By Marilyn Diggs
March 29, 2010
My ideal getaway is one that combines nature, culture and comfort all in one package. Even better if it’s within a historical Brazilian setting, and better still when it’s ecology-conscience. Check, check and check for Fazenda Capoava, located only 80 km from São Paulo.
History of the Capoava Farm
Today, Fazenda Capoava is a dude ranch, but it began as a farm where food supplies and sugar cane were grown for a colonial community of trailblazers called bandeirantes. Its history lesson begins at the parking lot where guests pass a gigantic white fig tree, referred to in land deeds dating from 1881. Legend says the slaves thought it was sacred and used its wood to make bowls to hold offerings to their deities. The tree was spared when the area around it was cleared to plant sugar and, later, coffee from the late 1800s until 1929. Before it became a tourist destination, it was a dairy farm.
Almost all of the buildings on the premises are original, constructed in the 18th and 19th century. The main house, built in 1740, is the reception area, communal living room, chapel and restaurant. The senzala, or slave quarters, are guest rooms with the original pioneer architecture. The old Granary was transformed into the Cultural Center complete with a library and small museum holding historical photos, tools, folk art and objects from the farm. Guests hold conferences or play games in what was once the coffee warehouse.
Cookery is part of the cultural experience. The excellent quality of homemade cooking, using traditional Brazilian country recipes has made the restaurant a popular stopover for day visitors, as well as fazenda guests.
Ride, Hike, Stroll, Relax in Nature
The 50-acre fazenda holds two lakes, waterfalls, woods and the unusual boulder terrain peculiar to the region around It. Millennia ago, molten volcanic rock seeped through cracks in the earth’s surface, and over time, erosion rounded the edges creating a striking, curious landscape. Horseback riding paths and hiking trails wind through this terrain. Riding lessons on the premises take care of beginners and a forty-horse stable accommodates all riders’ equestrian levels.
For nature lovers, 200-year-old trees, flowering shrubs, an orchid garden and coffee plants decorate the property. An Endangered Species Nursery harbors macaws, toucans, parrots and emus. The Monkey Island forms part of the nursery and has a family of Tufts Capuchins being attended by a team of biologists. As an ongoing project, scarce Brazilian fauna is being planted in its natural habitat on the grounds. Polka dot game hens run harum-scarum, while peacocks, parakeets and other wild birds also keep eyes busy.
Comfort is top priority at Fazenda Capoava. Guestrooms come in a variety of accommodations, from the secluded chalets on the lake to the main house lodging to the two-story chalets connected in a townhouse fashion. Fireplaces make for comfy nights. Individual room hammocks, an Indian legacy, are great for relaxing after horseback riding, hiking, swimming, tennis or volleyball. Two saunas are available near the pool area.
Weekends are livelier than weekdays, with live music in the evenings, and sunset or full moon horse rides, calendar permitting. Whether you are a city slicker looking for relaxation in the country or a seasoned equestrian at home on the range, Fazenda Capoava offers top-notch rural tourism, Brazilian-style.
Previous articles by Marilyn:
Dune Walk in Northeastern Brazil
Everything’s Coming Up Roses in Holambra, the City of Flowers
Around Brazil: Embu Das Artes – History, Headdresses and Handicrafts
Full Steam Ahead! Chilean Vineyards by Train
A Trip to Easter Island: Beyond the Obvious
Atacama Desert, Chile – I Came, I Saw, I Explored
Journey through the Fjords of Patagonia
Around Brazil: Jap Mountains, When Nature Calls
Around Brazil: Living the Amazon
Brazil: A Spa that Takes Care of Body and Soul
Around South America: Puyuhuapi – Chile’s Patagonian Secret
Around South America: Looking for Adventure in Chile’s Patagonia
Around South America: Road Trip through a Forgotten Land – Aisn, Chile
Conquering Cape Horn
Around Brazil: Hang-Gliding Over Rio
Around Brazil: Sailing in Paraty
Santiago: Gateway to the Chilean Experience
The Enchanting Easter Island
Nature and Nurturing in Chile’s Lake Region
Chilean Patagonia: Going to the Ends of the Earth
Around Brazil: Adventure in the Pantanal and Bonito Part 2
Around Brazil: Adventure in the Pantanal and Bonito Part 1
Spending the Night in the Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu
Brazil: Happy Moonlit Trails To You
Brazil: Paradise Found – Fernando de Noronha