Bahian Magic at UXUA: Trancoso, Brazil

Our own South America Program Director and Brazil expert, Gretchen, just returned from a family dream holiday at the incredible UXUA hotel in Trancoso, Brazil. Read on as she describes her experience at UXUA and exploring Trancoso.


Trancoso Beach with Uxua

Authenticity is the greatest luxury a visit to Brazil’s picturesque and historic Bahia state can offer. And no place delivers the experience like Trancoso’s Quadrado, its car-free, UNESCO-protected town square.


Traditional fishing boats off shore

Welcome to the luxurious UXUA Hotel! Located in Trancoso, Bahia, it is the perfect place to celebrate the end to an adventure in Brazil with family and friends! Trancoso was isolated for centuries before its rediscovery by hippies and artists in the 1970’s. The culture is unique and people one-of-a-kind.


Uxua Ze e Zilda Casa

At UXUA (pronounced OO-SH-WAH), they break the mold of conventional hotel rooms by offering traditional houses as accommodations along the famous Quadrado. Half of UXUA’s casas date back 500 years to the village’s founding. They were restored by designer Wilbert Das in collaboration with local artisans using traditional techniques and reclaimed materials. Each of these casas have a soul, each with legends and family history; every detail uniquely crafted by caring hands.


Uxua Beach Bar

Trancoso’s beach is second to none and UXUA does everything perfectly to contribute to their guests’ experience. They restored an old fisherman bar, and still serve from an antique wooden boat topped by a thatched roof; low impact, sustainable, and delightful. They offer Bahian cuisine and innovative tropical cocktails, all with UXUA standards. Surf, sea kayaking, beach volleyball and wooden gym are all at Trancoso’s most central beach just steps from the Historic Quadrado.


Gretchen and her family enjoying an afternoon drink at Uxua’s Restaurant on the Quadrado

Finally, the culinary experience at UXUA and within Trancoso are absolutely incredible! With Bahia’s rich culinary heritage mixing African, native American, and Portuguese influences, it’s no surprise that the food scene is dynamic, and every aspect is celebrated from the most innovative restaurant to the goodness of home cooking and simple, traditional street food. Read more about UXUA’s culinary experiences and history HERE.

Trancoso Beach

Surf’s Up at Uxua !

Want to add UXUA and Trancoso on to your next Brazil holiday? Contact us!

Uxua Trancoso

Greetings from Gretchen!

Your friendly Brazil expert,


Posted in Brazil, Family Travel, Luxury, South America, Sustainable Tourism, Travel Advice, Trip Photos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling Like Inca Royalty in Peru!

This couple just returned from a 3-week anniversary trip to Peru where they explored Cusco, the Sacred Valley and completed the Luxury Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu! Read on to hear about more of their experiences.

Salkantay Luxury Lodge to Lodge Trek

I wanted to get back with you and share the wonderful details about our trip and things that might be helpful to you and your future clients.

We were so grateful to be met at the Lima airport! We did not know that we had to claim our bags in Lima. United Airlines told us our bags were checked thru to Cusco so when we landed we went thru customs and then just walked on out to look for our transfer agent. There were a ton of people holding signs. It was really great that your crew had the AWR sign. It really made them easy to spot. Our transfer agent Sam was great! Since we did not claim our bags it created a problem. Sam was very patient and made arrangements for us to go back through security to get our luggage. If he had not been there it would have been a disaster. We then collected our bags and headed over to the hotel where he helped us get our room. Costa del Sol worked out beautifully, transfer agents were wonderful and very helpful, especially getting us settled for our adventure.

Next morning walked over foot bridge to the airport, which was super convenient! Rechecked our bags to Cusco. Costa del Sol was super clean and nice staff.

La Casona, Cusco

Landed in Cusco, at the baggage claim a porter came up to me and asked if I was Andrea, I said, yes, not sure how he identified me but it was great. He helped us with our luggage and handed me some colorful tassels to attach to the bags, upon existing we met Kenny, Frank and our driver Aderley. They were fantastic!!!! Once we got to the van they served us hot Coca tea and cookies! What a wonderful greeting!!!! We then headed to our hotel, La Casona which we LOVED! Our transfer agents helped with the check in at the hotel. Before leaving Kenny went over our itinerary and gave us his phone number in case we needed to reach him during our stay. The hotel was exactly what we wanted small, intimate, and the service levels were exceptional! We also loved the location of the hotel.

