By Alison McGowan
May 29, 2012

You could easily miss Pousada Praiagogi as you pass by on the main road between Maragogi and Japaratinga, but that would be a real shame, as very few pousadas in Brazil can rival this one for beach front location combined with hospitality, and gourmet food. Run by a Dutch/Brazilian couple, Sandrijn and Fernanda, both with a background in hotel management, there are 5 very comfortable and stylish suites, with verandas and hammocks and freshly cut bouganvillea and hibiscus flowers gracing the beds and towels. Downstairs the main room adjoins the kitchen so you can see dinner preparation and chat to host and fellow travellers round the huge communal table at the same time. With books and DVDs around, excellent music on the CD player and a good bottle of wine, I for one felt immediately at home. The bi-line of Pousada Praiagogi says it is a place where life just tastes better”. I could not agree more!

I must admit to having had a prejudice against Maragogi in the past, mainly due to its reputation of being home to a large number of mediocre pousadas, hotels and resorts. And the town itself is indeed pretty non-descript. But the Pousada Praiagogi is 2 kilometres south, on the road to Japaratinga, right on Praia do Camacho beach, and a world away from anything I had imagined. For starters you just step out of the pousada onto the sand – some 23 kilometres of it – all totally deserted except for the odd fisherman. And the stars at night need to be seen to be believed – something you never get in a town. There are moves afoot to get more tourism to Alagoas, and certainly the local businesses need it in low season. One can only hope they will never start building highrise hotels here, though, to spoil the peace and tranquility which reigns at present.

Not To Be Missed
– snorkelling/diving off the coral reefs
– boat trips in the pousada jangada (except May to August)
– walking in the Atlantic rainforest with guide
– visit to the Peixe Boi (manatee) sanctuary
– chilling out overlooking the sea

* Great gourmet food
* Beachfront location
* Loungers overlooking the sea
* Dutch/Brazilian hospitality

Try a Different Place if…
… you prefer to be in a village or don’t have a car and want to eat in different restaurants every night.

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on Visit her site at

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Calypso, Trancoso, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Maris, Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Cool Beans, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chez les Rois, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Relaxation and Rejuvenation in Bahia’s Eco-paradises
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Tanara, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Vila dos Orixas Boutique Hotel, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa da Carmen e do Fernando, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Lagoa das Cores, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Naturalia, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel, São Sebastiao, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Eco-Rio Lodge, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Amazon Tupana Lodge, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Luar do Rosario, Milho Verde, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chal Oasis, Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijo do Vento, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Artjungle Eco Lodge & Spa, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

May 29, 2012

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

How do Brazilians celebrate birthdays? Are there any typical routines that must be followed, or avoided? Are there cake, birthday cards, and presents? What do you sing? etc. etc.

— Marcus

Marcus, there is more than one way Brazilians celebrate birthdays. There can be parties, when you are 15, for example, the “baile de debutantes” can be a big party. People love to have a big big party for their 30th. And 50’s… So, big dates, big parties, as I think many gringos do. And of course one can also decide to have a small dinner with family, or even a good night of sleeping. Cakes, birthday cards, presents… that can happen or not, but yes, they all also exist around here. So it’s pretty normal, really, I can’t see anything ‘brazilian’ specifically for celebrating birthdays, expect for our version of “Happy Birthday to you”.

Parabns pra voc, nessa data querida, muitas felicidades, muitos anos de vida.
Happy birthday to you, on that dear date, much happiness, many years.


