Recent Posts

Brazil Reccomendations

If you have any I’d love your recommendations for: Sao Paulo, Salvador, Foz de Iguacu, and Rio de Janeiro. I’m especially interested in antique shopping and good restaurants and cool neighborhoods to explore. We also would like to go to a small town or Island outside of Rio if you have any ideas.

  1. Melissa A.

    June 26, 2009

    Wow, what beautiful buildings. I love color! Sounds like it will be a lovely vacation.

  2. Damaris

    June 26, 2009

    go to Ilha do Cardoso. It's an island right outside of sao paulo. It's SO beautiful and not touristy at all and has the MOST amazing bioluminescent bay where you can swim with dolphins. seriously, it's that magical!

    as for cool neighborhoods in sao paulo go to Vila Madalena. great food, antiques, and street markets on the weekends.

  3. Anonymous

    June 26, 2009

    in salvador, make sure to eat and shop around in pelorinho-you will not be disappointed. in rio go to the hippy-fair for amazing, hand-crafted jewelry.

  4. Anonymous

    June 26, 2009

    Florianopolis. My friend and her husband spent a couple months there a year ago and said it was the best place. Great beaches. Have fun!

  5. layersofmeaning

    June 26, 2009

    Porcão for authentic Brazilian food (I've been to the one in Rio, not sure if ther is one in SP)
    If you can, when you are in Rio drive to Agra Dos Reis and to Buzios – amazing beaches.

  6. Mandy

    June 26, 2009

    In Rio, spend an afternoon in Santa Tereza. It is a small hillside neighborhood with galleries, shops. One of the oldest in Rio. You can ride a tram to get up the steep streets. There is a great little museum there, I can't remember the name, but it can't be too hard to find. One of my favorite days in Rio.

    Here is a link to a blog a friend of mine made while I was there with lots of favorites, including where to get the best Ovaltine shake:

  7. Molly

    June 26, 2009

    Never been, but my brother brought us home a sweet hammock from the Rio area.

  8. Christy

    June 26, 2009

    If you want to fly south, I'd highly recommend Bombinhas. We flew from Rio to Florianapolis on Santa Catarina Island in about an hour or so, if I recall, then spent a week in Bombinhas. Authentic, adorable, delicious, perfect beaches…

  9. Café com Bolo

    June 26, 2009

    Hello! I'm from Rio and you should go to Buzios,(beautiful beach small city ), Angra ( very beautiful island)and if you have time, go to Tiradentes in Minas Gerais (a beautiful and small colonial city, when you'll find lovely things to shop).
    Brazil is a beutiful and big country and our art is very beuatiful too.
    Enjoy it!
    And wellcome!
    Glorinha Leão

  10. Flaviaq

    June 26, 2009

    Hi, I read your blog but never comment. I am an architect, and live in Rio so I have some non tourist’s tips from here to you.

    Every first Saturday of the month, there is a street fair at the Lavradio Street, things are not cheap, but maybe you get lucky. This street has many antique stores and they open during week days, so you can go there even if it's not one of those specific Saturdays.

    There is also a antique fair on Gavea, on Sundays, by the Santos Dummond’s place.

    In Ipanema, on Sundays, there is the Hippie fair. For fancy and expensive antique stuff, there is a shopping center called Cassino Atlantico, where you can also find a Tok Stok, our own Ikea version.

  11. Flaviaq

    June 26, 2009

    In Copacabana, there is a mall at Siqueira Campos Street with lots of antique stores.

