Porto Belo , Brazil

Beautiful beaches attract many to Porto Belo, but there are other natural attractions. The Atlantic forest of the Brazil coast has a great variety of plants and birds, including many found nowhere else. It is second only to the Amazon in diversity. But most of the forest has been cleared for agriculture. Trekking in the surviving forest near Port Belo puts you amid the super-rich and rare ecosystem. Azorean culture has become a source of pride to locals in recent years. Between 1747 and 1756, Portugal sent nearly 7500 immigrants from the Azores and Madeira to the state of Santa Catarina. They were enticed with money, land, agricultural tools, seeds, livestock and weapons to populate and secure the Portuguese colonial territory from local indigenous people and rival Europeans.

They settled and flourished in settlements such as Porto Belo for ten generations. You can still find Azorean cultural influences in cuisine, holy ghost festivals, colourful boats and architecture seen at Praça dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Square) in Porto Belo. German influence is strong in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. From the early 19th century, Germans emigrated and made up over 50% of immigrants to the state. Adapting to tropical conditions was hard, but many coped with farming and excelled in producing children. Today towns like Blumenau maintain a strong German influence in architecture and festivities, and especially in the essential tradition of locally brewed beer and classic German sausages.

tour 1 Azorean Route

Walk the routes of the Azorean colonization in the capital of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, which is endowed with natural beauty and quality of life. Upon arrival at the island, look to your left to see the iconic Bridge Hercílio Luz that was made in 1926. Drive just under two hours to the northern coast of the island to Santo Antonio de Lisboa, one of the oldest districts in Florianópolis. This district played an important role in the colonization of the city and still preserves many historic houses and buildings. With its narrow, quiet streets, quality restaurants and a wonderful view, Santo Antônio is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting the capital of Santa Catarina. Take a guided walking tour of Santo Antônio, which was formerly the neighborhood called the parish of Nossa Senhora das Necessidades and served as one of the main ports of entry for immigrants in the region, coming mainly from the Azores Island, in Portugal. The place has also served as a port and customs post, receiving foreign merchants and vessels. One of the most striking features of Santo Antônio de Lisboa is the colorful houses with windows and doors painted in bold colors, a legacy of Azorean culture.

These colorful buildings can also be found in other regions of Florianópolis, such as in Sambaqui and in the parish of Ribeirão da Ilha. This neighborhood is one of the main gastronomic centers of the city, with dozens of restaurants, most of them specialized in Seafood. Some have tables on decks on the beach, with an incredible view. The local cultivation of seafood and oysters supplies many restaurants. Upon the conclusion of your guided walking tour, rest your feet and taste some of the best oysters of the region at the Freguesia Oyster Bar. Before lunch, there is also the opportunity to visit the restaurant's Marine Farm and learn about the production of Oysters in the State of Santa Catarina. Next transfer for lunch at Café Freguesia, which along with the marine farm is a family-owned and operated business. After lunch, visit Casarão Engenho dos Andrades, a mansion built in 1860, owned by Agenor José de Andrade, surname for which the architectural ensemble became known. The architectural pair consists of two buildings; one of them is a recently restored cassava and sugar cane flour mill, which is well maintained, and the main house is a great example of colonial architecture, from the historical period of the formation of the Parish of Santo Antônio de Lisboa, representing one of the best residence examples of the rural aristocracy in that region. Casarão Engenho dos Andrade reached its golden age in the cycle of flour, sugar cane and coffee. Make the 2-hour return drive back to Porto Belo port.

tour 2 Blumenau Tour

Explore the German history, architecture and culture of Blumenau during this picturesque, full-day sightseeing excursion that features scenic drives, Brazilian fare and a craft beer tour and tasting. From the port, travel 90 minutes along the scenic Itajai Açu River en route to Blumenau. As you approach the city, immediately notice the powerful European influence on its stunning architecture, some of which dates back to the 1800s. Upon arrival in Blumenau, visit craft beer maker Alles Blau and enjoy a beer tasting. Craft beer Cervejaria Alles Blau means "all blue" in German, and colloquially it also means "all right." Next, re-board your coach and proceed to a local restaurant for a delicious Brazilian buffet lunch. After lunch, visit a German-influenced "biergarten" (outdoor space for drinking beer) and the Beer Museum for a guided tour. Enjoy some free time downtown before returning to the pier.

tour 3 Kayaking at Porto Belo

Circle Porto Belo Island on a 50-minue kayak ride on this delightful excursion for active guests that is followed by some relaxing beach time. Transfer to the island aboard a local fishing boat and board your kayak for this trip around an island full of beautiful native flora and fauna. Tour this environmental refuge teeming with wildlife, and hear the sounds and see the colors of nature as you paddle. After your kayak adventure, enjoy some free time at the beach before making the return trip to the ship.

tour 4 Hiking at Porto Belo Island

Hike a nature-filled and historic trail at Porto Belo Island, followed by some relaxing beach time. Depart the pier by local boats and transfer for a beautiful walk along the island's ecological trail. Your hike is a journey of approximately 1 hour, with a medium degree of difficulty and full of beauties of native flora and fauna. The stretch is circular and has 1,300 meters of extension through the majestic Atlantic Forest.

The highlights of the guided tour are the curiosities and legends related to the occupation history of the island, such as the golden angel, for example. Legend has it that the Jesuits have hidden beneath the rock, called the Stone of the Cross, a statue of an angel of gold the size of an adult man. This statue remains a mystery to this day. The lore also says that the rock inscriptions found on the stone that gives its name to the trail, carved more than four thousand years ago by the ancient peoples of the region, are in fact be a map to find the golden angel. Along the trail there is also the gazebo, which provides for a fantastic view. Soak up the atmosphere in this environmental refuge, teeming with orchids, animals and wild birds, in addition to all the sounds and colors of nature. Enjoy some free time at the beach, taking a swim or relaxing in the sun. Then transfer back to the pier.

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