This morning we all awoke to the sound of the alarm which by now almost sounded unfamiliar to our vacationing ears. The reason was today’s excursion – a dude ranch in farmland Brazil.
Fazenda Bela Vista
The Farm was built in the 19th century as part of the Brazilian historical coffee farms circuit.
In 1993 the owner Pedro Luiz Dias Aguiar, or as he is more commonly known, Pedroca, left the farm with his brother and his farm worker in order to cross Brazil from Oiapoque in the north to Chuí in the south on horseback. The trip was 17 000 km long and lasted for more than two years riding through the villages, towns, fields, forests of Brazil in sun and rain. Pedroca has a unique knowledge of the country and shares his knowledge with his guests at the Fazenda on daily riding trips.
We arrived at the fazenda at 0800 and were greeted by Andrea in the reception who told us our program and sent us off for some café da manhã; breakfast. Enjoyed our classic Brazilian breakfast complete with locally grown coffee, cakes, goiaba, jabuticaba and cheese bread or “Pão de queijo”. Only this was the best Pão de queijo I have ever had. It was warm, fresh, soft and tasty. I’m not a fan of the Brazilian national bread but this was really good. I took seconds, and thirds and almost went for fourths but I was afraid the forth would trot right up again once on horseback.
After breakfast we walked up to the stables to meet Edson who was going to take us for a ride. Brazilian wrangler blue jeans, blue and white crispy shirt tucked in, sleeves rolled up, wrangler boots, hat and big smile visible through a tidy beard he was the epitome of a cowboy. He even had the cigarette-in-the corner-mouth thing down pat.
Together with two other, less seasoned, cowboys he got all the horses ready for us while we stood idly by and watched in our helmets, ready to go. The guys were a bit nervous to start; Peter just can’t trust a creature that big with such a small brain. And Lasse has actually never ridden a horse before today.
After some nervous bathroom breaks we mounted our steeds and set off into the Brazilian countryside. Me on Esperanza, Livvie on Lady and the boys on horses none of us can remember the names. Livvie and James both had their own horse but were led by one of the cowboys holding a tethering rope.
The landscape was amazing. I’ve said it before; the colors are so beautiful with the red soil, green coffee and sugarcane plants. The weather couldn’t have been better! It was very cloudy but dry so we didn’t have to worry about the heat or getting roasted by the sun or being washed away by the downpour as can be the case here.
Sorveteria break – 8 horses 1 tether
After a couple of hours we rode into the village and stopped to have ice cream at the sorveteria (ice cream parlor). Edson tied his horse to an streetlight on the road and then tied one horse after the other to the horse before it. A long chain of horseflesh that, should a horse decide to move, would be a very effective roadblock. The kids chose popsicles and Peter, Lasse and I settled for some açaí (I love açaí!). (By the way it’s pronounced asa-ee). In doing this we inadvertently insulted the owner which I realized later as I was paying and he told me the ice cream is better because it is homemade while the popsicles and Acai were bought. Next time….
After the pitstop at the sorveteria, and their restrooms, we got back on our mounts and, with sore backsides, continued on home to the Fazenda. James and Olivia rode most of the way all by themselves without a leader. The were amazing. James even galloped! When we got back we basically hopped off and went to lunch. No brushing, feeding, tack care. Nothing. No work, only play.
Lunched was served around 1400 and was perfectly Brazilian complete with arroz and feijão (rice and beans). The main protein source today was “lagarto” which is lizard. Tasted like pork.
After lunch we were going to go to the pool and sauna (which is included in the day use pass) but we got stuck in the hammocks on our backs passing time talking resting our behinds and inner thighs.
It was a great day, the riding being the best part. The Day Use Pass costs 250BRL per adult, 130BRL for children older than 4. The Day Use Pass includes breakfast, lunch, pool and sauna. The riding is charged separately at 100BRL. A lovely, exciting day and we will be back here soon. James woke up from his nap later shouting
“No! I’m not done riding!”
(The pin is not exactly where the fazenda is. It is located at the hook end of the road leading south out of town)
Check out for more info on the farm