Brazil, the fifth-largest country in the world, is a place that needs multiple visits. This journey meant I was lucky enough to see southern right whales.
I flew into Sao Paulo and transferred the 2 and a half hours to Fazenda Catucaba. This wonderful old building, dating from the 1850s, was formerly a coffee farm which has been converted into a comfortable boutique property. There are 5 villas spread out around the Fazenda and the property includes an organic farm, swimming pool, fantastic horse riding. It is set amid rivers, lakes and rolling hills covered with Atlantic Rainforest. Fazenda Catucaba offers relaxation, outdoor adventure and great service, and is located close to the coast and a few hours from both Rio and Sao Paulo.
We then flew south to Florianopolis and drove just over an hour to Praia do Rosa (pink beach). This area offers stunning beaches, great surfing and, during the season, whale watching. The southern right whales travel along the coast, often with their calves, between July and November where you are almost guaranteed to see these huge cetaceans that reach up to 17 metres in length.
Finally, I flew up to Rio de Janeiro, passing Maracana football stadium. We headed to the Private Reserve of Ibitipoca, where they have an ambitious programme of reforestation of native flora and planting a wildlife corridor.
The centrepiece is the Fazenda do Engenho which dates from 1715. The traditional farmhouse has been rebuilt creating 8 sumptuous guest rooms. Fazenda do Engenho offers a choice of relaxing or adventurous activities including horse riding on Anglo-Arabian horses, 4×4 trips, exploring the natural waterfalls and mountains or relaxing at the spa, sauna and hydro-massage pool.