This gorgeous hippie-chic beach town in Brazil has some fine stays – book yours with Culture Trip, and you’ll be on to a winner.
Tiny Trancoso – with its little colonial cottages gathered around the grassy Quadrado square – is where Brazilian supermodels, football stars and glitterati go for their beach holidays. The boutique hotels, restaurants and fashion shops exemplify Brazilian beach-cool, which is as effortlessly sophisticated as Bossa Nova and as easy-going as a billionaire on a slow yacht cruise through a bay of coral islands.
This is an effortlessly eco-chic pousada (Portuguese for inn or hostel): it’s a scattering of simple but elegant bungalows around a lush pavilion and pool in a tropical forest garden trilling with birds and tree frogs. Interiors are best described as mock-Greek island meets tropical beach bungalow: picture soft whites and cerulean cushions under warm timber-and-wattle roofs and floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto expansive decks. It’s a stroll from the Quadrado, where you’ll find the best restaurants and bars in Trancoso – bring a flashlight for walking back after dark.
Surrounded by trees on the edge of the village, Casas da Vila is serene – and just a 10-minute walk from the Quadrado as well as the beach. A handful of shorefront-shack cabins occupy a lawned garden with beautiful orchids wrapped around shady tropical trees. There are visits daily from tiny marmoset monkeys. Interiors are rustic-chic – with unmanicured woods and rattans, Greek colours and exposed terracotta. Shutters and curtains made from dried palms and vines separate spaces. Which just leaves you to recline on your four-posters swathed in quality high-thread-count linens and diaphanous drapes. There’s ample lounge space.
Villas is one of the plushest beachside boutique accommodations in Trancoso. It’s a clutch of cabins grouped around a big pool, with beautifully tended lawns surrounded by forest. The duplex suite is the couples’ room to book. It has an expansive lower sitting area with opulent varnished woods and warm linens, scattered with expensive folk art and furnished with sofas to sink into. There’s even an upper gallery with an intimate bedroom under a palapa roof. A boardwalk leads through a beautifully preserved mangrove forest to a relaxed private beach bar and wood-weight gym. This is heaven – and you’ve arrived.
Budget hotels in Trancoso are few and far between – especially ones with a pool. Standard villas at the Jacarandá are barely bigger than the beds, but the beds are four-posters, and the spaces are light and airy, round as a fairy ring and painted in bright Greek-island whites, offset with dashes of bright colour from art and bric-a-brac. They’re bunched in a leafy garden with pink orchids, where butterflies and nesting toucans flutter about. All this and the busy restaurant- and bar-packed Quadrado are only minutes away.
Perainda feels like it belongs in a Portuguese hamlet – check out those whitewashed villas with hand-crafted terracotta tile roofs and blue-shuttered windows. Cosy kitchens have chunky wood furniture, and there are large open-sided patios roofed in rough woods and set over polished concrete and azulejo tiles. When night falls, the cicadas and tree frogs sing in the surrounding jungle – much of it replanted, using rare native Atlantic Coast trees, by the owners. At this time, the hotel feels like an island in some forest Eden – but the temptations of food and drink on the Quadrado are just minutes away.
Mere seconds away from the long, golden sweep of Praia do Rio Verde, Bahia Bonita is all about sun, sea and salty air. Villas – in dark woods and creams – are fronted with shutter-like screens or very tall french windows, allowing in the sea air and sun through diaphanous drapes. Large decks overlook the ocean or the flower-filled garden, and you could leave the hotel and walk for hours along the beaches stretching south beyond Trancoso, barely seeing a soul.
This boutique beauty basks in well-groomed tropical gardens 15 minutes from the beach, on the edge of the fashionable Quadrado square. This is where the beautiful gather to dine and be seen and sip cocktails in barefoot-chic bars. Behind the high-thread-count linens and four-posters, this Trancoso hotel is pleasingly simple, with Cycladean-white villa rooms. Go for an oceanview room or a villa with a private pool and laze the day away in a hammock or on the huge sundeck, until evening descends and it’s time to down caipirinhas on the Quadrado.
Classy boutique stays near the Quadrado that won’t bankrupt you? Yes, they exist. Most of the chic-shack villas at the SoleLuna even have private plunge pools. The resort is spread over a low hill in tropical gardens abuzz with hummingbirds. All are open to nature – with floor-to-ceiling french windows leading to large patios and the garden, screened off by bamboo shuttering. They range from intimate villas for two to a large family apartment with a big living area, two suites and acres of lounging space. This is a place to fully chill out in.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Georgia Grimond.
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