Reserva do Ibitipoca

We offer our guests a mix of luxury, simplicity, sustainability and excellent service at Reserva do Ibitipoca, one of the South America’s most exclusive hotels in a private nature reserve, located 167 miles from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Staying at Reserva do Ibitipoca is like going back 100 years in time. The lodge features are situated at the old main house Farm, surrounded by a green area at 2950ft high in the countryside. The reserve was founded in 1981 with the goal of expanding wildlife corridors connected to Ibitipoca State Park, famous by a landscape full of cliffs, rocks, natural bridges, caverns and waterfalls. The Hotel was opened only in 2008 to generate economic growth in the region, to become a truly sustainable project and also as a consequence of the desire to receive people and share its exuberant nature. Now days the Reserva has 3 times the size of the Park with a lot of attractions such as trekking, horseback riding and bicycles for the guests of its only 8 beautiful rooms. As its focus was never to make profit but being the best sustainable project, staying there is more about experiences than anything else, once the best sustainable practices and ideas to make a perfect stay that can be found in the world and fits in the concept are implemented there, things like candles everywhere, a marvelous local, organic food, unforgettable well-being rituals at the beautiful Spa and amazing activities with several different landscapes such as trails in the Atlantic rainforest, makes it an unforgettable experience.

We are one of the most important players in the area, as we have 3 municipalities and several communities around the Reserve, from where the main jobs and source of income comes from. We are part of local associations to promote the tourism in the Ibitipoca Village, where the Park is located. So we are very supportive of the Park and take part in some the discussions, we are involved with the village and its issues, supporting them in some cases even with sponsorship. Also, from the Environmental Educational and Social programs we reach 100% of the people from one the community of São José dos Lopes and several from others (around 500 kids), always explaining them about the importance of Atlantic forest, and seriously going against hunting and fire, providing training to stimulate them to invest on ecotourism, incentivizing local production, entrepreneurship and rescue the traditions. WE only buy from the locals even if we have to pay till 10% more than regular price.

Some of our initiatives are:

1. Casa Arte & Vida is a NGO founded by a guest of ours that we sponsored and now we have projects together to provide citizenship and culture for the local social development through supplementary education, Agri-Ventures, and Professional Training for about 120 people. 2. CDI- The Committee for Democracy in Information Technology is a social organization that uses technology to social change, empowering communities and encouraging entrepreneurship, education and citizenship. We’ve sponsored 2 units of the CDI in 2 communities around us, one for a year and the 2nd for 2 years, trained almost 300 people 3. We made a documentary about daily lives of people in the countryside, the impact of the tourism in the area and as a result thousands of people watched it in Brazil, at the end, the documentary was exposed in theaters. We did a book as well with local’s memories; we incentivize some projects to rescue the handcraft skills from the old ladies, we bring folklore. 

1- We’ve being protecting the area of 4.000 hectares with reforestation

2-Several animals and birds were reintroduced, for many endangered animals we have special projects

3- We have 5 houses in the total, our water heating system is whole with solar panels in all of them, some of the houses are even with wood burning stove with a pipe that heats the water and 3 of them with no electricity. Also we have practices to advertise among the guest and do it internally to reduce, reuse and recycle, so our organic waste goes to a composting system then to our garden, as we do with animal waste that become manure. Also, avoid the use of plastic bottles and aluminum, preferring returnable glass or refill, giving personal water bottles and the guest can fill up straight from the springs. The remainder is sent to a local recycling plant. 

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About the author

Helen Jennings

Helen has studied at the Universities of Goldsmiths, Kent, Jyvaskyla (Finland) and The Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø) where she obtained a MA in Indigenous Studies. She has travelled extensively and has lived and worked in Canada, Scandinavia, and South America. Helen is particularly interested in cultural, indigenous, and spiritual tourism, ideas behind sensible ‘regulation’ and is convinced of the value of ethical and sustainable tourism.

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