Island Adventure at Hotel Pierre

After our delicious lunch (see Itacuruca trip), we decided to explore the island. From the restaurant, walk to the left to the beach (FYI-it is not a nice beach),  hike around that beach on a little trail to the cleaner beach where you can see the tiny island (above). We saw a few people standing in the water pretty far out close to the island, so we knew it was shallow waters…. I happen to be one of those people that if I see something like this, it automatically becomes a challenge , my new mission and I immediately need to find a way to get myself on that island.

As we entered the water one of the men yelled to us to keep our flip flops on, saying it wasn’t safe to walk barefoot… good thing we listened! There were tons of sea urchins covered the Bay floor.  So we kept our shoes on, held our bags above our heads and trekked to the island… We made it!!(see above)

When we finally arrived we saw the that there were ‘Private Property’ signs (see above), but since there was no one there to yell at us, we proceeded to explore.  Besides a small house occupying the center of the island, it was just us, the trees there and a phenomenal view!

If you take the boat tour, be brave, keep your sandals on and check out this little island paradise! Private Island off Itacuruca produced by Pamela Granoff on WellcomeMat


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Spend The Day Cruising around Itacuruca

This weekend in Brazil is a mandatory 4 day weekend… yes they take their holidays very seriously here… So, instead of fleeing the city during Easter Weekend we opted to do one of the ‘City-Discovery’ day tours: Tropical Islands which costs $89.99 for the day.

We visited the city of Itacuruca, located 1.5 hours away from Rio de Janeiro, in the district of Mangaratiba (Near Angra).  The main activities in this small fishing village.. yes you guessed it fishing, as well as agriculture and tourism. Once we arrived in this little village we boarded the Saveiro, (name given a boat that looks like a schooner) and set off for a cruises around the Sepetiba Bay.  This area is rich in natural beauty, lots of flora and fauna as well as dolphins, giant king-fisher, parrots, turtle and sting-rays, which we unfortunately didn’t see.

A stop is made for a swim (see above) and then the saveiro continues to the island of Itacuruca where we got off at Hotel Pierre for a delicious lunch self-service buffet. Arriving at the hotel, you feel like you’re on your own private island as there is nothing around it- was a little ‘rustic’ but had a great view and a nice pool.

We were able to explore the Island before returning to Itacuruça—- will be posting that adventure soon, so stay tuned!


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Espirito Santa Teresa

After visiting Ruins Park, we were starving and stumbled upon Espirito Santa From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but once inside you will see how charming this restaurant really is.  It is rated one of the best restaurants in Santa Teresa (apparently we still have good taste even when famished!) for its Amazon-style cooking.  This is a place to get a ‘real taste of Brazil’ as the chef uses only local ingredients when creating delicious traditional Brazilian dishes ie. lots of different fresh fish choices, exotic fruits and vegetables are on the menu.

The outdoor patio area hangs over the hills, so sit back and enjoy the amazing views while sipping your Caipirinha.  Great spot for a late lunch or dinner (before heading to Lapa!)


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Ruins Park- Santa Teresa

Thinking of visiting Santa Teresa for the day? Take the Bonde (tramway) from Largo da Carioca station for R$.60 to the top of the mountain where you will arrive in Santa Teresa.

Parque das Ruinas (Ruin Park) in Santa Teresa was the home of Laurinda Santos Lobo, and was one of the most lively spots of Rio’s until the 50´s. It is currently used as an exhibition hall, auditorium and the setting for various special concerts, open to the public it is a great place to visit before or after lunch.  The view is breathtaking, you feel like you are on top of the world looking down on Rio—- For you shutter-bugs, this is a great place to take lots of pictures:)

It is fun to explore all 3 levels of this hollowed out skeleton of an old mansion, each floor creating a unique view of Rio.

There is also an outdoor bar/café so grab a coffee or a snack and enjoy the view!


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Enjoy Drinks With A View at Bar dos Descasados

Whether you are heading to Santa Teresa for dinner or drinks, everyone you meet will tell you that you must go to Bar dos Descasados at the Santa Teresa Hotel.

The hotel occupies an old house that was once an old coffee plantation home…. and the bar area was actually once the slave quarters! Now, fully restored, the decor is extremely tasteful, using and abusing a lot of demolition wood and the beauty of Brazilian handicrafts. But the real reason people gravitate to this tucked away beautiful hotel is for the breathtaking view of Rio and the delicious drinks!

Spend an afternoon or evening (or both, once you get comfortable you may not want to leave) lounging in a big comfy chair,or plush cabana bed on the terrace. 

Order the ‘French Pink Mojito’ (champagne, rum, cranberry and mint) or the ‘Iced Teresa’ (Mojito with Mate) both are delicious while you enjoy the fabulous views of Rio de Janeiro. If you are hungry for a little snack I recommend the freshly made chips with alioli dip. Though I didn’t eat there, the food looked great and the desserts were to die for— might actually have to make a trip back specifically to try the desserts!  Tip:  This is a prime sunset spot so try to get there half an hour before so you get a comfy seat! 


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Everyone know that as soon as Christmas is over, all of the decorations and candy in Duane Reade/CVS magically transform into Valentines day decorations & candy almost immediately…. Brazil is largely a Catholic country, so instead of xmas to Valentines (since Valentines here is in June) we experience the transformation from Carnival to Easter almost overnight! 

At every Zona Sul(the popular supermarket here) and Lojes Americana (ie Kmart/Target) the ceilings are covered with hanging chocolate eggs.  As you can see below, there are many different kinds- from crunch bar, to bon bon, white chocolate and fruit however you fancy your chocolates you will find them in egg formation.  Normally, the eggs are hollow chocolate with smaller chocolates inside- great item to bring to someones house!  Yes here in Brazil, if someone invites you over, you are supposed to bring a gift- chocolate or wine will do.

Prices on these babies range from R$15 (for the little ones) to R$400 at the fancy chocolate places for the larger ones.  Pretty crazy what people are spending on these chocolate eggs.

It is a mandatory holiday here so no one has work Thursday or Friday——-

Happy Easter


Hottest Place to be Easter Weekend…. Rio

People from all over the world flock to Rio to celebrate Easter! Starting at 8am the beaches are fully packed!

It is amazing because in America if anyone sat this close together people would think it was very strange, here it is completely normal…and no one is bothered by it.

The beach stays crowded till at least 6pm…

Beautiful pink sunset behind the mountains


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