I am not from a place where you can see your feet when standing in ocean water. What happened New Jersey?
Maragogi, on the other hand, was impeccably clear.So much so that I was inspired and successfully convinced to try snorkeling one more time after a failed attempt in Hawaii. With a little extra coaching, I did not feel like I was being strangled by the mask and, instead, was able to watch the fish underwater instead of just cooing from above.
Hibiscus was my favorite. At the resort, we paid an entrance fee, which got us a little cabana with a hammock, table, and bench to lay down on. There were also vegetarian options on the menu (yay!) and I realized how much I like piña coladas.
Here, we briefly tried standup paddleboarding, but gave up after an incident with sunglasses falling off in the only non-crystal clear water from the entire trip. I also spied my first mico, which is a small type of monkey, on our way out. Apparently they’re very common, so I feel like I got payback for making fun of people when they freak out about squirrels in the US.
The last beach we went to was Dunas de Marapé. The original place we’d planned to go to was canceled the night before and I, honestly, wanted to pass in favor of sleeping in. (I’m glad Gustavo convinced me otherwise, since this was one of my favorites, as you can tell by the sheer number of pictures I took.)
To unique part of Dunas is that it’s a beach, yes, but it’s also a delta where the river runs into the ocean. That also means there’s a ton of animal life unlike anywhere else we’d been. We saw so many little crabs and fish. On my way out, I passed an iguana just chilling next to two people on a bench.
Also, there was a lovely woman who was the chef at the local restaurant. All while running the kitchen and buffet, she kindly made a separate vegetarian meal for me.
It might seem small, but before we left for this trip we had a conversation with someone from the area that made it abundantly clear that vegetarians are just not common and those who are vegetarians tend to be, in actuality, pescatarian, by nature of the sheer amount of seafood in the region. To have someone take the time to make something special for me, to make my trip more pleasant, was really welcoming and understanding.
When we first arrived in Maceió, a friend said she wanted to see my reaction because, if Brazilians think the Northeast is so gorgeous, this American would likely find it out of this world. And, indeed, the scenery was amazing. I also had some fun getting used to the accent. (Mid-way to the hotel in a cab I quietly texted Gustavo to announce “I just realized why I don’t understand anything this man is saying.”)
But by the end of the trip, I really, really missed Rio. The mountains. The humidity. The way the people talk there, both in terms of accent and communication style. And the conveniences of being in a big city. So much vegetarian food! So many options!
I would love to explore all of Brazil over time, but it’s clear my heart stays in Rio.