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Sep 19, 2021
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A historic city resting on the banks of Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, the city of Porto Alegre offers an especially old world backdrop perfect for getting to know the region’s Portuguese-Renaissance influence. Cruise ships are likely to arrive to the bay of Belém Novo a few miles south of downtown, while an array of local pamphlets and bookings can be organized at the Tourist Information Center closer toward the heart of the city. Public transportation is limited to a waterfront train system that begins at the Mercado Station by the ferry terminal, though private transfers can make the day pass much easier. Choose from a simple sedan or a family-friendly SUV to sightsee at a comfortable pace, or look forward to tranquil drop offs with a meet-and-greet service ranging from local personal drivers who know the Belém Novo’s coolest restaurants, to chauffeured limousines that can reach upscale hideaways in downtown.

 

Although ride shares are a viable option, the small town of Belém Novo is very walkable for those who don’t want to go far. Nearest to where the cruise ship drops off is the famous Municipal Natural Park Saint Hilaire, a vast natural oasis home to long hiking paths and spacious lawns. A good meeting place for large groups looking to split up downtown is the Historical Centre, home to an unmissable old lamps, palms and cobblestoned grounds, as well as epic cultural centers like the Farol Santander. Benches are placed in Farroupilha Park for easy people-watching as well, a variety of old churches and nearby gardens making it easy to explore without going too far. Consider where the best port-side restaurants are in Belém Novo at the end of the afternoon, discovering local-style barbecue at Ruínas do Poleto, as well as a stylish version of Japanese from O Sushi do Carnero.

 

Along the far southern coastline of Brazil, the city of Rio Grande is a beautiful one to arrive by sea. Cruise ships arriving to the vibrant community will likely dock along Porto de Rio Grande, or ‘Port of Rio Grande’. Between two of the city’s three main peninsulas, the cruise port is a modest one with priceless views of the bay, the city and the self. Placed along industrial district outskirts, the cruise port is also a simple arrival point, without instant access to any modern public transportation system but isolated enough to go without bothersome crowds. Make arrivals easy with transfers ready and waiting, whether that means going with a private sedan, van or SUV best for taking quiet drives into the central rainforests, or relying on one of many meet-and-greets that include luxurious limousines into Rio Grande’s upscale Centro neighborhood, and local personal drivers aware of have-not neighborhoods.

 

Known around the world for being one of the oldest established cities in Brazil, Rio Grande is a beacon of historic wonders as much as natural escapes. Close to the cruise port is an array of fresh and innovative seafood restaurants, cool ones including traditional buffet eats from Restaurant Pontal da Mangueira, or further but worthwhile barbecue at Churrascaria Rio’s. Another way to start the day is by gathering information in downtown’s Informações Turísticas, or ‘Tourist Information Center’ across from Xavier Ferreira Park that can save time through smart organization. Historic relics are also abundant and include the Museum of Rio Grande City, as well as modest maritime artifacts at Museu do Porto, a myriad of Portuguese churches like Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo filling the city with original colonial foundings. End the day simple by choosing from several sunset coastlines, the most popular being Praia do Cassino (‘Casino Beach’) and the manmade jetties at Molhes da Barra.

 
 
Rio Grande airport shuttle service