Accommodations and Food
The best base for visiting the park is the small cattle town of Cambará do Sul, surrounded by flat plains that give no hint of the breathtaking topography nearby. Accommodations in Cámbara do Sul are generally basic, but rustically atmospheric.
One of the nicer and more central choices is Pousada Paraíso (Rua Antônio Raupp 558, tel. 54/3251-1352, www.paraisopousada.com.br, R$60–80 d), a family-style place with small, well-appointed rooms and delicious home-baked goods for breakfast.
Also close to the center, but located on a farm, is Pousada Fazenda Pindorama (Rua Padre João Francisco Ritter, tel. 54/3251-1225, www.pousadapindorama.com.br, R$50–60 pp). The somewhat ramshackle rooms (some nicer than others), in a main building and individual chalets, are simple and come equipped with fireplaces.
Well-heeled ecotourists will prefer the luxuries offered by the Parador Casa da Montanha (Fazenda Camarinhas Km 9.5, tel. 54/3504-5302, www.paradorcasada montanha.com.br, R$352 d), set amidst a rolling landscape between Cambará and the entrance to the Parque Nacional de Aparados da Serra. Accommodations consist of chic thermal tents engineered to battle the elements and seduce your senses. To keep you warm and relaxed, there are saunas and Jacuzzis. The hotel organizes trips to the park as well as hiking, horseback-riding, and mountain-bike excursions.
Prices include all meals at the pousada’s charming restaurant, starting off with a hearty café colonial at breakfast. Lunch and dinner feature typical regional dishes, such as carreteiro de charque (seasoned cured beef with rice), roasted lamb, and doce de abóbora (candied pumpkin). On weekends, noon–2:30 p.m., the restaurant serves a delicious regional buffet that can be enjoyed by nonguests. If you stay for more than one night, special packages are available. There is, however, a two-night minimum on weekends and a three-night minimum during holidays and July.
Eating options are pretty basic as well, although you can get some good hearty local cooking. With its rickety wooden structure resembling a set from a Hollywood Western, Restaurante Galpão Costaneira (Rua Dona Úrsula 1069, tel. 54/3251-1005, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 7:30–10 p.m. daily, R$15–25) is heavy on atmosphere. Inside, the walls are decorated with Gaúcho artifacts, and wooden tables are covered with a collage of handwritten notes left by satisfied customers. The home-cooking doesn’t disappoint—there’s a copious buffet of regional dishes along with sizzling grilled meats served at your table with the traditional accompaniments of melted cheese and sausages. On weekends, Gaúcho music is performed live.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition