Nov. 11, 2011
Tucked away in the soft-contoured hills of Petrópolis, beautifully kept Fazenda da Samambaia ("Fern Farm") offers travelers the peace and relaxation of turismo rural - Brazil's brand of agriturismo - with a sustainable approach.
Petrópolis travelers can visit for the day or stay at the Samambaia Hostel, with male and female dorms for up to 50 guests - an attractive option for student travel in the Fluminense Range with accommodations in the historic farmhouse and the bucolic setting.
Lunch at the restaurant serving country style culinary, with organic ingredients grown on the farm, and walks through the gardens designed by Burle Marx are some of the things to do at this farm dating from 1743.
"I spent my childhood here and I want children and adults to have the same joy I had and still have admiring such a beautiful landscape," says Fazenda da Samambaia's third-generation owner, English-speaking Jean-Charles Barreto Góes.
Góes manages the Samambaia Environmental and Ecotourism Institute (Isca), with headquarters on the property. On weekdays, the farm is open to school visits during which the children can learn about sustainability, biodiversity and conservation, reforestation, and the reduction of waste.
Fazenda da Samambaia History
Samambaia land was first owned by a Captain Francisco Muniz de Albuquerque in 1741.
The area was an important stop for mule packers traveling the Royal Road (Estrada Real), Brazil's gold route.
The Samambaia Valley was photographed by Revert Henrique Klumb (183? — 1886), a renowned German- Brazilian photographer who is said to have introduced stereoscopic photography in Brazil.
Klumb was the Photographer of the Royal House in Rio de Janeiro and the author of Doze Horas em Diligência - Guia do Viajante de Petrópolis a Juiz de Fora (Twelve Hours on Expedition - Guide of the Traveler from Petrópolis to Juiz de Fora). He said about his journey through the region: "Friends who come with us on this trip, wrap yourselves up your coats, hide the faces in mufflers, if you care to bring them, because the glacial air which blows in this place becomes even more acute because of the rapid descent of the Samambaia."
Góes's grandparents, Antônio and Célia Leite Garcia, received several illustrious guests. His grandfather was friends with Getúlio Vargas and the Guinle family, owners of the Copacabana Palace. Among the names on the farm's guest of honor book (1943-1951) are Errol Flynn, John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson, Bob Hope, Norma Shearer, Brigitte Bardot, Assis Chateubriand, and Eva Perón.
Open Sundays and holidays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (during the week, the farm is open for school visits; Saturdays are reserved for private events).
Admission: R$4 (R$2 for kids ages 4-7; free for children 3 and younger)
An expense ticket is given to visitors at the entrance. Lost tickets cost R$150.
Mass said at the Chapel every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Guided visits by appointment: R$50 per guide
Free parking for more than 100 cars available by the main entrance. Cars are not allowed in the park; the farm has its own vehicles.
Accessibility: The hostel's first floor is wheelchair-accessible.
Address: Estrada da Samambaia 138 (about 7 kilometers from the center of Petrópolis, RJ)