I am a 20 year old female who is madly in love with a wonderful Brazilian man. He came to my hometown four months ago and we hit it off. Even though we both knew he would only be here for three months our feelings didn’t stop. We spent almost everyday together which eventually led to him spending the night with me almost every night. We sat at the park for hours and talked. We worked together, ate together, cared for one another and eventually I fell in love all over again. He gave me the strength to finally break up with my emotionally abusive and manipulative ex who I dated for eight years. He nurtured me and made me feel as if I had no worries in the world. The main thing I miss about him is we formed a perfect friendship before we were serious. I never thought I would be able to love someone in a three months period… but I did. He left one month ago and I am devastated. I thought after a month I would feel better and move on. But I haven’t. He told me before he left that he would finish school in Brazil and get a career then come back here to marry me. All of that sounds nice but realistically it doesn’t seem possible. He has only called me twice and skyped me once. Do Brazilian men always have a plan B or a backup girl? Do they always make their woman wait for something that might not work out? I don’t have a problem waiting but I can’t be the only one trying here. I am more than willing to learn Portuguese and move. Also the last night he was here he spent it with me and he was in tears for an hour because he said he didn’t want to leave me here. I guess I am mainly confused. What can I do to show him that I still care? The long distance is hard enough but everything is possible. However, if he isn’t interested in me how do I get his attention to man up and be honest?


— Kayla

Dear Kayla,

That is a beautiful love story, I’m sorry your Brazilian had to leave. You know that Dire Straits song, “So far Away?”. “So far away from me, so far I just can’t see”… Who doesn’t love that song? Who doesn’t know what you’re feeling?

But listen, there is no such thing as “Brazilian men always have a plan B”, and I also can’t tell you Brazilians “always make their woman wait for something that might not work out”. You know him, I don’t, from the story you tell, I can’t tell if what you lived is or not true. You were there, you saw the man crying! Don’t you ever believe every Brazilian is a shitty man, every man in the world is different, no Brazilian man is like another also, despite of what you heard, that is not the truth.

About the future, you are both so young, I understand he told you he would finish school in Brazil and get a career then come back to get marry (that is all so cute), but how many years will that take? Are you sure you won’t fall in love again until that day comes? Or maybe he will came back, maybe you will get marry, who knows, darling? Everything is possible.


Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Manners and Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Renting
Ask a Brazilian: Investments and Lateness
Ask a Brazilian: Family Closeness
Ask a Brazilian: Waxing and Electronics
Ask a Brazilian: Easter and Surnames
Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

By Steven Nelson
May 29, 2012

Well, one of Brazil’s best kept secrets seems to be out. After years of trying to encourage as many people as possible to try some kayaking in Brazil, and especially along the Costa Verde, it seems like National Geographic has done the job in one quick article. Brazil: Paddling the Green Coast in the latest issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine is their choice of one of the 10 Best Tours in Central and South America, part of the 50 Tours of a Lifetime 2012 series. The Green Coast is the literal translation for Costa Verde of course, but it sounds more prosaic. Much better to use the Portuguese, which sounds as exotic as the scenery.

The Costa Verde is the stunningly scenic coastal route between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Atlantic Rainforest covers the mountains, which drop directly into the sea on this rugged paradise. Coves and hidden beaches once provided shelter for pirates, and now make convenient breaks on kayak trips. The Bay of Angra dos Reis, including Paraty and Ilha Grande, is perhaps the finest kayaking spot in the whole of Brazil, especially because here you can organise all manner of kayaking trips, from morning paddles to week-long specialist ocean-kayak safaris around the whole coast of tropical island paradise Ilha Grande, or around the remote Laranjeiras Peninsula close to Paraty.

The day paddles around Paraty can take you to beaches that other tourists won’t see, and through the mangrove forests that separate different bays along the coastline. There are also offshore islands to explore as well. On Ilha Grande, the best hour or so is to take a kayak from Praia do Canto just along the beach from the main town, Vila do Abraao, and paddle around the headland to Praias Julia and Crena. The turquoise waters with overhanging Atlantic Rainforest and rocks clearly outlined beneath are enough of a pleasure on their own. The sight of a sea-turtle feeding around the rocks makes it even more special. They usually prefer the afternoon to visit the area, and always come up for air, every few minutes or so. Keeping an eye out for their heads breaking the surface briefly or listening for the ‘plock!’ sound of their intake of breath makes an essential part of the paddle.

Around both Paraty and Ilha Grande, there are longer paddles too, with overnight stays in simple fishing villages only reachable by sea, such as the trip to Saco da Mamangua from Paraty. This is Brazil’s only tropical fjord, with mountains towering down on either side. The hike up to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain (not that one!) gives the most breathtaking views of the Costa Verde, including Ilha Grande.

