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A Honeymooner’s Journey in Brazil

August 17, 2011 by Michael Eiseman divider image
Rio honeymoon package to sugerloaf

Rio honeymoon package to sugerloaf

As we browsed websites, books, and magazines looking for honeymoon ideas, we realized we had two options. We could either go somewhere where we felt comfortable navigating the language and culture ourselves or we could entrust our trip to a travel company whose skills would allow us to venture into a culture completely unknown to us. As newlyweds, we liked the idea of the latter since marriage would be a new beginning and what better way to start new than by traveling someplace new? However, we struggled to find a company that we would trust with such an important vacation. When we first found VIP Brazil online, we were intrigued. You seemed to offer something truly unique to the “honeymoon-planning business”: customized, authentic, cultural immersion. So, we submitted a request for information and were shocked to be personally called by Mike the next day. Between our exceedingly long and detailed email questions and requests and the numerous phone conversations, Mike and Caroline spent hours and hours consulting with us and readjusting our itinerary to accommodate 100% of our requests. We got a phenomenal deal. Their attention to detail was flawless every step of the way, from booking accommodations and activities that fit our taste to involving only the best tour guides and restaurants. Their package was worth more than every penny. We ended up with (seriously, now, we didn’t think it was possible because it sounds so corny, but it was indeed) the perfect honeymoon. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Our honeymoon to Angra, Rio, and Buzios was so much more than we could have ever imagined. We will never forget our first trip as a married couple, our first trip to South America: Honeymoon Brazil!

From the moment Mathias picked us up at the airport, you and your guides couldn’t have been more thoughtful. On the way to Angra, Mathias brought us to a local supermarket off the highway where we bought bottled water and snacks for the trip. We spent about $15 and were still eating the snacks and drinking the water on the way home 9 days later—how happy were we when we saw that the cheapest bottle of water at the hotels were half the size of ours and $3 a pop?! When we arrived at our first destination, greeted at Pestana Angra with a champagne toast from Mathias, we had no idea this would be the ROUTINE! Every time we arrived in a new locale, someone greeted us with champagne!

Pestana angra hotel in brazil

Angra dos Reis (3.5 days): Pestana Angra is tremendously underrated online. The views of the bay are stunning morning, noon, and night, and the staff was unquestionably the kindest and most welcoming we have ever known at a resort. By the second day, we knew them all and by the end we felt like we had to tell each of them goodbye because they were so wonderful. Our private sailboat tour and crew was amazing.

They took us to beautiful islands, a floating bar where we had our first Caipirinhas, and a delicious seaside restaurant for fresh fish and real Italian pizza. The snacks and drinks on board were everything we needed for our day of island hoping. Going to Paraty the third day was an absolute must. It is truly a gem: the small, undiscovered Venice of Brazil. Swimming and island hoping on the schooner trip and roaming the streets and shops in Paraty, we really felt “away from it all.” Dinner with Yara and Richard at the Academy of Cooking that evening was absolutely incredible. What better way to walk through the history of Brazil than through food?! Yara is a marvelous storyteller, and dinner was out of this world. We had so much fun learning to cook authentic Brazilian fare and talking with them that we completely lost track of time. Yara called our driver, Sylvia, who had already been waiting a half hour for us, and she joined us for a cup of tea before heading back to Pestana Angra an hour later than originally planned. Sylvia was completely relaxed and accommodating, just like all of our guides! After another amazing breakfast spread the next morning, we said goodbye to all of the wonderful members of the staff at Pestana Angra and headed to Rio.

Rio honeymoon

Rio de Janeiro (2 days): Our tour of Rio began long before we arrived. Our driver, Georges, spent the entire drive answering our questions about the history of Angra and Rio and spent the last half hour into the city pointing out landmarks, monuments, stadiums, and the favellas. Our stay at the Caesar Park was marked by opulent lounges and breathtaking views from the rooftop terrace for breakfast each morning, but the staff remained as genuinely invested in our experience as our friends in Angra. The location was phenomenal: two blocks from some of the best shopping and restaurants in Rio and right on Ipanema beach. After a romantic sunset walk down Ipanema beach, we met our carioca guide, Marcello: truly a character. After delivering our thoughtful VIP Brazil wedding gift of champagne, he took us on a driving tour of the city as we weaved our way to to the nightclubs of Lapa. We’re from New Orleans, we love jazz, and Rio Scenarium is one of the most unique late night spots we’ve ever visited. The band’s particular mix of jazz and samba kept everyone dancing.