    The coolest neighborhoods in Rio are:

    Leblon (this is where tv artists and cool people- and I – live). Here you will find good restaurants by Dias Ferreira Street and streets nearby. Also in Dias Ferreira, you will find some cool small stores in old apartments. The hypest restaurants in this area are Celeiro for lunch (week days only) and Sushi Leblon for dinner (but sushi Leblon is full of tourists, so if you want a more carioca way of living, try the other restaurants in the same street or even a pizza by the Zona Sul Supermarket, just across the street). In leblon, don't forget to have breakfast (on Sunday morning, it is crowded when all locals go)or snack in the afternoon at Talho Capixaba at Ataulfo de Paiva Street. If you choose to go on Sunday morning and it is too crowded, you can have it at Rio Lisboa, just aside; it's cool too, but not as good.
    Also, have some fresh juice at Bibi or BB lanches, specially after spending the day at the beach. For good Ice cream go to any Italia – they have stores in other neighborhoods too.
    For good pasta, go to Pastrella that is only open for lunch. For Brazilian design, go to Daqui. All of them, by Ataulfo de Paiva. In the same street, you will find two fabric stores.
    A very carioca way to go to the beach happens on Sundays when the beach street is closed and everybody goes there with bicycles, skates or just to jog or hang out.

    Ipanema is also very cool.
    At the beach, Coqueirão is the hot spot – and day because people who hang out there are younger and don't work. This is between postos 9 and 10, by the higher palm tree. For fresh juice, the best is Duka's at Henrique Dummont Street. Ipanema is the bet place for regular shopping, because Ipanema has all kinds of stores. Don’t be shy to go inside the galleries and even in the buildings above them. But the streets are full of tourists.

    Jardim Botanico. There are awesome restaurants Maria Angelica Street.
    There are cool stores at Pacheco Leao Street. Carolina Cafe is a very nice cafe at J.J. Seabra Street, just aside a garage sale.
    In Jardim Botanico there is a nice Brazilian furniture store called Fernando Jaeger that worth a visit.

    Gavea. There lots of cool stuff in this area. This is full of students at night at Baixo Gavea, especially on Mondays and Wednesdays. By Santos Dummond’s place there is a fabric store. But don’t waste much time far from the main areas. Oh, and don’t forget to go to Instituto Moreira Salles.

    These are very carioca tips, things that people do here on regular basis. I don’t know if it is your kind of stuff. I just wrote based on what I read here and thought you might like.

    Oh! if you are going to eat at a temaki store (if you don’t know what it is, you will find out very soon), stick to Koni because it is the best! And check out these stores: Osklen, Maria Bonita Extra, Farm, Fábula and Totem.
    In Rio, don’t go out to dinner before 9 pm or you will find the restaurants empty. People go out at 9 or 10 pm to have dinner and after midnight to dance.

    Cities nearby, I recommend Petropolis and Itaipava. Cariocas don’t go to the beach cities during the winter – only if it is a long holyday. We all go to the mountains to eat good stuff. You will find lots of antique stores in Itaipava, such as Galo Vermelho, Cacarecos, e etc… I can search for you if you decide to go there. In Petropolis, there is a imperial palace full of furniture, it is very nice (I came from Petropolis, so I’m very suspicious) – You can check some houses I designed in this area at my flickr –

    If you’re up to a long trip I recommend Tiradentes, it’s 5 hours from Rio but you will find the three things you mentioned on the post in the same place.

    I hope you like it.


    Flavia Quintanilha

  12. Jihan

    June 26, 2009

    Buffalo Branco in Foz, is perhaps the best "noble meat" restaurant.

  13. Flaviaq

    June 26, 2009

    Buzios is very nice, I spent all my vacations while growing up there, but it is too wind at this time of the year. And nowadays it became one of those cities that live for tourism, whe everything seams kind of fake. Remember to go to the beach in the morning in the south side of the peninsula and in the north in the afternoon. Azedinha is the coziest one.
    On the other hand, Angra is too rainy at this time, and is worthy only if you have a boat or in the mood to stay at one of those big resorts where they have collective activities.
    If you go to Itaipava and Petropolis, as I mentioned, rent a car to be free to hang around.

  14. Jabberwokky

    June 26, 2009

    If looking for an island off of Rio definitely check out Ilha Grande, its a beautiful biological reservation located about 180 Km from Rio. I had an AMAZING time there hiking, boating, swimming, etc!

