TRAVEL

TRAVEL, FOOD, FASHION, ART

LEBANON GUIDE

I've been coming to Beirut for almost seven years and my love for this place keeps growing each time. My husband is Lebanese and the family still lives here and that's why we share our time between the US and Lebanon. Just like Brazil, this place has a special part in my heart and it makes me feel like home! It might be the rich culture, the kind people, the happy spirits even in times of adversity, the delicious food or the many different sceneries that cross the country. Lately, I've been discovering Lebanon like I never did before. Amazing days skiing followed by lunch on the beach, a visit to a Syrian refugee camp and the many schools built there, a gorgeous day at the Baalbek ruins and many other adventures. People often ask me if it's dangerous coming to Lebanon. My personal answer after being here more than 20 times is no. In fact, I feel more secure in this country than in other places. For this reason I'm sharing details of my favorite places and things to do. This was carefully put together based on my personal experiences and the help of close Lebanese friends. Enjoy and don't forget to take notes!

WHERE TO STAY IN BEIRUT

LE GRAY

FOUR SEASONS 

WHERE TO EAT IN BEIRUT

Lebanese cuisine is by far my favorite! The variety, the flavors, the richness, simply unbelievable. Expect to gain a few pounds while here (: Some of these restaurants are more traditional and others are more trendy but all of them are amazing. Note that some of them have the summer and the winter editons but I linked all places and if you click on their names it will direct you to their pages where you can get more information.

MOUNIR 

Amazing traditional fresh lebanese food located 20 minutes form Beirut in a beautiful hill. It's usually the first place I go for dinner when I arrive in Beirut. Make sure you have a light lunch before!

LA PARRILLA 

The summer edition has a gorgeous view of Beirut and a super cool atmosphere with a DJ on the rooftop. The winter edition is right next to my house and it's super cozy. Everything is good but the burger is amazing.

CAPITOLE

Great for dinner and drinks, the view is beautiful and the most popular night is Thursday. 

EM SHARIF

Located Downtown Beirut next to all the shops. The food is spectacular, definitely a must for lebanese food lovers.

CASABLANCA

You know when a restaurant is good when the locals are always there. It was the first place my husband took me 7 years ago and the food remains great. Simple and delicious.

MEAT THE FISH

It started as a small place the it was such a success that they keep expanding. Fresh and yummy choices  for a nice lunch or dinner with friends!

BABEL BAHR

Gorgeous place by the sea for lunch or dinner especially during the summer. Feels like you're in the south of France.

CENTRALE

This place is special. Summer or winter it has a great atmosphere and a super cool bar!

OTHER GREAT RESTAURANTS: La petit maison (french), Tavolina (Italian),  Kampai (Sushi), Cocteau (french), Balthus (french), Pacifico (mexican), Arts (fusion), Dirty Laundy, Baron (french).

WHERE TO WORKOUT/YOGA

Because I spend long periods of time in the city, I try to attend some yoga classes as well as boxing and spinning. I do my boxing/Muay Thai classes with Jihad (a Lebanese champion) at U ENERGY gym. My spinning classes are at EXHALE gym and my yoga at YOGA SOUK. 

WHERE TO SHOP 

It's hard to tell you where to shop in the city as there are endless boutique and hidden places all over Beirut but here are some of the places I go: All shops in the Downtown area, PLUM, Sarah's bag, L'artisan Du Liban, Orient 499, Elie Saab, Les 66, Aishty, Sandra Mansour, Andrea Wazen, Vanina and many other places around MAR MIKHAEL and Gemmayzé. If you need a shopping mall you can go to the new ABC Mall.

WHAT TO DO IN BEIRUT

Now that I gave you a list of the best restaurants to go in Beirut, I will also tell you what are my favorite things to do in the city and the "must do's" outside of Beirut. You can do everything by car and the roads are usually beautiful!

DOWNTOWN BEIRUT 

This is usually the first thing I do when I get to the city. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes and go walk around. You'll have a great sense of the city's eclectic architecture that has mostly been reconstructed but still carrying the 19th century feel. You will see churches, cathedrals and mosques. When walking around the SAIFI area you'll most probably see beautiful brides (christian and muslims) taking photographs with their grooms. You'll also see many shops and boutiques, from the fanciest names like Hèrmes and Chanel to amazing local shops. While walking around you'll stumble upon modern constructions and really old historical buildings, sometimes right next to each other. To me, this contrast is what makes Beirut extra special. Girls often ask me: "Can I walk around by myself? Is it safe"? Yes, you can definitely walk around alone without having to worry. Something I can't do in my country these days. So put your comfy shoes on and enjoy the journey!

