Archive for November, 2007

PETAR, a pot-holer’s paradise

PETAR, a pot-holer’s paradise

Pot-holers [spelunkers] will be thrilled to hear of the existente of PETAR, in the south east of the state of São Paulo, between the villages of Iporanga and Apiaia, near the border with the state of Paraná [Google Maps]. PETAR stands for Parque Estadual Turístico do Alto Ribeira (Alto Ribeira Tourist State Park) and is best known for its more than 300 caves – it is a nature preserve set in the middle of the Atlantic rainforest, very rich in limestone. Some of the caves cannot be visited, others are restricted to spelunkers, and a good number of them are opened to the general public. Being in the middle of the rainforest, PETAR offers, as well as the opportunity of exploring caves, interesting treks along rivers and waterfalls.

Our friend Emília has just been to PETAR and has published on her A Turista Acidental blog a very thorough guide to the park. It is written in Portuguese. Emília is a very friendly Brazilian who will answer queries if you have any – she speaks English. Her blog entries on the subject are:

Petar: Páginas Amarelas
Petar: módulo diversão
Petar: Na trilha do Bethary
Cavernas: curso básico
Virando morcego

One of the most complete websites about the region is PETAR Online. It doesn’t have an English version – as a matter of fact, it’s only in Portuguese. As well as information on pot-holing, it contains a section devoted to adventure sports on the area.

There is a youth hostel in Iporonga, the Capitão Caverna Hostel.

For those interested in images of the region, Alex Uchôa, an exceptional photographer, has an album of PETAR online.

You can reach the region using public transportation. The bus company Transpen goes to Apiai, on the area of the park (it leaves from the Terminal Barra Funda bus station in São Paulo). There are four buses per day, the trip lasts 6 hours and costs R$54,70 in November 2007. But a private car comes very handy when it comes to moving around the PETAR area; without a car you will have to pay someone to take you to the different points of interest.

November 29, 2007 | By More
<em>Costa dos Alcatrazes</em>

Costa dos Alcatrazes

I have recently published a series of posts on my Blog de São Paulo (in Spanish) on the Costa dos Alcatrazes, a stretch of coast on the state of São Paulo that contains some really wonderful beaches (see map next).


Show larger map

The Costa dos Alcatrazes is a couple of hours away from São Paulo. For that reason, it is an excepcional alternative for a weekend getaway. Unfortunately, being so close to São Paulo also means the coast is usually overcrowded during the weekend and bank holidays. Go there during the week and you will find absolute peace and quiet.

The region combines destinations appropriated for families and those seeking rest (Barra do Una, Barra do Sahy, Juquehy) with destinations for those eager for action and nightlife (Camburi, Maresias).

INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET

The website Costa dos Alcatrazes contains a basic introduction to the region (in Portuguese only). Praias Online and Guia do Litoral are good sources as well.

TRANSPORTATION

The advantage of reaching the area on your own car is that you able to hop from one beach to another at your own pace. However, it is not impossible to get by using the public transportation system. There are frequent buses linking all the beaches on the region. As it is often the case in Brazil, you will not find their schedules on the Internet, you’ll have to ask when you get to the region.

ACCOMMODATION

Do not be surprised when you find out that prices on the region are considerably higher than the Brazilian average.

There are two youth hostels on the region: one in Camburi and the other one in Maresías. Both have websites filled with information and a clear explanation of their price structure.

ENTRIES PUBLISHED IN THE BLOG DE SÃO PAULO (in Spanish):

Juquehy
Camburi
Maresias
Barra do Sahy
Barra do Una

PHOTO ALBUM:

At my Flickr page I have several photo albums of the different beaches along the Coast:

Barra do Sahy
Barra do Una
Camburi
Juquehy
Maresias

November 23, 2007 | By More
Birds from the Atlantic Rainforest

Birds from the Atlantic Rainforest

One thing that makes the beaches of the northern coast of São Paulo (and the southern coast of Rio, and other bits further south) unique is that they are found right by the Atlantic rainforest. The biodiversity of the Mata Atlántica, as the forest is known in Portuguese, is unrivalled. The scenery too. The sequence of water, sand, forest and mountains can’t be found anywhere else in Brazil.

