There’s something about destination hiking that I absolutely adore. Whether the end of the trail offers expansive views, a water feature, or a historical landmark, it almost always makes the pain worth the effort. The trail we hiked on Saturday was no different.
Costa da Lagoa is a small fishing village just outside our neighborhood in Lagoa da Conceicao but tucked away in the mountains along the lagoon. Much of the charm of this community stems from its isolation and inaccessibility, the only two options being a 2.5 hour hike or a boat. There are no roads, no cars, no traffic, nothing. Just a trail. We took an uber to get as close as possible to the trailhead and started our hike up a steep road and then into the Brasilian jungle where the trail officially begins. Eventually, the trail winds its way to the coastline of the lagoon (lagoa) and turns into a walking path (as opposed to a singletrack dirt trail) along the backside of several traditional style village homes and a few small businesses. Wooden fishing boats are anchored behind every residence and pepper the entire length of the community.
The deeper we got into the village the more alive it became with locals and even some vendors selling their handmade crafts or restaurants/bars catering to the hiking visitors. I was in complete awe of the residents of this small community. An entire town, nestled along a lagoon, thriving on nothing but fishing and hikers.
An impressive cachoiera (waterfall) was tucked away in the woods right in the middle of the village. It was a bit crowded for my liking but nevertheless, absolutely gorgeous and just what we needed after hiking in the Brasilian sun for 2.5 hours. We took far too many group selfies and made our way to satisfy our hunger pangs at a waterfront restaurant called Restaurante Lagoa Azul. The food was out of this world and as usual we ordered more than we could possibly eat.
We had absolutely no intention of hiking another 2.5 hours back to the starting point and instead hired a boat to transport us for 10 reais per person. That’s about $3.50 each for a 30-40 minute boat ride with scenic views the entire way. Yes please, and thank you. This unexpected adventure was more spectacular than I could have imagined and is a must do in Floripa. It gives a little dose of perspective as well which, for me, is one of the joys of traveling.
On a competely unrelated note, here are some other random observations that I thought were worth mentioning:
- The traditional cocktail in Brasil is the caipirinha. It consists of a shit ton of limes, sugar, and cachaca, which is the name of their version of rum. No mixer, just limes and rum. I opt for caipiroskas instead which simply replaces the overdose of cachaca with an overdose of vodka (pronounced vodgka). I have had far too many of these already and plan to have far too many more. Prices range from $3 – $7 depending on where you get them. Food trucks are the cheapest. Or the illegal vendors selling them from a cooler on the side of the road. But don’t try to order one when the “policia militar” are standing nearby with their AK 47s hiding in the bushes at night trying to bust drug dealers. This may or may not have happened.
- There is typically a cashier at restaurants and bars taking money instead of the server handling cash. When dealing with credit cards, sometimes the server will bring a mobile card machine to your table and swipe in front of you. At clubs and bars, you will often get a bracelet or a drink card and the bartenders use those to track your drinks. At the end of the night, you pay a cashier when you leave. I imagine it’s a bit risky if you are low on cash as you have no way of knowing how much you are spending. So what happens if you can’t pay at the end of the night or your credit card doesn’t work? Hmph. However, it DOES speed up the drink ordering process.
- Everyone owns a dog. All homes have security gates and behind every one of them is a canine or two. I’m not sure if this is for protection or for companionship but they are literally everywhere. I know this because they bark all effing night. Sadly, they are also roaming the streets. Unlike the potcakes in the Bahamas where the dogs are all mutts and look alike, there are dachshunds, lhasa apsos, mutts, terriers, you name it, running the streets eating the trash from people’s bins. Poor pups.
- Food trucks are a thing. Every corner has a food truck and I’m loving the hell out of it. Burgers, Thai, Pastels, and myriad other delicious fare. I highly recommend late night food truck shenanigans when one partakes in too many caipiroskas.
- The straws you get in your cocktails are slurpee straws. You know, the ones with the spoon at the end? Not sure why – maybe it acts as a funnel so you can suck up the lime or passion fruit pulp easier. ???
- Floripa is a rather large island and the locals call the mainland “the continent”.
- Pao de quiejo is life.
- The women always put the toilet seat down. I can’t quite figure that one out. Interesting social norm I suppose. More later on that if I get the scoop.
So much more to tell you but I’m overwhelmed with where to begin. Saude!