Tess, our Marketing Coordinator, has been sneaking off to Brazil on a regular basis since starting work in our Buenos Aires office. She can’t get enough of those Brazilian beaches and year-round sun. Here she tells us about her adventures on the Costa Verde, just below Rio de Janeiro, where tranquil seaside towns, tropical islands and miles and miles of white-sand beaches await.
What´s your name and where are you from?
I’m Tess from Geleen in Holland, but I’ve been living in Buenos Aires since I started working for CAT Travel a couple of years ago.
Where are your three favorite places in Latin America and why?
It’s hard to choose just three, there are so many amazing places in Latin America, but as you’re asking, here goes; the beaches of Brazil, Iguazu Falls (both in Argentina and Brazil) and the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. Ah, can I add Buenos Aires too? This is my favorite city!
Can you choose one place and tell us about a time when you visited it?
I’ll pick the beaches of Brazil, in particular Ilha Grande and Paraty on the Green Coast. Just a couple of hours from Rio de Janeiro you can find such paradise beaches! I was there just before New Year in 2010 with a friend from Holland. It was very special to see her again, here on the other side of the world.
First we visited Paraty and its surrounding beaches for about three days. Paraty is a small town with a beautiful historical center, it’s great in the evenings when all the little bars and restaurants light candles and live music drifts out of the side streets. For the best beaches you head just outside of town. There are lots of surf beaches and on some you will find amazing treks into the forest and local vendors selling big green coconuts with the most delicious and refreshing agua do coco (coconut water).
From Paraty I took a boat to the island of Ilha Grande for a few more days of chill out before heading back to Rio de Janeiro for the New Year’s celebrations. We spent our days there hiking in the forest, cooling off in the river and visiting some amazing beaches. On the last day we finally visited the famous Lopes Mendes beach, after hearing so many great stories and seeing it appear time after time on those lists of the world’s best beaches, it definitely did not disappoint!
What made the trip so special?
Visiting one of world’s most beautiful beaches – Lopes Mendes on Ilha Grande. After a boat trip and a hike we arrived at a perfect beach with crystal blue waters. It was truly amazing, pure white sand, clear waters and great waves, we enjoyed this magical beach as long as we could and made it back just in time to catch the last boat back to the pousada on the other side of the island.
What about the food, any recommendations?
Fish and other seafood is just amazing in Brazil, especially right here on the coast. My favorite dish is Moqueca, a Brazilian fish stew from the north. We tried this dish on Ilha Grande. It’s usually served for two or more people and is made in a special pan which arrives on the table directly from the fire. Of course beans and rice were served on the side as they always are in Brazil!
What is it about travel in Latin America that you find inspiring?
Latin America offers an enormous diversity of nature, food, city life and people – it’s a continent that has so many different things to offer. It always feels great to travel, and especially so when it is to such interesting places as these!
Where´s next on your Latin America travel list and why?
Colombia is still at the top of my list, I hope to be able to visit soon!