This terrifically charming colonial town at the foot of the [node:80019 link Serra da Bocaina] mountain range was a major hub during the coffee boom that swept through [node:79843 link São Paulo] state in the 19th century. An architectural feast, the elegant squares and solares (mansions) are still intact, as are the surrounding plantations of the coffee barons.
Getting to Bananal
Bananal is 330 kilometers (205 miles) from São Paulo and 150 kilometers (93 miles) from [node:79571 link Rio de Janeiro]. By bus from São Paulo’s Tietê terminal, Pássaro Marron (tel. 11/3775-3850, www.passaromarron.com.br ) has daily service to Bananal via Guratinguetá (where you’ll need to change buses), with a few direct buses on weekends. In Bananal, the tiny bus station is located on Praça Dona Domiciana.
By car, from São Paulo take the BR-116 north to Queluz, then the SP-068 to Bananal. From Rio, take the BR-116 to Barra Mansa and then follow to the SP-064. The travel time to Bananal from São Paulo is roughly three and a half hours by car and five hours by bus.