This past summer, in case people missed it! Brazil hosted a very successful World Cup both from an organiser perspective as well as fans who attended the games – Brazil delivered. So, with a couple of years to the ‘next big thing’, the 2016 Olympics, Uniqueworld, TAP and our Brazilian DMC partner, Abreu planned a short FAM trip to this fascinating country of contrasts.
Rio – a city that would get the attention of the even the most jaded incentive recipient. It is a resort city in a stunning location. Rio is cool, and the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana play host to much of this. By day you can surf, swim, chill, people watch and of course FLEX. The beaches are awash with people – of all shapes and sizes. – They alone are a feast on the senses Rio is Bossa Nova, a city that has given us countless songs and rhythms The Palace sits in the heart of Copacabana – all newly renovated and still a classic flanked at either end by the Sofitel and JW Marriott. Ipanema offers the Fasano –a great boutique hotel – and there are few better places to watch the sun go down – on the roof top bar, caipirinha and cashews in hand. At the far end ‘Leblon’ has great bars and restaurants – and of course some great Bossa Nova. The backdrop to all this is ‘another world’. The ‘Favelas’ sprawl across the mountainside many of which now offer tours to see how these ‘self contained’ towns/villages survive – fascinating.
If the mountainsides are awash with colour and buildings of all shapes, states and sizes, the mountain tops afford spectacular views of the bays all around this sprawling city. Whilst the views from Sugarloaf Mountain (1300ft), reached by Cable car, the views from the 2300ft Corcovado are even more spectacular. Accessible by tram or road the mountain has the stunning 125ft statue of ‘Christ the Redeemer’ a ‘selfie haven’. Finally, a few blocks from the seafront and on the hillside, Santa Teresa is a historic region and home to the beautiful Hotel Santa Teresa – a Relais & Chateau property and a real contrast to the modern beachfront properties. Rio offers a great intro to Brazil, but a country this size, you need a second centre. You can of course opt for the Iguazu Falls or the Amazon adventure! But for our short trip we ventured up the coast by plane for the two hour flight to Salvador in the state of Bahia.
If Rio is Bossa Nova, Salvador is 100% SAMBA!!!
This is the original capital of Brazil and the historic and cultural references are everywhere to be seen. This city is truly a feast on all the senses – African influences are everywhere and whilst in Rio you had the spectacular beach and mountains – in Salvador it is all about the local people, the music, the food and the history. Yes, the traffic is busy – but no worst than in most fast growing countries.
During our Brazil DMC trip, we stayed in the Pestana Convento do Carmo is located in the Historic Centre of Salvador, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Convent, initially built in 1586 by the First Order of Carmelite Friars, has been throughout the centuries the stage of many significant events of the Brazilian history, and is nowadays, after careful restoration works, the first luxury historic hotel in Brazil. Salvador has a very personal charm and the people very welcoming and proud of their culture. There are opportunities to embrace the community and for smaller Incentive events to become involved in local projects supporting local children using Music- Samba percussion and even Circus skills.
An hour up the coast, the beach resort of Tivoli Praia Do Forte, offers good beach and resort facilities plus an excellent environmental and social initiative The Projeto TAMAR (TAMAR being an abbreviation of Tartarugas Marinhas, the Sea Turtles). The main objective of the project is to protect sea turtles from extinction in the Brazilian coastline. With direct flights to both Salvador and Rio (via Lisbon) TAP can support with creating a great ‘two Centre destination ‘ Brazil really has a terrific amount to offer the events market and Rio and Salvador offer a great contrast.