CAN’T TOQUE THIS! Get to know one of Brazil’s best kept secrets

by Gabriella Ribeiro
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Hello Edson! You’ve got a fabulous job, I’d love to know how you arrived in such a magical part of Brazil.

My name is Edson Pavão, I am 50 years old, Brazilian born and Portuguese by ancestry. I am graduated in Law from the University of São Paulo and post graduated in International and Business Law from the London Metropolitan University. 

I have always loved to travel and have been very interested in the tourism business. When I was a graduate student my family and I run a small travel agency. We were specialized in taking people to destinations in the South of Brazil.

After I finished my Master's Degree in 1996, I worked for a decade as a lawyer for two multinationals: Enron South America and AOL Latin America. However, during that whole period, I felt that my true calling was to flee the big city and become an hotelier. 

In 2005 the Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel came true after a lot of research looking for the ideal place, I found an old ranch in the Toque Toque Grande Beach, São Sebastião, SP. In December of that year, I acquired the property and a year later, with my wife Renata, we open our business. Twelve years late we pride ourselves on our prized, sustainable, green and romantic beach resort.

What makes your destination so special? Why would a curious traveler want to visit?

São Sebastião is special for many reasons. Just to name a few: 

It is one of the oldest villages founded in Brazil in 1502, just two years after the country’s discovery by the Portuguese. At that time, the region had dozens of sugar cane mills, responsible for greater economic development and characterization as a housing and political nucleus. This made possible the political-administrative emancipation of St. Sebastian on March 16, 1636. The city still maintains its historic centre with its 17th and 18th-century buildings as one of its main touristic attractions.  The city has 36 wonderful-with-sand-blue-sea beaches that can be enjoyed almost all year round since its average temperature is 23,5 Centigrade. Half of the city lands are inserted in the Serra do Mar State Park, where most of the remainder of the original Atlantic Forest is located. It has a beautiful complex of Islands only a short boat ride away.

In 3 words, what draws travelers to São Sebastião?

Beaches, Nature, History

In your opinion, what should a first-time visitor, absolutely NOT miss when they visit São Sebastião? (Think insider experiences, more out-of-the-box than the norm)

Trek at least one of its dozens of waterfall trails
Visit the São Francisco Archaeological Site
Visit Calhetas Beach

Tell us about your property – what makes it so unique? Give us 3 insider secrets about your hotel that you would like our listeners to know about.

The Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel & Spa is a destination where the beach, mountains, nature, charm, and gastronomy combine with friendly, personalized service to provide a peaceful and romantic getaway. Reflecting the "barefoot luxury” of a private vacation home, our hotel has 13 unique and comfortable suites with stunning sea views. Each is equipped with a private Jacuzzi spa or pool, and select accommodations feature their own saunas.

With a breath-taking seaside location on São Paulo’s North Shore, 50 meters above sea level and in the heart of the Atlantic Forest, Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel has been voted among the top 25 Brazilian romantic hotels by TripAdvisor Travellers Choice 2015 and has been awarded the 2016 World Luxury Hotels Award in the Best Beach Hotel category. Enjoy an experience that blends elegance, romance, charm, nature, and simplicity like no other destination. Escape the ordinary at our hip boutique hotel in São Sebastião!

Our top secrets:
Offer your partner a delightful and secluded Romantic Dinner. It is served in a private and decorated area by the pool
Pamper yourselves in our double room at the Ilha de Toque Toque SPA by L’Occitane au Brésil
Visit Calhetas Beach, just a short walk away from the Hotel

What are some off-the-beaten-path places that only locals know about? 

Dozens of hidden trails

The São Francisco Archaeologic Site and its legends

Why is it so easy to fall in love with São Sebastião?

As we say: São Sebastião has it all, including you!

What kind of traveler is best for the destination?

Eco-travelers, Families, Couples.

What is your favourite place to eat locally? Where do you like to walk and roam if/when you have time off?

In addition to the Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel Gastronomy? We love the food of one of the oldest restaurants in Maresias, São Sebastião, called Terral. It has a local touch, decent prices, and nice atmosphere.

Gabriella Ribeiro