Casa Cairucu

Paraty, Rio de Janeiro Environs, Brazil Book from Book from £275 per night

Remote and stylish eco-house (sleeps 2-8), perched between lush rainforest and turquoise seas, a short boat ride from the colonial gem of Paraty
Casa Cairuçu (pronounced ky-ru-su) is no ordinary house rental. First off, you can only get here by boat: a 15-minute ride from the charming colonial town of Paraty which, incidentally, is one of our favourite spots in Brazil. The views from the wraparound balcony are glorious: over turquoise seas which teem with bright fish, and up to cloud-wreathed peaks behind. There's superb snorkelling and canoeing on your doorstep, and sandy beaches a short walk or boat ride away.

Secondly, it uses eco-technologies to offer everything from solar showers to 4G WiFi - and this on the edge of the rainforest. There are white leather sofas in the glass-fronted sitting room, colourful art and pocket-sprung mattresses in the 3 bedrooms - all painstakingly boated in by the British-Brazilian owners.

They spend time here every year, which means that you're treated as friends of friends by the maid (who comes in Mon-Sat) and the local fishing community (who can sell you fresh snapper, mahi-mahi or shrimps). And, if you want to book a secret restaurant (tucked away on its own island), or clamber up a mini Sugar Loaf Mountain, their English-speaking concierge knows every stone, cove and boatman in the Ilha Grande bay.


  • The sea in front of the house is warm and clean, perfect for swimming, snorkelling or dolphin-spotting from the veranda
  • It's 5 minutes' walk to the sandy Praia do Bare, where kids play football on the beach; 10 minutes by boat to the idyllic Praia Vermelha
  • It's great for adventurous families (2 rooms can be twin-bedded), and kitted out for little ones too (cot, monitor, high chair; the owners have a young daughter)
  • Equally, we imagine it would be an amazing honeymoon venue for a nature-loving couple; shut off 2 bedrooms and you'd have it all to yourself without rattling around
  • With just 3 nights minimum, and free extras (pre-stay shop, 2 transfers, and a boat excursion for i-escape guests), it need not be as expensive as you think


  • The combination of partial self-catering and no road access will not suit everyone: you need to plan your shopping carefully, or pay for boats to take you to local restaurants
  • The maid, Adriana, barely speaks any English, but she knows the ropes for breakfast, clothes washing and cleaning (and she'll stay on to cook dinner, if you want)
  • Being in the rainforest, there is lots of insect life, and the birds can get a bit noisy (especially the local kingfisher)!
  • You need to know how things work - the generator, for example - but the concierge will show you, and lend you a local cellphone in case you need to call him during your stay

Best time to go

This stretch of coast - the Costa Verde (green coast) - earns its name from the rain which can arrive at almost any time of year, though generally in no more than short showers. It tends to be sunniest from the end of March to November (though it can be quite cool at night from June to September). We like the shoulder season of April-June - which also attracts low season rates. The warmer but rainier season is November to March, with January and February being especially wet, though hotter too. Christmas, New Year and the February Carnival are extremely popular times - you'll need to book many months ahead, and pay higher rates. There are sea breezes throughout the year.

There are numerous festivals in Paraty throughout the year, the most famous one being FLIP - the international literary festival - in July. Other high times include Festival da Pinga (the Cachaça Festival) in August, the Festival of the Holy Ghost, celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday, and the spectacular Bloco da Lama mud festival, coinciding with Carnival in February

Come to Paraty around Full Moon and you'll experience the famous flooding phenomenon: tides rise and water pours through the historic district, creating a mini Venice for a few hours.

Our top tips

Straight across the bay is the excellent cachacaria (small rum factory) of Maria Izabel, where you can enjoy a short tour - and a leisurely tasting!

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Coastal villa
  • 3 double/twin + 1 single
  • Self-catering; chef on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Remote concierge
  • Kayaks
  • Fishing rods


There are 3 double/twin bedrooms, all with ensuite bathrooms, and all facing the sea. In addition, there's a further single room on the other side of the house, with a bathroom next door, which might suit a nanny or older child. The main bedroom is slightly bigger than the other 2, and its bathroom has a glass wall with side views to garden and sea from the shower.

All of them have beautiful hardwood floors and white walls, with just a scattering of colourful local paintings and bright turquoise or lime green bedspreads. It's a clean and minimal effect which serves to emphasise the stunning outlooks to sea and rainforest.

Besides the sea breeze, all have eco-fans which keep them cool without draining the electricity. There's no air-con, but the louvred sliding doors mean you can sleep with them closed but still get a through draft.

Beds are comfortable, with pocket sprung mattresses, Egyptian cotton sheets and double tiered pillows; you can ask for wraparound mosquito nets if you want, though usually it is not too bad mozzie-wise. There are open wardrobes (high humidity means enclosed spaces are not ideal), wicker bedside tables - and not much furniture besides; but, when you consider that everything had to come in by boat, it's more than adequate.

Bathrooms have shower wetrooms, mosaic tiled floors and big mirrors over a stylish white porcelain sink. Water is solar heated and more than hot enough, though it can take some time to flow through.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • CD player
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Fireplace
  • Fishing rods
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Kayaks
  • Local mobile phone
  • Mosquito net
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi


The fully equipped kitchen has a fridge-freezer, oven, sink, all knives, cutlery, crockery, glasses, pans and saucepans. The owners used to live here for several months a year, so you can be sure to find those helpful extras like graters, squeezers, chopping boards, condiments etc. The house has its own spring and filter tap (in the kitchen) so you don't need to buy bottled water.

