Last but not least – Lençóis Maranhenses

From Jeri to Barreirinhas: As I did not want to pay 250 Reais for a transfer to Lençóis, I took the bus and it all worked out perfectly. In Jeri, nobody could give me information about busses from Parnaíba to Tutóia, but they exist and for less than 100 Reais you can get to Barreirinhas, the door to the desert.

Actually, I wanted to do a three-day-trekking to Santo Amaro. But I got really ill and was happy to be able to do at least one trip to Lagoa Bonita. The landscape of lagoons embedded in the dunes is really breathtaking. Not only this paradox setting is impressive, but also the lagoons themselves are crystal clear, blue… Simply amazing!

Barreirinhas was followed by the last stop of my journey: São Luís, the City of Reggae! I only got to know the historic center and liked the vibe. A lot of colonial, super beautiful buildings. There are a lot of museums. I really wanted to go to the Museum of Reggae, but it was closed on Mondays. Actually, almost all the museums are closed on Mondays 🙁 Bad luck, because it was the only day I had in the city before flying back to Floripa.

Hostels: Casa do Professor Hostel in Barreirinhas: Simple, cheap and great staff. Reviver Hostel in São Luís: Amazing hostel. A huge colonial house, great bedrooms, modern and there is even a pool. Insta: hostelreviver

Jericoacoara

I will start by saying the truth: I was disappointed by Jeri. Jeri is so famous, everybody is so euphoric about the place, but, well, I do not agree with “all them”. And I am not alone. Most of the travelers I was talking to where disappointed. If you do Kite or Windsurf, for sure, it is paradise. And if you are rich and have the money to have dinner in all those cute charming restaurants, it might be nice, too. But for a backpacker, it is just very expensive, the beach is ugly and it is super windy. So for so good. I have to admit, there were also things I liked about Jeri. But let`s go back to the beginning.

When I arrived, I was fascinated by the number of people. I was expecting a small village, something similar to Caraíva. But apparently Jeri grew a lot over the last years. It became really touristy. If you want to make party and get drunk, definitely a great place to go. At night, the way to the beach is full of people selling Caipirinha. Actually, the party starts at sunset-time in Café Jeri. The people do already get drunk there, later they go to the beach and at about 23/24 hrs starts another party. The next day, they sleep in, wake up with a hangover and at sunset -time, it starts all over again. I am very hard on Jeri right now. I guess I was just expecting something else. A chilled, alternative vibe. But that sort of spirit is gone. It is more of a place like Ibiza now. No judgment. Just not my style.

Nevertheless, the sunset is spectacular! Probably the first place in Brasil, where I saw the sun setting into the ocean. Not setting behind mountains, a river or anything else. Into the ocean! So beautiful! And I met really nice people and had a great time there. And yes, I love the fact, that there are only sandy streets and a lot of art. The landscape going in the direction of the “Pedra furada” is nice as well. And the Lagoas and the dunes. As I was going to Lençóis Maranhenses afterward, the Lagoas were not a reason for me to go to Jeri.

If it was true what Bob Dylan was singing, Jeri is the place to go when you are questioning your life: ” The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind…”

Hostel América do Sul: I can highly recommend this hostel. Great cost-performance ratio. A lot of hammocks, two kitchens, cozy space.

Bahia – the heart of Brazil

It was my second time in Bahia, and again, I felt that everything is more colorful, that all the colors are shining brighter, that the energy is even more positive, the people even more open-hearted. Everything seems to be more intense there. I love it!

Praia do Satu

Caraíva

This time I started traveling in the south of Bahia and straightaway, I ended up in one of my favorite places of the journey: Caraíva. It is quite a hassle to get there from Porto Seguro. As it had been raining, the gravel road was in bad conditions and it took 4 hours to get the beautiful and unique village of Caraíva. As the van costs only 9 Reais more from the “Balsa” in Arraial d´ajuda, it is totally worth taking the van instead of the bus. There are no cars allowed, you have to cross the river with a boat and there you are: Sandy “streets”, no asphalt, no cars, no internet except you are in a place with wifi… You feel like set back in time. If you need to transport heavy goods, horse carts are used. Amazing. Such a laidback, charming place. The little one-storied buildings are painted in all kinds of colors, there are cute restaurants along the riverbank and diverse shops. And you have the choice between the ocean and the river. Where these two meet, everybody gets together at the end of the day to enjoy the beautiful sunset. It seems like everybody in Caraíva is making music and every night there is great live music in at least one of the places. On Monday you have to check out the “Toca do Seri”, Tuesday is Samba-time and from Thursday until Sunday, you can hit the dance floor at the famous Forró parties. Apart from that, there is always a great live act in the “Beco da lua”. After one day in Caraíva you already know everybody, the atmosphere is really familiar. Apparently, in the high season, it gets really crowded, when I was there in August, it was just perfect. On the one hand, there was always something going on, on the other hand, it was really chilled. And I have never walked so much on the beach. 13 km to the south is the Caribbean beach Corumbau, 9 km to the north the famous “Praia do Espelho”. Not only the landscape along the beaches but also the beaches itself are totally worth the walk. I definitely lost my heart to Caraíva.

