Published: February 26th 2012February 26th 2012
Punta del Este Landmark Lighthouse
This next segment of the cruise was a busy one. We went to 10 ports in 11 days. It is hard to study up on each one when the ports are back to back. But we would do our best. The ship is full as about 490 new passengers boarded in Buenos Aires. It takes a while for everyone to get settled in. We see newbies at the stern of the ship when they are trying to get to the Observation Lounge at the bow and vice versa or wandering up and down the hallways looking for their stateroom. It’s the joy of discovery.
After another nice day in Montevideo we cruised up to the resort town of Punta Del Este. This is the vacation escape place for wealthy Argentinians and Uruguayans. It was the first of many upcoming tendering ports. Upon arrival at the pier we saw a pretty building which is the Uruguay Yacht Club. This long established club allowed us to visit. They have a lovely restaurant overlooking the bay. We took a walk around town on what turned out to be a very hot day (95+). Having been in cold weather for the past month, we
haven’t quite acclimated to warm weather yet.
Our first stop in Brazil was Rio Grande. We will be in Brazil for the next three weeks. This country is huge---larger than the United States. As a matter of fact, just the Amazon Basin is bigger that all of the U.S. It is the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world. You could probably fit 200 Portugals into Brazil.
This area of the east coast of Brazil is famous for its beautiful beaches and stunning mountainous beauty. This being Carnaval week, it seems that the whole country is on vacation and where do people go when on holiday? To the beach, of course! Porto Belo is a pretty port as its name implies. We took a beach walk and saw all of the merry-makers.
Santos is the port for Sao Paulo which is one of the biggest cities in the world and has just been declared the most expensive city anywhere. We didn’t venture into the megalopolis but instead did some exploring around Santos. Even though Brazil is one of the most vibrant economies, it still has a very real poverty problem. Poverty and lack of education usually begets
Punta del Este Yacht Club
crime. So it is a constant source of concern but more so in certain ports than others. That’s why going to these vacation islands is a nice break from some of the large urban centers.
Ilha Grande is a gorgeous island with a checkered past. It was first a pirates’ hideout, then a leper colony and most recently a prison for Brazil’s worst criminals. Now it is a state park covered with forests and ringed with beaches. No tours were offered so we took a hike on the beach.
Parati and Buzios are probably two of the most famous stops along the Costa Verde. And they are as different as night and day. Parati is one of the best preserved colonial towns in South America set against jungle covered mountains and surrounded by an island-filled shimmering bay. We got to see a lot of the picturesque bay as it was a long 45 minute tender ride to shore. Many passengers had a difficult time with the quarter mile pier they had to negotiate to get to shore. The rough cobblestone streets are closed to auto traffic so this was a nice town to stroll around in. Many artists
Art??? Maybe to some but not to all
and craftspeople have opened shops and sell their high priced items to the tourists. Parati is renowned for its restaurants and the prices rival any high end eatery in the United States. The Brazilian Real is very strong against the U.S. dollar but really,…$60 for a piece of fish and $13 for a side of fries is a bit over the top. Parati will probably be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site soon.
We weren’t sure if we would be able to get into Buzios as the wind was really stirring up the anchorage. But after several attempts, the tenders were lowered and we made our way ashore. Buzios is a really nice beach village along the lines of St Tropez. As a matter a fact it was a certain French woman who, with her Brazilian boyfriend, put this place on the map. There is a statue of Brigitte Bardot along the shoreline which was probably funded by grateful boutique owners. Again, this being the season, the streets were filled with travelers. We wanted a pizza but found that just like Italy, it is only made at night. Pizza is not considered lunch time fare. Buzios is a fun
place just to sit and people-watch.
On this cruise we have been seeing some beautiful sunrises and sunsets on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. But our neighbor sent us a picture she took from our dock of a glorious dawn in Sausalito. It made us a little lonesome for our floating home.
To get us in the mood for Rio, the ship had a party on the foward open deck for all of the circumnavigators. The centerpiece was an 8-foot high ice carving of the famous statue that towers above the city. Christ the Redeemer started melting rapidly in the afternoon heat and suddenly came crashing down on the deck and took lots of cheese and crackers with it. The crew had it cleaned up in no time. Now we are headed to fabulous Rio de Janeiro where we will see the real Cristo Redentor on Corcovado.
There are more photos below