The Brazilian equivalent of the British expression, ‘just my cup of tea’ is é minha praia (that’s my beach), a neat encapsulation of the differing priorities between British and Brazilian cultures. Even in São Paulo, the beach plays a important part of weekends, since one of the most important things to know about the city is how to escape it. It is perhaps unsurprising then that the city has the largest helicopter fleet in the world and has even introduced such as thing as ubercopter.

Off the coast of São Paulo state, Ilhabela lives up to its name – a ‘beautiful island’ to spend the weekend. Swimming in the sea at night and encountering bioluminescent plankton was mesmerizing –  every movement left trails of stars in the water. The only downside was being eaten alive by borrachudos (black flies).


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