  15. Mique (as in Mickey)

    June 26, 2009

    When my husband and I went to Brazil we went to Salvador, Rio, Recife and the falls.
    In Rio we did the typical touristy stuff- I loved pao de azucar, the Christus and the beaches. Salvador we went to the Mercado Modelo.
    Recife we went to the sealings of the people we went to see at the temple and went to the best churrascaria by the beach.
    My brother in law says the most beautiful place he's ever been is Fernando de Noronha-
    I'm so excited for you!!! And jealous. I loved Brazil.

  16. Honora

    June 26, 2009

    I spent a few months backpacking up and down the coast. In Salvador, I thought the best places to eat (in the Pelourinho) were the Comida a Kilo get-ups. It's like a giant buffet, only better; the food is some of the best in the city and the best part is, it's cheap! You only pay for what you eat. There's a particularly good one at the far end of the Pelourinho on the way to Largo…

    Also, it's totally out of your way, but the beaches up north of Fortaleza are totally wild and unspoiled, and incredibly special. If you are looking for off the beaten path, head to the Jericoacoara area… But I'm sure you'll find something beautiful closer to the south… Have fun!

  17. Honora

    June 26, 2009

    Oh, and P.S., the Argentina side of Iguacu is sort of nicer to spend the night… regardless of which side you stay at, make sure you see both sides. They are very different, but both spectacular — Brazil's is much more dramatic and contained, Argentina's larger and more exploratory.

  18. Katie

    June 26, 2009

    I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in Rio in 2004-2006 … LOVE LOVE LOVE Rio, asked my company to move me there.

    Food – I'll 2nd the Porcão – the one near Copacabana was my favorite and I ate at the one in Niteroi, Ipanima and "Copacabana".

    If you drink alcohol, try caipirinhas (cap-ray-ain-yas) – they are magical. Made with cachaca (sugar cane alcohol) … yum, yum, yum.

    Beer – "chop" they're little lightish beers.

    Lablon is absolutely the coolest neighborhood and I had the best food there – of all varieties. Porcao is a good experience, but get out to some of the local places. We had lots of good Italian food in Rio – which was interesting and different.

    Jardim Botanico – yes, go – it's one of my favorite spots and an urban gem.

    I have to say that The Statue of the Christ and Sugar Loaf are fun touristy places – I was glad I did both once. But, I went to Rio a lot. So, you could forego if you have limited time.

    Beach in Ipanema – Copacabana is more of an "experience" but Ipanema was nicer.

    Have FUN!!!!! I'm jealous – I'm only going to Florida this summer (well… winter).

  19. Molly

    June 26, 2009

    Hi there. Just stopping by your blog.

    We were sick as dogs in Salvador so I don't have many recommendations for that are.

    If you can swing it, catch a flight to Fernando de Noronha. Book early. So worth it. It's a 2-hour flight off the coast (from Salvador). Do not expect touristy stuff. It is tiny and there is not much there in the way of hotels/restaurants/amenities. The beaches are amazing. We went scuba diving and snorkeling (at like 4 different beaches). I CRAVE snorkeling like we had there. Eat at the "per kilo" place in the park. Take cash with you as the 3 ATMs on the island don't always work. The "posadas" are really just rooms in people's little houses–don't expect anything nice. But like I said–well worth the trip. We loved it. Let me know if you want any more details.

    Really–just talking about it makes me want to go back.

  20. poodle

    June 26, 2009

    go to itatiaia. it's outside of rio, if i remember correctly, and is BEAUTIFUL, has some nice hiking and natural waterslides. it was my absolute favorite part of brazil

    there's also a very small island off the coast of salvador called morro de sao paolo that was great.

  21. Laura

    June 27, 2009

    Being a design-o-phile you would likely appreciate the very cool Hotel Unique in Sao Paolo… so neat, isn't it?

