In February 2020, Bruna Lombardi posted a photo in a snakeskin print bikini and peppered a caption about the “proud to be the name of such a spectacular northeastern beach”. The actress’s passages through Maragogi (AL) gave so much to talk about among the locals that one of the most famous peaks there, Praia de Xaréu, ended up renamed to honor her.
Installed in fishing boats, floating bars welcome tourists who want to drink a cajá caipirinha with half their bodies submerged in the emerald green sea of Praia da Bruna.
Halfway between the airports of Maceió and Recife, two and a half hours from each, this municipality in Alagoas claims the title of “Caribbean Brazilian”. There are many competitors claiming the same position in the northeastern neighborhood, but Maragogi has very strong points in its favor.
Starting with being part of Costa dos Corais, the second largest barrier reef on the planet, with 135 km in length — second only to a huge opponent on the Australian coast, which stretches for 2,300 km.
This natural cordon borders the beaches and prevents stronger waves from breaking on the sand, ideal for those with children or phobia of rough seas. The barrier helps to form natural pools, but only at low tide, which can happen at ungrateful times.
Let’s say, having to leave at 5:30 am on a catamaran full of sleepy tourists and a crew with a taste for stand-up comedy, heading to a small pool miles from the shore.
There you will see a multitude of so-called sergeant fish, yellowish and with black stripes. You’ll also find a shoal of tour guides selling shallow water dives and underwater photographs that you’ll probably end up buying, because tourism without photos is like hot dogs without sausage. Only more modern and waterproof cell phones would achieve a similar result.
Low tide also provides the Path of Moses, inspired by the biblical character who splits the Red Sea to ensure safe passage for the children of Israel. The Brazilian version boils down to a sand trail that advances hundreds of meters into the sea and disappears when the waters begin to rise.
Another asset of Maragogi: the Croa de São Bento, another sandbank, this one formed on the high seas and accessible only by rafts.
Costa dos Corais has been an environmental protection area since 1997, the largest federal conservation unit managed by the Brazilian navy. Hence, greater control is needed, such as the ban on morning beers on tourist boats (but anyone who wants to open one at 8:30 am, on the return journey, is free).
And where to stay in Maragogi? It has several options, to the taste of the customer. From the Portal Mar guesthouse, with rates starting at R$90 and a swimming pool that resembles a large bathtub, to the boutique hotel Villa Pantai, which includes luxurious bungalows with a private pool.
One of the best known hotels in the area is Salinas Maragogi, um resort all inclusive —that is, with all expenses for food and drink already incorporated into the bill saltier than sea water. The cheapest rate in January will cost more than R$2,000 for a double room.
Maragogi went through hard times when the pandemic of Covid-1 emptied tourist destinations across the country. But Salinas, a constant feature on the list of the best resorts of its kind in Brazil, didn’t do too badly. He took advantage of the closed season to carry out works.
Built several pools for all age groups. The one for children and teenagers has water slides of different sizes. Next door, a water park for babies.
The children’s recreation, by the way, is a high point. In addition to children’s plays at night, which many parents follow with one eye on the offspring and the other on the neighboring drinks bar, there is the Clubinho do Siri. Activities run from 9 am to 9 pm, for children aged four to 12 years. Some only remember that they have a father at the end of the day. And vice versa.
In another corner of the hotel, there are two swimming pools with heated water, one of them for children — both away from the hustle and bustle of live music and monitors who make their living calling for scavenger hunts, hydrogymnastics and other recreations for slightly (or quite) alcoholic adults. A possible escape from the gourmet crowd.
Salinas takes the title of “all inclusive” seriously. Those who do not leave the stay with a few extra pounds will be congratulated, because it is not easy. The abundance of food and drink, all of good quality, spreads throughout the complex.
Many lower-priced resorts include food in their rates, but you get what you pay for. The alcoholic offer can be restricted to two cheaper types of beer, and there is a single self-service for hungry hordes to form long lines for the three meals of the day.
The chain in Maragogi has four bars and a generous selection of drinks, even served at a stand set up by the sea. Among the most requested are the Tropical Verão (whisky, spice syrup and lemon and passion fruit juices) and the hibiscus gin and tonic.
There’s a main buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the menu is creative. On a Saturday in November, lunch had almost 20 protein alternatives, such as sun-dried meat in cream, tilapia ceviche and vegan tuna. Small children have their own station, with plates from the “Patrulha Paw” cartoon.
The two à la carte restaurants require a reservation through a voucher that is given to anyone staying at least three nights.
At Mandacaru, for northeastern food, try the crispy shrimp with moqueca risotto, and for dessert tapioca pudding with rapadura foam.
At Basilico, go for octopus tentacles with crispy pancetta and grilled lobster in sage butter, accompanied by creamy black rice with pumpkin. Dessert has those things typical of a different chef, like the white chocolate panna cotta with ginger and mint syrup plus chestnut and mango crumble.
Not everything is part of the package. Some attractions are paid separately, such as tree climbing (a crossing made on platforms flush with the tops of trees) and kayaking on the river that cuts through the resort.
Every guest gets a complimentary 10-minute foot massage. A teaser for separately paid services, such as thalassotherapy (with sea water), volcanic stone treatments and more of those things rich people do when they’re bored.
Salinas is right next to Antunes beach. Like the others in the region, it has a swing, a hammock, a flowering structure in the shape of a heart and someone planted beside it, to charge a price from anyone who wants to take a picture.
Say cheese and make Pix.
Highway AL-101, north km 124, no number, Sitio Carió, Maragogi (AL). Phone: (82) 2126-7472🇧🇷 Daily rates from R$ 2,879 (for the beginning of January), with everything included.