Archive for August, 2007
On September 20 the Brazilian airline Varig will begin operating a new intercontinental flight from São Paulo (leaving Guarulhos at 23:59) to Paris (arriving in Charles de Gaulle at 16h20) and then onto Rome (arriving in Leonardo da Vinci at 19h15). On the way to Brazil, flights will leave from Rome at 20h50, arriving in Paris at 22h45 and then in São Paulo at 06h50.
Along with the announcement of the new flight, the company declared its intention to operate flights to London and Madrid before the end of the year.
We read the news first in Aquela Passagem!, Rodrigo Purisch‘s always up-to-date blog – he published the news days before the rest of the media. Rodrigo has further details of the flight on his blog (in Portuguese).
Quite interesting, hardly a month has gone by since the Congonhas crash, and many of the announcements made by the government on the aftermath of the disaster have either been forgotten (new airport for São Paulo) or been completely ignored (“no new international flights operating from Guarulhos”), as it is the case here.
The distance from the city of São Paulo to the shore is relatively short, and there is no shortage of beaches along the coastline.
The coast of the state of São Paulo is divided in two large regions:
- the north coast (litoral norte), from Ubatuba, on the border with the state of Rio de Janeiro, to Bertioga. It includes the towns of Ubatuba, Caraguatatuba, São Sebastião and Bertioga, as well as the island of Ilhabela.
- the south coast (litoral sur), from Guarujá to the Ilha do Cardoso, on the border with the state of Paraná. It includes the cities and towns of Guarujá, Santos, Praia Grande, Mongaguá, Itanhaém, Peruibe and Cananéia.
The nearest beaches to the city of São Paulo are Santos and Guarujá. They are urban beaches, with high rises right by the sand. The kind of beaches unlikely to make foreigners fall in love with.
Going north, as soon as we pass Bertioga, the first beautiful beaches appear: Juquehy, Barra do Saí, Camburí, Maresías. The jewels on the crown are found in the town of Ubatuba.
Going south, the beaches are not so interesting. Santos has a few interesting places, but its beaches do not feature among them. Further south, you will find long open beaches, some of them polluted. In the southermost point of the coast of the state there is an Atlantic Forest reserve: the Ilha do Cardoso, an eco paradise turned into State Park. It is quite far from São Paulo and access is done through a notorious road: the rodovia Régis Bittencourt.
It’s happened again. I’m looking for accommodation for several short breaks and I’m finding again and again websites belonging to hotels and pousadas where rates are nowhere to be found.
I suppose there must be powerful reasons for a hotel not to publish their rates on the internet. But from the customer’s point of view, this non-disclosure policy is a disaster. In a globalized and competitive world where many hotels do publish their rates online, those who don’t are at a disvantage. A single click separates one pousada website from another.
Gone are the times when the travel agent was the middleman between the traveller and the industry. More and more travellers are planning their trips using the information found on the internet. And cost, I’m sure you will all agree, is one of the most valuable pieces of information for anyone about to embark on a trip.
There is a further unforgiveable sin. The vast majority of those who do not publish their rates online, have an email address where the customer can write to obtain information about rates. A significant part of those who provide an email address do not bother to reply to emails coming from potential customers. This is a suicidal attitude. Not only they are losing a client, they are fueling a source of negative feedback.
The list of pousada websites that do not publish their rates is gigantic, and I’m not going to waste my time here naming names. I’d rather illustrate my point with the example of one of my favourite pousadas in the whole of Brazil, the Vila Kalango in Jericoacoara. Their owners understood that it is possibly to present the rates online, no matter how complex they might be.
And you? Does it bother you when you can’t find the room rates for a pousada? Or do you just not care at all?
NAME: pousada Capim Santo
WHERE: Trancoso, Bahia
IN ENGLISH: no
PRICES ON THE WEBSITE: yes
LOCATION: unbeatable location, in a quiet cul-de-sac a few meters from the Quadrado, the historic square of Trancoso.
THE BUILDING: a number of houses and the pool are scattered in the middle of a lush garden.
THE ROOMS: the suite master where we stayed – the best room in the pousada – is a large room, really nice, very pleasant and quiet, all painted in white, with a very comfortable bed and an ample bathroom. The room has TV, DVD, air conditioning, a fan, a safe and a minibar. And a mosquito net with no holes in it! A real treat.
PRICES IN MAY 2007: During the high season the suite master costs R$300 per room and night. In the low season, R$250. As we got there in the very lowest season, a couple of days before the pousada closed its doors for its annual break, we ended up paying R$190 for the room. Add a 10% taxa de serviço to all the rooms.
BREAKFAST: included in the price. Great variety of savoury and sweet food. Some of the desserts weren’t as fresh as you would expect – no doubt a consequence of the low movement of clients during the low season.
FOOD: the pousada has a well-known restaurant (with a branch in São Paulo). We didn’t have a meal there.
RECEPTION: correct and a touch unfriendly.
OUR OPINON: there are cheaper alternatives in Trancoso, but we decided to make the most of the low season and give ourselves a treat. The room where we stayed is truly charming. But the pousada offers little beyond the lovely rooms. On the same cul-de-sac as the pousada there is another one that looked quite interesting.
I’m working at the moment on the implementation of the new layout of the Brazil Travel Blog. The main changes are already in place, with a new sidebar on the right. Over the coming days I will be rearranging the content of the blog.