Specialist Kayak Expeditions include the Round The Island Paddle of Ilha Grande, which is very weather dependent as the Atlantic side can be rough. The remote beaches come with miles of tropical sand, crystal clear wter in sheltered coves with sea-turtles and tropical fish for a snorkelling break, with the backdrop of the rugged island interior completely covered in Atlantic Rainforest.

The Laranjeiras Pensinsula close to Paraty on the mainland is very similar to Ilha Grande, a rugged, remote area of pristine natural beauty. It is just as exotic and beautiful too. There are two main options for a longer kayak expedition here starting from Paraty through the Saco da Mamangua, with the Sugar Loaf climb too. The kayaking here is in a natural marine park with over 100 species of fish. The 5 day kayak only expedition finishes in Paraty-Mirim, a small fishing village hidden at the end of the inlet. The advantage that his paddle has over the Ilha Grande idea is that the calm waters of the bay are almost always suitable for paddling, sheltered by mountains from the Atlantic winds of the open ocean. The longer kayak and hike expedition takes you first on a trek all around the Laranjeiras Peninsula before the final kayak part from Saco da Mamangua to Paraty. If you make me recommend any of these Costa Verde Kayak Adventures, it would be this one!

These trips are so good, so scenic, not only taking you to sheltered coves and beaches and rocks galore, including sleeping in simple fishing villages only reachable by sea, but they can also be combined with hikes up mountain peaks to provide you with panoramic Costa Verde views that I think cannot be bettered in Brazil or anywhere else. This dizzying combination of kayaking and hiking amongst some of Brazil’s finest coastal scenery makes kayaking in the Costa Verde one of the most recommended activities in Brazil.

Activity Information: Different trips can be planned in Brazil for those with a little or a lot of kayak/canoe experience. Safety equipment and good quality craft are used on all guided tours, with experienced local guides who are familiar with weather conditions, currents and tides, as well as with the regional flora and fauna. Every single kayak and canoe trip in Brazil requires sunscreen, sun-hat, good quality insect repellent, some kind of footwear for rocky landings (dark rocks especially can become burning hot in the tropical Brazilian sun!) and perhaps long-sleeve outerwear. Longer kayak safaris mean this equipment is essential and best to bring from home if possible.

You can visit Steve’s blog at Great Things To Do In Brazil: Swimming with Amazon River Dolphins
USA to Review Tourist Visa for Brazilian Citizens
Around Brazil: The Botanical Gardens, Rio de Janeiro
Around Brazil: Praia do Pontal, Macumba, Prainha & Grumari (Rio de Janeiro)
Around Brazil: Tijuca Forest, Rio de Janeiro
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By Joe Naab
May 29, 2012

I will share with you in this article the best tip I know that will literally add more than 1,000 words to your Brazilian Portuguese vocabulary by the time you finish reading.

Required Student Level
Even a beginner can benefit from this tip, especially if they refer back to it or simply keep it in mind as their skills improve over time. The most impact from this tip will come to those who know how to conjugate verbs. The most basic conjugations are learned at the basic level, with a few intermediate conjugations added later.

What’s Great about this Tip
What’s great about this tip is that there’s nothing at all to memorize. You can use this on the fly as you are thinking what you want to say in English and can instantly translate it into Portuguese. I’ve been doing this for years and rarely do I get it wrong. It’s simply awesome!

The Fundamental Thing to Know
Here it is-nearly all English words that end in tion” (eg. translation), will be the same word in Brazilian Portuguese, except that the “tion” will be replaced with “ão” (eg. translaão). The “c” with the little fishhook beneath it is called “c cedula”, and has the sound of an “s”. the “ão” in Portuguese, for those who are already speaking it, has the dreaded nasal sound, as if you are pushing the word “own” both up into the top of your nose and deep back into your throat at the same time as you say it.