Next couple of days we were with our driver Aderley and our guide Nepteli. First day he took us to the Sun Temple, Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman and around town.

Second day, Aderley and Nepteli again. Loved having the same driver during our trip. We went to Chinchero, one of my favorite towns, loved the church and square. Then we went to Moray. Nepteli told us we were going to have a picnic lunch but to our surprise there was a tent set up in a field overlooking a beautiful valley. Upon entering the tent there was a table covered with beautiful linens. A private chef, complete with a chef hat greeted us and began preparing our delicious 4 course lunch. This is one of my favorite memories. We then headed to Maras. This was also one of our favorite places we visited.

First Lodge of Salkantay Trek

We met our hiking group at the Mercado Hotel, which looked like a cool place to stay. Met our guides. Next morning we were picked up by Mountain Lodges of Peru. Started our trek. They did a great job. We loved the entire journey to Machu Picchu. Loved the hotel in Agua Calientes, Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.

Trekking to Machu Picchu

The transfer from Ollantaytambo train station to Hacienda Urubamba went smoothly. Once again we were met at the train station by our original driver Aderley and Kenny 🙂 We were concerned about our bags that we left at La Casona would make it to our new location but our guide with MLP was working to make the transfer of our bags work smoothly. There was some confusion on who would transfer the bags, either MLP or our transfer agents. We gave our guide Kenny’s phone number for him to call to make arrangements between the two companies. All went smoothly.

Salkantay Mountain in the Distance

We LOVED Haicienda Urubamba! Great place to stay after Machu Picchu. It seems most people stay there on the way to Machu Picchu. The hotel was gorgeous and we were happy for the luxury and rest it provided! The hotel staff and hospitality were exceptional. We visited Pisac and Chinchero again from that location. We also went fly fishing with Peru Anglers. They are great guys! We fished a high mountain lake in Calca Canyon. Got to see the local mountain people. The fishing guides are working with different villages to create a new source of income for the local people by introducing fly fishing to Peru. It was a wonderful experience. They are a new company. It might be nice to get to know them. They are Peruvian and their heart is in the right place.

Machu Picchu

Upon leaving, we were picked up by Kenny and a new driver. They dropped us at the Cusco airport BUT Kenny also got a porter to handle our luggage, he also got our boarding passes, also stood in line with us to check our bags, then walked us to the security check in!!! The service level was unbelievable! My husband was floored about how well we were taken care of. Kenny gave us big hugs and said goodbye!

Hacienda Urubamba, Sacred Valley

I want to tell you how fantastically you connected all of the dots! We felt like a king and queen the way we were treated. Kudos to all of you! We will definitely share our experience with friends and definitely book with you again.

Hacienda Urubamba, Sacred Valley

Thank you for a very memorable and special vacation!!!!


Want to plan your next adventure to Peru? Contact us!

Your friendly Peru expert,


Posted in Inca Trail, Luxury, Machu Picchu, Peru, Sustainable Tourism, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazil E-Visa Made Easy

Hoping to plan your next adventure to Brazil? Earlier this year, Brazil made the visa process much easier and MUCH cheaper for American, Canadian, Australian and Japanese citizens.

>>Read More About What Changed Here

Watch the following video for a quick tutorial on the new e-visa process:

Want to plan your next trip to Brazil? Contact us!

Your friendly Brazil expert,


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2 Ways to Visit Torres Paine While Staying at EcoCamp Patagonia

Thinking of planning your next adventure to Torres del Paine National Park? Check out the following two options of how to best visit the park while staying in some of the most unique and well-located accommodations, at EcoCamp Patagonia.

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine

5-Day Patagonia: Torres Del Paine Flexible EcoCamp

Torres del Paine National Park’s magnificent and unrivaled flora, fauna, and stunning vistas are at your fingertips with this customized adventure package, allowing you to handpick daily activities such as cycling, hikes, and nature walks, returning home to EcoCamp at the end of each day for cozy accommodations and sublime meals. Best of all, the 5-Day Patagonia: Torres Del Paine Flexible EcoCamp adventure offers you the best flexibility to see and explore the park (you can even do all the W-trek segments as day hikes if you like!) and its inhabitants with shorter or longer stay options, ranging from 4 days to 7 days so that you can get the most out of your stay in Torres del Paine Patagonia!


