If there’s one way to summarize our honeymoon is this: we went to paradise.
The northeast of Brazil is not that well known in the US, but there are some AMAZING places to visit. Places like Salvador, Natal, Fortaleza, Porto Seguro, Recife, Maranhao, Maceio, Fernando de Noronha Island (I linked them all to google images if you’re curious) are all a piece of paradise. They’re not as easy to get to as Rio and Sao Paulo, because there are no direct flights there, so you have to fly south to fly back north, but it’s worth the trip.
Karl had never been to the northeast but he fell in love with it on this trip. They are small and less-developed areas than Rio, but they have a charm that’s unbeatable. And the African influence a lot of these places have (the northeast used to be the where slaves were shipped to from Africa, back when we had slavery) adds to the culture — the food, the music, the architecture, the atmosphere… Completely different than anywhere else in Brazil. Rio should still be anyone’s first stop in Brazil, but if you ever get a chance, make that trip up north for a taste of paradise and amazing seafood.
My friend Gabi, recommended that we visit Salinas do Maragogi, an all-inclusive resort located in the city of Maragogi, in the state of Alagoas, in the northeast of Brazil. At first, I was planning on visiting the city of Porto de Galinhas nearby, but the all-inclusive deal sounded too perfect for us. I’m all for sightseeing and exploring the towns, but I had a feeling that during our honeymoon, after so much stress leading up to the wedding, we would want a place where we could just be beach bums, with no worries, no schedules, no planning. Not spending any more than we budgeted helped as well. We splurged for the honeymoon package (because when else are we going to have a honeymoon?) and got ourselves a beach front room.
We left Rio in the afternoon, arrived in Recife International Airport in the early evening, and hopped on our two-hour shuttle drive to the resort (this was wonderful, we had the shuttle to ourselves, no waiting around for other people and the driver was hilarious!). We got there, checked in, and went into our room.
We were greeted with this… Yep, a bed decorated with flowers and with towel designs (which were the theme each day — our rooms got cleaned in the morning, and again at night… we would leave for dinner and come back to flowers on our bed and chocolates on our pillows!)
The best part? Customized robes that we got to take home!
And slippers too (which are now in their new home in DC!)
We still had time for dinner, so we ran over to the buffet restaurant. The food was spectacular. We had been to Punta Cana this year, and though their all-inclusive had good food, it did not compare to the food at Salinas. Plus, every night there was a different theme, so we were always eating something new. The variety was incredible! And don’t even get me started on the unlimited coconut water! Anytime I wanted I could grab a cup, and fill it up myself from the machines. Fresh, yummy, coconut water (they’re usually R$3 each in Rio, so I definitely drank my money’s worth of it!).
We headed off to bed to catch up on sleep, and the next morning finally explored the beach…
The other reason we loved this place so much more than the ever-popular Caribbean resorts, is that you would leave the resort walking on the beach, and you were in a residential area, with houses and bed and breakfasts here and there (mostly very far apart from each other, a lot of undeveloped places). There was not one resort crammed after another, that makes you feel like you are intruding other people’s spaces by taking a long stroll on the beach. Plus, that also meant that the beach was quiet and not overcrowded, if you wanted a bit of peace, all you had to do was walk a couple of minutes away from the resort, and you had the beach to yourself.
We were also a 15 minute walk on the beach from the center of the town. It was a small town, but they still had a few restaurants (which we didn’t go to, since we had the stuff in the resort), a few shops catering to tourists, and then a small supermarket, pharmacy, etc. The area was also very safe — we slept with our beach front patio doors open every night, and walked with our cameras and not once were bothered by the locals (aside from some very chatty kids, that would crack me up with their stories).
These crabs were by the riverside in a protected area, that happens to pass through the resort, so unfortunately, we ate no crabs on our trip despite seeing hundreds of them…
But we did find out that crabs could climb trees! Who knew? This guy was about 6 feet up the palm tree!
We got to see some interesting sea animals on our walks on the beach… One day there were hundreds (literally HUNDREDS), of live sand dollars on the sand (and of course, I felt bad, and kept picking them up and throwing them back in the water).
I wish I had a video of this — the tiny little legs (or whatever they’re called) were all moving back and forth!
We saw a couple of Portuguese Man o’ War on the sand (luckily, we didn’t encounter any in the water). I admit, that I wasn’t as nice to them and popped them all (I don’t want that crap washing back in the ocean and stinging me!).
And on our last couple of days there, we encountered this dead guy (and I think I warned you guys before — Karl in Brazil does what Brazilians do: he wears speedos — much nicer tan lines too!):
What? You want a closer look?
I even met the most adorable stray dog — who unfortunately had the biggest tick I’ve ever seen! See that mole on her neck a few inches under and on the left from where you see her ear? Yep, not a mole. A tick, about the size of my nail and as thick as my fingertip. I tried pulling it out with a napkin and the thing exploded with blood everywhere (oh, sorry, were you eating?). I was able to pull the whole thing off later. Poor doggy And yes, if I lived there, I would have taken her home (and to the vet).
We also made friends with stray kittens…
And we ate. Oh, boy, did we eat… And we drank… My favorite new drink? The “espanhola” (the “spanish woman”): red wine, pineapple juice and condensed milk. Sounds disgusting but totally yummy!
Plus we had our share of beers and caipirinhas…
A very generous breakfast in our room (this was our patio, and that was our view… I miss it…)
We ate cashews straight from the tree. If you didn’t know, the cashew nut is that little thing you hanging at the bottom of the fruit, they crack that open, take the nut, and roast it — the yellow fruit is edible and makes spectacular juice. If you’re curious to try it, Goya makes the concentrated juice and they sell it at the Hispanic sections of supermarkets. Mix it with water and sugar = yum!
And we even had a private dinner at the beach bungalow on our last night in town — complete with our own waiter!
And these mini-lobster tails? My new favorite thing! Soooooo good!
And Karl always went for the shrimp dish…
Now you know why we both came back fatter! (I mean seriously, I didn’t even take one picture of the desserts, because I would scarf that down before I even though of pulling out the camera!)
The honeymoon posts? Are not over. The best pictures from the beach haven’t even been posted yet, so stayed tuned (I wanted to get the details and all the food out of the way!