This summer we have treated ourselves to a real luxury, a whim for the soul; touring the Alagoan and Pernambuco coast of Brazil. The extended Route of Coral, from Aracajú, through the canyons of the San Francisco River, returning to the coast at the mouth of the river and going up north to Olinda. A few days in paradise: Fernando de Noronha. And finally four nights in the wonderful city to understand why Rio is without a doubt wonderful. Unforgettable vacations in Brazil’s Northeast, enjoying the family and sharing unforgettable experiences.
Parts of this trip we had done before, fifteen years ago. The biggest difference this time was provided by ourselves; there are no babies in the family and all the members know now how to swim perfectly. The route is the same, but we have enjoyed it much more intensely. And if the first time we like it like crazy, this time it has earned our unconditional love. Although we had to apply rules than fifteen years ago we did not even know existed: prohibited mobile phones as well as selfies and photos on social networks. In addition to a beautiful tour, we have discovered that our children know how to communicate analogically and are able to marvel at the most simple and beautiful nature thing even if it does not have twenty thousand likes. Without a doubt, it has been an Unforgettable vacations in Brazil’s Northeast.
The flight was fast, direct and relatively short: Madrid-Recife is done in seven hours. From there a connection to Aracajú but already at the airport we had our total inclusion in the country. The smells, tastes, the tropical humidity, the language, the kindness of the people, we had arrived in Brazil!
We arrived at Aracajú after midnight, so we went straight to the hotel. The time zone helped us to sleep and to wake up the Brazilian way, at dawn. There the day starts very early and ends in the same way. Living at the rhythm of sunlight is the best way to rest. Immediately we went to look for our car and an exchange office. This second task was presented as something more complicated than expected. At the airport the exchange rates were very high, but in the city there was simply no place to exchange money. We spent a morning in the city that we had not planned but that allowed us to know it and it was worth it. Aracajú, as the name suggests, is full of cashew forests and that was just one more surprise. It is a coastal city, large but of a size that allows you to enjoy it.
From there we went to Piranhas, on the margin of the San Francisco River and leaving Sergipe. It is a river more legendary and important for Brazilians than the Amazon itself, probably because it has been essential for the development of many communities throughout its course. And the veneration with which the river is spoken about is palpable. You can also guess the importance it had although now many of the cities that it contributed to enrich are in clear decline. It is easy to imagine the transfer of ships and trains carrying goods to the interior of Brazil a hundred years ago. Now there is only one memory left. But the canyons are there and as always, nature in Brazil leaves anyone speechless. One day by boat, canoe, climbing, knowing the caatinga, swimming and diving. It is worth leaving the most requested routes. The canyons are large and have hardly any visitors. If you avoid them, you can perfectly be alone in that rocky immensity.Unforgettable vacations in Brazil’s Northeast.
From Piranhas to Penedo, near the river mouth. It has its charm but there are other colonial cities in Brazil better preserved. The forgotten Northeast has no resources to maintain its historical heritage. Half a day there is enough to know, rest and continue to the mouth of the river. Here we finally began to feel what we were looking for: the immensity of sand, sea and sky, the absence of people, the deep green, the slow pace. It even seems that the heartbeat goes down and the breathing becomes more relaxed. From Piaçabuçu you can visit the Alagoan side of the river mouth, by jeep and boat. And always respecting the nature reservation. We were not yet in what the government of Alagoas calls the ecological route, but even so it is forbidden to drive on the beach. All this coast, from Sergipe to Pernambuco, is a turtle spawning area. To know the beaches, you have to deviate from the asphalt road and enter them, park and enjoy. Near Maceió they are beautiful but they begin to be overcrowded. Both to the South and to the North of the capital, there are virgin, deserted and wonderful beaches. So many that you do not know which one to choose for a stop and swim. I stay with the ones that go from Camaragibe passing through São Miguel dos Milagres to Maragogi. Unforgettable vacations in Brazil’s Northeast.
Despite the beauty of the coast, something made us sad. The enormous reef, 135 km long, which covers the coast of Alagoas and Pernambuco is saturated with visitors. There is still life on the barrier but less and less. If we wait another fifteen years to return, I do not know what will remain of it.
The tour of the coast ended in Olinda. It has more resources than the historic cities in Alagoas. And its heritage is much greater. But in Brazil they have not yet discovered how to preserve it. Both the historical heritage and the natural one are usually quite battered. That’s why the end of the route was just great: Fernando de Noronha. Paradise exists and it is in Brazil. All the conservation energy of the country is concentrated in this archipelago. And it is the example to follow not for the rest of the country, but for the rest of the planet. The phrase of the whole trip I’m staying with: I asked a guide why the sharks in Noronha do not attack and in Recife yes. A Simple answer, there the eco system is in balance. And there is no other secret. The beaches are wonderful although they are not enjoyed because once you arrive, you throw yourself into the water and you do not want to go out anymore. We have returned with a black back and white torso because of how much time we spent floating and looking at the seabed. Or rather the seabed looking at us. The rules are clear and they are repeated constantly: do not touch, do not intervene, do not change. It was clear and we wanted to respect it. But what do you do when the turtles are the ones that approach you, they look at you again and again and swim with you and around you. Or the dolphins, the rays and the sharks. And all that infinite variety of fish. They are in their midst and they swim better than you. You do not want to touch them but they do want to touch you because we are the weirdos and they are curious. And in our clumsiness and physical limitations, they set the tone for the relationship that inevitably arises. And suddenly you realize that you are part of the system, just like them and that you can coexist without destroying it and that even in that little paradise there is room for us. I hope it continues to exist without changing a grain of sand, because as soon as we can, we want to go back again! And again to enjoy an Unforgettable vacations in Brazil’s Northeast.
The last days were spent in Rio de Janeiro. Even though the Cariocas are depressed and only complain about the political an economical situation of the country, the city seemed clean, without the hassles of people and cars and safer than we expected. There is a certain collective paranoia that we did not think was justified. We enjoyed the city and the return to civilization after almost three weeks in pure nature.
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