Vida Sol E Mar

Praia do Rosa, nr Imbituba, Santa Caterina, Sao Paulo & South, Brazil Book from R$492

Stylish beach villas overlooking an unspoilt bay - ideal for families, surfers and whale-watchers alike
A 2-hour drive south of Brazil's most fashionable southern city, Florianopolis, and a final judder up a steep paved trackway takes you to Vida Sol e Mar. Perched on a hillside this eco-resort overlooks a beautiful fresh water lagoon and the perfect surf beach, Praia do Rosa. From July to November when it's cooler, migrating whales use the bay as their nursery and since making his home here in 1993, Argentinian owner Enrique and his family have created a great base from which to explore the region all year round.

You're within a natural conservation area, but fear not, there's no need to rough it: amongst its lodgings are 14 gorgeous villas sleeping 4-10 (some of which can be booked by the suite), all a short walk from the beach. Built from local rocks, each one resembles something from the "Flintstones" but inside they're far from primitive. All are slickly designed with well chosen personal furnishings, mod cons and great views of the ocean. Just the ticket for active types, nature lovers and families.

Highs

  • Stylish, well-equipped villas with benefit of hotel services
  • Unspoilt beach location with wonderful views of the bay
  • One of the best places in South America to watch whales: the hotel is the HQ for Brazil's Right Whale Institute
  • Great place to learn to surf - Rodrigo will get you standing in no time
  • Watching the moon rise over the sea at dinner
  • The charming owners, who speak good English and add many personal touches

Lows

  • Don't expect a hectic nightlife (although the beach is buzzing in peak season Dec-Feb) or to revel in Brazilian music and dance as you would up north
  • Being Brazil there's an insect community too - just close your glass doors at dusk to avoid
  • The villas are top-notch but the original hotel facilities (restaurant, pool and budget eco-rooms) are not of the same standard and could do with updating
  • The driveway is steep and can get a little tricky - but they have a 4-wheel drive and most guests opt for an airport transfer

Best time to go

Peak season is from New Year to end February when it's warm and humid, prices are higher and availability is usually limited. March-May are still warm but drier, quieter and cheaper. For whale-watching come during the cooler months July to October.

Its coastal location ensures that temperatures rarely exceed 85ºF (day time in January); and generally do not fall below 55ºF (nighttime in July). Even in winter (June-September), when rates are lower, day time temperatures usually reach 70ºF. Rainfall is a possibility throughout the year, but January and February usually experience slightly heavier showers. See Weatherbase for more detailed info.

Our top tips

Take a trip to see the waterfalls near to the town of Paulo Lopes. You'll have to take a special guide and walk about 45 minutes through Atlantic rainforest, but we promise it's worth it!

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Resort
  • 14 Villas with 46 rooms
  • Restaurants (open daily) + self-catering facilities
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor 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
  • Tennis Court
Room:

Rooms

Vida Sol e Mar gorgeous 14 beach villas (sleeping 4-10) are carefully positioned on a grassy slope between the hotel's main restaurant-reception-pool area and the sea, blending in with the natural surroundings but also come with a large dose of style and comfort.

Named after local birds, each villa has 2-5 double/twin spacious bedrooms and numerous sleek bathrooms. All are a mere stroll across the dunes to Praia de Rosa and have different views of the sea, some spectacular (Itadega), some more distant (Cardeal); some offer greater privacy (Sabiá, Gaviao and Itadega). Some have pools (Itadega), others hot tubs (Coruja, Sabiá, Fragata, Tucano, Atoba, Gaviao, Beija-Flor, Piru-Piru and Baleia), but whichever is chosen, their large floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the coastal surroundings and we would be happy staying in any.

There's much use of local river stones and Brazilian hardwood, colour-washed furniture, contemporary halogen lighting and spacious living rooms. Villas wouldn't be complete without large barbecue grills (the owners are Argentinian after all!) and all have fire places, WiFi, phones, and very well equipped kitchens with washer-driers, dishwashers, ovens, microwaves, and even blenders and sandwich makers. Rooms have AC and the living areas come with TV, CD and DVD players. From all first floor rooms you can walk out to wooden decks where there are hammocks, teak rocking chairs or loungers to laze in. There's also a daily maid service.

No matter the size of your group, there is a villa to suit you: Villas Golfinho and Coruja sleep 4, Villas Piru-Piru, Sabiá, Jerivá and the Vida Sol E Mar villas (Fragata, Tucano, Atoba, Gaviao, Beija-Flor and Cardeal) all sleep 6, Villa Baleia sleeps 8, and Villas Itadego and Gavota sleep 10. Villas Baleia, Jerivá and Itadego, as well as the Vida Sol E Mar villas, can be booked by the suite, too, and guests are able to share all of the living areas.

Features include:

  • Wifi internet
  • Phone
  • Tv
  • Dvd player
  • Internet access
  • Wifi internet
  • Safe box
  • Central heating
  • Fireplace
  • Fan
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Kitchenette
  • Full kitchen
  • Fridge
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Coffee tea making
  • Barbeque
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine

Eating

To take the edge off your journey, look beyond the welcome fruit bowl in your villa to find a complimentary shot glass and mini bottle of cachaca. Not just any type: this comes from the need-to-know bar, "Box 32" in Florianopolis, (said to be the best Cachaca you can buy).

