Want To Splast Around In the Natural Swimming Pool of Trindade?

While in Paraty, take a 30 minute drive over to Trindade where you will explore incredible beaches with the natural beauty of the mountains surrounding you.  For the first stop on our tour we went to Praia do Cepilho, waves were 10-15 feet high!

Then we drove over to the beach near the village “Ranchos” where our journey began.  Take a guided trek through the mountains to arrive at another stunning beach. Then another trek through the mountain (the ‘trek or hiking part is actually really fun)

Finally you will arrive at Caixa d’Aço the natural swimming pool. It is pretty incredible, a beautiful enclosed completely untouched area where you can swim, snorkel or climb on the rocks.  It’s incredible!

After you have had enough splashing around its time to trek/beach your way back for lunch at VAGALUME.  Located right on the beach near village “Ranchos” it is a fantastic spot for lunch. Considering that this is a fishing village, the menu is full of many fish choices as well as some traditional Brazilian beef/chicken options, note the yuka fries are a must try!   Warning there are a lot of bees, bring bug spray and if you can, have them move your table onto the sand, its more fun, kept the bees away and when huge waves rolled in, your feet get splashed!


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Waterfall Adventures in Paraty

If you go to Paraty, doing one of the waterfall tours (Paraty Tours) is a must!For $60 for the day you will get to explore, swim in and slide down some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Brazil.

The tour takes you to 3-4 waterfalls inside of the Serra da Bocaina.   Our first stop took us to  Pedra Branca’s waterfall (see above).  It was beautiful but the water was freezing!!! We hiked up to the top where there is a nice area to swim in… beautiful but more of an icey adventure…

After splashing around for a bit, we hopped back in the jeep and headed towards Tarzã waterfall. There is a mini hike to get to each waterfall and this was worth the twists and turns to get to! As you can see from the picture above, there was a rope that you can ‘Tarzan’ style swing from to enter the water!

Before reaching our final waterfall we stopped at the entrance of the Gold trail, it took slaves 40-50 days carrying gold on their backs to get across the trail.  Lots of rich history in this area.  Then it was time for our final ‘trek’ to Tobogã waterfall.

I know, you are thinking THAT LOOKS AWESOME and you’re right it is AWESOME!  It is the most famous because people can slide down the waterfall! Before sliding down our guide (who was extremely helpful) took the lead and brought us inside/ behind the top waterfall (not shown).  It was such a rush, apparently it is where slaves used to hide- only room for 2 people at a time, but it is an incredible feeling to be behind the scenes under the waterfall as it is crashing down in front of you.  Note only way to get out from under it— slide down! After sliding through that waterfall it was time to actually slide down the big waterfall- check out the video of me sliding down:

http://www.wellcomemat.com/wm_video_1/E5EA76C3B4Sliding down Tobog waterfall produced by Pamela Granoff on WellcomeMat Tweet

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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!

http://www.wellcomemat.com/wm_video_1/759F45ECE0Small 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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Restaurante Point de Grumari

We ventured outside of Leblon to some of the most beautiful beaches in Rio (about 45mins/hour drive). After hanging out on Grumari (see earlier post) we decided to head up the mountain and see if we could find a place for lunch.  The drive up the mountain is beautiful, tropical green everywhere you look; however it is a very curvy narrow road up (similar to Positano, Italy).

Once we reached the top, we discovered Restaurante Point de Grumari.Talk about an incredible panoramic view! There are def postcards of this scenic view. While dining you can see the mountains, the lagoon, and the ocean! The inside of the restaurant is very large and has a ‘tropical feel’; light and airy with various sculptures along the walls.  The outdoor deck (pictured above) is unbelievably peaceful, the breeze feels great-and come on, we are in Brazil…obviously sat outside.

  The restaurant specializes in seafood and has wonderful fresh fish options.  We had the dorado (my first time trying it) and it was excellent, grilled to perfection.  Of course as with almost every meal you will eat in Brazil, it comes with rice and a few other yummy sides.  If you don’t like fish, there are a number of steak options.  Either way, if you are spending a day at Grumari, Prainha or Macumba, head here for lunch!


Surfing in Grumari

First trip out of Rio! We rented a car for the weekend and headed to Grumari. Grumari is a popular surfing beach in Barra da Tijuca about 45mins west of Rio and it is absolutely beautiful!!!!  Not only a stunning surf beach with huge waves, it is part of an environmental reserve, (together with the Prainha). It is so beautiful, situated between the mountains, a pure non commercialized gorgeous beach.  There are a few kiosks, one or 2 restaurants and a few men selling food on the beach.  Besides that…. a bunch of surfers.  Of course we were there for the waves!

If you are looking at the picture above and thinking, ‘they don’t look that big’… THINK AGAIN! This beach is known for its powerful huge waves, and the surfers are incredible:

http://www.wellcomemat.com/wm_video_1/502B71E94DSurfing Grumari produced by Pamela Granoff on WellcomeMat

If you want to get out of the city for the day or are just craving the perfect swell, then head to Grumari.