Brazil, Santos

Santos: Brazil’s Bustling Island City With Gardens Galore

A Tale of Two Cities, Part 1: Santos

Likely you’ve never heard of Santos. Almost certainly you’ve never heard of her sister city across the estuary, Guarujá. But every Brazilian has.

These cities lie about one hour southeast of the city of São Paulo. Each is situated on a large coastal island, and though each boasts lovely beaches, they are quite different in most other respects. This week, we’ll get to know Santos. Next week, we’ll take the ferry across to Guarujá and go exploring there.

One Of The Best Cities In Brazil—But Don’t Take My Word For It

Santos is a bustling city of about 420,000. It is, in fact, generally conceded to be the busiest port in all of South America, servicing both container and cruise ships. But Santos isn’t the grimy blue-collar town you might imagine. Around 2010, with the discovery of oil and gas reserves offshore, there was a sudden inrush of white-collar jobs. Also, many of the locals are well-paid professionals who actually work in the city of São Paulo, but who make the commute daily because they prefer to live in Santos.

Santos, in fact, regularly appears on lists of the top cities in Brazil in which to live. In 2016, Santos ranked #6 among the best cities in Brazil as determined by the United Nations, considering factors such as average level of education, life expectancy, and income. Santos was rated earlier this year as the best city in all of Brazil for those 60 and over. In a country where people are given to complaining about the government and services, everyone here speaks highly and proudly of Santos, of its superior services, safety, and high quality of life.

Santos is attractive as well. Nature has blessed her. Here, as in so many cities in Continue reading

Curitiba, Brazil: Low Cost, High-Quality Life

Curitiba, Brazil: Low Cost, High-Quality Life In The “Other Brazil”

Curitiba: High Culture At Low Cost

If you are planning to move when you retire, likely you’ll strive to balance a high quality of life with a reasonable cost of living—which is not always an easy task.A city which offers both—though you may never have heard of it—is Curitiba, in southern Brazil.People from the south of Brazil often refer to this region as “The Other Brazil,” and, indeed, the region is more developed than the rest of Brazil, excepting São Paulo state. Curitiba, the largest city in the region at about two million inhabitants, has a great deal going for it, and scores high on the United Nations’ Human Development Index. The capital of the state of Paraná, Curitiba officially dates from 1693, although indigenous peoples lived in the area long before that. The name in Tupi means “pine nut land,” a reference to the area’s many pine trees and the food staple it yielded. Curitiba grew first on the cattle trade, then logging. Today it possesses a diverse economy based predominantly on services, and many international as well as domestic companies have facilities here.

Curitiba sits near the coast, but on a plateau 3,000 feet above sea level. While Brazilians sometimes comment on how “cold” the city is, the weather in Curitiba is generally moderate. Even in winter (June to August here), the average daily lows are still in the high 40s (F), and daily highs in the 60s.

Curitiba has a lot to offer. Topping the list would be its diverse ethnic roots, which have created a culturally rich city. Consider this partial list of municipal parks: Portugal Woods, Italian Woods, German Woods, and Japan Square. All of these ethnic groups, plus Poles and Ukrainians, contributed significantly to the makeup of Curitiba today.

Curitiba hosts an array of cultural events each year. These include FeiArte, a large arts and crafts fair which each year highlights a different country. For foodies, there’s Continue reading

Domingos Martins is a lovely mountain town could be a wonderful spot to winter and to recharge.

Brazil’s Best Bargain Investments Are In Domingos Martins

Shop Now For Bargains In This Mountain Enclave
Plus: Real Estate In Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point)
Squatter’s Rights Around The World

As my bus pulled out of the terminal in Vitoria, I thought once again about how much this city—the capital of the diminutive state of Espiritu Santo—resembles Rio de Janeiro, albeit smaller. It’s evident in everything… from the beaches to the architecture, and from the food to the faces and accents.

But then, as I stepped off the bus an hour and 15 minutes later in Domingos Martins, I felt like Dorothy opening the door in Oz… because Domingos Martins, a small town nestled in the coastal mountain range, is a world apart from the state capital of Vitoria. Founded in 1847 by immigrants from Pomerania (which today lies on the border of Germany and Poland), it’s an enclave distinct from the areas surrounding it.

It’s immediately evident why Domingos Martins is such a popular weekend and seasonal destination. It is simply charming. The population of the metro area numbers about 37,000, with perhaps half that living in the town itself. It has a warm and genuine small-town feel. Hills blanketed in evergreens and broadleaves surround Domingos Martins on three sides, lending a sense of community and Continue reading

Beach looking North

Beachfront Brazil For Just US$73,300 With Up To 10% Return

Plus: “…I Would Not Go There If They Gave Me A Villa.”

May 26, 2015
Itamaracá, Pernambuco, Brazil

US$1=3 Brazilian reais

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Three things have changed since I last wrote to you about the Brazilian island of Itamaracá, and I’ll put them on the table right here:

  • The dollar has gotten stronger against the Brazilian real
  • A new pool of renters has joined the local market, making a purchase here even more attractive
  • Most importantly, Itamaracá now finds itself squarely in the path of development progress as it moves northward from nearby Recife

So with a new project offering beachfront condos starting at just US$73,300, it’s time to take another look at Itamaracá. Continue reading

Discover Beachfront Brazil and Affordable Tropical Island Living

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Itamaracá, Brazil, is the best place I know right now to buy a beachfront home at a reasonable price, thanks to the strength of the U.S. dollar against the Brazilian real over the last six months. At R$2.35/US$1 today, dollar-holders have seen their buying power increase 41% since the real was at its high of R$1.55/US$1 in mid-2011.

And there are few places in the world will you’ll find a three-bedroom house on the beach for less than US$125,000 that can also generate a great rental return.

When I drove over the causeway onto Itamaracá (pronounced ee tah mah rah KAH) for the first time back in 2008, the island appeared in front of me like an imaginary tropical paradise rising out of the sea. Its shoreline was lined with thick, tangled mangroves and spiked with tall palm trees reaching into the blue sky. Green, lush hills rose up behind the mangroves to the island’s peak, about 2 miles farther on. Continue reading