Our 1 Week Trip in Sao Miguel dos Milagres

Not many travelers have heard about Sao Miguel dos Milagres or the state of Alagoas. I found out about Sao Miguel from my dear friend and Spanish teacher, Yani, who told me about the remote, less-traveled state of Alagoas. Alagoas is located in northern Brazil and is equipped with gorgeous, unspoilt stretches of white sand beaches, showcasing an enormous coral reef just offshore and a shore which is dotted with coconut trees and small villages. When we planned our 3 month trip to Brazil, I knew we had to get there one way or another.

How to Get There

20160119_154314You can get to Sao Miguel either from Maceio or Recife. To get there from Maceió you have a few options:
1. “Pirate” taxi (safe to take) – it’s a car that leaves from a gas station named Mar Azul. They charge about 25 Reais per person and they wait until they are full (4 passengers) to leave.
2. Vans: from the bus terminal there are regular vans that leave São Miguel dos Milagres
3. Bus: from the bus terminal take the bus that goes to Recife and stops at Japaratinga. From there you can cross a river by boat to Porto de Pedras.
4. Rent a car: if you really want to explore all the beaches and the area and be more independent, the best option by far is to rent a car. The region has almost 20 km of beaches and restaurants that are sometimes out of reach if you’re traveling by foot, so if you have the chance, consider renting a car!
20160123_133434Renting a car was a pretty spontaneous and unexpected decision. We didn’t plan to rent car, not to mention to drive along the tropical coastline of Brazil. But after our hosts and friends Marina and Luca from the pousada we stayed at recommended renting a car, we decided to rent one in Maceio and return it back when we arrive in Recife.
Although for half of the drive it was raining heavily, the road from Maceio was breathtaking, with beautiful countryside with green hills, palm trees and small villages.

Pousda Peixe Do Mato

20160119_12212920160119_095443We found this rustic Brazilian pousada via Airbnb and stayed here for 1 amazing week! Peixe do Mato (jungle fish) is located in the middle of nature, surrounded by the green of the rainforest, many lush fruit trees and tropical plantations which you can freely cut and eat! If you pay attention you may even get to see some cute monkeys swinging on the branches of these trees.
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The pousada had 5 bungalows, each one with a porch, hammocks, a yoga room, fire pit, locally made wooden chairs and benches, beautiful open air living and dining areas, library and an open air kitchen where we dined with the other amazing guests of the pousada.
Just 15 minutes from the center of town and a 25 minute walk from the beach (or a 5-10 minutes drive), Peixe do Mato is perfectly located to explore the different parts of the coastline! 20160119_11432220160119_11410920160119_123237 Luca and Marina were a very sweet couple and hosts. They gave us plenty of tips about the beaches, the surrounding area and recommendations on where to go and eat. They also live in one of the bungalows, so it was great to hang out with them and talk. We even celebrated Luca’s Birthday together.
This place had a special “homey” feel to it, which was mainly due to Marina and Luca’s (and their cute dog Cacau) warmth and hospitality and the magic place they have created so close to nature. 20160119_12303920160119_11460520160121_205502_LLS20160123_100726-001We loved our cute and cosy bungalow with its small porch and chairs, we used to hang out here after the beach, reading or doing some yoga.20160119_18373420160119_114036 20160119_18141220160119_122827

And most importantly THE BREAKFAST!

20160119_09594920160119_11452620160119_10052920160119_114830Marina cooked for us beautiful and massive Brazilian breakfasts everyday, mostly using fresh ingredients grown in their garden, with fresh juices (we especially loved the grape and acerola-orange juices), cakes, homemade bread and Brazilian dishes such as fried banana, cheese tapioca, pão de queijo (cheese bread) and sliced fruits. 20160123_10043320160119_11450520160120_100655

Staying in this special gem of a pousada, and being in this natural environment with its laidback atmosphere for a week was, in itself, an amazing experience and a reason to visit Sao Miguel. We had such a memorable stay and we can’t wait to come again for a visit!20160125_075556

Beaches

20160118_153406Palm lined beaches, clear beautiful water, reef marine life, local fishing culture and colorful boats; São Miguel dos Milagres is a tranquil coastal paradise still untouched by mass tourism.
Here, coral reefs and natural pools are just a few feet from the shore and at low tide you can take one of the local boats called “jangada”, and they’ll take you to explore the marine life that lives further out in the ocean and to snorkel along the reef.