Cozy Suite Domes at EcoCamp

5-Day Patagonia: Torres del Paine W Trek with EcoCamp

Be amazed by the skyrocketing mountains, deep blue glaciers, and hauntingly beautiful forests of Torres del Paine National Park on the world-renowned W Trek, all completed with EcoCamp’s unique blend of adventure and comfort. The visually stunning W Trek – highlighting the best of Torres del Paine such as Grey Glacier, French Valley, and the base of the Towers – is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Head off on one of the most famous treks in the world, ending each day of spectacular sights with delicious meals and comfortable nighttime accommodations. During your nights at EcoCamp Patagonia, you’ll be treated to delicious meals made from local ingredients, fun conversation over drinks in the Bar dome with your fellow guests, yoga to stretch your muscles, nights spent in unique domes, and more!

Cozy Standard Domes at EcoCamp for guests doing the W Trek

Glacier Grey

Want to start planning your visit to Chile? Contact us!

Your friendly Patagonia expert,


Posted in Chile, Family Travel, Patagonia, South America, Sustainable Tourism, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hidden National Parks of South America: Lencois Maranhenses

The Lencois Maranhenses National Park located in Maranhão state, in northeastern Brazil, is one of the most marvelous and unique places in the world! An area encompassing about 1000 square kilometers of white silky sands intercepted at regular intervals by endless cool oases of turquoise lakes will make an adventurer’s heart skip a beat!

Read on for 10 fun facts about this other-worldly National Park and how to combine it with other incredible destinations in Brazil!

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

1) Lencois Maranhenses National Park is a national park in northern Brazil’s state of Maranhão, in South America.

2) Lencois Maranhenses was formed over thousands of years, as the sand from riverbeds was deposited at the mouths of rivers and brought back to the continent by winds and sea currents.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

3) Lencois Maranhenses National Park covers an area of 1550 square kilometers (600 square miles) and includes approximately 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) of coastline and stretches as far as 50 kilometers (31 miles) inland.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

4) The best time to visit the park is roughly from May to September, when it’s sunny, yet the lagoons are still full.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

5) Lencois Maranhenses National Park cannot be entered by any vehicle type except 4-wheel drives.

6) Visitors can explore the park via 4×4 vehicle or by doing a barefoot trek camping out under starry skies and swimming in the magic lagoons (we happily offer this trek- please contact us if interested).

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

7) The blue-green freshwater lagoons of Lencois Maranhenses National Park are formed by the 1194 to 1524 millimeters (47 to 60 inches) of rain that falls each year.

8) Lencois Maranhenses National Park sand dunes can reach heights of 40 meters (131 feet).

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

9) Lencois Maranhenses National Park became a national park in 1981.

10) Fisherman, during the wet season, fish in Lencois Maranhenses National Park, but work in agricultural sites during the dry season, when most of the lagoons have dried up.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses can easily be combined with these other great destinations in Brazil:

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

Want to plan your next adventure to Lencois Maranhenses? Don’t see what you want? Contact us!

Your friendly Brazil expert,


Posted in Brazil, Family Travel, South America, Sustainable Tourism, Travel Advice, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South America’s Best Secret National Park

Welcome to Chapada Diamantina, the favorite national park you never knew you had! Chapada Diamantina is one of Brazil’s most glorious national parks, with plenty of options for hiking and trekking through gorgeous valleys, mountain plateaus, and enchanting caves. The landscapes of Chapada Diamantina are so varied, you can climb plateaus, hike through jungles, and swim in waterfalls all in one day! From snorkeling to kayaking, caving to diving, there are loads of activities to choose from.

Chapada Diamantina

Secret Waterfalls and Swimming Pools in Chapada Diamantina

We asked our South America Program Director, Gretchen, what her favorite destination was in Brazil and she responded without hesitation: Chapada Diamantina! Read on to learn 10 fun facts about Brazil’s “Lost World” and what you can plan to do there on your next adventure!