Beco da Lua

After Caraíva I traveled up north. I only passed quickly in Trancoso, and stayed a couple of days in Arraial D´Ajuda, a place I really liked. Still small, but way bigger than Caraíva. In Caraíva you really feel like in a bubble, separated from the real world. The historic center of Porto Seguro is nice, but for me, it was enough to spend half of a day there, because: Itacaré was waiting.

Itacaré

Praia de Jeribucaçu

Itacaré is a small surfer town with a relaxed welcoming vibe. I was expecting a little city, but the center consists of only one street and at night, there is even less going on then in Caraíva. Well, in the off-season! In summer it gets crowded. Nevertheless, I had an awesome time there. Probably, because Itacaré has a special vibe and everywhere you get to know new people, stop to talk, everything flows. Apart from that, there are always waves and the beaches a beautiful, wild, different from the ones I had seen in the south. Instead of long sandy beaches, you can find bays, every single one is different. A lot of them have to be discovered by hiking. There are a lot of hikes to explore the coast. I do not know if I was lucky or if every single place in Bahia has an amazing sunset. Itacaré unites everybody at sunset time at the Ponta do Xaréu. For my soul, sunsets are one of the most beautiful things that exist. Watching the sunset, the colors, this warm light – wow! Gratidão!

Sunset time

Ilha de Boipeba

After three days in Barra Grande, where it was mainly raining, I went to Ilha de Boipeba, an amazing island with incredible beaches. I know, one might think, beaches over beaches, isn`t it all the same. No, even if it is hard to believe, they are all different. Not only in terms of nature, water, amount of palm trees, but also the energy, the vibe, if it is a completely natural beach or if there are small “barracas” where you can buy drinks or food. Again, I was walking so many kilometers per day. I started to love those long walks along the beach. It is kind of meditative as well, walking for hours in a certain rhythm. One magic moment of my journey I had here in Moreré: Lying at the beach, the natural pools in front of me, the sound of the sea further away than usual, the wind blowing through the palm tree leaves – it was so peaceful! Completely connected to nature, inner peace and gratitude. This island has a special, awesome energy! And if you believe it or not, in Barra da Boipeba you can have an awesome sunset 😀 Sitting on the beach or taking a swim in the calm water, where the ocean and the river meet, playing guitar and making music while watching the sunset… that is called living the dream! Living my dream, at least.

Praia da Cueira
Ponta da Bainema-the perfect place to spend the day

Chapada Diamantina

Everybody told me that Chapada is a very special place, with special energy, very powerful. And what should I say, it is! The reason: The soil is full of crystals. First, I went to Lençóis, a colonial, alternative, friendly and colorful little town, famous Forrós and live music everywhere. There are so many treks to do, so many waterfalls to see, rockpools, rivers, mountains. After weeks on the coast, I was happy to be in the mountains, dive into a very different nature. Away from the sea to crystal clear waters. Even though the water of the rivers is black -from the roots and leaves falling into it and the iron of the rocks – the water is super clean and especially purifying and healing. Standing under a waterfall, letting the water run from the top of the head down the whole body, taking all negative thoughts, feelings, and energy away… I can understand why a lot of people came to Chapada and stayed.

Morro do Pai Inácio

After Lençóis I went to Vale do Capão, here I really connected with nature. Capão is roots, quiet, not touristy. I stayed at a campground, without Wifi, disconnected from the rest of the world. Sleeping under the stars, surrounded by the sounds of nature. I got grounded, I was in peace! And of course, also here, there was so much so explore! Several waterfalls, treks, natural pools. A must-do is the waterfall Fumaça, for example.

