The Soul of Brazil – Forest, Favela and Food in Rio

Three years ago, Caroline Neutzling started a blog about the favelas in Brazil. She was studying in Rio, and couldn’t find a good source of information for what was really happening in the poor communities, so she started finding out her self: “I really needed to know what was going on, from the people living there, so I started to find out and write about it. I thought other people might be interested too”. They were.

Enquiries started coming in through the blog, and for one and a half years, Caroline, or Caca as she prefers to be called, has been running a new, better kind of favela tour.

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Iguassu Falls – A place like no other

The first thing that hits you is the water.  No, you are not literally washed away in a huge torrent the moment you get the falls.  But it’s the scale of it – all that water. And it just keeps coming.  And coming. And coming.  Where does it all come from?  Does it ever stop? Isn’t it beautiful… And just when you’ve been blown away by the mass of water in front of you, you take a little walk and realize that the waterfall stretches for miles. And miles. And miles.  And your jaw just hits the ground. It’s a force of nature. Maybe you can get a sense of it from the video below.  Some people might say there should be more waterfall and less Richard in the video, but I’ll let you decide. Continue reading

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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