The contact with the tropical forest brings the visitor in close contact with different bird species. You only have to sit and rest and wait for the birds to appear. The birds that appear on this entry where all photographed within the space of an hour on the little village of Barra do Sahy, state of São Paulo.

saí-azul / blue dacnis
saíra-sete-cores / green-headed tanager (Tangara seledon)
tiê-sangue / Brazilian tanager
gaturamo-verdadeiro / violaceous euphonia
sanhaçu-cinzento / sayaca tanager

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November 23, 2007 | By More
Youth hostels in Brazil

Youth hostels in Brazil

Affordable accommodation in Brazil? Without a doubt, one of the best options are the albergues juveniles (youth hostels), spread throughout the country. The network of hostels affiliated to Hostelling International includes more than 80 places.

With the information found on albergues.com.br I’ve written a list of Brazilian youth hostels affiliated to Hostelling International. Where available, there is a link to the hostel’s webpage. Full details of the hostel can be found at the abovementioned albergues.com.br. Click on Hostels Brasil on the page’s left sidebar.

BRAZILIAN HOSTELS AFFILIATED TO HOSTELLING INTERNATIONAL
(sorted by alphabetical order of location):

Alto Caparaó (Minas Gerais): Pico da Bandeira Hostel
Arraial d’Ajuda (Bahia): Arraial d’Ajuda Hostel
Arraial do Cabo (Rio de Janeiro): Marina dos Anjos Hostel
Balneário Camboriú (Santa Catarina): Rezende Hostel
Barra do Piraí (Rio de Janeiro): Na Toca Hostel
Belém (Pará): Amazônia Hostel
Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais): Chalé Mineiro Hostel
Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais): Sossego da Pampulha Hostel
Bento Gonçalves (Rio Grande do Sul): Casa Mia Hostel
Bonito (Mato Grosso do Sul): Bonito Hostel
Brasilia (DF): Brasilia Hostel
Brotas (São Paulo): Natural Hostel
Búzios (Rio de Janeiro): Búzios Central Hostel
Búzios (Rio de Janeiro): Búzios Hostel
Cabo Frio (Rio de Janeiro): Peró Hostel
Camburi (São Paulo): Camburi Hostel
Campo Grande (Mato Grosso do Sul): Campo Grande Hostel
Campos do Jordão (São Paulo): Campos do Jordão Hostel
Canela (Rio Grande do Sul): Viajante Hostel
Corumbá (Mato Grosso do Sul): Corumbá Hostel Internacional
Cuiabá (Mato Grosso): Portal do Pantanal Hostel
Curitiba (Paraná): Curitiba Eco Hostel
Curitiba (Paraná): Roma Hostel
Delfinópolis (Minas Gerais): Rio Grande Hostel
Florianópolis (Santa Catarina): Canasvieiras Hostel
Florianópolis (Santa Catarina): Ilha de Santa Catarina
Fortaleza (Ceará): Atalaia Hostel
Foz do Iguaçu (Paraná): Paudimar Hostel
Foz do Iguaçu (Paraná): Paudimar Falls Hostel
Garopaba (Santa Catarina): Praia da Ferrugem Hostel
Gramado (Rio Grande do Sul): Gramado Hostel
Ilha do Mel (Paraná): Zorro Hostel
Ilha Grande (Rio de Janeiro): Holandês Hostel
Ilhéus (Bahia): Fazenda Tororomba Hostel
Iporanga (São Paulo): Capitão Caverna Hostel
Itacaré (Bahia): Itacaré Hostel
Jacumã (Paraiba): Hostel do Inglês
Jericoacoara (Ceará): Jericoacoara Hostel
João Pessoa (Paraiba): Mainara Hostel
Laguna (Santa Catarina): Laguna Hostel
Lençóis (Bahia): Chapada Hostel
Maceió (Alagoas): Alagamar Hostel (Maceió, Alagoas)
Marataízes (Espírito Santo): Arte Final Hostel
Maresias (São Paulo): Maresias Hostel
