Beaches & Buggies in Natal Brazil

Natal is my favorite city of the four major northeastern Brazilian cities (Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador), because it seems the cleanest, safest and most visually stimulating them all.

While Salvador reigns supreme as the culture capital, Natal is undeniably the epicenter of an endless supply of ridiculously beautiful beaches.

If you look at a map of Natal Brazil and the surrounding area, there are literally hundreds of beaches to choose from. Look.

Natal Brazil Beaches Map

I only had a few days to meet the city so I divided into two equal parts of relaxation and adventure.

On day one I explored a few of the beaches within Natal’s city limits, including the popular Ponta Negra beach just south of the city.

I road all the way up through downtown Natal to Fort dos Reis Magos to check out the beaches on the other end of the city.

The urban beaches were clean and small sand dunes and offshore reef added a cool landscape.

After a relaxing first day, I decided to take a dune buggy tour into the famous sand dunes just outside Natal.

I was picked up from my hostel by a local guide and a few other traveler friends and we headed into the sandy unknown.

It was a full day filled with off-roading, zip-lining, lounging and swimming.

Natal is definitely a place I’d like to spend more time getting to know. Next time I’d like to try my hand behind the wheel of one of these dune buggies myself.

Natal Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read all about the Dune Buggy Adventure in Natal

Watch Episode #7 Natal Beaches & Buggies via YouTube (as well as the other episodes).

Gluttony in Gramado


Just a two-hour bus ride from Porto Alegre is the beautiful town of Gramado, Brazil.

Thanks to the Portuguese, German and Italian immigrants who settled here in the 1800s, the town’s architecture, food and culture makes you feel like you’ve landed in Europe rather than Brazil.

I arrived from Porto Alegre early one morning and decided to indulge myself in the many beers and chocolates that are produced in and around Gramado.

That proved to be a more difficult task than I had anticipated thanks in large part to a lunch fit for a small army.

Local friends in Porto Alegre told me that while in Gramado I had to try a traditional Cafe Colonial lunch, but they never told me what to expect.

It was an endless train of delicious pastries, meats, cheeses and wine… lots of wine.

Eventually I waved the white napkin at Bela Vista Restaurant and passed through a beer factory on the way to another town called Canela.

I kept seeing signs for a famous waterfall on the way, so I asked my taxi driver to stop at the park so I could take some photos.

Unfortunately, the park was closed when I arrived, but somehow I convinced the guard to let me in for some photos.

Once inside, a man (who hopefully worked there) asked if I wanted to go zip-lining. I agreed and walked my tipsy self up a hill where I was strapped in and let loose.

It wasn’t the most intense experience of my life, but I got a nice view of the waterfall during the 10-second ride.

I finished the day in Canela doing absolutely nothing until my bus arrived to take me back to Porto Alegre.

I had a very good, gluttony-filled day in Gramado.

Things to do in Gramado Brazil

Things escalated quickly…

Watch Travel Deeper Brazil, Episode #6 – Gramado Day Trip of Gluttony Now

Porto Alegre: Gauchos, Galleries and Girls

Porto Alegre, home of great meat and beautiful women. If I made a welcome sign for the city that’s what it would say. Maybe it would have a Gaucho on their too, maybe holding a paint brush.

Porto Alegre is the Capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil and is one awesomely diverse, traditional yet modern, artistically inclined city.

It’s home to many European immigrants, who have messed with the gene pool just enough to figure out a perfect combination of Brazilian figures and skin tone with blonde hair and blue eyes. It’s just not fair.

For those more interested in gluttony than lust, Southern Brazil, in particular Porto Alegre, is the birthplace of all those Brazilian Steakhouses you see popping up around the globe.

Whatever your sin, this is a good place to start.

If you travel on your best behavior, there’s plenty of good ‘ol clean fun to be had too.

Their art scene is legit and all the galleries around town are free to the public. Plus, there’s a few good museums and a stellar public market to explore.

The weather can get a bit cold and rainy compared to what you think of when you picture Brazil, so pick your season appropriately.

