Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Around Brazil – Praia do Rosa

The mainland of Santa Catarina has so many fantastic beaches that it would take months to visit them all. If you only have time for one, then Praia do Rosa is as good a choice as any. As well as great surf and great scenery (including the whale watching of course), the town itself has a twinkling charm that can also be found in places such as Arraial d´Ajuda or Jericoacoara. Unlike some of the more residential beaches, Praia do Rosa always seems to have that holiday feeling and doesn´t empty, even in the winter months of south Brazil. You can still find candle-lit restaurants open all year round here.

The bumpy, sandy roads help give Praia do Rosa the air of undeveloped beach town, yet this is also partly because the residents of the town appear to care more about their environment than many other places in Brazil. Construction has largely been limited to two stories, and the hills at the northern end of the beach protect it from the predatory eye of developers. The southern end houses some historic boat houses and also had prehistoric rock carvings (in Brazil terms), which were sadly destroyed some years ago.

Being set on a hill, one of the beauties of Praia do Rosa is that many of the small pousadas come with views of the beach. Falling asleep to the noise of the waves breaking on the shore, one of the most helpful sounds for drifting off, is something that I haven´t had enough of in Brazil. With a visiting mother to impress, and wanting her to leave Santa Catarina with memories of more than the days of rain that we´d had recently, we had to go for a Room With A View. We got just that. With a view of the whole beach at night, I couldn´t wait to wake up next morning for sunrise. The sun reflecting from the blue Atlantic Ocean, with surfers already bouncing in the waves below us is the kind of first sight of the day that I don´t wake up to often enough in Brazil.

With some of the best surf in Brazil on your doorstep, the very best kitesurfing just around the headland at Ibiraquera, the ASP World Championship Tournament event for the professionals just down the road at Imbituba, and the best whale-watching in Brazil also leaving from the port there and taking you to all three beaches, this is the perfect place to base yourself for a few days. Trails take you over the headlands to other quieter, pine-fringed beaches such as Praia Ouvidor and Praia Vermelho. If you can´t walk that far and the sea looks too rough, there are enough lagoas in the dunes behind the beach, and over the hill behind or leading from the dunes at Ibiraquera to keep you entertained.

As you would expect of a surf town, the streets are busy at night with plenty of bars and restaurants to pass the time. Some of the most charming pousadas with the best views in Brazil (we stayed at Vigia das Marés, with Nelson being a complete fountain of information on everything about the area), and plenty of cheap apartments to rent, just about everybody can experience the delights of Praia do Rosa – undoubtedly one of those special places in Brazil.

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