Year in rewind: BosGuy’s favorite posts from 2012
The photo below comes from my post, Praia Mole: Where the gays are. It is my favorite photo of Sergio and me in 2012 and precisely how I’d like to remember this year where so many good things happened.
Wishing you all the very best in 2013.
Here is a photo of my partner and me on vacation earlier this month in Florianopolis Brazil. I’ve been writing about the vacation not only to share with people who peruse this site but as a way to relive the time there. This is a photograph of the two of us on Praia Mole (Mole Beach).
I recently returned from a trip to Brazil, and the last two nights of my vacation were spent at the Renaissance Sao Paulo so I thought I’d share my thoughts about this Marriott property.
Americans accustomed to hotels in the United States will appreciate the comfort of the Renaissance Hotel as well as the location just a few blocks from Avenida Paulista and near the beautiful Jardins District. The rooms are well appointed and provide ample space as shown below. The higher rooms also provide amazing vistas to view Sao Paulo – one of the largest cities in the world.
The property offers a lot more than just a convenient and comfortable room. The hotel gym is large and has helpful staff as does the pool and spa and there are several restaurants and bars for you visit should you not want to leave the property.
There happens to be a Starbucks just a block away, but I would encourage you to visit the gay-friendly cafe next door, Fran’s Cafe, which also provides a great option for a quick breakfast or lunch if you are on the go. If you will need the Metro, the hotel is just a couple of blocks from the Consolação metro station.
Built into a small hill in the Barra de Lagoa neighborhood is the Bistro Isadora Duncan. Above the restaurant is a treetop suite that is partly indoors, partly outdoors and 100% private. Co-owned by a friendly gay couple, Greg & Amauri, this 5 room suite complete with stunning views and a large jacuzzi to enjoy them.
Bistro Isadora Duncan is convenient to the local gay beach, Praia Mole. I first learned about the bistro and it’s one room suite in an old Passport Magazine article you may read here. If you are contemplating a trip to Florianopolis, this might be a good option depending on what you expect from your lodging and what your budget is like.
View from Isadora Duncan Suite
Despite the suite’s proximity to Praia Mole it is still quite a leg work out to get there and is about a 20 minute walk. All the hills you must navigate if staying in this part of the island are offset by the spectacular views and the fact that each morning Greg brings a delicious breakfast up the spiral staircase that leads to the entrance of the suite so you’ll feel the need to burn off some of those calories.
The amount of food Greg’s partner, Amauri, prepares is nothing short of a feast. While the space is a little worn, it remains very comfortable. Adding to the convenience is the very quaint Bistro below you, which serves delicious, albeit pricey dinners (~$150 per couple). Never fear, cheap eats can be found next door at Pacai, which is open Wednesday through Sunday and at other cafes.
Travel Tips: Owners Greg and Amaury don’t speak English so practice your Portuguese to see if you can communicate or grab a Brazilian friend to help.
To access the suite you must walk up a spiral staircase that is at the top of a very steep hill – this can be tricky if you have lots of luggage or are lazy.
Lastly, it can be tricky using a credit card over the phone and reservations may take more time than you anticipate so be patient and plan accordingly.
Our visit to Brazil concluded with the final two days of our vacation in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo. This city lives in the shadow of the more famous, Rio de Janeiro, because it lacks the natural beauty that Rio is so blessed to have. However, I love this city of 12 million residents, which by the way makes it the largest city in the southern hemisphere.
The key to having a good time in Sao Paulo is having someone to show you around, because the size of this city makes it too large for a tourist to wrap their head around. Previously, we’ve hit the clubs – Sao Paulo is home to my favorite gay club called The Week, but this was a more relaxing visit spent eating and visiting with friends and family.
Paulista’s (a resident of Sao Paulo) are famous for their many delicious pizzerias and thousands of pizzas are made and consumed each night in this sprawling urban jungle. On this trip we enjoyed the fantastic restaurants in the trendy Jardins District near our hotel including a pizzeria on Saturday night called Pizza na Mao.
Should you be planning a trip to Brazil and have any questions about Sao Paulo or another area definitely give me a shout and I’ll be happy to share what I know.
Prior to visiting Florianopolis, I had heard that if you were gay you should check out Praia Mole. If you’d like to learn more about the official gay beach on the island be sure to check out my recent post, Praia Mole: Where the gays are.
If you would like to see another part of the island and not be the only gay man on the beach, venture over to in Jurere International; specifically by the beach in front of Taeko – a restaurant / bar area with beautiful views and warm water to enjoy.
Most who visit this part of the island seem to stay at the Jurere Beach Village. I had opted to stay elsewhere since the resort looked so family-friendly and if I go back I would seriously consider renting a house near Taeko, but if that is not an option, I’d suggest trying Jurere Beach Village since it is an easy walk along the beach to Taeko (5-10 minutes).
I would guess approximately 25% of the people here were gay if not more. In addition to the beach, which is beautiful, the neighborhood has constructed a walking / jogging path that gives you views of the the water to one side and beautiful mansions on the other side. The path also attaches to the various beach bars (like Taeko).
Florianopolis is a small city by Brazilian standards, but most who travel here never set foot in the downtown preferring the natural beauty the island has to offer, which includes scores of beaches, plenty of forest, dunes and a couple of gorgeous lakes. For years many gay Paulistas and Cariocas have been coming to Florianopolis, but recently this has become a destination for many gay travelers from Europe, Australia and North America. Just an hour flight south of Sao Paulo makes it relatively easy to get here.
