Hello and thank you for coming to the new look Inspiring Adventures! Below this post you can find all the stories, photos and videos of Inspiring Adventures. In the top right you can learn more about who I am, and what I do.
What does coworking look like in Brazil? Is it trendy, colourful, work spaces? Do they have pools? Yes. Yes they do. I work in a coworking space in London, and I’ve looked around a good few of the other coworking spaces we have here, and as far as I can tell, no pools. This is why Brazil is a growing economy. I have found the secret.
It’s not because more than 22 million people have been raised out of extreme poverty in the last 2 years (as the government claims), and it’s not because the World Cup and the Olympics are coming. It’s because their colour coworking spaces have pools.
Part of the success of Parque Das Aves is down to the amazing the staff they employ. The Environmental Education Coordinator for the park, Juliana Ebling, is also the President of the Brazilian Environmental Educators Association, and affiliated with the Government policy makers.
Along with Park Director, Carmel Croukamp, I found out more about how education is key to conservation and sustainability. Continue reading
My connection with Parque Das Aves goes all the way back to my school days. I didn’t know it then, but at 13 years old, I had an influence on the fortunes of what is now the largest bird park in Latin America.
In 1995, two years into following his dream to set up a bird park in Brazil, Dennis Croukamp was looking for more investment.
At the time, Dennis and his wife, Anna lived on the Isle of Man. As you might know already, or perhaps heard me mention in my Iguassu video, I’m also from the Isle of Man – that lovely little island in the Irish Sea, between England and Ireland.
To raise money, Dennis was selling his Mercedes-Benz. And who was interested in it, apart from a 13 year Richard? My father was, and he invited me along for the test drive… Continue reading
The first thing that hits you is the water. No, you are not literally washed away in a huge torrent the moment you get the falls. But it’s the scale of it – all that water. And it just keeps coming. And coming. And coming. Where does it all come from? Does it ever stop? Isn’t it beautiful…
And just when you’ve been blown away by the mass of water in front of you, you take a little walk and realize that the waterfall stretches for miles. And miles. And miles. And your just jaw hits the ground.
It’s a force of nature. Maybe you can get a sense of it from the video below. Some people might say there should be more waterfall and less Richard in the video, but I’ll let you decide.
Bonito – it’s not just about the water.
There is at least one attraction that involves none of the wet stuff.
Ecotourism entrepreneur, Senor Modesto Sampaio used to be a farmer. In 1986 he acquired an unusual piece of land. Part of the land included a giant sink hole, a natural sandstone crater with it’s own unique ecosystem. The largest sink hole in South America, and second largest in the world. Of course, engineers advised him to cover or fill it somehow, so that he could use all the land for farming, but Modesto, now in his 70s, realised its unique potential.
Bonito is the centre of responsible travel and ecotourism in Brazil.
It’s a small, fast growing town in the central region of Brazil, and it was my home for 3 days.
Ygarape’s founder, Juca Ygarape, really seems to be the father of eco-tourism in Bonito. He discovered many of the attractions of Bonito over the last 20 years. Juca is the man that the Discovery Channel or National Geographic call when they need a local expert. (Juca showed me his videos, where he tracked a huge wild anaconda in the water, and introduced it to scientists and professional photo-journalists).
Over the years Juca and his friends have also been responsible for designing many of the guiding principles to keep the tourist trade here sustainable.
San Francisco. The home of Agro-Eco-Tourism?
Not the San Francisco with the Goldengate Bridge or all those tech start-ups. This is the San Fransico Lodge in the Pantanal region.
What does Agro-Eco Tourism mean? I asked owner Robert Coelho the same question.
“Agro because we teach people about farming, and Eco because we introduce people to our unique wildlife and nature.
Arriving in the Wet Lands
We arrive at Santa Clara Guest House, and are checked in by a friendly Macaw. All around us are giant Hyacinth Macaws. This part of the Pantanal is one of the only regions in Brazil where you can see the this large Macaw species in the wild.
It’s not just the Hyacinth Macaw around here. Hundreds of birds and dozens of species fly all around the farm grounds. Another macaw welcomes us at the check-in desk. Hawks patrol the garden. Parakeets fly by in pairs. A toucan in the distance. But it wasn’t the birds that really surprised me.
Sitting on the bus, I watch my fellow travellers eat sandwiches they made from the leftovers of breakfast. I conclude that I am not a good budget traveller.
I’ve just handed over about £10 to scoff down a tasty buffet, at the scheduled tourist food stop on my bus ride to the pantanal. I certainly paid for that convenience.
It’s the older German couple, Udo and Gisela, that are laughing now. They appear to have spent their entire lunch savings on cold beer for the rest of the journey (about 8 cans).
I console myself and hope my expensive plate of fruit and vegetables for lunch will do more for my travel health than the beer.
As the air conditioned coach stops, and we change to an open air pick up truck, we attacked by hordes of hungry mosquitoes – it’s like nothing I have ever experienced! That’s what I get for coming to the wetlands, in the wet season, after a rainy day.
Quick, let’s go! Fast! They can’t keep up when we’re moving!
I grab my natural neem repellent, courtesy of Preserva Mundi, and share it with the Germans. The mosquitoes back off a bit, and I am rewarded with a beer from Udo. Now I’m on the beer bus too.