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“The ‘Dolce Vita’ Life in Brazil

When I wrote my first story for Living La Dolce Vita almost 3 years ago, I promised that most of the stories would be about Southern Europe, with an occasional detour to Brazil. Until now, I hadn’t taken you to this fantastic country, but today, it’s finally happening!

I’ve had the privilege of visiting this country regularly over the past 17 years, and now the time has come to bring this beautiful chapter to a close. It has been a fantastic but often exhilarating period that could fill a book by now 😊.

So much has happened in those 17 years, and my patience has been tested time and time again. But I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it for the world!

The people in Brazil are incredibly friendly and helpful, and most importantly, they’re almost always cheerful. Unfortunately, this vast country has a bad reputation due to crime, especially in the major cities. However, it’s a fact that the vast majority of the population is simply super friendly and hospitable.

Porto de Galinhas 

Let’s go to Porto de Galinhas, a small town (or perhaps it’s a village…) near Recife in northeastern Brazil. It’s a true piece of paradise, located very close to the equator.

I can already hear you thinking… why would someone go to Brazil so often? To keep this story from becoming too long, I’ll keep the answer short 😉: “Investment.” Do I recommend it to everyone? No, definitely not! Especially if you don’t speak Brazilian Portuguese, there are many hurdles to overcome. Was it fun and ultimately worth it? Yes, absolutely!

About 17 years ago, I came here for the first time, for a well-deserved vacation at the beautiful Nannai Resort. Just a week of doing nothing, relaxing by the pool and on the beautiful beach. It was a nice intention that lasted precisely one day because from day 2 onwards, the adventure of buying an apartment under construction began. Yes, I admit it might have been a bit impulsive, especially considering I live 6,700 km away, but I made it happen.

The beaches of Porto Galinhas, or rather the beaches in the state of Pernambuco, are breathtaking, and the sea water is wonderfully warm. The latter is especially precious to me because I can’t stand cold water 🥶. Particularly the area known as “Muro Alto” (the high wall) has delightfully warm and serene waters due to a reef just off the coast. So, as you can imagine, Muro Alto became my second home.

The village of “Porto de Galinhas”

Where does the name Porto de Galinhas come from? Well, it’s not a very glamorous story, and the Portuguese are not portrayed in the best light. Porto de Galinhas was one of the first places occupied by the Portuguese. Previously, it was called “Porto Rico” (Rico means rich) due to the large sugar production, (which still takes place here) in the 15th and 16th centuries.

When slavery was abolished, Porto de Galinhas became a major point for illegal slave trading in northeastern Brazil. The slaves arrived in the harbor under appalling conditions, often hidden under crates of chickens.

To bypass the inspectors of the slavery law, the Portuguese began announcing the arrival of slaves with the code phrase: “Tem galinha nova no Porto” (There are new chickens in the port). Due to the frequent use of this code, Porto Rico became known as the “chicken port.” Hence the name Porto de Galinhas.

Chickens have become an integral part of the streetscape. Porto de Galinhas is not just a beach destination; it’s a place where chickens steal the show and put a smile on your face 😄. From their funny statues in the lively center to unique souvenirs, these fluffy residents make this place truly unique. You won’t find as many (artistic) chickens gathered anywhere else. The large ones in the photos below are made from the bases of fallen coconut trees.

In short, Porto de Galinhas is a magical place where fun, adventure, and relaxation come together. Whether you want to enjoy the breathtaking underwater life, relax on enchanting beaches, take a buggy ride through beautiful nature, or explore the local cuisine, there’s always something fun to do and see in this paradisiacal coastal town. And of course, it’s also a surfer’s paradise!


But of course, there’s more. For example, the fruit here is indescribably delicious, and the variety is enormous. There are several types of mangoes, papayas, passion fruit, annona, pineapple, jackfruit, acerola, açaí, cashew fruit, and many more.

And I mustn’t forget fresh coconut water! Nothing is more delicious and refreshing than the water from a chilled, fresh coconut. It’s also super healthy and hydrating. I always miss it when I’m back home in Portugal because, to be honest, I’ve become a bit addicted to it. In the absence of the fresh product, I settle for organic coconut water from the supermarket. It’s not quite as good, but it’s a decent alternative. The benefits of drinking coconut water are numerous. It’s not only super hydrating but also helps reduce fatigue and stress, aids in combating hangovers (useful after an evening of caipirinhas!), and serves as an excellent antioxidant, packed with Vitamins C and B while contributing to kidney health. So, what’s stopping you? I think I could be a great ambassador for coconut water 😊.

