Accommodations and Food
Barreirinhas is a pleasant little town with sandy beaches carved out by the Rio Preguiças. There are plenty of pousadas to choose from, although some are a little on the tacky side.
Despite its newness, the Hotel Rio Preguiças (Av. Brasília 80, tel. 98/3349-0925, www.riopreguicashotel.com.br, R$150–165 d) has the retro feel (if not charm) of a small town Brazilian hotel of the ’60s or ’70s. Centrally located on the main square of Praça do Matriz, the standard air-conditioned rooms are spotless and innocuous. Balconies with hammocks overlook the leafy praça.
A more attractive budget option is the Pousada Encantes do Nordeste (Av. Boa Vista, tel. 98/3349-0288, www.encantesdonordeste.com.br, R$130–150 d). Its rustic chalets are nestled in a lush garden close to the Rio Preguiças (where you can swim). The air-conditioned rooms are simple but homey and the staff is friendly. Although it’s 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the center of town, most excursions will pick you up at the pousada. At night, you can easily take a cab or moto-taxi to the center, or stay in and watch DVDs.
For more luxury, consider the Porto Preguiças Resort (Carnaubal Velho, tel. 98/3349-1800, www.portopreguicas.com.br, R$290–350 d), located 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from town near the river. Although not quite luxurious (especially for the price), the pseudo rustic and slightly spartan chalet accommodations are spacious and comfortable with fancy linen sheets and thick cotton towels. The sprawling grounds’ enticing features include a sand-bottom swimming pool, a private river beach with a floating bar, and pergolas where you can flake out in a hammock.
The resort’s very attractive Restaurante Sgte. Peppers (noon–10 p.m. daily, R$20–30), decorated with local ceramics and overlooking the pool, is reputed for its sophisticated regional and international fare. It is also a seductive spot for pre-dinner cocktail.
For food, there are various restaurants along Avenida Beira-Mar, all of which take advantage of the pretty river views. Marina Tropical (Av. Beira-Rio, tel. 98/3349-1143, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, closed Sun. during off-season, R$12–20) specializes in seafood dishes such as shrimp moqueca bathed in coconut milk, but also serves meat and pasta as well as a very decent and nicely priced per kilo buffet at lunch.
Restaurante do Carlão (Rua Coronel Godinho, tel. 98/3349-0016, 11 a.m.–10 a.m. daily, R$15–22) wins kudos for having the most interesting menu in town: fresh fish and seafood are all imaginatively prepared using exotic local fruits such as murici, caju, and açai to make sauces and garnishes that look and taste quite out of the ordinary. Don’t leave town without sampling some of the sweets made from the glossy amber fruit of the buriti palm.
At Tá Delícia (Travessa Vereador Zé Diniz, tel. 98/3349-0576), you can sample homemade sorvete de buriti while Doces Dagente (Av. Brasília) sells buriti candies, preserves, and brick-like doce de buriti packed in wooden boxes to go.
Should you desire a more primitive setting, consider shacking up in the tiny fishing town of Atins (which is less touristy than nearby Caburé). Set amidst a cluster of palms, Pousada Rancho dos Lençóis (tel. 98/3349-5005, www.ranchopousada.com, R$90 d) offers rustic chalets that house up to four people. An inviting restaurant serves fish and seafood dishes accompanied by organic garden-grown vegetables and doces made from local fruits. Reservations are necessary.
An hour walk through the dunes will bring you to the simple shack that houses Restaurante da Luzia (Canto de Atins, tel. 98/9132-3187, 10 a.m.–midnight daily). Your physical efforts will be amply rewarded by a massive portion of fresh shrimp barbecued over hot coals.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition