Heading south again in Argentina saved a lot of miles in Brazil to get to the Canyon routes south of Florianopolis. We headed back down the 14 and then across on the 17 to cross at Bernardo de Irigoyen in 217 km
Crossing here is easy. You stop at the border and the official will ask you for your TVIP and Title. They will cancel your temporary permit and give you an exit stamp for your passport.
We then Drove ahead to the Brazil Aduana or customs. They did not even ask us 1 question, but just waved us thru. There is no temporary import needed for Brazil. There is no immigration control either. For a country that we need to apply for a visa with documentation including bank statement s and income tax info it seemed pretty lax. You do however have to report to the Policia Federal office about 2 blocks up on your left. Here you fill in an immigration form (in English) and they do check your Visa and stamp your passport for 90 days. I’m not sure how they would know if you did not stop there and what they would do to you if you were eventually stopped. I think it would be easy to make that mistake, since at the actual border they did not tell us to go there or say anything to us at all actually. I had to ask where do we go for immigration.
Here we had finally made it to country number 17! We tried to get some Real’s but all the Banco National Machines were not working. Luckily the Supermercado took visa! A helpful local who had given us directions to the bank also told us there were banks and hotels in the town we were headed to 75 km away. WOW Portuguese is so challenging to understand, but the local are so friendly and they really try to help you out.
We headed out south again to Sao Miguel do Oeste and found a great hotel with English speaking staff. They even drove us over to the HSBC since the Banco National we had found was still off line. We walked the town and managed to get dinner and it was what we thought we had ordered!
One of the differences between Argentina and Brazil is what “breakfast” included means at a hotel. In Argentina you get a media luna and a coffee….
THIS IS BRAZIL!!
The plan now is to head east and south to the “canyon” routes near Florianopolis.
Today we headed east 414 km to Curitibanos. The last 50 km we experienced the “truck trains” we had heard about. There is no rail system in Brazil so the roads are loaded with truck traffic. They do not seem to manage the weights and the trucks are destroying the road surface.
From here we are headed to Urubici, which is a popular tourist town with a number of natural attractions.
We stayed in a small hostal and met Frank and Laurence a super nice couple from Lyon.
We rode out of town 30 km to the Morro da Igreja or church hill. This is the highest point in southern Brazil and it is here that they recorded the lowest temperatuere ever in Brazil at – 17.8 degrees celcius. This is the only place in Brazil that has ever had snow. From the tourist office you obtain a free entrance security permit because there is a military airforce station on the mountain and they control access.
The road is paved and fairly steep and curvy, but the panoramic view is incredible. This is also where you can see the keystone or Pedra Furada.
On the way back just after the checkpoint we stopped at the Cascada Veu de Noiva, which located after a short walk on private land. This is a bridal veil fall.
On the other side of town and on the way south to Sao Joaquim is the Cascata do Avencal, which has a 100 m free fall.