Not for vegetarians or the diet conscious (though there are versions), Brazil’s national dish, feijoada, was described by traveling TV chef Anthony Bourdain on The Layover as a “magnificent, beautiful, murky black substance,” “perfection in a dish” and “truly, transcendently wonderful.”
It seems like only yesterday that Brazil defeated Croatia to kick off the world’s biggest football tournament and greatest month of nationalistic sport way back on June 12. Where did the time go? Brazil has proved itself a worthy host over the course of the last four weeks, putting to bed all of the pre-tournament panic that dominated news headlines for the two years leading up to this moment: The stadiums were gorgeous, the travel infrastructure didn’t collapse (in fact, it was efficiently glorious!) and the protests drifted off with a whimper after the tournament’s first week.
French bombshell Brigitte Bardot didn’t discover Armação dos Búzios (Búzios for short) but when she decided in 1964, at the top of her fame, to hide away in this small, unknown fishing village north of Rio de Janeiro for three months, she helped the world discover Búzios. The timeline of this gorgeous Brazilian beach resort, home to 23 some-odd beaches, each more perfect than the next, can be divided in two parts: B.B (Before Bardot) and A.B (After Bardot).
When the first thing I saw upon arrival was a young girl bathing her dog in the river, I knew things were different on Ilha do Marajó, a river island nearly the size of Switzerland at the mouth of the Amazonas, Tocantins and Xingú rivers on the northern tip of Pará state. Outside of urban areas, most Brazilians wouldn’t think twice about a dirty dog, but the Marajoara do things their own way. So much so that ironically enough, dogs aren’t even the usual pet of choice.
If you’ve come to Brazil to take part in the national revelry of one of the world’s greatest sporting events, you no doubt weren’t in country all of an hour before a caipirinha ended up in your hands. Brazil is nearly as proud of its ubiquitous national cocktail as it is its national football team. Caipirinhas are so popular – and so good – that you now find them on bar menus the world over, the latest Latin cocktail, like the daiquiri, mojito and the pisco sour, to become the flavor of the month outside its borders. The ingredients of the classic caipirinha are simple: limes, sugar and cachaça, Brazil’s national spirit.
We’re nearly a week into the world’s biggest football tournament. There have been some questionable refereeing, a few scattered protests and a complete bludgeoning of teams from the Iberian Peninsula but all in all I think most folks would agree that Brazil has been a blast so far. Most surprising? The airports have been purely pleasant and without any of the predicted craziness and chaos, at least on the five flights via six airports your Brazil Insider has thus far been.
We’re nearly there now. In just a few days, Brazil will kickoff the world’s biggest football tournament on home turf against Croatia in São Paulo and one of the greatest months of sport will be off and running. Will you be there? We sure will!
Photo: What's Gaby Cooking
With the soccer event of the year nearly here, Brazil is the destination of choice for many travelers. If you’re jetting off to one of the host cities, make sure to check out its bustling culinary scene. But where to find the best food? Our friend and food blogger Gaby Dalkin from What’s Gaby Cooking rounded up her favorite places in a fun map on where to eat in Brazil. From the best caipirinhas in Fortaleza to the traditional Brazilian seafood stew moqueca in Salvador, each host city offers an unforgettable gastronomical adventure. Read the full story here.
Brazil hasn’t traditionally made it very difficult to give travelers a reason to complain about its airports: Most of them are outdated relics from the ’50s and ’60s and the ones that aren’t, such as Recife in the Northeast, come off at best as missed opportunities. Shopping? Not really. Good restaurants? Not really. Comfortable spaces to kill a few hours between flights, perhaps at a spa, in a sleeping pod or in a very nice cocktail bar? Not really.
That all changes with this month’s opening of Terminal 3 at GRU Airport – Aeroporto Internacional de São Paulo’s in Guarulhos, Brazil’s first world-class international airport terminal; a modern, 192,000-sq-m space designed to move 12 million international passengers per year.
When Bonito – the tiny little ecotourism town – was voted the “Best Destination for Responsible Tourism” at the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards, a lot of folks around the world let out a collective, “Huh?” When it was chosen as the host city of the 2014 Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), the world’s most important ecotourism event, a few more folks said, “Where?”
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