A pre-arrival shopping service is included at the beginning of your stay. Let the owners know what you’d like (they’ll send you a list to help) and you just pay supermarket prices. If you're not sure where to start, owners Simon and Fabiola have put together a list of some of their favourite Brazilian dishes: you choose what takes your fancy and they will buy the ingredients and supply the recipes... a really helpful touch, and it saves a fortune compared to eating out in Paraty every night.

The maid, Adriana, comes every morning and will prepare breakfast - usually pao de queijo (cheese rolls), fruit, toast, eggs, coffee etc. After that, you're on your own - but the concierge can advise on the best shops and supermarkets in Paraty, and you're given the phone numbers and going rates for all the local boatmen. Of course, if you're successful with your fishing, you can just grill your catch on the outdoor BBQ, throwing together some salads or rice (and sipping chilled caipirinhas) while you wait. Round it off with homemade ice cream bought from the neighbour, Carlinhos.

If you're daunted by the idea of self catering by boat, you can pay the maid extra to stay on in the afternoons and she will prepare the evening meal for you - fresh fish (peixe), squid (lula) or shrimps (camarao) are highlights. Adriana's English is almost non-existent, but so long as you don't have any complex dietary requirements, we gather that the results are delicious.

Alternatively you can take a boat into Paraty, which has plenty of restaurants throughout the year (try Banana da Terra for Brazilian, Pipo's for Italian). There are no restaurants within easy walking distance of the house, however.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Breakfast by arrangement
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Oven
  • Shopping service


  • Swim, snorkel, canoe or stand up paddle through the warm, turquoise waters in front of the house (some masks and fins provided, plus 2 double kayaks and lifejackets); the shore is rocky, but there's a pier, and a few minutes' walk away is the sandy beach and hamlet of Praia do Bare

  • Relax on the terrace spotting kingfishers and hummingbirds, or even dolphins in the bay; or take a boat (and a local) for some lazy fishing (rods provided)

  • 10 minutes by boat (or a 30-40 minute walk) is the stunning sandy beach of Praia Vermelha; and there are other, even more secluded coves on small islands within the bay (look out for turtles and starfish)

  • Take a boat into Unesco-listed Paraty : this 17th-century colonial town, a former port for the gold mined in Minas Gerais, is charmingly preserved, with cobbled streets, coloured houses, time-worn churches, trendy art galleries, artisan shops and quirky cafes with street artists and superb ice cream

  • Further afield, you'll find the fjord-like inlet of Mamangua, home to traditional fishermen and the challenging but spectacular summit of Pau de Acucar (like a smaller version of Rio's more famous Sugar Loaf)

  • Harry, the usual concierge when the owners are away, can arrange and guide this trip, and others such as sea kayaking excursions and waterfall hikes

  • Hike a section of the Caminho de Ouro ('Gold Trail'), which slaves once carried gold along. Local guides will walk with you and explain the history as you go

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Dolphin watching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming


Children are very welcome and it is a lovely place for adventurous kids of all ages - the owners spend time here every year with their young children. The large veranda has doors, making it a safe, enclosed place to play, and there are board games, too. The public footpath is good for older children to explore, and kayaks and fishing rods are fun for the teenagers. Two of the bedrooms can connect.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available

Baby equipment:

  • Travel cot
  • Baby monitor
  • Highchair
  • Baby bath

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

You should be aware that you are in the forest, and near water. There is not a big garden or flat area apart from the house's veranda and deck (with gate)

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests


Our stay was perfect, bar a brief moment of inclement weather as we made our way to Casa Cairuçu by boat but there's nothing that Simon and his team could do about that!

We were a little apprehensive bringing two young children (4 & 7) and staying somewhere we felt looked fairly remote. It was hugely helpful that Harry had organised our shopping in advance. We provided them with the list last minute, but everything was ready upon our arrival.

Having the option for the housekeeper, Adriana, to cook for us was a real bonus- our meal had already been prepared for us when we arrived. Delicious and a first-rate service, particularly when you want to have a bit more flexibility. Rather than it being too remote, in reality, we were a walk or kayak away from enough restaurants and amenities. You need to plan a bit more in advance but there was a real pleasure in stepping back from the usual connected and convenience-led lifestyle.

The house itself is stunning and in good condition - it's well looked after and the daily housekeeping helps with the maintenance. The view from the terrace is breathtaking and the gardens surrounding the house make it feel very lush. Our children loved watching the hummingbirds take a morning drink. You can even shower in a bathroom that has a sliding door which opens out to the gardens with sea view - a real treat!

For night time amusements, there was an excellent DVD collection and books, that you can trade with any novels you've brought with you.

The service was great - nothing was too much trouble. We went on a boat trip, driven by Adriana's son and organised by Harry, which included snorkelling in a natural aquarium and spending an hour on a deserted beach. We didn't know much about the Costa Verde before - we now have no idea why this isn't a No.1 holiday destination.

A magical place. So much so, we didn't even bother to explore Paraty. We shall we back!


We had such a wonderful time at this gorgeous house. The weather turned out to be good almost all the time. We had a half day of light rain during which we did the guided tour of Paraty. We loved everything about our stay there: the view, the beaches, our trips to Paraty on Luis' boat and being so well looked after by the staff. The highlight for our three daughters was going to the nearest beach on kayaks. They loved it and still talk about it!

We hope to visit Casa Cairucu another time soon!


The house is fantastic, terrasse and view are unforgettable. Staff very kind and helpful. A great experience. Don't miss the passion mousse cooked by Adriana.


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Rates for Casa Cairucu