Either way, Porto Alegre is a city that shouldn’t be overlooked on your next trip to Brazil…

As my friend said, make sure you learn some Portuguese first ; )

Porto Alegre Brazil

Put Your Hands Up for Porto Alegre!

Watch Travel Deeper Brazil – Porto Alegre via YouTube now (don’t forget to subscribe)

Brasilia, The Futuristic Capital [VIDEO]


In 1956, Brazilian President, Juscelino Kubitschek decided it was time to move the nation’s capital from the southern city of Rio de Janeiro to a more central location.

He marked off vacant land in the middle of the country and commissioned renowned Brazilian architects, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer to create the urban landscape.

The result was a modern city that is funky and futuristic and very well organized.

It is safe, clean and not the typical tourist destination for those thinking about traveling to Brazil.

Home to the President, branches of government and most major political organizations, Brasilia is a must-visit for those who wish to travel deeper in Brazil.

I was so thankful to have local friends to show me the best things to do in Brasilia, but even if you don’t, it’s an easy city to navigate and explore.

Here are some of my favorite places and activities as seen in this Travel Deeper Brazil Episode, and also some spots I didn’t show…

Brasilia Must-See Architecture:

  1. The Flame of Eternal Freedom (Chama de Eterna Liberdade)
  2. National Congress (Congresso Nacional)
  3. Cathedral of Brasilia (Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida)
  4. National Museum (Museu Nacional da República)
  5. Juscelino Kubitschek Memorial (Memorial JK)

Brasilia Must-Try Restaurants: 

  1. Beirute – Known by many as the first bar in Brasilia, this traditional Arabic spot is a great place for lunch and happy hour.
  2. Mormaii – or Surf Bar, is located in the beautiful lakeside district of Pontao in Lago Sur and offers fresh food with perfect views of the lake and city skyline.
  3. Praca de Alimentacao – For the best variety of Brazilian food in the city, you should go to Praca de Alimentacao (food court) just below the Torre de TV (TV Tower).
  4. Fogao Nativo – This is a very popular lunch spot amongst locals and it’s a great place to try food from the Goias region around Brasilia.

More of history, architecture and my Brasilia Restaurant recommendations coming soon to the Visit Brasil Blog!

Brasilia Must-Do Activities:

  1. Rent a bike and cruise around the newly established bike paths in the city center.
  2. Get out on a boat. I know a great boat-rental guy, so let me know if you’re going.
  3. Visit the national park, it’s easy and quiet and a good escape from the city.
  4. If you have time, you need to explore the chapadas and national parks further outside the city (like Poço Azul).

Brasilia Brazil

More photos of my trip to Brasilia here -> “Visual Highlights from Brasilia

Watch Episode 5 of Travel Deeper Brazil: Brasilia, the Futuristic Capital now

Things To Do in Sao Paulo, Brazil


São Paulo, Brazil is the largest city in South America and known for its incredible food, buzzing nightlife and never-ending high-rises.

As I said in the video, I was completely overwhelmed when I arrived in the big Brazilian metropolis, so I enrolled a few of the 11 million plus inhabitants for some help.

Here is the advice and recommendations they gave me in regards to things to do in Sao Paulo

Things to do in Sao Paulo (including closest metro stops):

  1. Veloco restaurant for delicious coxinhas, one of the best Brazilian foods!
  2. Breakfast in Padoca – Pao na Chapa / Pao na chapa com requijao midia
  3. Pinocotela Museum and Museu da Casa Brasileira (Estaciao da Luz)
  4. Se Catedral (Se)
  5. Little Japan – Sushi and walking around the city (Liberdade)
  6. Stroll Paulista Ave (Paraiso)
  7. MASP Art Museum (Paraiso)
  8. Beco de Batman street art alley (Vila Madalena)
  9. Mercado Municipal (Sao Bento) for Pastel de bacalau and sanduiche de Martadela
  10. Teraco Italia (In the Italy Building) for the view (take a taxi)
  11. Ibirapuera Park 
  12. Skye Bar, close to Ibirapuera Park (take a taxi)

Eat up…

things to do in Sao Paulo

Watch Sao Paulo in 48 Hours – Travel Deeper Episode #3 Now on YouTube.