Nov 28, 2010

Rio for tourists...

by Antonella Kann

Yes, indeed, Rio is one of the most stunning places on earth. A haven which has not yet been discovered by tourism, comparing with other places in the world. I daresay that the negative propaganda which spreads all over could be the reason for Brazil to have such a low number of visitors.
I realize that I am saying this in a very delicate moment, as you have been witnessing our momentaneous and vulnerable situation through international networks and newspapers.
Although the situation is still uncertain, I am not the least frightened. Nor were the hundred and some passengers in the flight which brought me home three days ago. Concerned, certainly, as I was, but so happy to be back to this luminous town, admire the beach and the sea, the tropical colors of summer, feel the heat in my bones.
Unfortunately, you usually hear the bad side of the story when it comes to Rio de Janeiro. And, unfortunately, this doesn´t help to bring tourists to this city or even to this country.
If you imagine that we have only 5,4 millions visitors per year, compared to France, which receives almost 60 million people...
For the last three days, my focus has been on Rio and how the police will detangle the situation.
We, the cariocas, are optimistic and willing to believe that soon we will be proud to offer our guests a refurbished town, where the word safety will be a reality.

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Nov 16, 2010

Where are you going for New Year´s Eve ( part III) ?

by Antonella Kann

Still not ready to decide your whereabouts for the last evening of the year? I would guess that by now, at least half of the readers know where they want to do on December 31st, one third doesn´t have a clue and the rest, well….is still thinking.

So I just want to help those who haven´t made up their mind. Good luck! Notice that this time we are far away from the beaches!

Located in the state of Minas Gerais, at 1900 meters above sea level, Do Lado de Lá is the highest pousada in Brazil. And a haven for nature lovers. But don´t expect luxury or pampering: there´ll be neither in-room massage nor personal 24hrs butler in this rustic pousada.

You feel like you are on top of the world, surrounded by the Atlantic forest, waterfalls and vegetation. And that´s all the luxurious atmosphere of the Serra do Papagaio, in Aiuruoca, a region located almost 270 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro. Even the name of the place is hard to pronounce - and even harder to remember.

With such a conspicuous name, which means On the Other Side has less than 10 accommodations and those range from standard rooms with shared bathroom up to bungalows with private Jacuzzi. As you have probably guessed, it’s an all-inclusive establishment (there´s nowhere else to eat, anyway!), with honest and simple home-made food cooked in the old fashioned way – on the woodstove.

A destination like Pirenópolis don´t come much more original than that. It´s not exactly in the middle of nowhere, but sure is off the beaten track as a New Year´s hub. But it´s a very attractive colonial town located in the state of Goiás. It´s tiny, genuine, and has small but comfortable pousadas and surprisingly good restaurants.

You can also amuse yourself by digging into antiques shops offering furniture and delicious old bric-à-brac. And, of course, there are the traditional small stores selling all sorts of regional artifacts. But strolling around the town is likely to find locations to captivate the eye.

the cachoeira do Abade, a few miles from the center of Pirenopolis

The local cachaça also is a must-try experience. There are more than a hundred labels waiting for you in several small bars. And, as you´re likely to be using your feet instead of your car ( which should definitely be left in the parking lot of your pousada!) feel free to go wild! But do drive to the nearby sites for amazing hikes and god refreshing plunges in waterfalls. Oh, sorry, I almost forgot: try the pousada O Casarão ( tel. 62 3331 2662)

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Nov 9, 2010

A hike in the esoteric national park of the Chapada dos Veadeiros

by Antonella Kann

The Chapada dos Veadeiros is one of those places where you can go several times and still feel as if you were in a brand new surrounding. Only 236 kilometers from capital Brasilia, this National Park has the most amazing hiking trails and waterfalls, framed by high peaks and stunning views.

The climate in the park differs a lot from Brasília. It´s more humid, the temperature is always agreeable and it´s sunny most of the year. In winter, you can get really cold. But now, during summer months, it´s hot during the day and cooler at night.

Long trails in the bush, amidst nature and wildlife...

It´s a haven for hikers and trekkers, but remember to be prepared for long walks, so water and sun screen are a must.

And I must warn you about a local inhabitant, the tiny bees, harmless but a nuisance, so a good idea is to have some kind of refreshing towel in your backpack to wipe the sweat off your face and body. It will help to keep them away. And make sure you are the first one to jump into the water when you reach the waterfalls.

To be precise, it´s home to 160 waterfalls, for which you´d need at least five days to really explore, plus get acquainted with the region and enjoy all of its natural wonders.

The most enigmatic sites are the Vale da Lua ( Valley of the Moon), with an incredible rock formation, Águas Quentes ( Warm Waters), which are warm natural pools for you to soak into, plus Janela and Abismo, locations from where you can have a panoramic view of the park, several canyons and other extraordinary secluded spots to have fun, swim, sunbathe and relax.

the view from the "janela", a reward to be reached after 3hrs hike

For esoteric fans, the whole region of the Chapada is known for its crystals and magnetic fields, so the locals assume that there is extraterrestrial power in every corner.
But besides the fact that you might have close encounters with another kind, the Chapada is well equipped with charming pousadas and restaurants where you´ll be served delicious meals.

the pousada Baguá:private luxurious bungalows and jacuzzi

The small town to go is called São Jorge, right at the entrance of the Park, and I´d recommend the Pousada Baguá ( for the best accommodations.

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