Praia Mole is known as the gay beach on the island. This is a beautiful beach on the east side of the island that extends nearly 1 kilometer. The far end of the beach, near an outcropping of over-sized boulders is the gay bar, Bar do Deca. Although the nightclubs are all located in the city, if the weather is good – the guys will mostly be at Praia Mole.
Should you want to explore the city, another advantage to this part of the island is that it is fairly convenient to Florianopolis (a taxi is approximately $30 each way). We used our central location to visit other parts of the island; perhaps the most notable location was Sambaqui, a quaint neighborhood on the west side of the island. From our restaurant in Sambaqui we had a beautiful view of Florianopolis.
Here are more photos of this beautiful Brazilian beach. After we left this part of the island we ventured north to Jurere and the slightly newer and wealthier Jurere International. While Praia Mole rightly deserves the reputation as the “gay beach” there is no doubt that if you go to the beach club / bar Taiko in Jurere International you will be far from alone, but more on that in a future post.
I love to travel to Brazil. It is a warm tropical country in the Southern hemisphere that makes for a perfect getaway anytime but especially from December through March – when my home, Boston, is usually freezing. This year my partner and I opted to spend a week in Florianopolis (Floripa), which is a one hour flight south of Sao Paulo. While business brings some to Floripa it is the 200+ square mile island that draws thousands of tourists.
Our trip to Floripa started in the centrally located Barra da Lagoa neighborhood, which is a hilly stretch of land between the island’s Lagoa da Conceicao and the South Atlantic Ocean; specifically Praia Mole. We also hired a taxi to take us to Santo Antonio de Lisboa and Sambaqui where we had a very relaxing lunch with views of the city of Florianopolis off on the horizon. These two quaint neighborhoods are picture perfect and provided for a nice option to the beach since I needed a break from the beach (well to be more specific my pale skin needed the break).
Where to go in Barra da Lagoa: For food check out Bistro Isadora Duncan or for a less expensive option Pacai which is located next door. For fun during the day, pack a bag and walk 20-minutes to Praia Mole and set up next to the gay bar on the beach, Bar do Deca. I’ll write a bit more about Praia Mole this week.
Florianopolis prominence has made Jurere and Jurere International a hot spot for wealthy tourists from around the world. Located further north, the area is still being developed but has a definite Miami-vibe. Ocean-facing mansions and affluent neighborhoods with cobbled streets might make you forget you’re in Brazil. While many of the resorts in this area cater to families, there is still plenty of people watching and fun to be had in both Jurere and neighboring Jurere International which is a newer and even more affluent.
Where to go in Jurere: There are several options for dining but our favorite location was the beachside bar Taiko at Jurere International. While the kitchen won’t win any awards, the views from here are spectacular – regarding both the nature and the visitors. As with Praia Mole I’ll write a bit more about Jurere and Jurere International later.
While I recognize that nearly none of my readership will ever visit Brazil’s third largest city, Belo Horizonte (B.H.), it is my partner’s home city and a place we’ve traveled to over the years. B.H. or Belo for short, is a sprawling metropolis of more than 5 million. While this publishes, I am currently in Florianopolis, but thought I’d share a bit about where I was last week.
When we visit family in B.H. we make it a point to come to Lourdes for dinner. Depicted immediately below is the trendy o Dadiva Restaurant, Oak Restaurant and Wine Bar and one of the desserts we tried at Oak (yes, I said “one of”…)
There are many dining options here and in the surrounding blocks, which means there is plenty of pedestrian traffic and great people watching. Main plates range between $25 – $35.
If one does find themselves visiting Belo Horizonte or has friends who live there, I would suggest dinner in Lourdes followed by a night out at the gay clubs / bars in neighboring Savassi.
I a’m still enjoying life at a slower (and less connected) pace. Regular blogging will resume in early December after I return to Boston.
I wanted to acknowledge the Thanksgiving holiday which has always been a personal favorite of mine. In recent years I have used the time off to travel abroad and visit new places. This year is no exception. My partner and I find ourselves back in Brazil celebrating the day.
Just a friendly reminder that I’m in Brazil for the next two weeks, and I’ll be much slower to approve comments and respond to emails.
I’m leaving for the airport now and by tomorrow morning I will be in Belo Horizonte Brazil. Each day this week I’ve posted a “Brazil post” which I hope you’ve enjoyed. Blogging will definitely slow a bit while I’m away but I have scheduled several posts while away. Apologies if comments don’t get approved as quickly as usual.
If you are like me, you loved the London Olympic Games. I am very excited to have these games finally find a host in South America.
In the summer of 2016 Rio de Janeiro will take up the torch that London passed to Brazil and this magnificent city will host the world to what I think will be one of the most memorable Olympic games in modern history. You can read more about the 2016 games here.
Each day this week I’m writing a “Brazil post” to raise awareness that I’m leaving on vacation for South America on Friday. Although I will not be visiting Rio de Janeiro on this trip to Brazil, I think it is one of the most amazing places in the world and a place I would encourage travelers to consider visiting. I stumbled upon this old video footage of the gay beach on Ipanema; definitely worth visiting.