Rio Occupation London kicked off this month with Brazilian artists storming the capital to showcase their groundbreaking work. So far we’ve seen trestle-table crucifixes set up in homage to illegal Brazilian markets; parties where role-playing actors mingle amongst guests, and a good old fashioned ‘Pagode’ which mixes sensual samba, fabulous food, and – naturally – non-stop music.
If like us you’re interested in the artier aspects of Brazil, there’s plenty to discover alongside gorgeous beaches, fantastic night life, and the body beautiful (although of course, this is an art in itself...)
CUTTING EDGE ARCHITECTURE
Brazil is leading the way when it comes to cutting edge design – as you can see from Fasano’s stunning collection of hotels. There are four at the moment, with two more planned in Trancoso and Salvador. Our favourite though has got to be Fasano las Piedras (in Uruguay, but a massive hit with glamorous Brazilians).
RIO’S BOHEMIAN QUARTER, SANTA TERESA
Amongst those in the know, there’s a lot of chatter about Santa Teresa – Rio’s bohemian district. Hidden up in the hillside amongst banana and coffee plantations, it offers a quieter and more authentic slice of the city – great for second-timers and anyone who wants to mingle with locals rather than tourists. You’ll find artists and intellectuals hanging out in the rustic bars and cafes; a ramshcackle mix of colonial, art deco, and art nouveau buildings, favela-inspired street art, and the original yellow tramway that snakes precariously down the winding streets.
Stay at the beautiful boutique hotel Santa Teresa, up in the hillside and surrounded by banana trees.
SALVADOR’S AFRICAN INFLUENCES
Regarded by many as Brazil’s arts and culture capital, the colonial city of Salvador da Bahia has a strong African influence that sets it apart from other Brazilian cities. Candomblé religious festivals are like performance-art in themselves, with followers dressed entirely in white and putting on ritual dances, whilst the colourful markets offer an equally vibrant dose of drama. Wherever you go in Salvador you’ll never be far from the sound of steel drums and the mesmerising martial-arts dance form, capoeira.
For a hotel that’s full of character, stay at Villa Bahia which overlooks the domed colonial buildings of the Pelhourhino district, and for a mix of culture and beach take a look at this wonderful itinerary.
TRANCOSO: ARTISTS' HIDEAWAY
This sleepy coastal town has been a favourite with artists and hippies since it was re-discovered in the 70s – and no wonder what with the stunning coastline, beach parties, and colourful village green strung with lanterns by night. Expert in the art of barefoot luxury and former home of tropicalismo songtress, Gal Costa, Estrela Agua is the place to channel that laid-back Latin spirit.