Sunday, July 29, 2012
You'll see some of the best beaches in Brazil on this coast
Forbes reckons it's "the new golf". It's kite-surfing, a sport that attracts adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. In the last 30 years, it's changed from a niche sport to a mainstream one. It's now common to see kite surfers at the beach. If you're on the right beach, that is. One beach that's highly rated by kite surfers is Cumbuco in Brazil.
Cumbuco is a small fishing village about 30 minutes outside Fortaleza on Brazil's northeast coast. Fortaleza is a big, modern city with high rise towers lining the boardwalk, luxury malls and a vibrant nightlife.
Cumbuco is very different. It's a relaxed little town with a laid-back vibe. It started as a humble fishing village. Many of the residents are still full-time fishermen, heading out to sea every morning in their small wooden boats. But their modest homes now sit alongside trendy beach bars and boutique hotels.
Kite surfers started coming to Cumbuco 10 years ago. The town was already a popular place for locals from Fortaleza, looking for a tranquil weekend and vacation spot. You'll see lots of big, luxury houses around town. Some of Fortaleza's wealthiest families own vacation homes here.
You'll understand why when you see Cumbuco's beaches:
The white sand beaches run for miles, lined with coconut palms. This section of coastline is still mostly undeveloped. It's home to little fishing villages, lagoons packed with wildlife, and massive sand dunes that dwarf the surrounding landscape. You can drive for miles on the sand, stopping off at little rustic bars and restaurants for snacks, fresh coconut water or photo opportunities.
It's hard to believe that you're so close to a major city and international airport. This place feels off the beaten track. It's a little beach hideaway that will charm you and make you want to spend more time here.
Kite surfers come to Cumbuco from across the globe. They're mostly Scandinavian. Businesses sprang up to service the kite surfers - kite surf schools, equipment rental, B&Bs, chic little hotels, and chill-out bars where the bronzed surfers come to trade tales over a caipirinha at sunset.
The town offers a wide selection of restaurants - German, Italian, Brazilian, and Spanish. It's the kind of place where you can enjoy a gourmet fish dish or opt for a simple meat grill.
Cumbuco's changing slowly but it's still holding on to its fishing village roots. But it is definitely becoming more upscale. You only have to look at the latest hotel addition to see that. The Vila Gale hotel opened its doors in late 2010. It's a five-star resort where guests pay up to $400 a night. It was full of wealthy families from southern Brazil the last time I visited.
The hotel plans to add a golf course and a residential development of condos and houses. Brazilian and Spanish groups snapped up the land around Vila Gale. They plan on developing residential projects, too, aimed at well-heeled local and foreign buyers.
Property prices in Cumbuco have risen significantly in the last five years. Beachfront land now costs up to 600 reals ($300) per square meter. But there is a way to get into the Cumbuco market for much less.
It's in a community called Summerville.
I first saw Summerville three years ago. It didn't really grab me at first. Sure, it was only a five-minute beach buggy ride to the center of Cumbuco. But it felt isolated. That's changed with the arrival of the Vila Gale hotel.
Summerville now sits between the center of Cumbuco and Vila Gale. It feels connected. Vila Gale is to the west of Summerville and a new luxury project lies to the east. Summerville now feels like part of an exclusive high-end neighborhood. But its property prices don't reflect that.
Lot prices in Summerville start from 72,000 reals ($36,000). That's only $190 per square meter.
Yet Summerville is a beachfront community. All the lots are a short stroll to the beach.
And you're not betting on the infrastructure. It's already in. The community has paved roads, utilities, landscaped grounds, a social area, basketball court and swimming pool:
Homes in Summerville look stylish. Yet build costs here run around 120-160 reals ($60-$80) per square foot. A budget of $150,000 gets you the lot and will build a 1,600-square-foot house with nice finishes.
That's a great price for a beach house - and a real bargain for a beach home in Brazil.
You can get in touch with our local broker contacts, Daniel and Hanna Neves, here and they'll send you a full information package on Summerville.