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Brazil Tours

Visconde de Mauá

Ecotravel & Tours / Brazil – Visconde de Mauá, a charming village of former European colonization is located in the Mantiqueira mountain range, close to Itatiaia National Park. The Rio Preto which traverses the region, forms exuberant waterfalls and large pools, dividing the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. Visconde de Mauá is considered an ecologic sanctuary with springs of crystalline mountain water, fantastic waterfalls and a magnificent scenery.

A visit to Visconde de Mauá is like traveling through Brazil's history. The region was originally habitated by the Puris Indians who gave name to Mantiqueira ("place where the waters are born").

Around 1870, Irineu Evangelista de Souza, also known as Visconde de Mauá and in that time one of the most powerful man in Brazil, had the concession to explore vegetal carbon in the Mantiqueira area. In 1889 his son obtained the permission to install the Colonial Nucleus of Visconde de Mauá and in 1907 the government started a campaign in Europe to attract capital and labor to Brazil.

Unfortunately the climate and the agricultural conditions of the region were mistakenly considered similar to the ones in Europe which motivated in 1908 the first immigrants from Switzerland to arrive in Visconde de Mauá. A little later arrived Germans and Austrians and afterwards Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians, Hungarians and even Russians, all with the intention to cultivate lettuce, vegetable and corn. The government provided houses with 2 to 3 rooms, agricultural equipment and financial help for 6 to 12 month.

Due to a variety of factors, such as the tropical climate, acid soils, lack of technical advise, cultivation of the wrong agricultural products and excessive transportation times of 12 to 48 hours, this agricultural project failed. It is told that in some months, the only food consisted of "pinhão", a seed of the Araucária (Paraná Pine), a popular native tree of the region. Accordingly, the government was obliged to sell the terrains to farmers from Minas Gerais who concentrated on the production on milk and its derivates.

The few immigrants that remained in Visconde de Mauá started to initiate touristic activities and to rent the rooms of their houses. In the beginning, the guests from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo arrived by train in Resende and continued their journey by horse or on the back of a donkey. Continuously, Visconde de Mauá develped to one of the most interesting ecotourism spots in Rio de Janeiro / Minas Gerais, with a wide range of hiking / trekking and mountain bike tours – Brazil Travel / Mata Atlântica.

See also: Trails & Tours