Porto Alegre bleg

I won’t be there for a while, but would like to make some plans in advance.  Please offer me any tips you have, including of course day trips and also food.  I thank you in advance.

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There are a few canyons in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Probably the nicest is canyon "Fortaleza" situated about 150km north of Porto Alegre.
The views are amazing. You should head to "Parque Nacional da Serra Geral" in the municipality of Cambará do Sul.
http://www.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=canion+fortaleza&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1366&bih=667

I've never been to them myself, but the mountain towns of Canela and Gramado are quite popular with Brazilians for their Swiss/German influence. Their popularity may largely stem from the inexplicable fondness of fondue on the part of the Brazilian middle class.

Porto Alegre itself is in carnivore country, so there are plenty of rodizios. This link (in Portuguese) is a pretty good starting point for winnowing down all of Porto Alegre's restaurants: http://vejabrasil.abril.com.br/porto-alegre/roteiro/restaurantes/as-mesas-campeas-1/

I love Brazil, but Gramado probably isn't worth the trip. It's a nice mountain town by Brazilian standards, but it's only interesting if you like Brazilian-Swiss architecture. Within Porto Alegre, catch a Gremio or Internacional game, if you can. And a gaucho churrascaria, although I'm not up on what's good in PA.

If you have never been to Iguazu Falls, your best bet would be to spend a little more money, add an extra day or two to your trip, and fly there. You could fly in from Porto Alegre and out to Sao Paulo for your departing international flight. As an added bonus, the neighboring Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este is a study in chaos and the economics of border cities and tariffs.

I lived a year and a half in Florianopolis, which is also a short flight from Porto Alegre, and I think it's paradise. But it's not a great visit in winter, and even in summer it's a beach town.

I live in Porto Alegre: may I suggest there's nothing much to do? Canela has nice falls, but that's it; Gramado is a faux-German Potemkin village. If you go to a churrascaria, there's a 50/50 chance you'll be disappointed. The best churrascos are family-and-friends affairs. The museums downtown are also pretty weak -- they're 500 ft. from my home and I never feel like visiting.

As for food, I suggest exercising your Portuguese and checking out http://trasel.com.br/garfada/?cat=10

Make sure you try the barbecue, or "rodizio", as it's called. You can get the best, by far, @Na Brasa, at their Ramiro Barcelos unit (http://www.churrascarianabrasa.com.br/flash_bra/default.html). I don't think you'll be disappointed, unless you're vegetarian.

Gramado is a nice weekend trip. There are plenty of local wineries in close-by Bento Goncalves, which make very good wine, specially Miolo and Casa Valduga.

In Porto Alegre, you should go for a walk at Gasometro, by the river. Also try Casa de Cultura Mario Quintana, where there are usually nice exhibitions and a great cafe. A walk by the Central Market, in downtown, is also pretty good: lots of local food and treats.

I´m from Brazil as well and although Porto Alegre is not as much as busy city as Rio or Sao Paulo is very much enjoyable. One of the best sites to go to is the page of the Secretary of Tourism http://www2.portoalegre.rs.gov.br/turismo/default.php?p_secao=263 (which is Portuguese).

The original Fogo de Chao is in Porto Alegre. That is probably worth it for the bragging rights alone. The "eat everything on the menu all at once" dining experience is common there and you might find Italian and Chinese restaurants with the same venue. Dado Bier -- the outdoor garden/grill -- was a good place to see what hot upscale brazilian women look like when they dress up (at night). That turns out to be a pretty important cultural experience. There may be a more "in" location now. Its been a few years since I've been there.

I second the suggestion about Igauzu Falls, though they are not in Rio Grande de Sul. They are the closest "big" attraction to Porto Alegre, and arguably the thing to see on the continent if you could only see one thing there.

One of the old Jesuit missions is in Rio Grande de Sul, though on the other side of the state, and should be worth visiting. But they would also mean adding an extra day to the trip.

Barbacue- "rodizio"- is what is said to be "the best". The thruth is that meat tastes better in Argentina and Uruguay, sure. But make sure to try a "rodizio" at least once.
In my opinion the typical food of Rio Grande do Sul is something called "Xis". The name comes from a cheap translation of "cheese-burger", but is something else. It's sort of a third world version of a burger. "Mega Lanches" serves the biggest xis in the country (supposed to be, at least), serves up to 4 people (Avenida João Wallig 591). It's a good laugh.
The "all you can eat" culture is pretty developed around here.
There's a very good polish restaurant named Polska (Rua João Guimarães 377) .

The Sunset at Gasometro is very beautifull... and I think that's it, threre is not much to see around here.
Gramado is not worth the trip, the wineries are better. The whole German/Italian migration area is interesting, but there's not really much to see.

Rodízios are as good in Porto Alegre as in any other big city Brazil. That said, "Fogo de Chao" and "Na Brasa" are among the best in town. If you have enjoyed Polish food in Curitiba, then you will like "Polska" as well.
You should avoid two overrated restaurants where locals like to take visitors: "Barranco" and "Copacabana".
The city has no major tourist attractions, but an afternoon walk from "Praça da Alfandega" to "Usina do Gasometro" is worth taking. I recommend stopping at "Banca 40" in "Mercado Publico" for a "Caldo de Salada" (avoid the ice cream).

Iguaçu is pretty cool, though far enough away it is nowhere near a day trip.

As for Porto Alegre, I've heard there are a few open-top bus city tours that would be worth checking out. However, it is coming up on winter in the Southern Hemisphere, so it might be too chilly to do that.

I'd recommend you a trip to the Vale dos Vinhedos (Vineyards Valley), with some great local wineries, restaurants and landscapes. Oh, and you can make the trip in one day. Some information here (http://www.valedosvinhedos.com.br/principal_ing.asp?sSecao=principal).

If you can add an extra day to your trip, go to Cambará do Sul and visit the canyons (Fortaleza is, by far, the most beautiful). Worth a visit.

I spent a wonderful year in PA working on a contract in the late 90s and actually met my wife there.

We used to weekend in the country around Gramado and Canela all the time. Those towns themselves are a bit quaint but we enjoyed them, but the surrounding countryside is the real attraction. There are beautiful canyons to hike through with interesting vegetation and wildlife and spectacular terrain. The best way to find them is to talk to the locals. Gaucho hospitality is wonderful and like another poster said, the churrascos are best in local homes. The best weekend of all was a horse riding excursion through the pampas with a local guide.

In PA itself there are nice walks to make, but not much in terms of tourist attractions. The city itself is one of the most pleasant to live in Brazil. I don't recommend the churrascerias, but definitely go for the steaks.

If you go to Porto Alegre, as said before, you need to stop by Florianopolis (it`s an island, one hour flight, it has more than 42 beaches, has dunes, hills, lakes, culture and all kinds of Brazil, even the brazilian Beverly Hills-Miami Beach).

If you go to Florianopolis, contact me.

I'll be happy to show you the place and talk about the saving the world (actually saving Brazil first with the mechanism I designed to save this country's democracy with game theory).

In truth, I moved to Sao Paulo last year, but I'd go down to Florianopolis to discuss economics.

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