  22. Flaviaq

    June 27, 2009

    oh, reading other peoples comments, I remember other few things.

    If you have to decide between Pão de açucar and Christ, definitely go for Christ, Pão de açucar is more beautiful from the bottom, but when we talk about view, there is no comparisons. When going up this place, take the little train in Cosme Velho, it is a very nice trip into the forest (which was all replanted in the1800s) and full of surprises views.

    But I have to say to you that the most beautiful Rio view is from a place called Parque São Vicente em Petrópolis, if the weather is clean, you can even see Angra dos Reis, the second one is from the center of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. If you have the time, I highly recommend renting a Pedalinho – a kind of swan shaped pedal boat – in Lagoa and pedal to de middle of it with a partner (be prepared). It is amazing! Andsomeway silent , I just can believe how few people have done it!

    The best Ovomaltine Shakes from Bob’s, you can find it anywhere, but don’t forget, ask it solid. You wont believe it.

    If you have kids, let me know it. I have lots of tips to the little ones.

    And it might have seemed weird that I wrote to go to the beaches in Buzios in certain times, but it is because of the wind that make almost impossible to stay at the beach. For example, in Geribá, the beach is so long and the sand is so thin, that when the wind blows, the sand flies against your body like these extremely mini knives stabbing your skin all at the same time. It freaking hurts! And in the other side of the peninsula, the ocean would get all weird. And the wind blows from one side in the morning and from the other in the afternoon.

    And I definitely recommend Petropolis and Itaipava, I can tell you lots of nice things to see and do there, and places to stay, even if you want to rent a fancy house for some days. But if you go by car, as I suggested, no matter what, don’t stop in the road between Rio and there.

    Let me know if you want more tips.

  23. Melissa

    June 27, 2009

    I wish I had some recommendations. Brazil is a place I've always wanted to go! 🙂

  24. Mary

    June 27, 2009

    Q lindo!!!!!Não é pq é o meu país,mas é muito bonito mesmo…Fico feliz em saber q gostam da nossa terrinha…sejam bem-vindos!!!Adoro o site,um abraço!

  25. Ashley

    June 27, 2009

    I lived in Rio a few years ago for a whole summer. When it comes to exploring neighborhoods. . .don't. Stay in the city. The only one that I think is safe, cute and has what you are looking for is Santa Tereza. Have fun!

  26. Isabel @AlphaMom

    June 27, 2009

    is that a picture of Olinda in the North East?

  27. Natalie

    June 27, 2009

    You must go to Buzios, a little town outside of Rio. It is a beautiful beach town, stay at the Cachoeira Inn. Matt and Susan are two Americans who now live there, they are the owners, and it is a delightful paradise. We've been three times in the last several years.

  28. Anonymous

    June 28, 2009

    In Sao Paulo, every saturday morning there is a open market of antique things at the BENEDITO CALIXTO square where you can find beautiful things, good and cool ambiance, nice stores of design and good restaurants and coffes. You should visit downtown that is not that old but I like it a lot… there you can go to the top of BANESPA building for free and see the endless city of São Paulo. Also downtown you should visit the street 25 DE MARÇO that is someting of another world… cray and amazing anda then finish you walk by the CENTRAL MARKET (Mercado Municipal) where you will see fruits from everywhere and you can eat a good PASTEL or a sandwich of MORTADELA on the first floor. Yo can also visit VILA MADALENA, that is a more alternative zone with little shops and bars, the JARDINS zone, that is the rich part of SP with very good restaurants and the "chinatown" called LIBERDADE that is not chinese but japanese, since we have more than 1 million japaneses living in SP. It is a hard city but with lots of magical things if you know how to look and enjoy. Try to enjoy the restaurants, SP it the gastronomic capital in the worl… try japanese food and pizza in São Paulo, you will not be disapointed.
    hope you enjoy, have a nice trip.