Gretchen trekking in Chapada Diamantina

  • Chapada Diamantina National Park, created in 1985, is a 375.950 acre park located in Bahia, Brazil.
Chapada Diamantina

Chapada Diamantina

  • In Chapada Diamantina National Park there is a flooded cave called Poco Azul (or Blue Well). When explorers ventured into the cave they made a discovery of roughly 40 different animal species’ bones. Many of the bones were from species that are now extinct. One of the species of animals discovered in Poco Azul was a creature roughly the size of an elephant, called a Megatherium.
Chapada Diamantina

Poco Azul, Chapada Diamantina

  • The most popular swimming holes in Chapada Diamantina National Park include Sossego waterfall, Ribeirao do Meio rock slide, and Fumaca waterfall, once considered to be Brazil’s tallest waterfall until a later discovery in the Amazon took the record.
Chapada Diamantina

Quaint towns dot the limits of the park and offer excellent boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts

  • Chapada Diamantina is also referred to as Brazil’s ‘Lost World’, consisting of underground caves and water systems, red rock mesas, and canyons and caverns.
  • The highest point in Chapada Diamantina National Park is Pico do Barbado, at 6,680 feet. It is also the highest point in the state of Bahia.
Chapada Diamantina

Chapada Diamantina

  • Chapada’s best dive spots: Gruta da Pratinha – approximately 390 feet wide and from 4.5 to 7.5 feet deep. Descend by natural stairs into a crystal clear lake, Os ImpossĂ­veis – called the Impossibles for a difficult entrance but once in the crater shaped area at the bottom of a 100-foot pit with vertical walls, you’ll be rewarded with white stalagmites and access to various tunnels. The main Northwestern passage offers an unforgettable snorkeling experience, Poço de MilĂş – called the Enchanted Well, this pool is similar to the Poço Encantado but less restricted. Underwater passageways abound, Poço Encantado – this giant sunken pool is 120 feet deep but the water is so transparent the rocks and ancient tree trunks are visible on the bottom. When the sun is just right, light comes through a crevice and creates a blue reflection on the water. Access to this pond is highly controlled for environmental protection of its rare and delicate ecosystem.
Chapada Diamantina

Chapada Diamantina

  • The famous through-hike that traverses the National Park is called: The Pati Valley Trek.
  • Chapada Diamantina National Park does not have a great deal of infrastructure. It is difficult to reach interior portions by public transportation but it is a popular park for avid trekkers and adventurers. It is possible to camp in small caves for free.
Chapada Diamantina

Trek and swim to this incredible waterfall. Then enjoy a picnic lunch on the flat rocks in the sun

  • Protected mammal species that can be found in Chapada Diamantina National Park include the jaguar, giant armadillo, giant anteater, the cougar, and Barbara Brown’s titi.
  • Chapada Diamantina National Park has a great selection of accommodations and numerous restaurants and cantinas where you can sip Brazilian beer and trade stories with the locals and learn about the best climbing spots, swimming holes, and cave diving.
Chapada Diamantina

The historic town of Lencois is the jump off point for all adventures in Chapada Diamantina

Want to plan your next journey to Chapada Diamantina? Check out the following adventure:

6-Day Trekking the fantasy world of Chapada Diamantina

Have questions? Don’t see what you want? Contact us!

Your friendly Brazil expert,


Posted in Brazil, Family Travel, South America, Travel Advice, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

7 Ways to Get to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

When visiting Cusco and the Sacred Valley, there are multiple ways to travel to Machu Picchu. Below is list of our top 7 ways to arrive to the awe-inspiring citadel — from trains to less-traveled treks to the traditional Inca Trail Trek, we will get you there in your style!

#1) 5-Day Traditional Inca Trail

The legendary Inca Trail takes you through the diverse wilderness of the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, passing numerous Inca ruins on the magnificent stone highway before descending to the famed citadel of Machu Picchu. It starts in Cusco or Ollantaytambo and returns to Cusco with an overnight at a hotel in Aguas Calientes.

  • Set departures are on Sundays and Wednesdays.
  • Minimum two people.
  • Groups are limited to 12 people, but most groups are smaller than that.

Season: All year, except February, when the Inca Trail is closed; best season for trekking is April through October. Note that you may start your trek on any day of the week for a private trek. Check with us for availability! Now is the time to book your trek for 2018!

