Escape on a mental vacation to Brazil with our Senior Designer, Molly McCaffery.
Where in the world were you?!
The last trip I went on was to Brazil. I visited Rio De Janeiro and Recife with my boyfriend.
What time of year did you travel there?
We were in Brazil for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year's. This is the summer season in South America so it was a total vibe change from celebrating the holidays in the North East.
Where did you stay?
We moved around the country quite a bit! We stayed right on Copacabana Beach in a apartment while in Rio. It was really fun to live more amongst the locals and not be in a hotel for a week. When we traveled to Northern Brazil, to Recife, we stayed with a family at their beach house that was right on the water. This was much more tranquil and secluded, we were so lucky to be hosted by locals and experience “their version of the Caribbean.” After spending New Year's in Recife we flew back to Rio and stayed on Ipanema Beach in the Praia Ipanema for a few days of pampering before heading back to NYC.
Favorite food that you ate there? What was the weirdest food you tried?
Brazilians LOVE to eat, and they love to feed their guests even more. We tried so many unique foods. The family we stayed with couldn’t believe we would try anything and everything. We ate many varieties of seafood and traditional seafood stews. One of the most interesting and surprising dishes we tried was a breakfast of pan fried bananas with sugar and melted cheese on them. I also couldn’t get enough fresh açaí—it’s nothing like what’s offered in the United States.
Favorite adventure that you went on?
Our hosts in Recife took us out on their boat to a hidden island in the “mangue” which is an amazing swampland where the roots from the trees grow super high out of the water. The only thing on the island is a restaurant where the workers and owners fish and cook for their patrons. It's so secluded - the staff only lives on the island for the summer season. It was so cool and authentic and somewhere we never would have known to go without our hosts.
Most memorable site that you saw?
The beaches in Rio are so amazing, I don't think I’ll ever forget what it was like to sit on the ocean and be surrounded by mountains. The view from the Cristo, Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer Statue, was incredible. You can see the whole city from the top of the mountain while standing under an impressive 100ft tall monument. Seeing Santa Claus on the beach was pretty memorable as well!
One moment I'll never forget was when…
On New Year’s Eve it is a Brazilian tradition to wear all white and go down to the ocean and jump over 7 waves while making seven wishes for the new year after the clock hits 12. It was so beautiful to be surrounded by people celebrating on the beach with fireworks going off all around us and our feet in the water.
Coolest thing you learned about the country and its culture while you were there?
Since we were there for the summer season it was really cool to see how the children spent their time off from school. Families stayed on the beach unit 10pm! Just enjoying their time with each other, playing football, and swimming in the waves.
Any tips or tricks that you'd recommend other travelers keep in mind when traveling there?
I would recommend planning a trip that lets you see a few different areas of the country. Brazil is huge and it was really fascinating to see how different one area was from the next. Also to eat everything! And be very aware of your surroundings and belongings, especially in the airports and crowds.