The owner of the lanchonete in Jaraguá do Sul where we stopped for lunch on Saturday was effusive in his praise of Balneário Camboriú, the largest mainland beach resort between the cities of Rio and Porto Alegre. ‘A mini-Copacabana,’ he called it, gesturing excitedly to his nodding colleagues. Riding south towards it the next day on BR-101, a parade of billboards on which Sharon Stone advertised a condominium development in the city made us fear the worst, and those fears were confirmed when a three-mile stretch of tower-block blight loomed into view. We kept going.

A week last Sunday, we were all set to ride the 700km west from Curitiba to the waterfalls in Foz do Iguaçu, but conversations with local cyclists swayed us into a rethink. The next morning, we left our bikes in Curitiba and took the bus west to Foz, spent two days exploring the extraordinary falls and the barely-less-astonishing Itaipu Dam, then rode the overnight bus back before reclaiming our bikes and setting out south from Curitiba on Friday.

We’ve traded, we think, some pleasant but possibly slightly monotonous riding in southwestern Brazil and northeastern Argentina for some less easygoing cycling on the Brazilian coast and the chance to visit some more interesting places. Yesterday was typical: the 132km we covered on the main coast road under slate-grey skies won’t make it on to anyone’s list of the world’s most beautiful bike rides, but it’s left us within a few kilometres of Florianópolis and the more inviting Ilha de Santa Catarina. (We’d have got there, too, had looming clouds not meant that bad light stopped play 20 minutes early. The coincidence is uncanny.) It’s chucking it down outside, mind, so the island may have to wait.

from São José, Brazil