Enthralled by Nature
RURAL TOURISM IN BRAZIL IS ONE OF THOSE PEAK EXPERIENCES WHERE BODY AND SOUL ARE HARMONIZED WITH THE BOUNTIES MOTHER EARTH HAS TO OFFER
Brazil is a land blessed by nature. It is per se a territory teeming with mysteries dyed in green and blue, a place where light acquires miraculous shades. Its daunting landscapes, combined with the hospitality of its people, make the South American giant one of the most sought-after destinations for the practice of rural tourism.
Although urban development has triggered a dramatic exodus from the countryside to the city, thus broadening the gap between rural and urban areas, there is now an inverse process prompted by the growing number of people who seek to get away from the big city stress and set out on a quest for unruffled and quiet places where nature prevails.
This “return” to the countryside has opened up a window of opportunities for the travel industry, especially as far as outdoors todos are concerned, primarily linked to such concepts as sustainable tourism, ecotourism, agro-tourism and ethno-tourism.
No wonder then that the upcoming Gramado Tourism Festival –an event in which professionals from Brazil and other countries gather to promote travel destinations and products, to discuss market trendsetters, share knowledge and unearth new business opportunities- promote the potential of rural tourism as a rising modality.
Some of the most important destinations in this niche are nestled in such well-known states as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo or Minas Gerais. In those locations, the interaction with nature and gastronomy are key elements when it comes to ranking the quality of the local accommodations.
A very popular kind of lodging in those areas is the hacienda hotel. These accommodations give visitors the chance to fully melt into the environment, learn about the productive activities and plunge themselves into the history and culture of the various enclaves, while performing great alfresco activities, such as horseback riding, cycling and hiking.
THE BEST KEPT SECRETS
Brazil is much more than samba, soccer, carnivals and beaches; a whole lot more than The Redeeming Christ, the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, or the Iguazu Waterfalls. It boasts a vibrant inland paradise that goads visitors to venture out into the heart of the country as long as they are willing to unravel some of the vast country's best-kept secrets of nature.
As far as hacienda hotels are concerned, Monte Verde in Minas Gerais is one of the most emblematic lodges. Right there, nature reveals itself in its most pristine state –it is said that the air that you breathe up there is over 90% pure- and allows people of all ages to enjoy a welcoming and challenging experience in the same breath. As it's perched on a location that stands over 1,500 meters high, many see it as a place to deal with extreme sports, like the zipline and bungee jumping.
Another place that packs a wallop is Atibaia, in Sao Paulo, where visitors can spend valuable time working in farms that harvest organic products or drop by ancient estates that look unrivaled for amazing horseback rides. The visit schedule is extensive and covers the most unexpected places, like the distilleries of handmade cachaça or the flower plantations.
Filled up with mountains, forests, caves, underground lakes and waterfalls, the Chapada Diamantina National Park, in the state of Bahia, also stands tall. Its list of countless attractions is topped by Fumaça waterfalls or the dazzling Enchanted Well. There are opportunities for all likings and preferences. You can go hiking down the old paths of precious metal seekers or just do some horseback riding, spelunking, diving and rafting.
For coffee lovers, there is a mandatory stop in Vassouras, located in a region known as the Coffee Valley in Rio de Janeiro. The area reached its greatest splendor in the 19th century when it became known as the “city of coffee barons.” There is no better place to get in touch with a significant part of Brazilian history and understand the way in which those powerful men lived. For example, in Casa de la Hera, tourists will see what the housing and lifestyle of coffee families was actually like; and they can even admire the same furniture and organization that the residence had in its splendorous past. Also, the rural area has innumerable farms open for visits. A good case in point is Cachoeira Grande, which harkens back to 1820.
Standing some 35 kilometers away from bustling Sao Paulo, the Paralheiros region enthralls visitors with its trails in areas of well-preserved nature, historical and cultural heritage, water rides crossing dams, as well as indigenous tribes and organic-crop farms, which as a matter of fact, are completely available for tourists. One of the most important points on the premises is the crater of Cologne. The geological formation was carved by the fall of a meteorite over 20 million years ago. Not far from there, the like-name neighborhood, founded by Germans and where the first Protestant cemetery in Brazil was installed, is just another must-see.
São Roque, Amparo, São Pedro, Monte Alegre do Sul, Joanópolis, São José dos Campos, Pindamonhangaba, Santo Antonio do Pinhal, Itú or São Bento do Sapucaí are other cities which are similarly recommended for visits, places that can seduce tourists eager to feast eyes on the many wonders that rural tourism in Brazil has to offer.
Brasil es un destino ideal para los amantes de las rutas a caballo, ciclismo y senderismo. Brazil is an ideal destination for lovers of horse riding, cycling and hiking.
Algunos de los destinos más destacados en esta modalidad se encuentran en Río de Janeiro, Sao Paulo y Minas Gerais. Some of the most outstanding destinations in this modality are in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.
Brasil es un paraíso que incita al visitante a adentrarse en el interior de su naturaleza. Brazil is a paradise that encourages visitors to get inside their nature.