What We Love
- Location in a tiny, unspoiled fishing village — a welcome escape from Sao Paulo or Rio
- The farmhouse kitchen–style dining, featuring homemade bread, zingingly fresh fish and local produce
- Sweet, solicitous service by the 100 percent local, pousada-trained staff
What To Know
- Rooms are on the small side and simpler than you might expect, with no room service and only basic amenities
- Access to the village is via a winding, steep, pedestrian-only path
- Get ready to get off the grid: no Internet, cell phone signal or TV on the property
- Eco friendly
Seaside simplicity in a Brazilian country house style, with white walls brightened up by royal blue trim, and red tile or wooden floors. Candles bring a gorgeous glow to the main lounge at night, where a fire is kept burning on rainy or cold days. Fine old maps, traditional craft art, and Brazilian photography and painting adorn the walls, but they’re all outshone by the richest color accents of all: the lush green of the garden and the changing blue of the sea beyond.
Bed and Bath
The pousada’s setting within a state park means there’s no room for expansion and space is at a premium in the simple bedrooms. But the owners make a virtue of that simplicity, decorating the rooms in a mix of white walls with tile floors and cool blue accents. Petite bathrooms are stocked with Natura toiletries in tropical scents, with powerful showers that can leave the floor a bit awash. The kingsize beds have canopies with brilliant white mosquito nets, while the generous verandas feature hammocks and are cleverly shielded from one another by lush greenery.
Dinner is served around 8 p.m. every night, and pre-dinner drinks (not included) offer a chance to chat with fellow guests. Or step in and join the bartender as he shows you how to make the perfect caipirinha. The staff is fiercely proud of the fresh fish and local produce here — much of the vegetable and dairy produce comes from sister hotel Fazenda Catuçaba — and the bread and cakes are all made on the premises. The buffet-style dinner might be a rich, savory coconut and seafood stew or roasted fish with a rainbow of colorful vegetables. Massages and beauty treatments can be arranged, or just flop down by the pool, in the well-tended garden.
In the Area
The point of the Picinguaba is its Zen-like simplicity, set in an unspoiled, still-working fishing village. Take a stroll to the beach to watch the catch being brought in, or take a dip in the ocean. Or stop for a beer or a juice at the friendly Picinbar, where they serve a spectacular camarão na moranga: pumpkin filled with shrimp in a creamy sauce. You can catch a WiFi wave here, too, if you’re in need of a connection. The long, deserted two-mile beach visible from the pousada can be reached by kayak or via a 20-minute walk that includes fording a river; there’s no bridge, so the only way is through the water (the hotel provides water-resistant bags). Tag along with the staff on a trip to buy fish, or to collect fresh, sustainable hearts of palm from a nearby settlement. Or book an organized hike to a waterfall or a boat trip to the nearby islands, or head for the historic, cobblestone town of Paraty, 30 minutes away.
How to Get There
We spent two nights at this Pousada. Not easy to reach when you get there at night. But you are rewarded by the peaceful atmosphere, the hospitality, the rooms. The swimming pool has a fantastic view. The outdoor activities are just perfect (we spent the day in the bay area on their private schooner with a dedicated crew). Breakfast buffet is just perfect too.
Room for improvement? The diner buffet was a bit disappointing; food quality and recipes could be more stylish (it must have been better in the past when reading the guest book on site).
We spent 5 nights here and were really looking forward to getting away from things and relaxing in peace and tranquility, especially coming from 4 nights in Rio. We chose the right place, Picinguaba is a very calm and unique fishing village where you can forget about your worries and chill out.
As for the hotel, similar to a previous person, we certainly felt it was overpriced for the quality of the rooms (they are small and pokey). The whole hotel would have to become a bit more "efficient" (the sauan was not working when we came" and go the extra mile to justify the prices they are charging. We had the opportunity to meet the owner's sister and brother in law and gave them this feedback. So perhaps we will see either the standard improve or the prices go down. This is why I say frustratingly beautiful, because it could be a true 5 star property.
However, let's focus on some of the massively positive points:-
- the view is completing stunning
- the quality of the food is superb, my wife is French and has high standards
- the staff are friendly and try hard to make sure you have everything you need (especially Raphael)
- the birds and wildlife in the morning are breathtaking, get up early to see the monkeys and birds
- the caipirinhas are amazing
Let's start by saying that I am an EXTENSIVE traveler (even if I don't often post reviews!). From business to leisure travels, from thrift accommodations to very luxurious, on all continents, for 25 years.
