Bahia, Brazil

All eyes are on South America. Between next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, you’re going to hear a lot about Brazil in the next few years. Rio de Janeiro’s beaches are going to be packed; it will be impossible to find a spot in the sand on Ipanema.

Photo: Fernando Lombardi/UXUA Hotel & Spa
Photo: Fernando Lombardi/UXUA Hotel & Spa

But Brazil has a huge coastline. Head north of the craziness to find friendly people and nearly empty beaches. At the edge of the Atlantic, where the rainforest meets the ocean, you’ll find Trancoso. In the small Bahian village, a handful of old fishermen’s homes have been restored and turned into the UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, which perfectly combines modern comforts with its rustic setting.

Photo: Fernando Lombardi/UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa
Photo: Fernando Lombardi/UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa

The entire hotel was built in collaboration with local artists. Sinks and baths were sculpted from fallen tree trunks. Light fixtures were created by people from the local Pataxo tribe using decorative beads and seeds. Kitchen utensils were carved from coconut shells. And even the beach lounge was built from old fishing boats. A caipirinha, please?

Photo: Fernando Lombardi/UXUA Hotel & Spa
Photo: Fernando Lombardi/UXUA Hotel & Spa

Despite UXUA’s isolated location, there is plenty to keep you busy. Watch the chef cook in the open kitchen. Learn the capoeira–a traditional dance inspired martial art–for a full-body workout. Have a Almescar-oil message. Go spear fishing. Wander the town’s car-free Quadrado. Or relax by the aventurine quartz pool. You’ll almost forget there’s a big football game nearby.

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