If you're in a villa or suite, you're able to be self sufficient: the spotless kitchens have all you need (cooker, microwave, toaster, blender, dishwasher and plenty of crockery and utensils etc). Ask beforehand and they will stock up the fridge for you (it will already come with soft drinks) or arrange a cook - ideal for larger groups or families. But most visit the hotel restaurant and breakfast is included in the rates.

The main restaurant and bar (as well as reception and TV/library room) are set beneath a soaring wood and thatch roof at the top of the hill. An old wooden manoic press and 2 huge whale bones hint at local history. In low season they just use the smaller poolside restaurant but both have panoramic views over the bay. Sit outside on the deck when the moon rises from the sea and you won't forget it.

For breakfast there's a buffet. Catch owner Enrique holding onto his traditional mate tea canteen as he shuffles between tables. They lay on fresh juice, tropical fruit, hams cheeses, breads, pastries, jams, cereal and yogurt. Help yourself to coffee and tea and there's a hot tin with eggs. We loved the homemade chocolate cake and became addicted to making our morning misto quentes (simple traditional South American ham and cheese toasties).

Dinner and lunch are informal no-fuss affairs with a choice of dishes from Moqueca de Peixe (Bahian fish stew) or filet steak served with fries and fresh veg to a selection of simpler pasta dishes and healthy salads (grilled chicken with mango and palm heart hit the spot). They should be proud of their puddings - the hot chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream, passion fruit mousse and flambeed bananas with dulce de leche were all sufficiently decadent. The food, as well as selection of wines and cocktails, are all reasonably-priced but if you are staying a while in low season, you may find the menu rather limited (it's the same every day for lunch and dinner).

If you want to eat out, it's a 5-minute drive or 10-20 minute walk over the hill and along the village dirt track to a handful of local restaurants offering simple Italian, Brazilian and Asian options. During the day you can get snacks and drinks down on the beach at the nearby wooden shacks.

Features include:

  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • In house cook
  • Kitchenette
  • Full kitchen
  • Fridge
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Coffee tea making
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The Beach: the villas are just a 50-100m walk to Praia do Rosa, a large sweeping crescent of clean, soft sand backed by grassy dunes. The hotel provides simple fold-up beach chairs, parasols and towels at no extra charge (just ask at reception). For swimming, the warmer (and calmer) lagoon behind the dunes and the hotel pool are preferable to the sea
  • Whale Watching: Vida Sol e Mar is the HQ for Brazil's Right Whale Institute so you couldn't be better placed to witness extraordinary migration scenes. Enrique's the true enthusiast and each morning fishermen from along the coast let him know where they can be seen. You may see them from the shore, boat or van (special trips need min. 6 people). They own 2 boats with a trained captain to approach the whales without disturbing them. A biologist is on hand to answer questions
  • Surfing: Praia de Rosa has top class waves to suit all levels. Rodrigo manages the surf school and teaches groups of up to 4 people; wet suits and boards are provided. You can also rent boards by the hour/day or ask to be taken on surf trips to other beaches which lie to the north (Ouvidor, Barra, Ferrugem, Silveira and Garopaba) and south (Itapirubá and Ibiraquera - also good for windsurfing)
  • Excursion to La Laguna - a 4-hour round trip with one of the hotel's driver-guides. You can see dolphins, savour a simple but super fresh Brazilian seafood lunch, visit the historic colonial town and stop off at the tiny Whale Museum at Imbituba
  • Hiking: go for walks around the beaches, forests, dunes or cliffs. Local guides can be provided to show you the way.
  • Horse Riding: trips on national criolos & mangas-larga breeds depart from a nearby farm and take routes through Mata Atlântica (Atlatic Rainforest), dunes, beaches, lagoons, lakes as well as buffalo farms
  • Boat trips: boats typically leave from nearby Garopaba Beach and can take you on different length trips (1.5-5 hrs) to different beaches and islands. Snorkelling can also be included.
  • Tennis: hotel and villa guests have access to gravel courts next door

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Kids activities nearby
  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Surfing
  • Private guided tours
  • Snorkeling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Whalewatching
  • Kite/windsurfing

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome here and there's easy access to the beach and plenty of space to run around in. The transfer from the airport can take 2 hours, so be prepared, but we think it's a great spot for a unique family holiday.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Villas range in size from 2 to 5 bedrooms, and most have at least 1 twin room. All can fit baby cots, too.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement. English-speaking sitters can be arranged with advance notice. See Rates.

Baby equipment:


  • Baby cots

  • High chair

  • Baby bath

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

Children's meals:

The restaurant has a kids menu with spaghetti, chicken and rice and tenderloin and fries and half portions of adult mains are on offer. Villa and suite guests have spotless kitchens at their disposal, with blenders and microwaves, and can order takeaways.

Kids Activities on site:


  • Swimming pool

  • Outdoor playground

  • TV room with toys for ages 2-8

  • Kids DVDs

Kids Activities nearby:


  • Horse riding (ages 2+)

  • Surfing lessons (ages 5+)

  • Whale watching boat trips (ages 5+)

  • The beach and surrounding land

Families Should Know:

The pool isn't fenced and there are some stairs so tots need to be watched. The hotel can put netting around balconies for safety if needed. There's a pharmacy 1 km away that sells baby food and essentials and delivers; you can buy beach toys nearby.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1-2 hours
  • Hospital: 30 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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