Brazil - Canyons and waterfalls
Imagine a huge Canyon covered in lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls and thriving biodiversity. Nestled along the southern Atlantic coasts of Rio Grande do Sul among Brazil's most expansive canyons is the 28,000 hectares conservation area and National Park. The area is comprised of two parks; Aparados da Serra and Serra Geral.
You will ride along these steep mountains and canyons, stay in authentic fazenda accommodations, eat typical home cooked meals and ride with Gaucho guides an intelligent Criollo horse, with lots of stamina and agility. Staying on traditional ranches, you will have the pleasure of sampling typical southern Brazil gaucho culture, including some of the region’s famous culinary delights, like the Gaucho barbecue.
1st day – reception at Porto Alegre airport and transfer (4 to 5 hours) to the Ranch in Sao Jose dos Ausentes. Imagine arriving in the southern lands of Brazil, and be welcomed in a typical Fazenda (ranch) with the hospitality and good food of the Gauchos. After taste a local drink (made with cachaca and fruits) you will be introduced to the Gaucho who will guide you throughout the ride. After a delicious dinner, join the group at the bar of the Fazenda to listen your guide’s instructions for the next day. Night at Pousada Fazenda Potreirinho.
2nd day – after a good breakfast you start riding on the high altitude trails towards Lopes family Ranch, a typical fazenda surrounded by a beautiful forest. Our first sight will be Cachoeirão, the biggest Waterfall of this area. It is impressive and you will have chance to take good photos. Next you will continue the ride going up and down many hills, opportunity of fantastic panoramic views of the landscape on top of the hills. You will trot, canter and feel the sense of freedom on that great outdoors. You may stop to eat something under a tree and after around 5 hours on horseback you arrive to a typical ranch with the warm Gaucho atmosphere. Lopes family will be waiting the group with a delicious brunch and taste of their famous cheese. They produce a very famous and special cheese. This Gaucho family work and live the same way as more than 100 years ago. Gauchos, cattle and horses all together, an integration difficult to imagine today. After rest a while you ride one more hour to the traditional Fazenda Monte Negro where a delicious dinner will be waiting for you. Overnight at Fazenda Monte Negro.
3rd day – After breakfast introduction to your horse, start riding to the peak of Monte Negro, with its 1,403 meters is the highest point of the ride, with a horizon of majestic landscapes. There is no way not to be taken by a unique feeling of freedom. You return to the Ranch for lunch. After a short siesta you continue riding by Canyons, cliffs and fields in the afternoon.
The whole area was formed from intense volcanic activity that happened millions of years ago. Successive lava hemorrhages created the Planalto Sulbrasileiro, covered by clean fields, forests of araucarias and countless of crystalline rivers. There are many canyons distributed throughout the region, some of them are very impressive, prevailing where enormous rocky cliffs outline the undulating landscape of the sloping foothills giving the feeling of surprise and fascination when approaching their edge. The sharp vertical hillsides of basalt, present a coloration of resultants tones of the liquens and of vegetation of herbs and small bushes that alter with the nude rock. Around 5 hours on horseback. Night at Pousada Fazenda Monte Negro
4th day - After breakfast you leave by car to Alan’s Ranch (1 ½ hours). He is the son of Alencar, our new Gaucho guide. He is a cattle rancher and has a lot of experience. During the next days you will have the chance to see how a real Gaucho works on his daily job. With new horses, you continue the journey along the escarpments of the Aparados da Serra, where the marvels of nature almost overwhelm the actual riding. You stop at a beautifull Waterfall, with awe-inspiring cascade. After a photo stop and perhaps a dip in the pool of the cascade, you stop on the field for lunch. After a short siesta rest you start the afternoon ride on trails with majestic landscapes passing through some forests of rare beauty and important biodiversity. Some slopes will invite to canter with your Criollo hors. You will likely spend about 5-6 hours in the saddle today. Overnight at Alencar’s Fazenda Santana.
5th day - after breakfast you start the ride traversing canyons, fields and forests. During this day you will see some very beautiful waterfalls and have a picnic lunch on the banks of a river, while the horses rest in the shade of a forest nearby. After our picnic lunch, you continue the ride covering an area of outstanding beauty, in typical scenarios of Campos de Cima da Serra, highlighting the greatness of the Atlantic rain forest in the lower part of Canyons, fields stretching across the plateau, and ferns lilies and bromeliads that sprout in rich slopes.
In the afternoon you may see the mysterious fogs (called viracão by the locals), drift in. On your afternoon ride you will pass by many Araucaria trees and cross a few pristine rivers. At the end of the day you arrive at Alencar’s Fazenda Santana and his newly built Huts and bungalows. Another delicious dinner and overnight Around 5-6 hours on horseback.
6th day - after a good breakfast you leave with your horses to see more canyons, cliffs or as the locals call “the peirais of the Aparados” and beautiful waterfalls. The Mata Atlantica runs along the lower portion of the canyons, while fields spread across the plateaus, interspersed in the damp areas by peat bogs, that are rich in moss, lichen and bamboo. Vegetation such as ferns, lilies and bromeliads, sprouts from the slopes, and a curious species the ‘Bigsting Nettle’, with its enormous leaves measuring up to 1.5 meters, attaches itself to the rocks along the slopes. You will be in Alencar’s, our Gaucho guide neighborhood and may have a chance to help the Gauchos rounding-up the cattle on horseback. You will be able to feel how the horses are happy to do some good canters. At the end of the day you arrive at a river bank where your minibus will be waiting, say goodbye to your horses and guide and drive (45 minutes) to the Pousada Fazenda Baio Ruano. A special farewell dinner will be in a typical restaurant in the small village of Cambara do Sul. Around 5 hours on horseback this day.
7th day - departure after breakfast with the destination of Porto Alegre airport (3 hours transfer)
Note - The itinerary can be changed due to weather conditions and availability on the ranches.
Ability description: Trail ride, level 2-3
Included in the price: 6 nights, 5 days riding, full board (excl. beverages), transfer to from airport at set times.
Not included: Flights, drinks, personal insurance and extras not mentioned.
Travel: Fly to Porto Alegre. You will be met at 13.00 in the arrivals. Book a flight that depart after 15.00 on departure day.
Accomodation: The accommodation on this ride is a mixture of rural farm-stays and authentic guesthouses. In double rooms ensuite.
Group size: Minimum 2. Max. 8.