Our table on the first floor was just feet from the stage, and we enjoyed a delicious meal while Marcello shared stories and pictures from his many galavants around rio with celebrities from all over the world. After wandering the three antique-lined floors of the club, we returned to the hotel to rest up for the next day’s marathon tour of Rio. We still aren’t sure how Marcello managed to fit everything in.

honeymoon brazil

Somehow we visited Sugar Loaf, 3 completely different churches, Santa Theresa for a hardy lunch of farofa, the Samba Drome, and Christ the Redemer all before sundown. Our favorite activity, however, was the one that Marcello threw in himself after learning of our passion for art. He brought us to the Escalada de Selaron, an outdoor stone staircase in Santa Theresa that was slate grey from top to bottom until Selaron, an Argentinian artist who fell in love with Rio, started to cover it in colorful tiles. The stairs have truly taken on his persona over the last 17 years; we know because we met him! He showed us around his creation, pointing out the most recent and most favorite tiles sent to him from all over the world, and asked us for a custom tile from New Orleans. We bought one of his paintings and after learning that we were on our honeymoon, he drew us a customized sketch. Truly a personal excursion to remember. That evening we took advantage of the Caesar Park’s proximity to Restaurant Porcao for authentic Brazilian churrascaria experience—what a fabulous meal! The next morning a jeep was waiting to take us on a tour of the Tijuca Forest. We saw 2 different species of monkeys and hiked through some of the rainforest, stopping often for our guide to explain the different plants and how they migrated from around the world as different peoples came to South America. For lunch we stopped at Poly Sucous for the must-have juice of brazil: fresh acai!! With out smoothies and sandwiches, we sat on Ipanema beach watching everyone play volleyball and enjoy the sun and the surf. That afternoon, Georges picked us up for more cultural lessons on Brazil, and we headed to Buzios for the grand finale of our trip. the honeymoon: Casas Brancas was absolutely beautiful. The combination of luxury, romantic, and casually relaxed was perfect for our honeymoon. We arrived for a private balcony sunset and spent the evening walking around the quaint “seaside in the South of France” town, and caught some great music with dinner at the annual jazz festival. The next morning we decided to just relax. We read and laid out by the pool overlooking the bay with amazing juices and omelets for breakfast an elegant, delicious lunch of fresh salads, meats, and cheeses, and polished off the day with a couple’s sunset massage at their amazing spa. We have never been more relaxed than we were at the end of that day. We sauntered into town for dinner out at a modern thai-Brazilian fusion restaurant on the bay before returning home officially pampered. The next day we made our own excursion to the beach of Geriba where we were definitely the only two Americans (if not the only non-South American tourists) in the crowd.

Buzios (3.5 days): The honeymoon: Casas Brancas was absolutely beautiful. The combination of luxury, romantic and casually relaxed was perfect for our honeymoon. We arrived for a private balcony sunset and spent the evening walking around the quaint “seaside in the South of France” town, and caught some music with dinner at the annual jazz festival. The next morning we decided to just relax. We laid in the sun, watched everyone playing soccer, volleyball, and surfing, and had more acai and snacks for lunch. We caught some of our own waves in the crystal-clear, teal water and hiked down the beach to explore the rocky peninsula at the end where geographical maps explained how the Euro-African-American pan continent was divided millions of years ago and explained the origins of the rock formations we were exploring. We returned back to the city that evening for what had become our routine evening walk around town and watched spent the evening cheering on Brazil in the Pan-American Games with all the Brazillians at Chez Michou, a Brazilian style creperie.

honeymoon in Buzios, Brazil

The next morning, we spent our last hours in Brazil gazing out over the calm waters and endearing town from our private pool and had an amazing lunch at the pousada’s five-star restaurant. Then Georges came to take us back to the airport, but not without stopping first at a local store with low prices on quality Cachaca to bring home for our first Brazilian party as newlyweds.

We could not have asked for more on our honeymoon. Cultural immersion into a country neither of us had ever been, inhabited by some of the most wonderful people in the world amidst the endless natural beauty and culinary diversity that makes any trip divine: it was simply perfect. We have traveled all over and never found any people as amazingly warm and welcoming as the Brazilians. Deus es Braziliero!! Thank you VIP Brazil!!!

Until next time (Argentinean Exploration for our 10th anniversary???),

Heidi & Ray


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