4 HOURS BY CAR
Find a reason to stay at the Reserva do Ibitipoca – it’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny. The 18th-century farmhouse is in south-east Minas Gerais, Brazil’s mining country, surrounded by protected areas. The air is so clean that bubble-gum-pink lichen grows on the trees and racing-green forests harbour all kinds of birds and animals.
Once there, everything is included so take a pony, bike or hike up the mountains, stopping for freshly pressed sugar-cane juice, and plunge into a natural pool before lunching on barbecued steak that will be prepared for you at the top. Huge chainmail statues that once towered over the Playa at Burning Man now live on a plateau above the house. Once back, hit the spa, do some yoga or chat to the tame – and friendly – toucan ahead of a delicious dinner conjured from the garden’s ingredients.
The Reserva borders Ibitipoca state park, which is open six days a week, with plenty of trails that snake through caves, under gushing waterfalls and up escarpments. Resident wildlife includes puma, maned wolves, monkeys, purple-breasted parrots, swifts and Ibitipoca’s own species of frog. Book into one of the simple pousadas or pitch your tent in the campsite and go out to eat and drink in the local village. Don’t miss the eccentric Bar do Firma, decorated with bottles, dreamcatchers and dusty detritus hanging from the ceiling.