The road leading to SANTA MARIA DE JETIBÁ passes through hilly terrain, densely cultivated with coffee bushes, interspersed with pine plantations and, on the steepest of hillsides, patches of Mata Atlântica. As you enter Santa Maria – essentially one long street, the Avenida Frederico Grulke – you are greeted by a "Willkommen" sign. This is an outward expression of Santa Maria's intense pride in its German heritage, an ancestry the village is keen to promote as a tourist attraction. Virtually the entire population is descended from mid-nineteenth-century immigrants from Pomerania and today remains bound together by a common heritage based on the continued use of the Pommersch Platt dialect and membership in the Lutheran Church.
Santa Maria is a pleasant enough place, most of the time just a sleepy village, but the place comes to life during the periodic festivals (most notably the Festa do Colono, held annually over the weekend closest to July 25), celebrating Pomeranian culture. The history of the area's settlement is well covered by the Museu da Imigração Pomerana (Tues– Sun 9–11am & 2.30–5.30pm; R$2) in the centre of the village at Rua Dalmácio Espíndula 260.
If you want to stay over, the excellent-value Pommer Haus Hotel (Tel:27/3263-1718; R$41-70), in the centre at Av. Frederico Grulke 455 (above the Banco do Brasil), is comfortable and surprisingly large for a village of Santa Maria's size. Food is strangely disappointing in the village, with the only places to eat being a couple of lanchonetes and pizzerias on Avenida Frederico Grulke and nothing even remotely German on offer.