This is the Tip of the Iceberg
This is already a decent tip if all you got was an immediate one-to-one translation for words ending in “tion”. I have no idea how many words in English end in “tion”, it must be in the hundreds, easily. Some examples off the top of my head, – agitation, frustration, dictation, contemplation, observation, rumination, organization, temptation, immigration, experimentation. What’s great, as I wrote above, is that you don’t have to find all these words in a premeditated manner and then memorize them all. The process will arrive in your head instantly at the moment you need it.

The Awesome Multiplication Factor of the Tip – It’s in the Verb!
Take special note that all English words that end in “tion” are actually verbs at their root. Translation is to translate, organization is to organize. Note also that not all English verbs have this form of the verb. There is no “talkation” for the verb, to talk. Thus, there is some limit to it’s application.

The technique that produces the multiplication factor is to reverse engineer this form of the word, ending in “ão”, into the dozen or more verb forms of the word. In doing this you literally add thousands of words to your Brazilian Portuguese vocabulary without any need for memorization.

NOTE: I am noticing now that almost, if not all these words, are Portuguese verbs that end in “ar”. This will make it’s application even simpler.

An Example of the Full Set using the Verb, to Experiment
We begin with the word “experimentation” and then work it through.

  1. experimentation –> experimentaão
  2. to experiment (infinitive) –> experimentar
  3. experimenting (gerund) –> experimentando
  4. experimented (past participle) –> experimentado
  5. I experiment –> Eu experimento
  6. You experiment –> Voc experimenta
  7. He/she experiments –> Ele/Ela experimenta
  8. We experiment –> Nos experimentamos
  9. You guys experiment –> Vocs experimentam
  10. They experiment –> Eles experimentam
  11. I used to experiment –> Eu experimentava
  12. You used to experiment –> Voc experimentava
  13. He/she used to experiment –> Ele/Ela experimentava
  14. We used to experiment –> Nos experimentvamos
  15. You guys used to experiment –> Vocs experimentavam
  16. They used to experiment –> Eles experimentavam
  17. I experimented –> Eu experimentei
  18. You experimented –> Voc experimentou
  19. He/she experimented –> Ele/Ela experimentou
  20. We experimented –> Nos experimentmos
  21. You guys experimented –> Vocs experimentaram
  22. They experimented –> Eles experimentaram
  23. I will experiment –> Eu experimentarei
  24. You will experiment –> Voc experimentar
  25. He/she will experiment –> Ele/Ela experimentar
  26. We will experiment –> Nos experimentaremos
  27. You guys will experiment –> Vocs experimentarão
  28. They will experiment –> Eles experimentarão

In Closing
This lists adds the three general uses of the verb (infinitive, gerund and past participle), plus verb conjugations for the four most common verb conjugations that you’ll use every day, – present, past continuous, past single occurrence and future indicative. Note that there are at least three other conjugations that are more advanced that can also be derived as above. I left them out for simplicity’s sake.

So there you have it, literally thousands of new Brazilian Portuguese words that you don’t have to memorize added to your vocabulary in the time that it took you to read this short article. Enjoy!

Joe Naab is the author of Brazil for Life!, a how-to living guide for those who want to start a new life or have a second home in Brazil. He is presently working on a near-coastal, countryside real estate subdivision project outside the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. He can be found at and reached by email at His Youtube channel is called BrazilforLifeTV.

Previous articles by Joe:

How to Work and Support Yourself in Brazil

By Joe Naab
May 7, 2012

For most Americans today, we have long forgotten the era when people bought a residencial lot and then designed and built their own home. Today, homes are what developers of residencial housing tracks build for resale in the ever widening landscape of Suburbia. Not so in Brazil.

In Brazil, the lost art of unique and personalized home design is not only alive and well, it is by far the norm. Of course, this won’t apply as much in densely populated urban areas where there are no available lots to build, but Brazil is giant and there are so many beautiful places to live, some would say the better places, where inexpensive lots are available and the owner is free to build to their own taste with very little restriction or regulation.

The Size of Lots in Brazil
The standard-sized lot in Brazil is 450m2 (square meters). For those thinking in square feet, there are 11sqft in 1m2, so you can think along the lines of 5000sqft. Lots can be as small as 350m2 up to about 1500m2. Getting above this size you move into a range that is certainly available, though not so available in urban and suburban zoning. Also, above this size, the word lot”, or “lote”, no longer applies, and you enter the size range of “Chcara”, which could be translated into “small estate”.

