“Look, Ma, no hands!” That was me, flying at Parque dos Sonhos. (Click the arrow for video.)
In August while Scott was visiting, we visited Parque dos Sonhos (Park of Dreams) for a little adventure. Two hours away by car, the park is a center for outdoors activities, including horseback riding, jeep riding, tree climbing, rafting, tubing, trekking, rock climbing, swimming by a waterfall, and ziplining. We were there for the ziplining.
The park is set off the main road by about five miles, so be sure you’re in a vehicle that can traverse deeply rutted dirt roads awash in dust. Small sedans will make it, but I wouldn’t vouch for your transmission afterward! But once you arrive, the beauty of the hillsides just takes your breath away. And the silence is golden. Most of the activities are family activities, or age-appropriate based on degree of difficulty. All activities include helmets, life vests, and other safety gear included in the price. You can go for the day, or stay overnight in the intriguing Hotel Fazenda (Farm Hotel), where each room has a balcony looking out over the park, and many have hammocks on said balcony. There are also cottages on site that can accommodate up to 10 people. Lodging rates include four delicious meals at the park restaurant, and all activities, except rock rappelling. And for those who are just interested in relaxing while others run off and play, there are hammocks scattered around the property under the trees–perfect for loafing and sipping a cold beer or icy caiparinha. And dogs are welcome! We took Cricket and Sydney on the outing and they had a blast. First, we were able to let them run in a “dog run” by the entrance, where we could hear them barking at arriving guests and horseback riders, and all of the fowl that were walking free in the park. But once we were done eating and had done the zipline, we got them and let them run to their hearts content along the little beach next to the waterfall. By the end of the afternoon, our white pups were worn out brown, matted, be-leafed pups. Exhausted but elated.
Now, about the ziplining. There are several ziplining sites in Brazil, but the really good ones are far from Sao Paulo. Still, the one we found was nothing to sneeze at: 1,000 meters of sheer thrills out over a rock mountain and then over a valley split by a river. It’s about sixty seconds of bliss on a wire. Scott came prepared to capture the moment, with his Go-Pro camera. Unfortunately, I don’t have the film yet, so can’t post it here.
You sign up for the ziplining over near the restaurant. Just look for the cow lying in a shed by the four-wheelers. You’re in the right spot then. Then you take an open-air truck ride to the top of the hill, stopping en route to gather the helmets and hang-gliding gear from the termination point. Then you drive for ten or fifteen minutes to the top of a mountain that overlooks the park. Once you’ve disembarked, you walk to the alpine structure where all the ziplines start and they strap you into a hang-gliding vest (full body length) and give you a helmet. Then you watch and wait, listening to the screams of delight and terror as those in front of you are launched from the ramp. We were there on a day when few guests were in line before us, so it wasn’t much of a wait. Meanwhile, we enjoyed the view below, looking into the park and across the waterfall.
When it was our turn, Tom went first (he wanted to see all of us arrive after him). Lying prone, just before the push-off, he extended his right arm, fist curled, and tucked his left fist and arm against his body. Launched, he shouted, “To infinity and beyond!” and streaked past us. That’s the man I married!
Scott was next, singing “I believe I can fly” as he flew past me. Next came Arthur. Here is his video shot en route using my Olympus digital camera. It gives you an idea of the height, the drop-away, and the rush of the ride.