  • Starting at $1235 per person

Exploring the Machu Picchu Citadel

#2) 5-Day Salkantay Trek

From Cusco, we drive north across Antapampa into the Apurimac watershed. Mollepata is the starting point of our five day trek across the Cordillera Vilcabamba, past Mt. Humantay and Salkantay into the headwaters of the Santa Teresa valley. Hiking down this cloudforest area we ascend to the Pass of Paltallacta in whose vicinity we camp. Great views of Machu Picchu from a different perspective. Hike into the Aobamba Valley and arrive near the hydroelectric works, downriver from the citadel, board the train at the hydroelectric station, ride to Aguas Calientes where we will spend the night. Next morning we will visit Machu Picchu ruins before heading back to Cusco.

  • Group departures are on Sundays

This trek is a good alternative to the Inca Trail when permits are sold out!

  • Starting at $1135 USD per person
Machu Picchu

The mist lifted as we arrived in Machu Picchu!

#3) 2-Day Inca Trail Express

This is an outstanding mini-trip for those wanting “a taste” of the Inca Trail, but either lack the time or energy for the full 4- or 5-day Inca Trail. There is one day of hiking; second day is at Machu Picchu.

NEW FOR 2018! We are offering a set departure on Thursdays for the 2-day Inca Trail Express, with a special group price. Minimum for group is 2 people.

You will need Inca Trail permits for this trek. NOW is the time to book for 2018!

This private trek is available for any day of the week. Set departure groups start on Thursdays.

  • Starting at $625 per person
Sacred Valley

Wind your way through the glorious Sacred Valley on your train to Machu Picchu

#4) 2-Day Vistadome Train

This is the ideal and least rushed way to see Machu Picchu! You will enjoy the train ride to Aguas Calientes. Check in to your hotel and wander around the village and its outdoor market, hot springs baths and local museum. Stay overnight in Aguas Calientes. On the second day, be ready to meet your guide early in the morning, for the shuttle, entrance and guided tour of Machu Picchu (before the crowds arrive). Option to climb Huayna Picchu at 7 or 10 a.m. After lunch, you have the afternoon to explore the ruins further, or hike to Inti Punku. Return to Aguas Calientes and catch the late afternoon train back to Cusco/Poroy.

  • Starting at $450 per person

Views from the Salkantay Lodge to Lodge Trail

#5) 7-Day Luxury Lodge to Lodge Salkantay Trek

A physical challenge worth every ounce of effort! Like Inca royalty, experience the Salkantay Lodge to Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu in style. Each day’s impressive trek ends with a hot shower in a cozy lodge, complemented by a massage or a dip in an outdoor jacuzzi, followed by a gourmet Peruvian meal with select wines and all provided with highly personalized service by local staff.

Accompanied by expert Peruvian mountain guides and horse packing crew, this 7-day trekking adventure traverses 15 separate ecosystems along a spectacular ancient Inca Trail route in the heart of the Cordillera Vilcabamba. Pass towering snow-capped peaks dominated by Mt. Salkantay, explore villages where locals still maintain age-old traditions and re-discover the mystical beauty of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca Empire.

This route is an even more spectacular high Andean trek than the popular Inca Trail Trek and the last day passes over a protected remnant of another Inca Trail and ancient Inca city hidden in the cloud forest near Machu Picchu. Small groups of no more than twelve trekkers ensure an intimate experience amidst stunning mountain scenery.

PLEASE NOTE: This trek is with a group of 12 people maximum. Private departures or a private guide may be available upon request.

  • Starting at $3885 per person

Incredible vistas from the lodge to lodge Lares Trek

#6) 5-Day Luxury Lodge to Lodge Lares Trek

Choose your own adventure on the Luxury Lodge to Lodge Lares Adventure! This 5 or 7 day hiking and cultural experience is excellent for groups of diverse interests and abilities. Your incredbile journey will lead you through the rich history, living culture and magnificent landscape of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and end at Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca Empire. At each day’s sunset, settle into deluxe mountain lodges run in partnership with local communities, to prepare for a new day of multi-activity adventure and exploration.

Majestic archaeological sites lead to remote and uncrowded trails taking travelers through mountains and valleys, abounding in natural beauty and dotted with Andean communities, where the locals are master weavers and their traditions are still firmly rooted in ancient Incan culture. Expert guides tailor the experience with an offer of a la carte daily activities (easy to challenging hiking or mountain biking) and cultural encounters. Decide on whim, what you feel like doing each day and make this trek your own!

PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is with a group of 32 people maximum. Private departures or private guides may be available upon request. Closed in January and February.

  • Starting at: $2935 per person

Discover less-known Incan Ruins site along this trek to Machu Picchu

#7) 5-Day Sacred Valley Trek and Inca Trail Express to Machu Picchu

This trek in the mountains above the Sacred Valley provides beautiful mountain views and insights into the traditional way of life for the local Inca-ancestral people. Three days of trekking in the Sacred Valley are capped by the 2-day Inca Trail Express.

On the slopes of Antapampa, north of Cusco lies the intriguing terracing complexes of Zurite, located near the village of Huarocondo. From here the trail winds slowly onto the high plateau with fantastic views of Mt. Salkantay and Veronica, to Ancascocha and down the Silgue Valley, ending at Camicancha. The fourth day includes taking the train to km 104 and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, arriving through the sun gate. Shuttle to Aguas Calientes and overnight in a hotel. The fifth day includes shuttle, entrance and a guided tour of Machu Picchu. You will return to Cusco on the train at the end of the day.

We can offer this now as a set departure trek, starting on Mondays.

  • Starting at: $1135 per person


Want to book your next adventure to Machu Picchu? Contact us!

Your friendly Peru experts,

Gretchen and Barb

Posted in Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru, South America, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hiking In Torres del Paine Was An Amazing Experience!

This family of 9 just returned from hiking the W-trek in Torres del Paine, Chile. Read on to hear their account:

Base Torres

Base Torres

“We would highly recommend Gretchen and AWR to friends and others for their travel needs.

Our trip was great and memorable in many ways. Hiking in Torres Del Paine was an amazing experience. Food in restaurants in Punta Arenas was surprisingly good, and Hotel Ilaia in Punta Arenas was lovely. Having dolphins swimming next to our boat on our way to Isla Magdalena to see the penguins was such a treat. AWRs’s emergency contact was very quick in response to our situation of missed flights and worked with us to arrange the best possible solution. At Ecocamp, the hot water supply was great and the refugios were clean. We learned the true definitions of “Patagonia flat-trail”, “Patogonia weather”. There were some rainy and cold mornings but we were lucky to have a sunny day to hike the hardest trail to the base of the tower. There was snow on the top, so the last stretch up (about one hour) was very challenging. Luckily we had two very good guides from the Eco-camp, Vincent and Nicholas who guided us through the various challenges. We also spotted a puma! casually strolling along the main road inside the park. Food and accommodation were good. Thanks again for all your help. Patagonia is beautiful.”

Mirador del Toro

Mirador del Toro

Want to plan your next Patagonia adventure? Contact us!

Your friendly Patagonia expert,

Posted in Chile, Family Travel, Patagonia, South America, Sustainable Tourism, Travel Advice, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Fun Brazil Coffee Facts & 3 Must-Visit Coffee Shops in Sao Paulo

After having spent the past few weekends among the sprawling coffee farms in the verdant Brazilian mountains of Minas Gerais State, our Brazil expert, Gretchen Traut, is here to share 10 fun facts about coffee in Brazil as well as her top three favorite coffee shops in Sao Paulo!

Minas Gerais

Sunset in the mountains of Minas Gerais


  1. Brazil produces about 30 percent of the world’s coffee supply.
  2. Situated in the southeastern part of the country, Minas Gerais is Brazil’s largest coffee-producing state; with nearly 2.5 million acres planted, Minas Gerais accounts for about half of Brazil’s coffee harvest.
  3. With a 28 percent share, Brazil is the top supplier of coffee to the U.S.
  4. Eighty percent of coffee from Brazil is a variety known as Arabica.
  5. Small-scale coffee farming in Brazil gained traction in 1888 after the abolition of slavery and the introduction of favorable immigration rules; currently, seventy-one percent of coffee farms in Brazil cover LESS than 25 acres.
  6. Following a trip to neighboring French Guiana, Lt. Col. Francisco de Mello Palheta planted the first tree in Brazil in 1727 and by 1820, coffee had become the most exported product in Brazil.
  7. Coffee-growing elevations in Brazil range from about 2,000 feet to 4,000 feet.
  8. Brazilian coffee is known for its clear, sweet, medium-bodied, low-acid qualities.
  9. Brazil is the world’s second largest consumer of coffee.
  10. Some experts predict Brazil soon will oust the U.S. as the world’s largest coffee-consuming market.
Minas Gerais