The Price of Lots in Brazil
The price of lots varies tremendously, not only within a city, but from region to region in Brazil. I’m going to use Florianópolis as an example because I’ve been here studying and working in real estate for eight years. There are several factors affecting values other than size and neighborhood, and I won’t cover them here for the sake of brevity. They consist of things such as the type of title, if the lot is in a gated neighborhood (here, called a “condominium”), legal residencial tract, or in neither of these two.

A lot in a nice gated neighborhood will cost from R$250,000 to R$500,000. These are the most expensive lots on the island, and these neighborhoods can be in the hills with panoramic views of the sea, or very near the beach, or both. A lot in a legalized residential tract where all the lots within the tract have public title, roads are paved, sewage system is installed, there are usually sidewalks and easy access to electric, water and phone, – will cost from R$90,000 to R$200,000. (NOTE: our readership is international and exchange rates can be all over the place so I leave it to the reader to convert into their local currency).

Lots that aren’t in gated neighborhoods nor in legalized residencial tracts most often cost the least. Today, about the lowest price that can be paid on the island is R$50,000, and for these lots, which vary a great deal in size, location, quality, etc., you could pay up to R$150,000 and above. The general range is R$50,000 to R$150,000.

Note that eight years ago, when I arrived, the simple lots averaged R$15,000, the residential track lots R$40,000, and the gated neighborhood lots R$80,000. Prices have increased dramatically, though they are flat and stable today.

The Broad Measure of Construction Cost for Homes in Brazil
It is very, very difficult to get any architect or builder to give you a phase by phase breakdown of the costs associated with building a home. What you’ll get instead is a quote for a price per square meter of the size of the home, and this includes everything – foundation, walls, roof, doors, windows, complete bathroom and kitchen, electrical, hydraulic, deck, and most finishings.

Within this system of pricing, you will often hear of different levels of quality, such as “this price gets you a simple home, this price gets you a typical home, and this price gets you a luxury home.” The difference is often in the finishings, such as the quality of doors, windows, floors, and the kitchen and bathroom installations.

One very important thing to consider is the size of the deck, which here is called “varanda”. Because this is outside had has fewer walls and may not have hydraulic (water) and electric, it is factored in at 50%. The way this is done is taking half the area of the varanda and adding it to the size of the enclosed space of the home. So, for example, a home with 200m2 of inside space and a 50m2 varanda will have a 225m2 (200m2 + 50% of 50m2), for the purpose of giving bids and calculating construction costs.

Home Construction Costs in Reais per Square Meter
The following prices are for the combined costs of a labor and materials. The going rate of good labor today is R$300 to R$350 per square meter, so you can figure the difference in cost is due to materials. This cost number, in portuguese, is called the “cubi” (KOO-bee), the construction cost per square meter.

  • R$800/m2 – Simple home, still quite nice, modest finishings, no complex design elements.
  • R$1100/m2 – Very nice quality home, good architect, reputable builder, quality, but not extravagant finishings.
  • R$1400/m2 – This would be a luxury home (marble floors, luxurious detail) and the price could be much higher, too.

Home Construction Costs in U.S. Dollars per Square Foot
To help you do this yourself in the future, simply divide the price above twice as explained here. The first division is the exchange rate of the USD versus the Real. This will get you USD’s per square meter. For example, today the exchange rate is 1.90. Then, you divide this outcome by 11, which is how many square feet there are in a square meter. This gets you the cost in USD’s per square foot.

  • $38/SqFt – Simple home.
  • $53/SqFt – Very nice quality home.
  • $67/SqFt – Luxury home.

Adding it All Up
I’ll leave it to the reader to calculate the myriad of cost combinations of lots, home sizes, and quality levels. There is no upper limit to what you can spend, so I’ll give you an example of a lower limit.