GEMMAYZE AND MAR MIKHAEL

These are the two "coolest" areas of Beirut, I love walking around these streets and stopping by cafés and boutiques. At night the streets are filled with happening bars and restaurants!

ZAITUNAY BAY

Located at the Beirut Marina, the bay has several restaurants and cafes. Perfect for a nice walk, lunch or diner.

CORNICHE - SEASIDE

I usually go for a walk or a run by the corniche during the sunset. I leave form Zaitunay bay and finish by the Pigeon Grotto (Raouché). When you get there you can sit by a cafeé and enjoy the view.

MUSEUMS

You can check a list of the best museums in Beirut HERE

THINGS TO DO IN LEBANON

BYBLOS

This was the first place I visited when I came to Lebanon and I still go there from time to time. the ruins are beautiful and they have amazing concerts during the summer. Byblos is the oldest port in the world so you'll breathe history all over the place. Have lunch at PEPE by the port.

JEITTA GROTTO

SKIING IN FARAYA

If you like skiing and the snow is good this is a must! Stay at the Intercontinental MZAAR HOTEL located on the slopes and have lunch or dinner at LE MONTAGNOU.

BEIT EL DINE PALACE AND SUMMER FESTIVAL

QANNOUBINE (TRACKING)

SAIDA (AND ITS SOUK)

OSCAR NIEMEYER LEGACY - TRIPOLI

I have not visited Tripoli yet but I was very surprised to know that the legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer has designed 15 incredible structures in 1963 that were unfortunately unfinished due to the country's civil war in 1975. Read more about this incredible futuristic structures HERE

Still in Tripoli, I was told the the tour of the Hammans it's a must, more tham 1000 years of story. Make sure you contact an experienced and trustable team before visiting the area.

CHOWEN LAKE

BAALBEK RUINS

It took me six years to visit Baalbek! I don't know exactly what I was waiting for but I finaly made it happen during my last trip to Beirut. I took my friend and together with a guide (mattasalim@gmail.com) we explored the ruins and the vicinities. The day was incredible as Salim included some surprises such as a visit to the Lamartine Valley, a visit to the Ksara winery and a gorgeous sunset on a beautiful road surrounded by cedars. 

This is it! i could go on and on with more places and more tips so feel free to participate and help me add things to this precious list. This country is very dear to me and I couldn't be happier to be able to share my experiences with you (:

FASHION

BEACH BABE

TRAVEL, FASHION

ATACAMA DESERT DAY I

Entendo e respeito as pessoas que programam suas viagens com antecedência, que buscam vôos, hotéis e até passeios com um cronograma impecável. Infelizmente não sou uma delas…

Tive três dias para organizar essa viagem com meu amigo, o fotógrafo Eduardo Bravin. Sempre que temos um tempinho, escolhemos um destino incrível para curtir e fotografar. Dessa vez fotografamos looks maravilhosos e cheio de cores da DHUO. A idéia do Atacama que fica no norte do Chile, foi do Eduardo, e na hora topei! Viajamos sem nem ter reserva em hotel, decidimos chegar lá e organizar tudo na hora.  A cidade é bem pequenininha e todas as agências de viagens com os tours, hotéis, mercadinhos e restaurantes ficam mais ou menos na mesma rua, a Caracoles.

Saímos de São Paulo de manhã cedo, de lá fomos para Florianópolis, Santiago e finalmente chegamos ao aeroporto de Calama, que aliás me surpreendeu muito por ser super novo e moderno. San Pedro de Atacama fica há uma hora e meia do aeroporto. No trajeto (pegamos um transfer ali mesmo no aeroporto), curtimos um pôr do sol incrivel, as cordilheiras refletiam tons de azul, rosa e roxo, um espetáculo… Logo, já senti a energia do lugar e o quanto essa viagem seria especial.

Tínhamos como recomendação o Hotel Kimal. Na chegada paramos ali mas infelizmente estava cheio. Demorou 15 minutos a pé para eu percorrer a maioria dos hotéis da cidade e finalmente escolher um que adorei. O  Puritama Hostal fica na esquina de onde tudo acontece, na rua principal e de onde saem todos os tours. O lugar é bem simples mas não deixou a desejar (o wifi estava melhor do que o meu em SP!!) e a diária custou em torno de R$300, O Kimal estava bem mais caro, como R$800. 

