Lagoa Do Cassange – Social, sustainable, and a beautiful place to stay.

Lagoa do Cassange – one of the most sustainable and socially beneficial guesthouses in the state of Bahia.

I was connected with this place by Alison Mcgowan  of HiddenPousadasBrazil, and if anyone knows guesthouses around Brazil, it’s her.  She’s spent the last 4 years documenting and recommending the best around Brazil on her website. I think HiddenPousadasBrazil is likely to see quite a lot of growth as the World Cup and Olympics get closer.

When Alison recommended Lagoa do Cassange, I knew I had to visit.  As I arrived after my 9 hour door to door journey from Salvador,  I could tell it was something very special.  Pallm trees lined a deserted beach. My bungalow overlooked the sea.

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After a delicious breakfast on my first full day there, I had the chance to spend some more time with one of the owners of the guesthouse, Flavio Hauser.  He explained to me in more detail why Lagoa Do Cassange had recently been awarded first place for an internationally recognised socia-cultural award.

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As well as their sustainability policies, including solar power and recycling, Flavio, and fellow co-owners Marcelo & Isney started a number of unique projects in the area.

I’ve written about these in detail for ResponsibleTravel.com, why they are so important, and the massive positive effect it is having on the local population. Here’s the link to my full article on ResponsibleTravel.com.

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In short, they ran a free adult education course for 5 years, and built a kindergarden school that now has 30 students.  They have run computer classes for over 100 local residents, and teach environmental awareness through beach clean up days, and a fascinating honey project.

Of course, you’d never necessarily know that these projects are going on.  It’s just a beautiful place to stay, and by choosing Lagoa do Cassange, you’re also helping to reinvest back into the local community.

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The Social Butterfly of the most Beautiful Beach

My adventure to the remote Marau Peninsula started from Salvador, in the North East of Brazil.  Up at 7am, I’d be there by 3pm.

The ferry left Salvador at 8.30am.  I’d just missed one when I turned up, but it’s kind of great that I did.  On my same ferry, were a couple of British expats.  Lewis, Chloe, and her daughter Anna.  It turned out we were going the same way.  When I got on the coach after the ferry, and found myself sitting next to Lewis.  Lewis spends most of his time in Ibiza, running a private concierge service, and is thinking about spending more time in the beach paradise that we are both headed towards.

Chole, who used to be nurse in Peckham, London, decided to switch her life for another destiny. She’s spent the last 5 years building a beautiful lodge called Butterfly House, just next door to the one I was planning to visit.

It turned out that it was Chloe’s Birthday, so of course there was a party at Butterfly House, to which I was kindly invited. What would you expect from the social butterfly of Butterfly House? Thanks Chloe!

After getting lost on a deserted beach, which is pretty hard to do, I arrived in time for Lewis’s signature cocktail, his Caiprioska.  As you probably know, it’s just like Caipirinha, but with vodka instead of Cachaca.  A couple of hours later and we were doing shots of tequila, and I was invited to stay the night in a gorgeous double room, complete with coconut light switches that I think look a bit like boobs with large nipples.

After the gourmet-amuse bouche, from super friendly head chef Ilious, there was a delicious home made chocolate cake, which we finished off for dessert at breakfast.  Luckily Ilious had lived in Portobello Road, London, and knew exactly how to make scrambled eggs and bacon for a wondering Englishman (well.. Manxman).

I had a wonderful time in the Butterfly House, and recommend it to anyone looking for a slice of bohemian luxury on the Marau Peninsula.

Salvador, North East of Brazil

I arrived in Salvador, to stay with another host found through AirBnB.  I was in a somewhat disconnected neighbourhood, but close to the airport, so at least the taxi was cheap. Knowing nothing about a city or an area before booking accommodation is one of the surest ways to have an adventure.

Gerald, my wonderful host, was very welcoming.  His house was large, and he spoke some English. I had a single bed, in what used to be his daughters room, judging by the My Little Pony type stickers on the cupboards.
I was planning on meeting a friend from London who was staying in a nearby neighbourhood for dinner, but she’d headed into the main town early.  As I’m discovering, organising meetings as well as travel logistics in new cities can be a bit unpredictable.

Not to worry though – Gerald had a plan B – He would take me to the last night of the carnival himself!  So we hopped on his motorbike and rode the 30 mins to the centre of the Old Town!

I’m very fortunate that I got to see and experience a slightly more traditional carnival in the North of Brazil, as well as in Rio.  As well as the marching drumming bands, there was a much stronger African culture and costume, as opposed to the heavily designed plastic costumes of Rio.

Of course, there were also the trucks blasting out live music, played on top by some of Brazil’s most popular bands.  I heard that FatboySilm and GangNam Style were playing in Salvador during this Carnival, although I wasn’t in the right place to see either of them this night.  Instead, I had an excellent time with Gerald, and his cousin, and a fun motorbike ride each way.  Thanks Gerald, and thanks AirBnB!

Gerald - My AirBnB Host

Gerald – My AirBnB Host