The mountainous state of Minas Gerais yawns over a rugged territory inland from Rio de Janeiro. It’s a fecund region of savannah grassland, coffee plantations on sun-stroked slopes, soils rich in semi-precious stones, cliffs and river valleys groaning with forests, waterfalls and rose-tinted pools. As you can imagine this landscape is home to an extraordinary biodiversity. The gorgeous Reserva de Ibitipoca was established to conserve this captivating environment.
Travel by scenic road from Rio (4hrs) to the Fazenda do Engenho, an attractive 18th century Portuguese farmhouse, or its outlying accommodation, all situated in the heart of the reserve with its 200km of trails you can explore on foot, by mountain bike or on horse-back. Bird-watching is especially rewarding here. The handful of romantic suites are huge, decorated in rustic style with wood-burning stoves, leather sofas, wooden floors and Victorian-style bathtubs, well provided with contemporary amenities such as underfloor heating and Wifi. To complement your outdoor activities – which can be guided, or you can go off on your own – there’s a spa, fitness room, yoga classes. That’s not to mention the home-cooked food, which you can eat in the company of your fellow guests, at an outdoor picnic or lake-side barbecue, or at a simple eaterie at a local community.