Como chegamos à noite, aproveitamos para passear pela rua central e conhecer os lugares. A maioria dos turistas que vimos são brasileiros mas também conhecemos americamos, europeus e asiáticos sem fim. A cidade estava relativamente cheia mas não precisamos de reserva antecipada para nada. Comemos em um restaurante delicioso chamado LA CASONA. Lá recomendo a salada Merluzza, a carne ao sugo e o prato mais conhecido do Chile, a Lo Pobre. Esse seria o nosso famoso PF! Já tinha escutado sobre a beleza do céu do Atacama, e agora pude conferir como é lindo… Eles oferecem inúmeros tours para ver as estrelas, mas se você caminhar 5 minutos para fora da rua principal,  já consegue ver um céu que com certeza ficará guardado na memória (: A noite da uma esfriada, sugiro levar uma jaqueta, calça e bota na mala… Agora é dormir e descansar para os tours de amanhã!

ENGLISH

I understand and respect people that plan a trip in advance and meticulously organize all the details beforehand. Unfortunately I am not like this (: I usually choose a place, book a flight and then start looking into everything else. I had three days to plan this trip to the Atacama Desert, located in Northern Chile. My original plan was to go to Peru, but when I decided to check the weather forecast, I found out that it was going to rain (a looooot) everyday. So, I talked to my friend, the photographer Eduardo Bravin and he mentioned the beauty of the landscapes of the Atacama Deserts. We always plan this kind of trips together. We pick a cool destination to tour around and shoot incredible pictures. This time we joint forces with a Brazilian brand called DHUO.

We left São Paulo, stopped by Florianópolis, Santiago Del Chile and finally arrived at Calama. From there we took a transfer to San Pedro Atacama. It took us one and a half hours and we watched a breathtaking sunset while driving there. The mountains reflected colors like pink, purple and orange and the sky looked like it was catching fire, wow!

we decided to book a hotel upon our arrival (I know it's crazy but the city is suuuuper small) so we had the chance to see a few before picking the one we like. They are more or less located one next to the other, on the main street so it's very easy to go around. The recommendation was Kimal Hotel, which is one of the best, but they were expansive and didn't have place available, so we stayed right next door at PURITAMA HOSTAL, a simple place that had all we needed, a good suite and Wifi!

As we got there at nightime, we showered and went around the town that basically consists of one main street, Caracoles. Most of the restaurants are there, so we picked a delicious place called La Casona. We ordered a great bottle of Chilean Pinot Noir and ate what they call "Lo Pobre" which os the typical meal for the chileans. They serve this dish at all the restaurants. At night, the best attraction are the stars… There are numerous tours offers for that but you can also walk for 5 minutes in the opposite direction of the town lights and you'll gaze at a sky that you won't forget… 

TIPS

MELHORES HOTEIS: ALTO ATACAMA DESERT LODGE& SPA (o mais exclusivo da região R$  HOTEL KIMAL(mega central preço aproximado R$480) HOTEL PASCUAL ANDINO (central, moderno e também carinho R$512) CABANAS ANCAR ATACAMA (esse é o mais top de todos! R$906)HOTEL CUMBRES (1,5km do centrinho R$785), DON RAUL (central act U$195), CKAMUR ATACAMA ETHNO LODGE (2,6km do centrinho R$535). Se o objetivo da sua viagem for os passeios e conhecer bem o lugar, meu conselho é gastar menos no hotel! É so chegar na rua Caracoles e visitar os inúmeros hoteizinhos locais, foi isso que foz e amei onde fiquei.

BEST HOTELS: ALTO ATACAMA DESERT LODGE & SPA(The most exclusive $650 per night), HOTEL KIMAL(right in the center act U$220) , HOTEL PASCUAL ANDINO (central, modern, amazing $US195) CABANAS ANCAR ATACAMA (0,5km from the center, fantastic and pricey), HOTEL CUMBRES (1,5km from town U$260), CKAMUR ATACAMA ETHNO LODGE (2,6km form town U$204). If you prefer to stay at a cool hostel, I advise you to go and look for yourself, there are plenty of nice places around caracoles Street!

Alto Atacama Desert Lodge 

Alto Atacama Desert Lodge 

Alto Atacama Desert Lodge

Alto Atacama Desert Lodge

hotel2.jpg
Hotel Poblado Kimal

Hotel Poblado Kimal

Hotel Kimal

Hotel Kimal

Hotel Cumbres

Hotel Cumbres

Hotel Cumbres

Hotel Cumbres

Hotel Kimal

Hotel Kimal

Pascual Andino

Pascual Andino

Cabanas Ancar Atacama

Cabanas Ancar Atacama

Cabanas Ancar Atacama

Cabanas Ancar Atacama

Hotel Ckamur

Hotel Ckamur

Hotel Ckamur

Hotel Ckamur