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Forte de Jurere, Santa Antonio de Lisboa and others

Sunday, 13 March 2016 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Santa Catarina
After checkout from the hotel this morning we arranged a day tour with our friendly taxi driver from the drive in.

First, we visited the Forte de Jurere / Fortaleza de São José da Ponta Grossa. An old stone fort with canons built in the 27th and 18th centuries. Really very lovely. A mini museum with old european pots and glassware was particularly interesting.

Next we stopped at Santa Antonio de Lisboa, a nice little beachside historical center. It was worth a 15 minute walk around the old square and along the bay and marina. We had live oysters (well, Bud did) at Frequesia Bar and it was excellent.

Last, we visited the Catedral Metropolitana de Florianopolis in the main downtown area and spent an hour or so walking around the area. For a Monday afternoon, it was bustling with activity.

Ecological Trail, Costão do Santinho

Saturday, 12 March 2016 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Santa Catarina
This morning we dropped the kids at Kids Club (!) and went for a walk on one of the trails near the hotel. The "Ecological Trail", oddly named, turned out to be quite a pleasant walk though the woods and groves of bamboo for about 45 minutes in each direction.

At certain points, we could her the ocean in the distance, and it was the first time all weekend we actually had real, actual, quiet. Bliss.

The trail ended rather abruptly at a 'lagoon' somewhere behind the headland near the hotel, and left us no choice but to return from whence we came...

Costão do Santinho, Florianópolis

Friday, 11 March 2016 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Santa Catarina
A long weekend at a restort. Don't go anywhere, just eat and swim. The girls always enjoy such a weekend, but to me it feels like an exercise in avoiding nuisance guests and noise. Its like living in a bus terminal for the weekend. On purpose.

We very much enjoyed the coastal walk, the rock carvings and writing were interesting and the walk after all the rain was challenging.

At lunch we had the best beef ribs (costelão) we've ever had. Amazing.

Borboletario (butterfly farm)

Saturday, 13 February 2016 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Sao Paulo
Our last touristy visit before returning to São Paulo, was the borboletario - butterflies. We had tried the day before, but found it closed.

Isabella and Annabel both seemed to attract the critters...

Amantikir Jardins, Campos do Jordão

Friday, 12 February 2016 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Sao Paulo
A visit this morning to the Amantikir Jardins. We came for the promise of a real garden labyrinth, which was great. The rest of the gardens were really lovely and excellently presented.

Paraty by Boat

Saturday, 6 February 2016 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Rio de Janeiro
We took a boat tour of the beachs and islands around Paraty. A lovely day out. Luke was on holiday with us. Isabella tried a bit of snorkeling.

PETAR - Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira

Tuesday, 29 December 2015 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Sao Paulo
Heading into the PETAR - Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira properly, we visited the Caverna de Santana. This time we had a private tour, which was arranged after some small amount of confusion and backtracking.

It was utterly splendid. Spelunking. Climbing up ropes and ladders. Squeezing through cracks. Sliding down ledges.

Isabella asked our friendly guide questions solid for 2 hours.

Afterwards, we had a simple lunch and a swim in a natural swimming pool near the rapids, and took in the waterfall that emerges mysteriously from the side of the mountain - the water that carved the cave we just enjoyed.

Caverna do Diabo

Saturday, 19 December 2015 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Sao Paulo
We travelled with Liesbeth to a small town called Eldorado near to PETAR, a huge National park in the south west of São Paulo state.

First stop was the Caverna do Diabo (Devils Cave). The cave was magnificent and very accessible. Lots of lighting and easy walkways.

After the cave, we took the trails to the waterfall nearby. Along the trail we encountered a snake basking in a sunny spot on the trail. That was the end of the walk for Bud.

After a very pleasant lunch, we tackled the trail to the top of the mountain that the cave is inside of. 760m elevation change, through dense forest. Lovely flowers and trees. The girls did really well with a very tough walk.

Amazon River Dolphins

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Amazonas
Seeing the river dolphins was by far the thing Isabella was most excited to do in the Amazon.

We took a 1 hour speedboat ride from the Ecopark to a spot along the Rio Negro (low pH to no Piranha!) where a little platform had been built to visit with the dolphins.

Our guide fed the dolphins and generally watched out for us. The dolphins were very gentle and seemed to be especially careful around the kids.

Annabel insisted she wouldn't swim with the dolphins, but pretty quickly after she saw how much fun Isabella was having she was in the water properly. In the end getting them out of the water took some doing.

Such a wonderful experience.

Jungle Trekking

Friday, 13 November 2015 | link | tag | / Trips / Brazil / Amazonas
A guided jungle walk near the Ecopark. Our guide pointed out various useful plants and demonstrated some of the uses they can be put to. For example, the resin from a tree can be burned to make a plastic like seal for boats, headache remedies. Face powder made by termites.

Unrelentingly hot and close, even first thing in the morning, but a very informative and interesting walk.