Porto da Rua Beach 20160118_16082720160118_16074620160118_16085620160118_154056

Everyday we went to a different beach. On our first day we went to Porto da Rua. There are several small restaurants before you enter the beach and also lining the beach. We had coffee and “Paletas” (ice cream treats) at a cute restaurant on the beach called Luna.

20160118_16500420160120_16334620160120_162459 When we arrived at Porto da Rua the tide was low and the water was so clear we could see a surprising amount of marine life, in addition to many beautiful seashells and crabs. We walked, just us, along the beach, collecting seashells, exploring tidepools and watching a few fishermen bringing in their catch. We walked until we got to the point where the beach met with the Tatuamunha River and we could see the Marceneiro Beach on the other side.
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Another attraction, close to Marceneiro Beach near the Tatuamunha River is Peixe-Boi-Sanctuary where you can take a guided boat tour to observe wild manatees. Tickets sales support a local conservation project spearheaded by an organization called APA, who are working to protect these critically endangered animals.

Toque Beach

20160119_13484120160119_134800On our second day, we went to Toque Beach, which was one of my favorites. The beach was within walking distance from our pousada and the water, especially at low tide, had a Caribbean-like, clear pristine blue and turquoise quality to it. It was simply amazing to swim in these calm, warm waters on this quiet, beautiful beach! 20160119_13581520160119_14092320160119_144637

After the beach we went to No Quintal, a restaurant, which is located on the way to Toque Beach. 20160119_17072220160119_164814Marina recommended this place to us and we loved it so much we came here 3 times during our stay in Sao Miguel. This beautiful garden restaurant offers northern Brazilian dishes, combining local ingredients and using fresh organic vegetables and herbs from their garden. The setting is beautiful with tables arranged under a nice natural canopy with flowers and trees all around. It was a lovely atmosphere and the dishes were so fresh and delicious. The bobo de camarao dish and pineapple ginger juice were my favorite! By far the best place in Milagres! 20160119_16301220160122_15195220160119_163039

Patacho Beach

20160123_125439We went to Patacho Beach during the weekend, so it was a bit crowded. This beach is lined with palm trees and has warm, green waters. While here we dined at the beautiful Coko Loco restaurant and had a Cocada, a delicious traditional north-eastern Brazilian crisp dessert made from shredded, slightly burnt coconut which is accompanied with coconut and herbal ice cream. 20160123_14073120160123_13542720160123_13584920160123_135913

Lage Beach

20160123_113333We came here just before we went to Patacho beach. The tide was so low, with crystal clear water, that we could walk for miles into the ocean to where the jangada boats took visitors to the natural pools. 20160123_11353520160123_115059

Riacho Beach

20160123_170511I loved this beautiful romantic beach. We came here just before sunset, took a dip in the warm water and walked along the beach barefoot until we arrived at the meeting point of the river and the sea where you could see a beautiful little church in the distance. For those who like camping, Riacho Beach has campsites with chairs and tables. 20160123_17071420160123_171225

Morro Beach

20160121_12414920160121_172910Praia do Morro can only be reached by a quick boat ride through the Camaragibe River, so if you’re in search of beach solitude, Morro beach is the place to go. A sand strip nestled between countless palm trees, Praia do Morro was definitely “our” beach and I’ve truly never seen anything like it! 20160121_12414620160124_13155520160121_165921With our dear friends Paulo and Karla, who also stayed at Peixe Do Mato with us, we literally spent one whole day alone on this amazing secluded beach; walking and collecting sea biscuits, having snacks under the shade of the palm trees and swimming in the sea. We even picked a huge coconut from one of the trees and took it back to the pousada with us. 20160121_16594520160121_16421420160121_16480820160121_164504

We went to Morro Beach twice, and during our second trip, the tide was very low so we walked to the “secret beach” Luca told us about, which can only be reached by foot along the beach, just beyond Morro beach. 20160124_11434320160124_124839We nearly made it to the “secret beach” but were only able to catch a glimpse of it as the tide was getting higher and we had to turn around and head back. 20160124_12211920160124_120744

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