When people hear the word "Brazil" the first thing that comes to their minds is summer, sun, beach, soccer and girls in bikinis. But yes we have winter in the southern half of the country and this is the city to be if you like to enjoy it.
167km away from São Paulo and 342 from Rio de Janeiro, Campos do Jordão is situated at Serra da Mantiqueira at1628m of altitude, the highest city in Brazil, temperatures stay between 0 C and 20 C and dry during winter, nothing compared to European winter but really pleasant weather.
Buildings have mostly an alpine architecture, and the city and surroundings are full of activities to be enjoyed like visiting the Horto Florestal Park and walking one of its many trails, horseback riding, mountain climbing, treetop cable swings (arborismo), ATV riding and my favorite: laying back on the hotel garden looking at beautiful araucarias (tree typical to the region pictured in many of the photos above) and eating! And, man, if you like eating you’ll go nuts in this place. It’s full of restaurants, cafes and shops where you can buy regional products like cheese (queijo fresco), jams, doce de leite, one of my favorites – queijadinha (a coconut based little cake), besides the many chocolate manufacturers which you can visit their factories.
Places to Stay:
There are hundreds of inns and hotels for every taste and in all price ranges, some of the ones that I’ve stayed and enjoyed are Orotur at the mountain side has a beautiful garden and view and Villa Casato nearer to the city center has a more intimate style, fireplace in the bedrooms, personalized service and a centenary araucaria garden.
Places to eat:
The most famous must be Baden-Baden, German cuisine restaurant which belongs to a brewery that goes by the same name at the heart of Capivari (city’s touristic center).
Só Queijo is my favorite. Try their appetizer that consist on a straight-out-of-the-oven bagette and six different pastes, yuumm!! And the meat platter (served only at lunch) that has different types of meat served on a hot iron plate.
Can’t miss:Cafe von Leithner: The most beautiful view in campos accompanied by the best coffee and berry products produced on their farm.
When to go: the high season is in July, winter in Brazil and hollidays for schools and universities, if you like people, flirting and excitement this is the month to go specially on weekends. In July you’ll find clubs and shops that only open during high-season and the winter festival (classical music).
If you prefer relaxing the best months are may, June and august, it’ll be also cheaper.
To photograph: My favorite theme is the Araucaria, a tree typical to the region with its very peculiar candle-holder shape.
More info on: www.guiadecamposdojordao.com.br (in portuguese)