Chácara is a term used in Brazil to describe several kinds of properties with rural characteristics. Although it describes a living experience with deep roots in the Portuguese quinta, the word derives from quechua - a rare etymology in Brazilian Portuguese.
- A chácara can be a small-scale version of a farm - a Brazilian country house surrounded by gardens and orchards, a vegetable garden and some animals (maybe poultry, a few horses or donkeys, goats, or rabbits).
When a chácara is advertised as a vacation rental property, you can usually expect a house with many rooms, trees, a pool, a barbecue grill area, a sports court or a soccer field.
- Some urban properties with rural features - plenty of land, trees, possibly a pond - are also called chácaras. Often located on the threshold between city and country, chácaras which are engulfed by growing urban areas become special attractions to be preserved.
Santa Teresa, in Rio de Janeiro, is an example of a neighborhood with remnants of nineteenth-century chácaras. The most famous among them is the one inherited by art collector Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maya (1894-1968) and later turned into Museu da Chácara do Céu.
- When a Brazilian pousada, or guesthouse, calls itself a chácara, that usually means it's a great place for families with kids, such as Chácara Rio Jordão, an ideal mix of rural life and beach location in Florianópolis.
- A chácara can also be a property where vegetables, fruit or ornamental plants are grown for sale. An example of a chácara which has gone beyond the status of a regular nursery to become a tourist attraction with bonsai gardens, a bistrot, and a quality Brazil handicraft store is Chácara Tropical, in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.
Brazilians often refer to their own chácaras in the diminutive - chacrinha, denoting both the scale and the snugness of the concept.