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.