You don’t associate São Paulo with nature or outdoors activities, it is Brazil’s largest city and one of the most populated in the world. But people often forget that São Paulo is also the name of Brazil’s 12th largest state (which is about the size of the UK) and has plenty of beautiful places to visit, many within reach of the city. The beautiful São Paulo coast and the idyllic island Ilhabela are within driving distance; as are the mountain villages of Brotas and Socorro, which are famous for their cool climates and eco-adventure activities. However, the real gem, Ronco do Bugio, is only 100km away and is probably one of the Paulista’s best keep secrets. This small hotel is hidden deep within Brazil’s beautiful Mata Atlântica forest and offers the perfect place to escape the crowds and relax.
Brazil’s Mata Atlântica forest is special. It is an endangered habitat and the second-largest rainforest in Brazil, after the Amazon. What makes Ronco do Bugio even more interesting is its location, it backs onto the Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar, which is the largest continuous area of the endangered Mata Atlantic in the country. This makes the area pretty unique and it is home to many endemic species as well as the rare howler monkeys that give the hotel its name.
Great care has been taken to ensure that Ronco do Bugio is integrated into its natural surroundings and the buildings, garden and forest intertwine to great effect. At the heart of the Pousada is a comfortable lounge and bar; a separate V.I.P lounge for dogs; and a pretty restaurant with a large open fire. On the second floor is a separate breakfast lounge. Breakfast is a long and delightfully serious affair at Ronco do Bugio and since it is a something that shouldn’t be missed they serve it all day to avoid disappointment.
All the buildings at Ronco do Bugio have been constructed from reclaimed and recycled materials from old and historic buildings.
This means the hotel is full of hidden charms and unusual details. Keep an eye out for the tiny old chapel hidden away at the hotel’s entrance and the banisters in the main building, which are decorated with musical notes because the materials were salvaged from an old music school.
The Fazendas of Minas Gerais provide the inspiration for the architecture and the interior designs and there is an abundance of Brazilian textiles and art used throughout the pousada. There are 14 beautiful suites hidden away in the gardens that surround the main building. Each has a discrete little path leading up to its own porch and a private veranda or garden. All the suites are uniquely decorated and have cosy living areas with working fires.
There is a pool nestled in the naturally occurring boulders, which is fed by a natural spring and surrounded by forest flowers and plants. There is also a dry sauna that looks directly out onto the rainforest with a small waterfall directly outside so it is easy to cool off. There are numerous activities on offer, for the energetic there are walking trails, waterfalls, horse-riding expeditions and mountain biking trails. Whilst for those who prefer to relax there are massages, an extensive video library and tea tasting sessions.
Food and wine are taken very seriously at Ronco do Bugio and the kitchen is overseen by Eduardo Duo, an exceptionally talented chef, whose passion for food shines through in every dish. Eduardo sources 90% of all his ingredients from the area and the freshness and quality of the produces can be tasted in every mouthful. The area has the perfect climatic conditions for herbs and the kitchen and bar make good use of them in the food and a range of fresh teas and fantastic cocktails. The region is also the largest producers of artichoke in Brazil and Eduardo has created a special tasting menu dedicated to this delicacy. As one might expect Ronco do Bugio has an outstandingly good wine cellar too, so that you can be sure to find the perfect wine to accompany your meal.
It is said that the Paulista knows how to live life well and if Ronco do Bugio is anything to go by we are inclined to agree.
Ronco do Bugio is in the Sao Paulo State just a couple of hours drive from the city. For more information visit: http://www.roncodobugio.com.br
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