Creative Population

The people here are incredibly creative. Every time, I’m amazed by the wonderfully beautiful things they make from the simplest materials. They work a lot with seashells, pottery, crochet (but not like in Europe 😉), painting, and even lamps made from sewage pipes. I must admit that in most countries, I’m not really enthusiastic about handicrafts, but here, it fills me with joy.

Hammocks and Havaianas

And Brazil is also the land of hammocks and Havaianas. In my opinion, both inventions deserve recognition! What could be better than lounging in a hammock while a gentle breeze keeps you cool? And at prices that make you happy.

And then there are those Havaianas! The world-famous, indestructible flip-flops that are available in every color imaginable. I can’t help but feel a strong desire for them every time, so you can imagine what I have in my closet… yes, a whole bunch because, well, they are indestructible! 🤗

Carnival in Pernambuco

Ah… Carnival in Pernambuco! It’s a time of colorful costumes, vibrant music, and endless dance parties. And when it comes to the craziest and most hilarious festivities, Pernambuco takes the spotlight with its infamous Frevo dance. While Samba dominates in Rio de Janeiro, it’s all about Frevo here. It’s a whirlwind of colorful umbrellas, part of a dance filled with acrobatics, capoeira, and sheer audacity. They dance to a “chaos” of rhythms. The music of Pernambuco’s Carnival is a blend of trumpets, trombones, and saxophones that don’t seem to be quite in sync with each other. So, you have no choice but to get up and dance!

Picanha and Caipirinha

And after all that movement, it’s time to eat and drink. Picanha and Caipirinha are must-haves.

Brazilian Picanha is a heavenly piece of meat that makes your mouth water. When it comes to flavorful meat, Brazil has an ace up its sleeve. Brazilian Picanha is a true delight for the senses. The juicy meat, a touch of salt, and the grilling technique create an experience you don’t want to miss. Picanha is usually served with the famous black beans, farofa, and macaxeira (cassava fries).

What is farofa? Farofa is typically made from cassava flour that is fried with butter or oil, giving it a crispy and crumbly texture. But here’s the interesting part: farofa can be enriched with various ingredients like bacon, onions, garlic, eggs, nuts, dried fruits, and even bananas! This gives farofa a unique flavor that can vary from savory to sweet, depending on the ingredients used.


And what do we drink with it? Well, a delicious ice-cold beer is certainly irresistible, but I wouldn’t say no to a good Caipirinha either 😉.

Caipirinha is a Brazilian cocktail made with Cachaça, lime, sugar, and ice. Cachaça is a Brazilian distilled spirit made from sugarcane, with an alcohol content ranging from 38% to 48%. So, make sure to have something to eat first 😊.

At the end of the article, I’ll share with you a wonderful dessert recipe from Pernambuco called Cartola. I’m not much of a dessert person, but I make an exception for Cartola.


And I almost forgot my absolute favorite… Tapioca! These pancakes are made from tapioca flour, which is also derived from cassava roots. When tapioca flour is heated, it melts together to form pancakes (just the flour, no added water or milk). These pancakes are then filled with various tasty ingredients. The choices are endless, from savory options like cheese, chicken, mushrooms, etc., to sweet fillings like chocolate, banana, coconut, and condensed milk. It’s a culinary experience you don’t want to miss, and the pancakes are gluten-free too.

Praia dos Carneiros

But first, let’s take a detour to Praia dos Carneiros, a beautiful beach with the cozy resort “Bora-Bora” for a delightful day of relaxation.

It’s best to park at the official parking lot of Bora-Bora. Here, you’ll pay for parking and the entrance to Bora-Bora, where you can enjoy the many lounge sets, restaurants/bars, toilets, and showers. Everything is well-maintained and clean.



And now, the promised recipe for the delicious dessert Cartola. Cartola is a traditional Pernambuco dessert made with slices of fried banana, grated cheese, and cinnamon.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 50g mozzarella cheese  sliced
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Oil for frying


Slice the bananas into approximately 1cm thick slices.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Fry the banana slices on both sides until golden brown.
Remove from the pan and place them on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
Place a slice of mozzarella on a fried banana slice and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Place another fried banana slice on top and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon again.
Fry the cartolas in the pan until the cheese is melted and the sugar starts to caramelize.

Serve warm and enjoy !


This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)



  • Lesley 15/07/2023 at 5:37 pm Reply

    Hi Joke, This makes me want to visit the chicken port! I’ve forwarded this to Jenni as she loves food/travelling. She back packed in Brazil years ago. We spent a long weekend in Ipanema once (same time zone!) and are hoping to go to the Amazon next year – fingers crossed! Love, Lesley

    • johanna 16/07/2023 at 11:14 am Reply

      Thank you Lesley ! This is so good to hear. The Amazona is also on my bucketlist. If you go next year I would love to hear all about it ! Love and XX ,Joke

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