Sweating, dancing, drinking, talking loudly is what is going on here!
Brazilians say Rio is the number one city in the world (not just Brazil) to celebrate New Year’s Eve and Floripa (what locals call it) is number two on the list. Clearly, I need to check it out, so I add this to the end of our extended road trip (See links to articles for Mendoza, Buenos Aires, and Uruguay)!
We arrive a few days before New Year’s to explore. You can either stay in Jurerê (calm waters and posh) or Campeche/Lagoa (waves/surfing and casual). Jurerê here we come! We check in to our B&B Pousada dos Chos, which is the most affordable in a very expensive area, extremely highly rated, and has the most friendly, knowledgeable staff with happy hours daily!
After a good nap to work up to this, we call an Uber (yes!) and hit 300 Cosmo Beach Club for our apparently very early dinner at 9:30 p.m. Ferraris, Bentleys, etc. are pulling up dropping off the rich and famous and beautiful. The place is in mid transition from dinner place to full-on club. Expensive and largely forgettable meal, but people watching makes up for it afterward. I have been telling my wife ahead of the trip that she should not worry about whether or not I am looking at other women; she should rest assured that this time, I am. At least I am being honest!
The next morning we wake up and take our chairs and umbrella and hit Praia Jurerê beach. Beautiful, calm and warm wth white sand – truly amazing! Then I wander off to Canasvieires Beach for the Scunar Sul pirate ship tour! Not my wife’s scene but I wanna be on a boat and go snorkeling, so this is the best option. We hit one island to tour 18th century São José da Ponta Grossa fort, then two other island stops for swimming and snorkeling, enjoying sugary drinks with Captain Jack Sparrow (one of 10 on each boat) along the way. We have a casual dinner at Lucila Bistro, which is highly rated on the interweb, but would recommend it more for a casual lunch or brunch given their fantastic homemade breads and baked goods.
We wake up and head to Campeche, a bohemian outpost with artists and massages and heavy waves and surf action. We walk 10 down the beach to find a local operation of dinghys that will take you five minutes across the way to Campeche island for BR$100 (about USD$3.50) round trip each way. It was a little hairy going over the break, but we make it. There is one restaurant on the island, so you know it is going to suck; and it does. Better to bring a cooler and snacks as the cute furry quati animals running around are ripping through trash cans and trying to steal food from tables and if that doesn’t happen the dozens (literally) of bees per table will also be annoying. Surprisingly, people are dealing with it, but not us, so we order to go and hit the beach. The beach here has idyllic, calm, clear waters, even nicer than at Jurerê. It is here that I see a local phenomenon known as the “Selfie Parade.” Whether on land or in water, women are staring into their phones taking pictures of themselves and each other. I also expected topless women on the beach like Europe, none to be found; but I notice in Brazil they are damn near bottomless. But I digress. We eventually have to head back to the mainland, but aren’t ready to end the day just yet, so we hit the deck at Zeca for happy hour. Good food, great views, and more people watching.
After a nice nap (sense a theme?), we head to Jay Bistro at 9 p.m. Ceviche and lobster with risotto was incredible, easy to see why this place is generally rated highest on the island for fine dining. We even try some Brazilian merlot and cab blend. Enough said. Again, good people watching with views of tables full of scantily clad super models all around us.
I am up bright and early the next morning to dive with Agua Viva Murguhlo. Dive is beautiful in terms of sea life you don’t see every day, including turtles and octopuses. I even saw a huge pod of dolphins on the way out there. Hungry, I hit Toca de Jurere on the walk back for fantastic fresh seafood, a locals type place recommended by our B&B. As I sit down, an old tanned bald guy walks in with five 6’ tall super models. This seems commonplace to me by now. I guess they have to eat sometime and he must have a huge…bank account.
Nap time again (you knew it was coming) so we could hit Donna at 9 p.m. Crawling with super models dressed to the nines in high heels and see through and/or non-existent cocktail dresses with men who are either old enough to be their father (or grandfather in some cases) or younger (I mean 30) and dressed in t-shirts, shorts, and Lacoste tennis shoes. Interesting crowd. Great food and drink, expensive, but you pay for the people watching here.
New Year’s Day is finally here, and we kick it off with lunch at O Pescador Lobo for fresh seafood right on Praia do Forte beach. Lovely scene with tables and chairs in the sand, people eating, drinking and sunbathing, so we hang out on the beach all day. Time to go pick up my New Year’s tickets from Diego, the club promoter for tonight. Just after I pay Diego and he gives me the tickets, he turns to give tickets to two super models; no money is exchanged there. He tells me I can arrive between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. (way later than we thought for a party centered around midnight), and he will see us at 3 a.m. as has another party. But not to worry as the party goes until 7 a.m. I’m not sure if we’ll see him, though.
Nap time (of course!) before we get ready. We arrive at Café de la Musique at 10:30 p.m. It is a full red carpet scene outside with throngs of beautiful people trying to get in, some in lines, some trying to get the bouncer’s attention. Like everybody else, we are dressed head to toe in white, which is apparently good luck in Brazil to ring in the New Year. It is like Silicon Valley here and not only because there are internet moguls. Unlike outside, it is relatively empty inside, we get shown to our cabana and are the first ones here. We are always too early for this country! We hit the buffet which looks visually stunning, but as you get closer, it is really just snacks, so just a super model type dinner. Back to the cabana to take advantage of the top shelf bottle service included, whatever you want except for wine! My wife wants Rosé, so we ask and they have two bottles, either $30 or $150 and they are out of one. I recommend my new find, chivas and coconut water, very refreshing and hydrating as I dehydrate. I ask Anne-Marie if she wants a $150 bottle of Rosé in such a way and intonation for her to say no. She says yes.
The place is really getting crowded now, super model central of course, with fireworks and champagne toast at midnight. At this point the vibe is electric as the DJ is really taking the crowd to the next level. Sweating, dancing, drinking, talking loudly is what is going on here! Around 1:30 a.m., Anne-Marie is done with the crowd and gets an uber home. Yadda, yadda, yadda, about 6 a.m, the sun starts rising and it is clearly daytime, but the party is still in full swing. Around 6:45 a.m., no signs of stopping, I say my goodbyes, as I have to swing by the B&B to get Anne-Marie and our bags, to catch our 9 a.m. flight out!
Do yourself a favor and hit Floripa to see how Brazilians and super models welcome in the New Year. You won’t regret it!
Have you ever been to Jurerê? Share with us in the comments.