Rio Grande do Sul: Porto Alegre - Gramado - Canelas


13.02.2014 : Flight to Porto Alegre

Pleasant flight with good in-flight entertainment. Arrived at 19:30 in POA. Took a taxi (R$ 40) to our Hotel Eko Residence.

14.02.2014 : Sightseeing Porto Alegre

We had breakfast at a simple place close to our hotel. I was surprised they usually serve the normal filter coffee instead of a goog espresso (but, of course, here you need a good coffee machine). The city centre is pretty deceiving like in many Brazilian cities. Also there are many poor people sleeping on the street. We walked through the “old town” which means there are buildings from the 19th century. For lunch, Sr. Getúlio (a nice man “hanging around” in the hotel) took us for R$ 15 to the well-known Churrascaria Galpão Crioulo where we enjoyed a delicious rodizio (R$ 130 with a cupon of 10% given by the hotel). After lunch walk to the former Usina de Gasómetro -which now is a cultural centre- and took the boat ride through the Delta of the Rio Jacuí. We were also pretty busy trying to solve the problems we had getting money from the ATM with our credit cards, with a local SIM card we bought (we found later out that the they had given us the wrong celular number!). After a short siesta at our hotel we took a taxi to Moinhos de Vento which was good as it was completely different from what we had seen this morning, a nice quarter with posh shops, bars and restaurants, and a Shopping Mall next to the Sheraton Hotel. I already told Volker, next time we come to Porto Alegre we stay at this Sheraton. In the evening we walked into town to watch the rehearsal of the Carnival Samba Schools along the road that goes to the main square.

15.02.2014 : Porto Alegre - Gramado (120 km)

We fetched our rental car from Unidas at 9:20 with Sr. Getúlio who took us to the airport for R$ 30. We then took off to Gramado where we left our luggage at the Gramado Master Palace waiting for our room to be ready. Check-in time is 15:00 and only then they let all their guests in, which resulted in endless queues at the reception after 15:00. In the meantime we went to Casa di Paolo, a famous galeto restaurant where you get as much as you can eat at your table (R$ 190 with tip). After lunch we drove to the Lago Negro, a beautiful small lake with lush vegetation. Then we decided we could still do the Parque Estadual do Caracol to see the “Cascata do Caracol”, a 130m free-falling waterfall.We took the cable car (Bondinhos aéreos, R$ 32 p.p.) and enjoyed lovely views over to the waterfall. On the top floor of the cable car there was a tiny walk through a lush forest which was very pleasant. In the evening we went to the Praça Major Nicoletti which is really nicely done with beautiful shops and restaurants. Although we were still full from our lunch we had a hot chocolate and a banana/cheese crêpe!

16.02.2014 : Gramado - Serra do Faxinal (125 km)

After our breakfast in our hotel this time we drove to the Parque Municipal do Pinheiro Grosso to see the 700 years old Araucaria -height of 42m- (R$ 6 p.p.), made a little walk in this spectacular rain forest and headed to Cambará do Sul with a stop at Parque das 8 Cachoeiras (= Park of the 8 cascades) (R$ 15 p.p.). We did two of them on really difficult paths, but it was worth it. Lunch stop at a busy café Lancheria Tainhas (which advertised with “compulsory stop” a few kilometers before). We had good cheese and meat pastéis with a huge jar of fresh orange juice (R$ 31,80). And we enjoyed a special performance of various animals on a lake we could see from inside. The drive to our Parador Casa da Montanha includes a 9 km drive on a pretty muddy road. When we arrived we were lucky to get a nice cabin/tent overlooking a river with a small cascade and lots of Araucaria trees. This upscale tent has a private whirlpool on the terrace and a bathroom. Dinner at our Parador.

17.02.2014 : Serra do Faxinal: Cânion da Fortaleza & Cachoeira do Tigre (66 km)

Excursion to the Cânion da Fortaleza with a Land Rover through terrible dirt roads (R$ 90 p.p.). What a bumpy ride with this vehicle and it takes 1 hours to do 33 km! When we arrived and walked to the look out there was nothing to see, only mist. But we decided to wait and were lucky to see almost the whole canyon which is 900 m steep and has vertical walls. After that we went to see the cascade Cachoeira do Tigre on another stretch of the canyon, amazing! Lunch at the hotel, siesta, walk to the other side of the river, whirl pool and rest.

18.02.2014 : Parque Nacional dos Aparados da Serra (20 km)

This time we went with our car into the park and I must say, it is much better with a normal car to drive on these dirt roads. Entrance to the park was R$ 6,5 p.p. + R$ 5 for the car. We walked the Trilha do Cotovelo which tooks us to the wide side of the Canyon de Itaimbezinho where we could see the Cascata Prea and then the Trilha do Vértice with the end of the canyon. After a relaxing afternoon with a champagne in our whirlpool we dined at the Restaurant “O Casarão” in Cambará do Sul: galeto and a big buffet with fresh organic salads, soup, pasta, and desserts (R$ 70).

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Parque Estadual do Caracol, Canelas

Boat tour through the Rio Jacuí and Lago Guaíba. Here the Ilha Pintada

Our rental car, a VW Spacefox


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Our first “Rodizio” at the Churrascaria Galpão Crioulo, Porto Alegre


(Vanellus chilensis)

Igreja Nossa Senhora das Dores

We were so hungry when we arrived in Gramado. We enjoyed lunch with delicious galetos (spring chicken), endless cappelletti soup, salad, pasta, fçried cheese...

Posh city centre of Gramado at Praça Major Nicoletti, here the Rua Coberta where we had a hot chocolate and a banana crêpe at “Caracol”

This is reproducing an accident with a locomotive at the railway station Montparnasse in Paris which happened in 1895

A “Chimarrão”, something people here are crazy of. It contains herba mate which people drink all day long. They carry special thermal cases with all the equipment for preparing it when they do excursions.


Black swans seen during our lunch at the Lancheria Tainhas

Fern trees

Gramado is known for its hortensias which really adorn all the streets

A gaúcho,