The Reserva do Ibitipoca is a hidden gem, located a few hours to the north of Rio de Janeiro, in the Mantiqueira Mountains of southeastern Minas Gerais. The 3,000 hectare Ibitipoca reserve surrounds an elegantly restored 18th century farmhouse, the Fazenda do Engenho, which has quickly established itself as one of Brazil's finest small hotels.
The luxurious fazenda has eight guest rooms, decorated with local handicrafts and with a host of modern facilities. Also on the premises is a restaurant serving regional cuisine, and a sauna and spa. Sustainable tourism is the focus here, with ambitious plans to expand animal habitats through reforestation - and guided walks provide the opportunity to explore the scenic surroundings of caves, valleys, river beaches and rainforest. Horse riding is another popular activity on the Ibitipoca Reserve, which has its own stable of Mangalarga and Anglo-Arabian horses.