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Caldo de Cana

“Cane broth”.

Certainly not the most tempting of monikers, but after seeing carts hawking caldo de cana all over southern Brazil from the highways of Paraná to the beaches of Santa Catarina, I had to give it a try.

Caldo de cana is essentially raw sugar cane juice, made by peeling the canes and running them through a pressing machine. Many of the street carts use a hand-cranked press, and you can watch as your drink is squeezed from what looks to me like a couple of dry sticks. The result is a yellowish, milky liquid that is served super cold, with a splash of lime. Sounds gross, looks gross, tastes great.

Caldo de Cana Cart

I was sure it would be too sweet for me, but I actually found the unique flavor really appealing and super refreshing. Perhaps one of the reasons it’s so popular in the sweltering heat of Brazil. Of course, given the high sugar content, it’s certainly not going to help you get into bikini-wearing shape. But if you’re on vacation here, you’re probably already indulging in caipirinhas (Brazil’s national cocktail made with the sugar cane rum cachaça) soooo let’s just look at it as the lesser of two evils.

I leave you with this gratuitous picture I snapped of a portion of Iguazu Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and our last stop in Brazil. The falls stretch for a whopping 1.7 miles and include anywhere from 150 to 300 individual waterfalls, depending on the water level. Absolutely stunning.


Now, on to northern Argentina and Chile. Nos vemos!