The highest (and one of the most scenic) train journeys in Brazil is the 20-kilometer (7.5-mile) ride between Campos do Jordão and Santo Antônio do Pinhal that winds through forest-covered mountains at altitudes of 1,740 meters (5,710 feet). The railway was inaugurated in 1914 to carry passengers with lung ailments from São Paulo to the healthy mountainous climes.
Make sure you sit on the right-hand side from Campos to obtain the most breathtaking views.
In Campos, climb aboard at the Estação Emílio Ribas-Ferrovia de Capivari (Av. Emília Ribas, Capivari, tel. 12/3663-1531, www.suicabrasileira.com/passefcj.htm, R$35 round-trip). In Santo Antônio, the quaint whitewashed Estação Eugénio Lefèvre is in the center of town.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition