Type of horses:
Mangalarga - a native gaited horse breed derived from Portuguese Lusitano horses.
Nature of horses:
Gaited (smooth extra pace), sure-footed and sensible.
Height of horses:
14.2 - 15.2 hh
100kg / 220 lbs
Typical Brazilian tack. Saddles are deep seated and padded for long hours in the saddle.
The state of Sao Paulo may be the economic, industrial and financial centre of Brazil, but it also offers some of the finest rural experiences within the region. Thanks to its cultural diversity and vast, multifaceted territory, the interior of Sao Paulo offers some interesting riding experiences too.
Riding in the coffee highlands takes you through the coffee-growing regions northeast of Sao Paulo, visiting some of the great historical plantation homes and passing through surprisingly well-preserved natural landscapes. This diversified terrain takes you from plains to mountains, up and down escarpments and onto plateaus punctuated with springs and waterfalls. There are also rainforests to explore, which contain monumental Jequitiba trees - this giant species grows to over 40m in height and 3m in width - the oldest specimen is believed to be over 3,000 years in age.
This region also offers a wealth of arts and crafts which are produced locally - leather, ceramics, embroidery, preserves, honey, cheese and of course, coffee. You will be surprised by the high quality of the coffee as your hosts share their knowledge about the beans, origins and roasting methods. You will be shown the process of coffee production from the plantation to the cup.
Since the mid 19th century some of the finest coffees produced in Brazil have come from this region which boasts a perfect combination of altitude (800-1,300 metres) and climate (dry winters and wet summers) as well as fertile, well-drained soil. The first settlers in this area arrived from the Azores in the late 18th and early 19th centuries looking for land on which to raise their livestock - cattle, horses, mules and pigs - and to help transport gold miners from Minas Gerais. Simultaneously, railroads and coffee plants arrived with the European settlers and the plantations became more prosperous and elaborate. The hosts you stay with on this ride will be happy to share their family history with you and show how they have developed the countryside whilst maintaining the beauty of the landscapes.
Along with the fascinating coffee experiences, this area boasts easy-going and hospitable people as well as teeming plant and animal life. There are monkeys, deer, coatimundis (small ring-tailed mammals related to the racoon), as well as numerous species of birds, insects and butterflies.
You stay in local fazendas (farms) with your hosts and their families.
Fazenda Nova is where all rides begin and a centre-based ride from here is possible. The fazenda is a historical farm which was built in the 1840's. There are ten apartments which are furnished with period pieces as well as a swimming pool and restaurant.
The other fazenda's will vary depending on local availability, but all are clean and comfortable.
The food in Brazil is always fresh and tasty. There are plenty of fresh salads and fresh fruit on offer at all meals and vegetarians can be catered for with advance notice.
There is good meat on offer as cattle farming is big business here, and it is likely that you will experience at least one gaucho barbecue.
The number of rivers in the area also means that fish could well be on the menu.
Most meals are taken at the main farm houses, but you may have lunch out on the trail too.
Coffee is obviously a highlight and there will be many opportunities to taste different coffees.
The focus is on riding and meeting local people. All abilities can be accommodated and so everyone will be encouraged to have a go.
If members of your group do not want to ride at all but simply relax at the fazenda then we suggest choosing the centre-based option.
Languages: English, Portuguese
Health requirements: None except general good health
Age limit: 8 years or older
Tuition: Basic guidance.
Included: Meals, Accommodation, riding, water with meals, transfers on trail
Not included: Flights, transfers on centre based ride, drinks other than water, travel insurance.
It is possible to fly direct to Sao Paulo from the UK with British Airways and LATAM, or you can fly via a European hub city such as Lisbon or Madrid.
On arrival at Sao Paulo you are transferred by road to Fazenda Nova. On the trail rides this transfer is included, but on the centre-based rides the transfer cost is USD 270 return, per car, and the vehicle will carry up to 3 passengers.
Airport: Sao Paulo
This trail leads you through old coffee plantations which are situated in the highlands of Sao Paulo state. Coffee plants prefer higher altitudes which allows for scenic riding with great views across the forests and farmland. All the farms are owner/family run and they will be proud to show you around and share their family history.
You will be collected from Sao Paulo airport and transferred to Fazenda Nova (New Farm - so called because the old one burnt down in 1830). Fazenda Nova is a 200 hectare property with c. 50 hectares of primal forest, 60 hectares of reforestation and the remainder pastures and sugarcane plantations. The horses you will meet at this farm have been bred here for seven generations of the same family. If you arrive early enough then there will be time for a first short ride within the farms land to get to know the horses and tack. In the evening there is a typical regional "Paulista" dinner which includes tastings of Mogiana coffees, which are among the best in Brazil.
Overnight Fazenda Nova.
After breakfast you set out on your first full day of riding and will have your first experience of the Atlantic Rainforest, exploring the 120 acres of preserved forest owned by the fazenda. You will ride through sugar cane fields, pastures filled with beef and dairy cattle, as well as orange and coffee plantations on higher ground. Stop for lunch at Fazenda Belo Monte midway through the day.
The horses will spend the night out on the trail, at a ranch which specialises in team penning events, whilst riders are transferred back to Fazenda Nova.
Today's ride heads through irrigated coffee plantations until reaching Fazenda Bocaina for lunch. In the afternoon, continue riding for around 12km through hilly terrain where a reforestation project is in place with native species being planted. Your destination is Fazenda Fortaleza, producing organic coffee which is then exported all over the world. The owners will proudly show you their organic vegetable gardens, as well as a trail through the woods to a millenar jequitiba tree (a great opportunity to do some bird watching).
Dinner and overnight at Fazenda Fortaleza.
It is not a long ride today as your destination is not too far away, but there is plenty to see along the way! Crossing varying farm land belonging to Fazenda Fortaleza and then the small village of Igarai. Lunch will be taken at either Fazenda Sao Bento, a posh Victorian house, or at Fazenda Morro Azul, which produces a special cachaca (a traditional Brazilian liquor, similar to rum, which is distilled from sugarcane).
You will overnight at Fazenda Santo Antonio - a beautiful house with a swimming pool. The owners plant coffee in a natural way which will be explained to you during a tour and coffee sampling session in the shade of the rainforest.
Today you ride across the largest coffee plantation in Brazil, with more than 1 million coffee trees. Cross into Minas Gerais state and stop for a picnic lunch at around midday. In the afternoon you will continue riding through hilly terrain until reaching Fazenda Pedra Blanca where the horses spend the night. You may also sleep here, either in the small comfortable house in a beautiful location, or you may be transferred to another property (depending on availability at the time).
Ride downhill on the Sao Paulo side of Minas Gerais to view a small energy plant which was founded in 1905 and is still operational. You will cross the river which divides Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais and ride across fields to Fazenda Serra where you stop for lunch. Through the afternoon you will continue your ride at a leisurely pace to return to Fazenda Nova by evening.
Depending on the time of your flight, you may be able to round up some cattle this morning or visit a waterfall to bathe, if time allows.
NB. Please note that this is a sample itinerary. You are riding across working farms where the owners still live and there are c. 30 coffee farms in this area. These farms are not touristic enterprises which are open all year and so it may be necessary to substitute one of the farms for another due to family commitments or events taking place over your chosen dates.
|Minimum group size:||1|
|Maximum group size:||8|
|Ability description:||All abilities can be accommodated and the trail is tailor-made to suit your group|
|Type of ride:||Trail|
|Total riding time:||7 days / 6 nights / 5 days riding (4-6 hours riding per day)|
|Departure dates:||2017: Rides can be scheduled to suit - arrive/depart any day and open all year.|
£1587 per person, sharing
Single supplement: £141
Includes: 6 nights shared room accommodation, full board meals, water with meals, as well as 5 days of horse back riding as per the itinerary and a short ride on arrival if time allows. Return set-time group transfers from and to Sao Paulo airport are also included in this price.