  29. Babbi's World

    June 28, 2009

    Fernando de noronha

  30. Kristy

    June 28, 2009

    In Salvador, you should definitely go to the Pelourinho (if I'm not mistaken, that's where the picture in your post was taken). You can go during the day and go to lots of little shops full of local art and handmade goods, or you can go at night and most likely stumble upon some live music and dancing. It's one of my favourite places in Salvador, if only for the architecture and colours and history, because it has gotten fairly touristy.

    Also in Salvador, the Mercado Modelo (you can take the elevator down from the Pelourinho in the Cidade Alta for pretty cheap) can be a good place to find typical crafts, accessories, musical instruments, and hammocks, but it is very touristy and people may try to rip you off. You can usually bargain a little on prices, though.

    I'd recommend trying acarajé from one of the baianas you'll see on the streets. It's delicious. If you go to the beach, make sure you order crab from one of the barracas. And definitely either try a caipirinha or a caipiroska (made with vodka instead of cachaça) made from any one of the tropical fruits they list on menus everywhere. My favourites are umbú and cajá.

    Porcão or any other churrascaria would be good to go to at least once. I haven't been to Salvador in a long time, so I can't think of restaurant names, but I highly recommend trying any foods that are very baiana. Any kind of moqueca (it's a soup/stew-like dish; often made with fish or shrimp and coconut milk), vatapá, caruru. And you should definitely have feijoada at some point during your trip.

  31. Sarita Emilia

    June 29, 2009

    Ah, Brasil – I'm quite jealous. I served in Rio and my first area was Angra dos Reis (about 2 hours west of Rio on the coast). Angra is a delightful stretch of coastline (and 365 islands) and right before hitting Sao Paulo you'll find yourself in beautiful Paraty. Definitely worth a visit — it has some great little shops. Also, if you're interested in heading inland, Petropolis is a beautiful lush green town in the hills. Boa sorte!

  32. Silvia Fontana

    June 29, 2009


    If you come to São Paulo, you should go to Vila Madalena. As Damaris says, is the coolest neighboorhood with great restaurants, book shops, antiques and markets. Try also, "Feira Benedito Calixto" that is a open market with antiques.

    Some links:
    Vila Madalena:

    Restaurants: Santa Gula and Santa Pizza

    Book shop: Livraria da Vila

    Have a good trip!

  33. sheila

    June 29, 2009

    I'd go for Petropolis. Right outside Rio in the mountains. Great shopping.

  34. jess

    June 29, 2009

    When I went to Brazil in September we went to Ilha Bela and LOVED it! We got our room for pretty cheap and because it was the off season it was quiet…

    If you like acaraje, eat one for me! Also, when I went back the first time after my mission I put so much pressure on myself to visit those special people that I just loved but I would seriously focus on just being a tourist and if you have time to visit people that's great… I just know that I ended up feeling sad that I didn't get to see everyone and my family missed out on seeing a couple of really cool places cuz we were "visiting"… Have so much fun!

  35. Daniela

    June 29, 2009

    Have fun! I go almost every year to visit family in Rio and I love it. I love the shops along Rua Visconde de Piraja in Ipanema, and if you're there on a weekend, you have to go to the Feira Hippie in Ipanema in Praca General Osorio. So fun! Buzios might be one of my favorite places in the world, but I don't think i've ever been in the off season. I think it could never be bad.

    In Leblon, I love Gula Gula which is a great lunch spot. Barril 1800 is one of the only beach front restaraunts in Ipanema, and it is all the way down on the end by Arpoador.

    Have fun!

  36. The Lil Bee

    June 29, 2009

    I don't, but I am absolutely dumbfounded by this photo. Oh. My. GOD. Stunning.

  37. juliana

    June 29, 2009

    hi jordan. i wrote you an email. i am not you received it. have fun in brazil. eat some pao de queijo and drink some fresh fruit juices for me.

