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Trancoso, Brazil. The perfect beach destination?
Meike, our Latin America guru has voted Trancoso as Brazil’s number one beach destination, which is a bold move when you think about the vast coastline Brazil has to offer. Read her lowdown on Trancoso’s stunning beaches, laid-back charm and stunning properties to find out more…
What makes a perfect Brazilian beach destination? This is a common debate at Imagine Latin America. With so much variety along Brazil’s extensive coastline, you are spoilt for choice. Our founder Ben would vote for Jericoacoara in the North East of Brazil, to nurture his love for kite surfing. Sam would choose Ilha Grande in the South, for its calm and turquoise ocean. Having just spent one week in Trancoso, I am convinced this pocket of beauty ticks all the boxes for a perfect beach destination.
The original small fishing village of Trancoso still exists, and life is centred on the main grassy square called “quadrado”, with its charming whitewashed 17th century church, which claims to have held the first mass in Brazil. The colourful houses surrounding the square make this a photo shoot location for Vogue.
So why is it the perfect beach destination? To me what makes a beach destination perfect is the combination of amazing beaches, an off the beaten track vibe, great food, a mix of nightlife, small boutiques and shops for an evening mooch, enough activities for “him” not be bored, as well as spas for “her”. Trancoso offers all of this and more!
I visited outside of peak season in early May (“off-peak season” is July to November and March to May). We found very few visitors in Trancoso and the town felt sleepy, yet we enjoyed sunny days and fantastic conditions every day. Our evenings were spent dining (my favourite Bahian dish by far is moqueca, a fish stew with palm oil and coconut milk) and listening to musicians in the quadrado playing local tunes. During the day we enjoyed long walks along the almost empty beaches, swimming in the turquoise sea, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, reading in a hammock and we very much enjoyed day trips to Caraiva and Esphelo Beach.
In peak season, December through February, Trancoso apparently feels like a nocturnal town. During the day, the Quadrado is eerily quiet, with most stores and restaurants shuttered until the afternoon. But at night, it springs to life: multi-coloured lights sparkle from low-hanging trees and art galleries stay open well past midnight. So in peak season, Trancoso is the place to see and to be seen – with a Brazilian Ibiza style vibe and international DJs making this the place to be.
We stayed first at Etnia Pousada, buried in the lush tropical jungle only a few minutes’ walk from the quadrado. It is a boutique hotel with a boho-chic ambience, owned by Andre Zanonato and Corrado Tini. The garden-shaded pousada in Trancoso has eight stunning bungalows, with a simple contemporary design and natural setting. The rooms are a celebration of all things global and stylish.
The daily breakfast is delicious and served either in your room or by the gorgeous swimming pool. Despite its central location near the quadrado and the heart of Trancoso, the pousada is secluded and completely private, ideally located on a gentle natural slope, so each room has a view of the pool and landscaped gardens. I should also mention the three adorable Labradors who live at Etnia, who were simply delightful company.
Etnia Pousada has a sister hotel by the beach called Etnia Clube de Mar, a bohemian retreat right on the picture perfect beach. Etnia Clube de Mar’s five unique villas on the private landscaped beach provide complete luxury. All feature outdoor pressure showers, kitchens and dining rooms and many have views of the glistening ocean. The beach outside the hotel, with its stunning turquoise water, is perfect for swimming and water sports and Etnia Clube de Mar offers suitable equipment such as stand up paddle boards and kayaks to name a few. The owners themselves are keen water enthusiasts, sharing their passion for the stunning beach and natural setting.
A few padded loungers laid in the sand beneath a stand of swaying trees give Etnia Clube de Mar an Ibiza lounge feel but on a more private scale. The multilingual concierge can arrange for guests to take part in a range of activities on offer, including capoeira lessons, kite surfing, yoga and organised walks to explore the picturesque region and day trips to Caraiva and Esphelo beach.
Trancoso, for me, is Brazil in a nut shell; golden sands, turquoise waters, colourful charm, and laid back vibes. I loved it here and I think it’s the perfect ending to any trip to Brazil. The two properties above are where I stayed, but the luxury doesn’t stop there; there a number of other luxury boutiques to choose from in the area.
To find out more, get it touch with one of our experts today and they can put together a tailor-made trip for you which includes a trip to Trancoso. Call us on 020 7622 1116.