You buy a lot here in the reasonably priced beach neighborhood of Rio Vermelho 1-2km from the beach for R$50,000. You build a 70m2 two-bedroom home with a 20m2 varanda. Your building size for the “cubi” calculation is 80m2. Your cost to build will be R$64,000, so you’ll invest R$114,000 total. With today’s exchange rate of 1.90, this would be $60,000 USD’s.

I hope that helps you to gain a better understanding of the costs of building your own home here in Brazil.

Joe Naab is the author of Brazil for Life!, a how-to living guide for those who want to start a new life or have a second home in Brazil. He is presently working on a near-coastal, countryside real estate subdivision project outside the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. He can be found at and reached by email at His Youtube channel is called BrazilforLifeTV.

Previous articles by Joe:

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By Steven Nelson
May 7, 2012

One of the most rewarding activities that you can do in Brazil is to swim with dolphins. Getting so close to such wonderful, friendly aquatic life is a special moment for those who take part, and usually one of the most memorable moments of even the longest visit to Brazil.

There are two main possibilities and very different in every way they are too. The first and perhaps the best known is in the Amazon area around Manaus. The Amazon River System is full of freshwater dolphins (full of many things really, including manatees, peacock bass, pacu and dourado as well) which can be seen surfacing at regular points from any Amazon batelao, igarit or gaiola traversing the waterways from Belem to Tabatinga, Boa Vista or Porto Velho.

Being sociable creatures, the dolphins (known locally as the boto, which is a sub-species of dolphin rather than the genus golfinho) tend to travel in family groups with a couple of youngsters swimming with the parents. The females can grow up to 8ft/2.5m long although usually they come in around the same average length as a human, although slightly heavier. These botos do look strikingly different to the dolphins beloved of marine park crowds, with their narrow beaks and bulbous foreheads. The beaks have evolved to find food amongst the narrow gaps between roots and vegetation of the Amazon riverbanks and the igarapé creeks of the flooded forests. One interesting fact about them that can be noticed while they feed is that their vertebrae do not fuse, allowing them to rotate their flexible necks through 180 degrees. They are also very different in colour to other dolphins at times – some of the Amazon River Dolphins are pink. Some are a more usual grey colour, others still a mixture of grey and pink.

In a couple of areas close to Manaus, the Amazon River Dolphins have become accustomed to human contact, and seem to enjoy spending time with their two-legged friends. Of course, this is in no small way down to the fact that they receive fish for their time and trouble, but they have also been known to stay around and play for hours with visitors, even when the fish have long been fed to them. As long as the occasion is supervised by a local wildlife expert, the pure joy of a close encounter with the largest freshwater cetacean in the beautiful surroundings of the Amazon Rainforest could stay with you for a long time.

Of course, not everyone agrees with the visitors and seemingly the friendly dolphins themselves (‘friendly’ as long as you are not fish or crustacean of course) that these kind of visits are beneficial for both sides. This type of semi-captive feeding colony may well bring the dolphins too close to humankind and too accustomed to contact, when not all humans would be so delighted to meet them. The Amazon River Dolphin is listed as an endangered species, with polluted waterways, diminished habitat, fishing and general river traffic in the Amazon area all affecting their population. Amazon folklore tells of the dolphins as mythical creatures, the killing of which brings bad luck. They are also thought to turn into attractive men at night, and impregnate local girls before returning to the river!

Perhaps swimming with Amazon River Dolphins will encourage more care to be taken with them and more conservation projects throughout the whole Amazon River system. While visitors to the Amazon can swim with the local dolphins, the local people have more chance to find work helping this to happen and (similar to the Projeto TAMAR sea-turtle work along the Brazilian coast) this will lead to an increased conscientiousness with regards to this unique creature and its environment. If this were possible, then a swim with an Amazon River Dolphin could be as rewarding for the dolphin population as it is for their humans friends.

Activity Information: Swimming with Amazon River Dolphins is best done as part of a visit to an Amazon Lodge along the shores of the river. The easiest ones to visit are within an hour or three boat or boat and road journey from Manaus. Reputable lodges always include local expert guides with their trips to see the dolphins.

You can visit Steve’s blog at Great Things To Do In Brazil: Favela Tour
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Can’t make this up