Gretchen grinding coffee at Refugio Andradas in Minas Gerais

Minas Gerais

A rainbow over the Refugio Andradas Coffee Farm in Minas Gerais



  1. Isso e Café
  2. Cupping Cafe
  3. Coffee Lab
Minas Gerais

Hiking in Minas Gerais

Want to plan your next adventure to the coffee lands of Brazil? Contact us!

Your friendly Brazil expert,


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Best South America Travel Destinations for March and April

Thinking of booking a last-minute adventure this March or April? Check out our list of the best South America trips for inspiration for the next two months!

Torres del Paine

Domes at EcoCamp

1) 5-Day Patagonia: Torres del Paine W Trek with EcoCamp

This 5-Day/4-Night tour allows you to experience the best of Torres del Paine National Park!

The trip is ideal for travelers who enjoy trekking into the wilderness and spending nights in cozy domes while looking up at the austral skies! The domes at EcoCamp have comfortable beds, measure 140 ft, are energy efficient, and have beautiful local decor.

Group Departures: This trek departs every Sunday and there are still spaces available to join in late March, April and early May.

Pricing starting at: $1495 USD per person.

Laguna Los Tres

Laguna Los Tres

2) 7-Day Los Glaciares National Park: Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre Trek

From north to south, trek to the basecamps of Mt. Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre, camping at each and trekking to Paso del Viento with views of the second largest icecap outside the polar regions! Experience classic Argentine Patagonia landscapes – steep granite spires towering over vast glaciers, cerulean lakes, rivers and forests.

–Season: October to March

–5 days backpacking trek, 7 days total

–Difficulty: Intermediate – Must be physically fit; 6-8 hours trekking/day

–Requires backpacking experience (carrying 40-45 lbs/18-20 kgs backpack; sections of steep trail and scree, river crossings by zip-line and/or wading)

–Group size: 4 to 8 guests


–Mar 25-31

Pricing starting at: $1395 USD per person.

Inca Trail

Machu Picchu

3) 5-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

From Cusco, we drive north across Antapampa into the Apurimac watershed. Mollepata is the starting point of our five day trek across the Cordillera Vilcabamba, past Mt. Humantay and Salkantay into the headwaters of the Santa Teresa valley. Hiking down this cloudforest area we ascend to the Pass of Paltallacta in whose vicinity we camp. Great views of Machu Picchu from a different perspective. Hike into the Aobamba Valley and arrive near the hydroelectric works, downriver from the citadel, board the train at the hydroelectric station, ride to Aguas Calientes where we will spend the night. Next morning we will visit Machu Picchu ruins before heading back to Cusco.

This trek is a good alternative to the Inca Trail when permits are sold out!

Set departures are on Sundays.

Pricing starting at: $1135 USD per person.


Salta Trekking to the Clouds

4) 4-Day Northwest Argentina: Trekking to the Clouds

This trek begins at the foot of Cerro El Golgota in Ingeniero Maury and ends four days later in Quebrada de San Lorenzo, right next to Salta city. Explore an old Inca trail amid landscapes of great contrasts. The first part of the tour takes place in a dry and arid climate. During the final segment we will enter the rainforests of Salta’s Yunga. Along the route, we will be in contact with nature and the culture of a special area of Salta.

Starting at the Quebrada del Toro, our first ascent will be surrounded by cardones (giant cacti) and will reveal the snowy peaks of Cerro San Miguel and Acay. The trail leads to the archaeological site of “Sillon del Inca” (Inca Seat), ruins that once belonged to the southern part of the Inca empire. We will continue the trip visiting the local inhabitants of the area, who work the fields and breed livestock over in villages over 3,000 meters high. Camp sites and dinners will be the time to share moments with the group and sometimes with locals when we camp near their homes at night.


–April 28**

–May 26**

–June 23

–August 25**

–September 22**

–October 27

–November 24

*New Moon

**Full Moon

Pricing starting at: $590 USD per person.

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Your friendly South America expert,


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