You probably have never heard of this place. São Miguel dos Milagres, a small municipality of less than 10,000 inhabitants, located on the north-eastern coast of Brazil, in the state of Alagoas.
It's part of an area between the cities of Maceio and Recife, that's know for it's pristine, long-stretched beaches and warm tropical waters. An unfamiliar New Year's setting for most of us.
For most of the year, this is a place where you can have the beach to yourself. But not during the holidays around New Year's eve.
A few days before the end of the year, over a thousand good-looking people from all over Brazil come to São Miguel dos Milagres to celebrate the New Year. Stretching over a period of ten days, seven parties are being held, each one with it's own theme and location. One night you'll be dancing away to the most popular electronic beats on the beach, while the next day you will be practicing your Samba moves on a local farm or on top of one of the nearby hills. How's that for a party?
Photo credit: Raul Aragão / I Hate Flash
What's great about this party, is that it's relatively unknown. Unlike the New Year's party at Trancoso, which after being featured in the NY times got the attention of party goers all around the globe. In Milagres, I was almost the only "gringo" at the party, which makes for a unique experience.
During the day you get to enjoy the typical treats of any tropical destination: beaches stretching out for miles, warm tropical waters and palm trees everywhere you look.
I honestly have to say the New Year's party in Milagres was the best one I've been to in my life. This is for a big part because I was with an awesome group of friends, but also because the parties were amazing. The locations, the people, the atmosphere, everything was great. Not surprisingly, as it's no secret that the Brazilians know how to throw a party.
Does this spike your interest? Here's some practical information in case you want to experience this amazing event yourself!
How to get there
The nearest airports are in Maceio and Recife. From there, you have three options. By far my preferred option is to rent a car. Public transport around São Miguel dos Milagres is non-existent so a car comes in handy if you want to see some of the surrounding areas. Another option is to take a taxi. From Maceio it's a 1.5 hour drive, from Recife at least 2 hours. You can negotiate the price, my guess is it will be about $R250 from Maceio and R$400 from Recife. The third option is to take a bus to a nearby town and take a taxi from there. Check out Busca Onibus for more information.
Where to stay
São Miguel dos Milagres is a very undeveloped municipality with very few accommodation options. Tripadvisor lists 13 "pousadas," the Brazilian version of a Bed & Breakfast.
Most visitors who come for the New Year's party will rent a house. You can try rental sites such as Alugue Temporada and OLX. People probably won't speak English so if you don't have a portuguese speaker in your group, it might be tricky to communicate.
I stayed at a really nice house that my Brazilian friends arranged, so for me it was easy. It was at a very central spot, near Bar da Praia. This is a temporary lounge bar that they setup just for this party. It's a gathering place for people to hang out during the day, get some food or chill at the beach in front of the bar.
Accommodation options are limited, so owners can get away with inflating their prices substantially. Expect to pay up to
The parties aren't cheap either. You can buy an all-in pass that will give you entry to all parties plus unlimited drinks. This will set you back about R$1700 (US$740) for girls and R$2500 ($1100) for guys.
Cellphone coverage isn't great in Milagres, as the village is quite remote. If you want to be in touch with the world, get a TIM or Claro sim. There is WiFi at most of the party locations, but it's not very reliable so don't count on it.
If you rent a house, it's smart to bring lots of supplies as there are no big supermarkets around. There are local shops, but these are quite expensive.
Bring plenty of cash as there are no cash machines close-by. You can use credit cards at Bar da Praia and to buy your tickets, but I'd bring cash just in case.
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