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By Anna Fitzpatrick, Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL - Between the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, lies the Itatiaia region. If a hike in breathtaking scenery and challenging climbs are your idea of a good time, then take heart that it is a reachable weekend destination from both Rio and SP.

The Itatiaia region was popular with European settlers, and with a more temperate climate and neatly tended farmland it feels strangely un-Brazilian, though those familiar with places further south in the country may be able to draw some similarities.

The main draw . . .

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