The fact that Brazil is famous for its natural wonders in not new to anyone, let alone me. Sadly I can`t say that I know the country very well, Brazil is a huge country and traveling there can be pretty expensive. I have a lot of Brazilian places on my bucket list, but those waterfalls I`m going to tell you about were not in it, and I will tell you why: I ignored its existence!!!
What makes it even worse is the fact that, to get to this amazing place I didn`t even need to get on an airplane or spend more than 2 hours inside the car. Those amazing waterfalls that you are about to see are located between two small cities about 130km from my hometown, Porto Alegre, in the municipalities of Rolante and Riozinho. So why on earth didn`t I know about it before?
The answer may be that this part of Brazil, all the way in the south, is not known as a touristic area. The access is first by car, and then for 2 of the 3 waterfalls, some walking is needed (really easy trails, though, and small ones). Lucky me, who got to spend a whole day in a pretty unknown paradise, with only a few other people around – even it being a Saturday during the summer holidays!
Our initial plan was to “spend the day at a waterfall” – that being just one waterfall. Everybody was wearing flip-flops and swimming suits with summer clothes on top of it. We stopped by the supermarket before to buy some sandwiches and water to take with us, but I was envisioning a relaxing day, sunbathing and maybe some swimming (it is hot as hell this time of the year, February).
So when we get to the first waterfall, Cascada das Andorinhas (meaning the Cascade of the Swallows), and my friend Otavio tells me that there are two other waterfalls that we could visit, I was both thrilled and disappointed that we would not spend the whole day at this place:
Also, since we were just going to one place, I did something that I never do when traveling: I left my camera at home. All I had was my smartphone. Thank god I had just bought a new one and it has a great camera. But it is the first time that all the pictures in one post are taken with a cellphone, my Samsung Galaxy S7. I guess it worked quite well! 🙂
The Cascata das Andorinhas in an almost enclosed cascade between those impressive rocks. It gets its name because of the Swallows that, just like me, also loved this place and are frequent goers. It is actually not a very tall waterfall, only 15 meters high, but the effect of the rocks is impressive! Since the light has to pass through a small breach on the top of then, the atmosphere is just magical. This was my favorite of the three waterfalls. You get there after a 1,5 km walk through the forest. The surprise when you get there is priceless!
Our second stop was the Cascata do Chuvisqueiro. This is the highest one, 76 meters high, and is totally different from the previous one, being opened and with a nice pool on the bottom to refresh from the heat. We also took another trail (up to the hill by car and then down on the forest on foot, 3 min) to get to the top of it. The view is nice, but the water in this one is not so clear as in the others.
Both the Chuvisqueiro waterfall and the next one, 3 Quedas, are inside a camping area. You have to pay a small fee to enter but the good thing is you can use the bathroom, and there is also a bar there.
The nicest thing about the Chuvisqueiro is that you can walk to the bottom of the waterfall, and see it from behind, being on the rocks. Just be careful because the rocks are really slippery. It takes good rubber shoes, calm and a lot of equilibrium to walk there.
When I say that those rocks are slippery, I mean really really slippery. My friend Otavio fell right in the river, backpack in the back and all, when he tried to seat at a rock (the rock was big and on the dry part). He had his analog Pentax inside the backpack so we all freaked out when he dove into the water. Luckily he managed to jump half out of the water, hold himself on the rocks and we pulled him out (luckily the camera survived!). My other friend Vini wasn`t so lucky: He lost one of his flip-flops while crossing the river current. It was so strong that we never found it again and he had to come back half barefoot… Not a very pleasant experience! And me… I lost my balance and while trying to find it back, kicked a rock; it hurt as hell and I almost lost a toenail… Mental note for next time: Wear appropriate shoes!
The third cascade is called Cascata 3 Quedas (3 Falls). From the ground, you can only see two falls, so I was wondering where the third one was…
We got the answer after one of the craziest and dangerous hikes I`ve ever done. Partly because of the path itself, but mostly because nobody was wearing adequate shoes (Havaianas flip-flops are not quite hiking equipment). The “trail” was improvised and enclosed by vegetation, almost as vertical as it can be and at one point we had to walk on a 20 cm path on top of a rock, holding ourselves on the wall and on some wines to avoid falling all the way down – as pretty as you can see in this picture:
The third fall is on the top of the other two, but you have to walk to get there. The effort is worth it, though: A completely desert waterfall, it was just us, the crazy ones. Pure fresh water and a natural jacuzzi so powerful that almost took my bikini bottoms away (oh god, imagine that!). This one is expert hiking level so if you are not used to it, better stay on the bottom, which is already an amazing place to be!
This looks like a normal selfie to end the adventure, but there is a funny story about it: Just when we were about to take the picture, my friend Juliana stepped in what we are still not sure if it was a water snake or a weird fish. We looked and it seemed dead, so Otavio decided to grab her. Right when he was grabbing it, she swam to our feet and we all screamed while trying not to slip on the rocks. Such a beautiful scene… And the perfect story to close a perfect day! Thank you Otavio, Ju, Allan, Vini, and Bruno!
For more adventures in Brazil, check this post about a crazy buggy ride in the dunes of Natal!
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