Reserva do Ibitipoca
Ibitipoca Reserve is an inspiring, ambitious 4000 hectare private conservation and sustainability initiative, aimed at the reforestation of native flora species and wildlife corridors.
The centrepiece is Fazenda do Engenho, one of Brazil’s finest small hotels. Dating from 1715, the traditional farmhouse was rebuilt from 2006 and has 8 sumptuous guest rooms, restaurant, Spa, sauna and hydro-massage pool. The stable has Mangalarga horses and guests set off on horseback, foot or 4 x 4 vehicle to explore the extraordinary natural surroundings of waterfalls and mountains.
Travel into authentic Brazilian history, disconnect, relax and indulge with rare levels of comfort, personal service, and delicious regional food. Ibitipoca is located 3½ hours north-west of Rio in Minas Gerais, also 2½ hours from Petropolis and São João del Rei and some 4 hours from Belo Horizonte.
100 metres above the main house is Casa de Carlinhos, with 3 suites – perfect for families or small groups of friends.
Traditional recipes are prepared with organic ingredients grown on the property.
Daily activities include a morning yoga class and guided excursions on foot to explore the Reserve’s waterfalls, caves, and natural pools. Charged options include excellent riding, 4 x 4 excursions and use of state-of-the-art electric bikes and buggies.
*New for late 2018 / 2019 - Remote is a portfolio of rustic country houses within the reserve each transformed into comfortable charming and utterly individual basecamps allowing exploration of the reserve's wider reaches. In the village of Mogol treat yourself to design Humboldt Loft, or to an above-the-clouds mountain top experience at Eagle's Nest. And on the far side from Engenho - there is distant, bewitching Areião House and Areião Loft. Explore pristine hidden waterfalls at every turn or opt for for riding, mountain biking or walking amongst contrasting landscapes of mountains, wet sand dunes and tropical forest.
February 2019 - Simon's impressions from visit in December
Reserva do Ibitipoca in Brazil should come with a serious warning. Beware, you may well fall head over heels in love with this place and won’t want to leave. Travel insurance will not cover this. Return visits to Brazil will be required. This was my fourth visit and every time I want more. And now with new accommodation options – aka Remote - you can get lost in the wider Reserve!
There is so much positive energy and eco-inspiration going on at this private reserve 3 ½ hours from Rio that it can make you dizzy. Theirs is a unique recipe of conservation, art, sustainability, and rural regeneration – and for those lucky enough to visit, adventure with exceptional hospitality. Stunning natural beauty is shown off to its best with love by charming, proud local guides. Guests stay in beautifully restored country accommodation with deeply nourishing organic, wood cooked Mineiro cuisine. It’s a truly heady mix.
5 days for our family just wasn’t long enough. Enough time to disconnect from the outside world, but never enough time to explore pristine hidden waterfalls at every turn or for riding, mountain biking (optionally electric) and walking amongst contrasting landscapes of mountains, wet sand dunes and tropical forest. Never enough time for days beginning with pre-breakfast family yoga supervised by a rescued toucan and macaw, or for massages in remote locations reached only by 4x4. Inspiring warm local people. Surprises at every turn. Art installations to leave you speechless.
My family spent 2 nights in Casa de Carlinhos (a private house set above Fazenda do Engenho, the Reserve’s main hotel) then ventured further afield exploring to see the new accommodation options in the village of Mogol and then right across the other side of the reserve to distant, bewitching Areiao. One morning i woke at dawn and looked down across hills and cloud shrouded valleys of Minas towards Rio; then walked an hour to a country house called Luna, where researchers base themselves for access to 2 rare and endangered male muriqui spider monkeys. 2 females are shortly being reintroduced and more iconic species re-wildings are planned.
The hope is there will be a circuit that goes all the way round the state park massif that the Reserve embraces (and aims to protect). And that rural depopulation can be stemmed through creating a sustainable, local tourism economy. In Mogol where only 15 families remain, I found locals optimistic for the future, and a vision of rural regeneration breathing life back into a place where real local people would live alongside scientists, artists and poets - a village dreaming of a sustainable future for the world.
Ibitipoca is a rare and beautiful thing. Go!
9th February 2017
New electric buggies.
Reserva do Ibitipoca is the proud owner of two brand new Polaris electric buggies. One takes two people and the other can accommodate four. They are being offered to guests to get around the reserva, with different prices for a short tour with a guide, or for all day use.
The Art Circuit.
Now Ibitipoca is proud to announce a new free art circuit walking excursion, conducted by a local guide. The open-air works of art are spread across the reserva, but are all within walking distance of the main fazenda. The tour takes 2 hours and the walking is of medium difficulty. The art tour can also be taken by jeep or on horseback for an extra charge.