Chapada was my last stop in Bahia. In Salvador and Morro de São Paulo I was two years ago. To round this up, just a few words about those two places: Salvador is a huge city, with a lot of poverty and favelas, but at the same time you can find a lot of beautiful places. I was there, when the city was celebrating São João.  The whole historic center, Pelourinho, was decorated with colorful little flags, there was so much party going on. Everybody was on the streets, the air filled up with happyness. I loved it. And also Morro de São Paulo was worth a visit as it offers a lot of beautiful beaches!

To sum up, if you go to Brazil, go to Bahia! Bahia offers spectacular beaches, awesome nature, heartwarming people, great food and a lot of Forró and music!

Hostels

  • Caraíva: Canoa Hostel e Suites : I absolutely loved it! Recommend it to everone!
  • Trancoso: Quiron Hostel : For a night it was alright, nothing special.
  • Arraial d´Ajuda: Adios Amigos Hostel Alto Mar : Great staff, chilled atmosphere, would always go back.
  • Itacaré:Casarão Verde Hostel : Super beautiful colonial house, with a nice garden. The dorms a huge. When I was there, we were 3 people in the 18 bed-doorm. In summer it might too many people in one room. Before, I stayed 2 nights in Hostel As Margaridas, but the owner is so strange is you have the feeling you are not allowed to touch anything. 
  • Barra Grande: Shangri-la Hostel . Simple, cozy hostel!
  • Boipeba: Abaquar Hostel : Great atmosphere, great hostel. Still, as my room was next to the kitchen, it was very noisy.
  • Lençóis:Casa MangaMel : Apart from the Canoa Hostel my favorite hostel. Awesome vibe, really artistic and alterative. But the owner has changed two weeks later, I do not know how the hostel atmosphere changes now.
  • Vale do Capão:Camping Filhos da Floresta : Lovely people, kind of a community life, there are workshops and a lot of meals, where everbody is helping happening. 

 

Guarda

A day trip to Guarda do Embaú

Recently a friend lent me his car and all I could think about was: I have to go to Garda do Embaú. Seriously, my heart was longing to go there. Only 60 km from Floripa, it is totally worth a day trip. For me, it is kind of a magic place. The village itself is super cute, offers small restaurants and cafés and a huuuuge beach. To get to the beach, you have to cross a river. Depending on the depth it is usually possible to do it on foot, but there are also little boats carrying people to the other side.

The waves are perfect for surfing. Especially for me, who is not a pro at all. The waves a forming beautifully and are gentle, different from Floripa.

Yet, the magic place is waiting around the rocks. Going north, there is a little path crossing the hill or another one passing a small beach and going on along the coast. In the end, Prainha is waiting. “Prainha” means ” small beach”, in this case, it is not accurate at all, though. Prainha is actually a very long sand stripe. When Guarda is crowded in the summer, on the “small beach” you can still find peace. And there is a guy selling fresh juice/smoothies, he is making with his manual mixer as there is no electricity. He will tell and show you what real happiness is!

The best thing is to camp on Prainha. You will be alone, alone under the starry sky. That is where the magic happens. Plus, you can go surfing in the sunrise and you will be alone in the water! Awesome!

Another famous spot where a lot of people go camping – well, actually not “another”, because Prainha is not specifically known for camping- is Vale da Utopia. You can access the valley from Pinheira, or, a longer walk would be just continuing from Prainha to the north. This place is absolutely worth getting to know, as well!

One week of Samba

One of the first things that come to mind thinking of Brazil is Samba! Samba represents Brazilian culture and unites this huge country. One might think, Samba is only present on carnival, in the form of the big colorful parades. But no, it is part of everyday life. People meet for so-called “Choros” or “Chorinhos”, everybody can bring an instrument and join the circle of musicians. They play and sing while the rest is dancing or just enjoying the music. Music definitely represents a way to forget your sorrows and honor life. Choro itself does not necessarily mean that they play Samba, but in most cases, it ends up to be a “Roda de Samba”. As Samba is such an integral part of the Brazilian lifestyle, even in Florianópolis, a smaller city, you can find at least one great Samba each night of the week. Vamos! Let me guide you to one week of Samba in Floripa!

Monday

On Mondays you can find a small but atmospheric Samba, well actually more a Chorinho, in Santa Mônica. The Cervejaria Sambaqui is hidden behind the BR petrol station. Listening to the music you can enjoy tasty beers, as the brewery offers a wide range of artisanal beer. The handmade product combines quality and innovation and results in various types of beer with excellent taste.

