I've been to Campos do Jordão, a well-know tourist city, to pass a small honeymoon (my weeding was at Nov 21st last year, which explains in part the lack of posts on this blog for some months :P). Some quick pointers about the city:
1. The Way
From Sao Paulo, take the Ayrton Senna Highway until the end (or the Dutra as an alternative). Follow the signalization and you'll end up on SP-123, which goes until the city's beautiful portal.
The Ayrton Senna is a nice highway managed by the private sector. It's a large and well taken care of, which IMHO pays for the (somewhat expansive) toll road. Nevermind the fact I managed to have my windshield hit by an ~ 10cm wood plate that came from nowhere; somehow it got unscratched. Also it isn't any news, but some people don't drive as one should in a highway there.
SP-123, by the other hand, is your typical government-managed road. One lane, few passing points, highly irregular paving. It goes up on the Serra da Mantiqueira, so it's also full of dangerous curves and can have fog. Drive carefully around there, respect the speed limits (specially if you don't know the region) and be aware of idiots.
2. The City
- The architecture is beautiful
- Cold, rainy climate. This can be really bad if you stay there only a few days, as the rain can keep you from doing some of the interesting things
- The city has a main avenue with two small centers (comercial and touristic). Outside these centers the streets are mostly not paved and usually irregular.
There are a lot of places to stay (most, if not all of them, on the expansive side of the scale. It's a tourism-heavy city after all...). We've stayed in a place called Uma ilha na montanha (An island in the mountain). It's an interesting, nice and quiet place if you don't mind staying away from the city's center, in a pretty remote location accessible only by scary non-paved roads which aren't on google maps (yet).
4. Some interesting places and stuff to do
- Train trips to nearby cities, passing through the beautiful landscape views on the Serra da Mantiqueira.
- Lots of places to buy small souvenirs (I recommend the chocolate-flavored beverages).
- Foundue rodizio (fixed price, each as much as you want foundue). It was my first time eating foundue, and I've liked it a lot. Restaurant Krokodilla, at Av. Senador Roberto Simonsem, 1350, Capivari. Just follow the signals for the Ducha de Prata (something like silver shower)
- A cool Japanese restaurant (I just have to find one of these everywhere I go): Restaurant Kouguem, at Trav. Isola Orsi, 47, Capivari, near the train and tramway stations.
- A well-known aerial tramway on which I unfortunately was unable to ride, thanks to the rain.