So, how did you fair in FIFA’s initial electronic lottery phase of ticket sales for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil? Yeah, I didn’t fair so well, either, but I did manage tickets to one game, in Natal, on June 16. My wife and I scrambled to buy what we could salvage during the first-come, first-serve sales phase in which FIFA sold approximately 220,000 tickets in seven hours. We bought the tickets teams unknown, but thanks to the World Cup draw on Friday, we now know that we’ll be enjoying USA vs Ghana!
Photo: Tambako the Jaguar
Birding may not be on the mainstream travelers to-do list, but it’s serious business nonetheless, and Brazil is a bombshell for birdwatching. South America has the largest number of bird species of any continent and Brazil is among the top three countries in the world with over 1832 cataloged species and soaring higher. And while Hollywood might have poked fun at the birdwatching lifestyle in Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin’s The Big Year (2011), there are a lot of people who get very excited about our fine-feathered friends.
Photo: Brazilian Beach House Co.
Anyone who has visited Brazil since the strengthening of the Brazilian Real a few years ago, and certainly anyone who has looked into hotel accommodations for upcoming mega world events like the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, are surely intimately familiar with the Portuguese term, “Custo Brasil,” or “Brazilian Cost,” a phrase used to (explain? justify?) the rising costs of doing business in this South American giant and, as a result, prices that leave visitors often sticker shell-shocked. There’s no sugarcoating it: Brazil is an expensive country to visit.
But there are ways to cut costs. One excellent idea is to steer away your dream of sleeps on the sands from often high-priced hotels and pousadas to pooling your money, resources and groups of friends into renting an entire piece of paradise all for yourselves. That’s where the Brazilian Beach House Company comes in. Started by English expat Steven Chew in 2005, the company specializes in finding fully-staffed beach homes for all budgets on the most pristine patches of sand the country has to offer. Often times, if a group of friends or couples split costs, you can rest your weary heads in paradise for a fraction of the cost of an overpriced pousada – and turn an entire luxury home into your own private Eden (with a private chef to boot).
We asked Steven to highlight a few of his favorite homes in Brazil, from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro (*and we threw in our personal favorite in as well). It’s a tall order as luxury beach homes are something Brazil does very well indeed. ”Here are my list of five favorites,” he says. “Or at least some of the them as the list could have run and run …”
Without further adieu …
Photo: Crystian Cruz
To call Brazil Surflandia would be a gross understatement: Anywhere boasting a coastline of over 4600 miles is bound to have a swell or 50 to satiate the most avid of surfers.
Your resident Brazil expert happens to be close friends with professional Brazilian surfer Sergio Lima, who runs Island Style Surf School on Hawaii’s North Shore. Lima hails from Fernando de Noronha, one of Brazil’s surfing Meccas, an island 200 miles off the coast of Recife in Northeastern Brazil, and he knows a thing or two about Brazilian ondas (waves).
Foodies in São Paulo live and breathe for Veja magazine‘s annual Comer & Beber (Food & Drink) issue, which chronicles the best of everything in culinary-obsessed Sampa, from bar snacks to beef and everything between the two. The city’s gastronomically-inclined hinge on the special issue’s release every October.
When applications for the initial electronic lottery phase of ticket sales for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil closed on Oct. 10, football’s Zurich-based governing body was deluged with some 6,164,682 ticket requests from 203 countries, all vying for the estimated 1 million tickets that are available for purchase in this initial phase.
And just days before Nov. 4, when we were originally to be informed if they picked our lucky numbers, FIFA announced a delay of the electronic draw. So it will be a further week – by Nov. 10 – when we all find out if we hit the jackpot or not. The chances?
Não são boas!
It’s certainly no news flash that Brazil is a wonderful place to eat (check out our breakdown of Brazil’s finest dish), and the country’s biggest city, São Paulo, is certainly home to the biggest concentration of culinary wonders in South America, but Brazil’s holds a culinary secret deep in its interior that folks might not consider when planning their gastronomic itineraries. World: Meet Tiradentes.
Photo: Andre Maceira
That’s no mirage. The towering dunes of Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses national park is one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes – 1500 sq km of otherworldly sandscapes, only broken up by inviting cerulean lagoons that pepper the sandy hills between March and September. From the air, the landscape gives the appearance of rolling bed sheets (lençóis in Portuguese), pitching across the world’s most picturesque bed. A visit here is guaranteed to leave your jaw on the deep sandy floor and your camera trigger-finger sore from overuse. But the park itself, located about 200 miles east of São Luis near the cutesy town of Barreirinhas, is far from the only cinematic destination in this part of Northern Brazil. Don’t miss a trip to this region; and don’t miss taking in the following while you’re there.
Anyone who has been to Rio de Janeiro has seen the colorful brick-and-mortar mazes precariously climbing up the lush mountains in all directions from most vantage points of note in Zona Sul: The favelas. Or shantytowns. Or slums. Or whatever the slur of choice is for a lot of underprivileged people stuffing themselves into illegal housing stacked on top of each other because the socioeconomic realities deem it so. They have traditionally been associated with violent wars between the police and drug lords, the latter of whom traditionally controlled them. Wandering into them if you were Brazilian was a scary no-no and an enlightening if not controversial good time for foreigners, who have taken the Jeep and van tours that have been operating since the ’90s.
Photo: Eraldo Schneider
Brazil is a beer country, there’s no doubt about that. In this tropical heat and on these sandy shores, nothing quite goes down like a cold one. But until very recently, beer selection in Brazil left much to be desired. Unlike Brazil’s neighbors in Argentina and Chile, Brazil’s brew culture was mostly limited to a few bland brands of pale lager and ubiquitous chope – ice cold Brazilian draft beer that, while tasty, often infuriates foreigners due to the longheld but misguided Brazilian belief that the bigger the head, the fresher the beer.
What you end up with is half a beer – nobody wants to toast to that!