Tuesday

Qualé Mané is a very simple traditional bar in the center of Florianópolis. The owner and compositor Neco established the Samba that takes place in Sambaqui on Sundays and coordinates the “Roda de Samba” on Tuesdays. His aim is to unite the best of Samba and various well-known “sambistas” from the area. In comparison to some other sambas, usually here is some space to dance and the atmosphere is very personal. It is really easy to chat with Neco and the other long-established regular guests. I would not describe it as a popular or trendy bar among young people, but for this very reason, it is worth to get to know this traditional samba.

Wednesday

Wednesday is Choro Xadrez day! Four guys open their private house in Rio Tavares to the public to make music. This place has so much character and an incomparable Brazilian vibe. If you imagine typical Brazil, that would be it! It absolutely could be a scene in a gringo-movie about this country. In the cozy tiny garden you can chat, have an artisanal beer or a homemade pizza, in the checkered tiled kitchen (that is where the name comes from: Xadrez means chess) the people are squeezing around the musicians.

Thursday

On Thursdays, Geosamba at the UFSC, the public University in Florianópolis, takes place. Geosamba is a revolutionary Samba founded by students of Geology and Geography. They get together on the UFSC campus and play with so much heart and joy! This “Roda de Samba” is like the soul of the University and has a unique unconventional touch. As it is not associated with a bar, everybody brings its own drinks.

Friday

In the Quincas Bar happens a Samba on Fridays. Situated in a beautiful old blue white house, the traditional bar gets crowded around the “Roda de samba”. Mostly, the “Roda” only consists of four people, but sometimes “sambistas” from other states are coming, playing and spreading joy. The bar offers draft beer and various artisanal cachaças, as well as regional snacks and stays open until late.

Saturday

On Saturdays another, way bigger Samba is happening in the Cervejaria Sambaqui in Santa Mônica. With great Samba singers, the event equals more a “bailinho” with everybody dancing. Whereas Mondays there offer a rather quiet and relaxed start in the week, Saturday is party time.

Sunday

I can not resist but I have to recommend a couple of beautiful Sambas for Sunday night:

From 19-22 h, you can enjoy Samba in the recently opened bar O Araça. On Sundays, the core of the Choro-Xadrez-Crew delights the place with their amazing Samba. The vibe of this place is special, vibrant and lively. The people dance, chat or have a look at the small art exhibitions that give the place a special cultural note. O Araça is located in a beautiful antique blue house. As the interior design is all made of wood, the place is very cosy. It offers great food and a various draft beers.

On Sundays, one of the best sambas takes place in the Rancho do Neco in Sambaqui. Actually being a fisher hut, one night per week the cottage transforms into a beautiful, astonishing samba location, with a light scent of fish in the air, which only makes it more authentic. Situated at the beach, you are looking over the sea, seeing the lights of the continent shining on the horizon. The blue wooden hut is decorated with so much love and details, fisher nets with shells are just one example. The first time I went there I thought, Wow, this is Brazil and considered it the most Brazilian place on the island. Over time I discovered more places like this, but the place still fascinates me and remains special! The night starts with a “Roda de Samba” everybody can join, later it is a band playing Samba. They installed a small kitchen counter and offer drinks and “salgados”, little snacks. The place just makes you feel at home and fills you with positive energy.

Last but not least, the De Raiz in Joaquina opens the doors for Samba on Sundays as well. A band with a wonderful singer is playing Samba music and infecting the people with the Samba spirit. On the top of the dunes, the wooden construction of the De Raiz represents a really cool location and definitely the largest I am recommending here. That means: There is a lot of space to dance! In contrast to all the other Sambas, this one only starts around 23 hours and lasts until late. The perfect place to finish off this awesome week of Samba!

Rancho do Neco

Araça – Lagoa nightlife

Last week a friend of mine opened a bar in Lagoa: O Araça! With three friends, he renovated a beautiful old, blue house and the result is just awesome. They worked a lot with wood he had brought from his family`s land in Rio and created a cozy stylish place. The wooden interior combines perfectly with the darkish red walls, walls that will be also used for exhibitions. The objective is to link art, music and social gatherings, which means that live music plays an important role as well. On Sunday, even my favorite “Roda da Samba”, o Choro Xadrez, played there. The place unites everything! 😀

Lagoa really needed a place like that. Just to get an idea of how nightlife in Lagoa works: Everything takes place on the streets, it is all outside.
There are several “food truck unions” with live music, so you grab a beer in the supermarket, well, or buy one at one of the food trucks and enjoy the night hanging around – in or in front of the food trucks, on the shore of the Lagoa…. It is always busy.

