Introduction by Margaret Sheard ….
I followed the interesting Facebook posts by Chrissie Oktekin during the holiday recently enjoyed by herself and her friend Ann Bosley and asked if she would like to write something about this wonderful adventure.
I was interested to learn why they had chosen Brazil and was told that they were looking for a destination which appealed to them both and Brazil did just that. Following is a diary account of their holiday.
By Chrissie Oktekin and Ann Bosley ….
Our journey started with a 13 hour flight from Istanbul to Sao Paulo. The tour was arranged by Tell Tale Tours UK. After a short flight to Rio de Janeiro we settled in at an airport Hotel for the night.
The next morning we were picked up by our guide and driver and taken to Casa Amarelo in Santa Teresa, a beautiful Colonial style Hotel, which was to be our base for the next 3 days. We were soon off to Ipanema Beach and Copacabana which didn’t disappoint us. After lunch at a Vegan Restaurant we visited the Botanical Gardens, what a treat was in store for us. There were beautiful gardens covering many nations and the Orchid area was superb.
Nenand our guide for the day picked us up nice and early. We were off to see Christ the Redeemer. We took a tram up the mountain and then had to a climb 220 steps as the lift was out of order! However, it was well worth it as a great spectacle awaited us – perfect weather and fabulous views. We then visited a barbeque restaurant. Ann was really happy to be eating the many choices of meat although there was plenty of choice for a veggie like me!
The highlight of the day was dressing up in Rio Festival costumes. We were then taken to a strange looking Cathedral but inside were some beautiful stained glass windows.
Our last visit of this wonderful day was to Sugar Loaf Mountain where we saw a spectacular sunset.
Andre picked us up early for the drive to Reserva Ecologica de Guapiacu – Ragua. This is an area of the rainforest where Racquel from Argentina and her English husband Nick have created a fabulous area for the re-habitation of animals and birds to the lowlands. They have planted 500,000 trees, introduced butterflies and dragonflies. We were lucky to see a Sloth thanks to the Ranger’s detective work. This was a memorable trip, which was finished off with a lovely lunch.
Days 4 – 6
We had an early flight to Campo Grande, and were met by our guide and driver, Daniel, who took us to Meia Lua, a working ranch in the Pantenal area of Brazil. We were welcomed with fresh coconut drinks by a lovely family. In the late afternoon we had a trek in the forest. There were a lot of animal and bird sounds but few sightings as by then it was getting dark.
The following morning we were awakened by the macaws, how lovely it is to see them free in the trees and living their life as it should be. On this day we went horse riding around the ranch. Great fun getting on and off the horses and we thoroughly enjoyed the morning.
In the afternoon there was a sighting of an Anteater, so we drove out to investigate. There is a huge amount of termite hills here, so they will never go hungry.
The following morning we all drove to Parka Estrada, this was a very dusty road and we were in an open truck. We saw a Jaguar running across the road but it was not close enough for a photo. We stopped at a ranch for coffee, where there were plenty of guinea fowl, horses, alligators and macaws. Then we went on to Parka Estrada and lunch at the hotel. An afternoon boat trip on the River Miranda enabled us to see howler monkeys, alligators and plenty of fish.
Day 7- 9
We said goodbye to the lovely family at Meia Lua and set off by road to the next ranch at Fazenda Baia Grande. We were welcomed by Raquel. The rooms were nice and cool. We had an afternoon trip around the ranch in a trailer pulled by a tractor! The following afternoon Ann enjoyed Piranha fishing and feeding the alligators!!
On the last morning there was a trek in the forest and sightings of monkeys, alligators and capybaras. In the afternoon the driver arrived to take us to Bonito.
We arrived in Bonito, which is a more touristic town. The Hotel Pousada Gira Sol was lovely and so were the helpful staff. We went out to explore around the town and then off to get a Pizza. We were woken up early the next morning by the arrival of many parrots coming to the grounds for breakfast! After breakfast we were picked up to go to the Rio de Prata where snorkelling was on offer but we decided on just the boat trip. The trek through the forest was yet again lovely with sightings of monkeys high up in the trees. Some people took to the water for snorkelling and we made our way to the boat. There was not much to see on the river banks. We were hoping to see the giant otters, but sadly not that day. The only animals we saw were howler monkeys and a huge Anaconda snake basking in the sunshine.
Back to the lodge for lunch and then it was off to Buraco das Araras to see the sink holes and Green Macaws.
On our last morning we had our last walk around the town, stopping for coffee at the Subway.
We were picked up at 2pm for the long drive to Campo Grande and so started our 36 hour journey to get back to Ercan Airport, North Cyprus, and home.
The plus side to this is we were upgraded to Business class so it was a perfect ending to a perfect holiday.