The hotel has been abundantly marketed in Deco magazines and through photographs enthusiasts posts. And frankly the viewpoint from the swimming pool is stunning. There are not that many other view points though.
In reality, once you saw the (again, amazing)view point, it is important to note that the actual premises of the hotel are...non existent: there is the pool area...and that's it, no garden, no access to a beach or other view points. It can feel a little constraining but you can walk to the fisher hamlet down the hill, there is beach there.
For the rest, the main thing to say is this: it is outrageously expensive...for what you get. From international standards perspective, for Brazil, for what you get. From any points. We were not even high season. The place is really nice. But for THAT price it really is difficult to understand how you can get SUCH a cramped bathroom (and again, I did not come here to have a Ritz type of bathroom, but that was hostel like, you basically don't even have a space to put your bathroom stuffs!), there is barely any places to put your clothes on, the total square footage is really limited - again, compared to the price point. We had come there, partly on the premise that we were happy to experience the simple and organic life, that is not the issue. The fact that you don't have bottle water in the room is part of this, this is not what this review is about...It is the ratio value for money.
Also, we did a boat trip that was...quite underwhelming to say the least - and again, everything has a price and I am saying, compared to the price. It was supposed to be a whole day boat trip to go through some of the more secluded places of the coast. (stunning coastal natural park in the area, we drove the whole coast). We were taken to an island in front of the village. The beach was literally FULL of people, was dirty (not the hotel fault though! It is just that you would imagine that they know better than the average tourist where to take you) and quite far from what we were sold. But ok, we just asked the skipper if we could move somewhere else. We moved to another beach on another island, where we could walk for just about 300 yards/meters (the rest was off limit). We stayed there until it was lunchtime. Very very simple lunch that frankly must have cost them peanuts (again, I can eat super ultra basic food - very happy with that. It's all a matter of what you get for what you paid). Not even a sweet thing to finish or a tea or a coffee for the whole day. Then the boat did not move for about 2,5 hours. And then....we sailed back!! THAT was the boat day trip. Seriously....I have been doing these kind of things in Asia, Arabic countries, remote places of Africa, the Americas etc...I could really see what other things could have been done. I don't know if they were saving on fuel or something but we were quite underwhelmingly stunned...
anyways...again, general impression is that it's a rustic experience (fine) with a beautiful viewpoint, but with offerings and accommodations that really can NOT justify the pricing, even if you consider that you have to subsidize a little bit the "alternative" sustainable and organic lifestyle (I should mention I am an economist by profession, ha!)
We stayed for two nights in the Honeymoon suite which is a beautiful room with a great view and jetted tub. As it was off season, there were not many other guests there but the service was still excellent. The room was clean and well appointed. The bar was always open and Michell was very friendly and served us excellent beer and caipirinhas! Breakfast was typical food for Brazil and very fresh. Dinner was absolutely delicious! All the staff were friendly and willing to spend time with us discussing the area and the resort.
Yes, the town of Picinguaba is small and a bit isolated via some rough roads but it is only 10 mins off the main road between Ubatuba and Paraty. We loved the small village feel and had a light lunch at one of the local bars. We took a boat ride to Ilha des Couves, a small island about 10 min boat ride. Had the best lunch ever of fresh fish, rice, beans and salad. The island is small but so beautiful! Well worth the trip.
We also went to Paraty for a few hours and had lunch at Cafe de Canal. The resort called ahead for us and special ordered Escondidinhlo for us...it was perfect.
We will definitely return to Pousada Picinguaba and spent more time then.
Muito Obrigada to all the staff!!
We were on our last week of our honeymoon in Argentina and Brazil, and this place was unforgettable. We had the honeymoon suite which had wonderful views over the bay. All the staff are really friendly and helpful, and get to know you during your stay. We could choose any activities we wanted to do each day from kayaking, surfing, boat trips, etc. We were given a bespoke trip when a local guide called Betu took us on a hike through jungle and swimming in fresh water pools. The food at the hotel was all fresh from their farm and we loved to eat the catch of the day. To love this place, you need to appreciate all its quirks and natural beauty. It is "rough around the edges" and not a fancy plush city hotel. But it still feels welcoming, special and high standard. You almost feel like you've discovered a hidden secret, as it's not a tourist spot familiar to many British tourists. We can't wait to go back again some time in the future.