By Corinne Marian
The first time I went to Aracaju, in the northeast of Brazil, was around 20 years ago. This little-known Brazilian city impressed me for its unspoiled beauty and simplicity.
It hasn’t changed much since then. Dunes, coconut trees, lukewarm ocean waters, are some of this young, modern and well-planned city.
The name Aracaju has Indian origins and means ‘Ara’ for macaw, and ‘Caju’ for cashew nut.
Aracaju’s post card is the Atalia Coast, a 6 km of shoreline where you will find hotels, restaurants and entertainment. The Oceanarium, managed by Projeto Tamar, features an 18-tank display of a number of marine species, including sea turtles, its main attraction.
Local cuisine is simple and delicious. Crab is one of the staples, especially the popular ‘caranguejada’, a dish made with coconut milk, tapioca flour and, of course, lots of crab meat. Tropical fruits – mangaba, cajá, jambo, pitomba and umbú – are abundant and delicious. Aracaju’s Popular Market is a good starting point to taste and buy local food, as well as arts and crafts, such as embroidery, lace, nets and objects made of straw.
“Forro Caju”: one million visitors
If you travel in June, you can celebrate one of the biggest festivities dedicated to the country’s main patrons, Saint John, Saint Anthony and Saint Paul. During the two day festival, the “Forró Caju” hosts approximately 1 million visitors from all over Brazil. Famous Brazilian artists, singers and dancers fly to Aracaju to take part in the celebration. There’s also a good chance to learn a Northeastern folk dance called ‘forró’, as free dancing classes are available. You can also try popular dishes made of corn and peanuts: pamonha, canjica and pé-de-moleque.
If you are craving for beach life with endless promenades, fresh seafood options, a thriving cultural scene, lots of sunshine and unforgettable sunset, look no further, Aracaju is the place for your next vacation.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The best way to get to Aracaju is with American Airlines or LATAM, from to Toronto to Miami, and then São Paulo to Aracaju. Approximate flight time is around 17 hours (including connecting time).
Tickets can range between C$ 1,200.00 to 1,800.00, varying according to the low or high season.
WHERE TO STAY:
The Aruana Eco Praia hotel is an excellent option. It is located by the beach and offers perks such as free breakfast, wi-fi and parking. The hotel also has babysitting services and a kids club with lots of activities. Rates per room range from C$ 100 to C$ 300 per night.
FALCON PARK – Birds enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Falcon Park , a reserve located 45km from Aracaju.
CROA DO GORE: This small, white sand island can only be seen when the tide is low. Accessible by boat, the tour starts at Orla do Pôr do Sol. On the boat ride, you will enjoy the sights of mangroves, native vegetation, floating bars and seafood.