unimaginably beautiful bay of Paraty, which is comprised of 360 islands surrounded by turquoise-blue waters and Atlantic rainforest-covered mountains. There are many hidden beaches and tropical fjords, so stopping off to snorkel among the turtles and dolphins is an absolute must.