  38. M-Ware

    June 30, 2009

    i may be too late but our favorite time in brazil was spent in the tiny, colorful, historic town of paraty on the coast. we took a day trip on a schooner and they let you do whatever you wanted at several stops – swim, snorkel, hang out on the beach or boat – whatever. very chill. we also rented bikes one day and went all over the countryside. and we stayed in the most adorable cottage type place with the most amazing breakfasts. it reminded me of something out of goldilocks and the 3 bears. called Pousada Pardieiro.

  39. Umbrella design - Capital Federal Argentina

    June 30, 2009

    I'll recomend you to go to PARA TY it's the most beautiful village i've aver seen! There you have great food an the most gorgeous shops!It's arquitecture is colonial from the Mazones.
    Here is a link!

  40. Umbrella design - Capital Federal Argentina

    June 30, 2009

    I'll recomend you to go to PARA TY it's the most beautiful village i've aver seen! There you have great food an the most gorgeous shops!It's arquitecture is colonial from the Mazones.
    Here is a link!

  41. Umbrella design - Capital Federal Argentina

    June 30, 2009

  42. Umbrella design - Capital Federal Argentina

    June 30, 2009

  43. Tammy

    June 30, 2009

    I am a New Yorker who married a brazilian and moved to Sao Paulo. the suggestions from
    Restaurant not to miss:
    it is so charming with brazilian food!

    visit this designer's shop….adriana barra–she is unbelievable with patterns and one of brazil's best
    it is in jardims in a vila and there are many shops in this area

    vila madalena cannot be missed take rua wisard and aspicuelta between rua harmonia and morato coelho
    check out ronaldo (his store) (store there)
    the flea market is good, too

    any questions or need help…

    boa viagem!

  44. Patricia Scarpin

    July 1, 2009

    I highly recommend two restaurants: Carlota – (there is one in Sao Paulo, the one I know, and there is one in Rio also), and Capim Santo –, in Sao Paulo.
    New twists in Brazilian food and the desserts are to die for!

  45. kmf

    July 1, 2009

    In Sao Paulo go to Santo Grao near the center of the city for amazing coffee. A great restaurant (as mentioned above) is Santa Gula. Jardins is also a fun neighborhood to walk around with good food, nice houses, and high-end boutiques. Enjoy!

  46. Claudia

    July 1, 2009

    Pizza in Sao Paulo can be better than in Italy 🙂 We have a big Italian community here. Best place to eat is Cantina Speranza

    For sweets and cakes, you have to go to Doceria Brigadeiro – cute place and amazing things to eat. Ask for the tradicional brigadeiro and then try other things too!

    Have a good trip!

  47. AnaMel

    July 3, 2009

    In São Paulo go to the Praça Benedito Calixto. I just went there :

    It's a flea market.There you will find some great vintage things and antiques to buy. Next to it there is Fran's Café, whit realy good food and coffee.
    If you want to go to the beach stay in the northeast area,there shoudl be hoter, 'cause in the south now is to coudl, we are in our winter.
    Have fun!

  48. Na Moret

    July 3, 2009

    Sabe o que tem de melhor aqui no Brasil?
    A gente adora estrangeiros!
    Você será muito bem vindo aqui!
    Na Moret

  49. selma

    July 10, 2009

    Someone said, in Sao Paulo, Praça Benedito Calixto, it's really a good idea. Vila Madalena, also, is a very nice neighborhood with many naïve art and furniture. Jardins is a very chic area, with boutiques and good restaurants. Shopping Mall's are part of our culture. There are 2 very nice and fashion: shopping Iguatemi and Shopping Cidade Jardim. Another place is Rua GAbriel Monteiro da Silva, where you can find fantastics design,antiques and furniture shops.
    Half our out of Sao Paulo, you can go to Embu, a small city with some very nice antiques shops.
    Sao Paulo has awesome japanese restaurants, you can find one in a street called Rua Amauri, in this street you'll find many good restaurants. Good trip!

  50. Heather

    August 11, 2009

    That photo is amazing…where is it?

Comments are Closed

More Recent Posts