A former fishing village turned trendy Brazilian escape, the unassuming 16th century coastal village of Trancoso remains a hidden gem of preserved colonial architecture, lush vegetation, and spectacular beaches. Its simple rustic pleasures and singular unspoiled beauty have only just recently transformed its historic streets into an annual trend-setting stomping ground for jet setters and wealthy Paulitanos. Yet while fashionistas like Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bündchen, and Diane von Furstenburg all have homes here, Trancoso remains one of those rare easy-going destinations where celebrities and ordinary holidaymakers bond over caipirinhas while wearing Havaianas sandals.

Trancoso’s main square and landmark anchor, the Quadrado, is a UNESCO-protected grassy knoll lined by modestly un-numbered brightly colored homes and irresistible bars spilling out onto the green under the shades of mango and jackfruit trees. At its helm is a traditional whitewashed church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the second oldest church in Brazil, whose simple façade is something out of a Travel + Leisure spread. The magical sight of the candlelit Quadrado at night is worth the trip alone. Beyond the church, visitors are treated to a spectacular view of the Rio Trancoso as it winds its way down the 1,200-foot cliff to the hulking Atlantic Ocean and miles upon miles of white sand beaches. The surrounding communities remain blissfully isolated and include Arraial d’Ajuda, the site of one of the oldest Catholic churches in Brazil, and the charming fishing village of Caraiva.

Trancoso’s sunny shores were once home to fishermen, Jesuit priests, and hippies, but today, the quiet beaches are gradually sprouting up a handful of beachside luxury accommodations and colorful bars and restaurants taking full advantage of the breezy scenery. Esphelho is the area’s most famous beach, often named among the most beautiful beaches in Brazil.

Trancoso is perhaps most surprising for what it lacks. Its laid-back infrastructure forgoes stoplights and ATMs, but glittering sun-drenched beaches, nightly capoeira performances, and sophisticated bikini-clad fashion put it on the map as one of the hottest destinations in Brazil. Contact a Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant to begin planning your luxury Brazil beach vacation to Trancoso today.