Morro de São Paulo (Bahia): Hostel Morro de São Paulo
Natal (Rio Grande do Norte): Verdes Mares Hostel
Natal (Rio Grande do Norte): Lua Cheia Hostel
Nova Friburgo (Rio de Janeiro): Alê Friburgo Hostel
Nova Petrópolis (Rio Grande do Sul): Hospedaria Bom Pastor Hostel
Olinda (Pernambuco): Olinda Hostel
Ouro Preto (Minas Gerais): Brumas Hostel
Paranaguá (Paraná): Continente Hostel
Paraty (Rio de Janeiro): Casa do Rio Hostel
Peruíbe (São Paulo): Peruíbe Juréia Hostel
Petrópolis (Rio de Janeiro): Quitandinha Hostel
Pipa (Rio Grande do Norte)Pipa Hostel
Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul): Hostel Elevado
Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul): Hostel Minuano
Porto Belo (Santa Catarina): Porto Belo Hostel
Porto de Galinhas (Pernambuco): A Casa Branca Hostel
Porto Seguro (Bahia): Maracaia Hostel
Porto Seguro (Bahia): Porto Seguro Hostel
Praia do Forte (Bahia): Praia do Forte Hostel
Praia Grande (Santa Catarina): Nativo dos Canyons
Recife (Pernambuco): Boa Viagem Hostel
Río das Ostras (Río de Janeiro): Entrada do Coqueiro Hostel
Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro): Adventure Hostel
Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro): Rio Rockers Hostel
Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro): Rio Tijuca Hostel
Salvador (Bahia): Barra Hostel
Salvador (Bahia): Laranjeiras Hostel
Salvador (Bahia): Porto Hostel
Santana do Livramento (Rio Grande do Sul): Palace Hostel
São Lourenço (Minas Gerais): Recanto dos Carvalhos Hostel
São Luís (Maranhão): Solar das Pedras Hostel
São Miguel das Missões (Rio Grande do Sul): Missões Hostel
São Paulo (São Paulo): São Paulo Hostel
São Paulo (São Paulo): Praça da Árvore Hostel
São Paulo (São Paulo): Magdalena Tagliaferro Hostel
Saquarema (Rio de Janeiro): Sobre O Mar
Teresópolis (Rio de Janeiro): Recanto do Lord Hostel
Ubatuba (São Paulo): Cora Coralina Hostel
Vitoria (Espírito Santo): Príncipe Hostel

Other interesting links:
Brazilian Federation of Youth Hostels
Hostelling International booking system
How to become a member of Hostelling International

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November 21, 2007 | By More
The latest craze, melon ice-cream

The latest craze, melon ice-cream

Who would imagine, a melon ice lolly (Popsicle) is becoming a craze in São Paulo. It all began on the oriental quarter of Liberdade. We saw the ice-cream for the first time in July. So many people walking around holding a green lolly. When we tried to buy one to taste it, it was sold out. Since then, what could have perfectly been kept within the boundaries of the Japanese community, reached other parts of the city. Today you can buy your melon ice-cream on the avenida Paulista and even in the small Japanese supermarket of our very own part of São Paulo.

Liberdade, São Paulo

In actual fact, the product comes from Korea, and is manufactured by Bing. One wonders what the logistics of transporting ice-cream from Korea to Brazil must be like. Visions of hungry sailors stuffing themselves with ice-cream come to mind. As well as the melon ice lollies, you can also buy other Korean delicacies such as watermelon ice-cream or red beans ice-cream.

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November 19, 2007 | By More