So far so good, I love the vibe and spirit of all that. But what when it get´s colder, if it rains or if you just want to go to a nice bar and sit down? The Araças represents exactly this place that was missing. Of course, it also has a nice little garden, but apart from that, it offers shelter without lacking the Lagoa spirit. Check it out!!

Adventurous Rio

After more than 2 years, I finally was in Rio de Janeiro again! I was visiting a friend of mine, who moved from Floripa to Rio almost one year ago. On Instagram, I could follow all the crazy adventures he was having. And by crazy I mean crazy! He is a base jumper, jumping from the tops of favelas, buildings, but mostly rocks. The Pedra da Gávea is one of his favorite spots and I was longing to get to know the place myself. It is an 843 m high rock/mountain in the forest of Tijuca in Rio and the hike to get to the top is quite challenging. You have to climb a 30 m high rock face and I really had to overcome my fear. We did it without a rope and phew, I was so relieved when I had made it. In spite of all the effort, I really enjoyed the hike and the view from the top – incredible. Last time, I was on the Dois Irmãos and I was astonished by the view. But this was even more impressive. The location of Rio is so beautiful, Cristo Redentor spreading his arms over the city, the Lagoa, the little hills everywhere, the Sugarloaf… I was extremely happy to get to know the place where my friend always jumps from. The place, I had already seen in so many videos. And now I was finally there, having a scenic, delicious “brunch” with the things we brought.

Because it was too windy that day, my friend walked down Gávea with me, his first descent :D. I was glad he came with me because even though we took another route, we had to overcome a rock face and alone I would not have been able to get down there. Moreover, he showed me various secret spots (from where he jumps, of course) on the way! What an awesome day!

His other passion is climbing, and of course, I did not want to miss out on that. He took me to the Morro da Urca and the Sugarloaf, where we climbed some rocks. I do not know, where it comes from, but out of a sudden, I am suffering from fear of heights. In the end, he was as proud as I was that I did it. Next time, I want to climb all the way up to the top of the Sugarloaf! Rio, I am coming back!

Check out my friends Insta #kombi.dubem. He is supporting great social projects in Brasil!

Homage to the SESCs

SESCs are one of the best inventions in the world! The „Serviço Social do Comécio“ (SESC) is an initiative of a merger of social service, trading investors and tourism with the aim to provide access to culture to everyone. For instance in São Paulo, every neighborhood has its own SESC. They organize events, talks, discussions, concerts, and activities in the fields of education, culture, health and a lot more, offer free classes of yoga and other sports, childcare, and assistance. All for free! Every time, I am in São Paulo, I am impressed again by the wide range and quantity of offers. Not to forget about the food. The Brazilian metropolis turned into an expensive city, not so the SESC. The cafeteria offers amazing food: One meal oft he day for 9 Reais, amazing ice cream, snacks and those deserts….yummy! I have to go there every day to try all of them- there is only one word for it: delicious!

The one I use to frequent is the SESC Paulista. This one has another benefit: On the top, there is a terrace which turned into a famous outlook. The view of the city, the Paulista is great and furthermore, it`s a nice place to get some sun in this city full of skyscrapers and shady streets. Just yesterday, I saw an awesome sunset there!

Thanks for existing, SESCs!

Samba

Last night, I fell in love with Brazil again. It happens a lot, I have to admit. These moments of pure love for this country. I went to “Choro Xadrez” in Rio Tavares. Four guys open their house once a week for the public to make music, Samba! Everybody can bring an instrument and join them! They are spreading so much joy, the vibe is amazing! A friend of mine said: This could be a scene of a “gringo”-movie about Brazil. Yes, so true, THAT is Brazil! If you had an image of Brazil in mind, that would be it! I really didn´t want to go home, I just didn`t want that night to end! Can´t wait to go there again!

I will write more about the different places itself, but here a short list with my favorite Samba places:

  • Choro Xadrezm #choroxadrez
  • Rancho do Neco in Sambaqui
  • Geosamba at the UFSC

Nature and Hikes

I love to be close to nature. For a long time, I considered myself a city person. And yes, a part of me still is and I need “culture”, museums, art, and all that stuff. But I can feel how it benefits my body and soul to be connected to nature, I feel inner peace and more connected with myself, actually.

Apart from beaches and dunes, Floripa has a lot of hills – I like to call them small mountains – and hikes to offer. An article about my 5 top hikes you can find here:
https://travelista.club/guides/dive-into-nature-best-hikes-in-florianopolis/