The best time to visit the Confederados is when they have their quarterly community picnics at the Campo. The gatherings normally take place the second weekend in January, April, July, and October, although dates are subject to change. For picnic dates, general information about the community, and inquiries about seeking lost relatives or new friends, write to Noemia Pyles at the Associação Descendência Americana, Rua Tamoios 566, Santa Barbara d’Oeste, São Paulo 13456-020, Brazil. To make telephone contact in English, call Thomas Steagall at 011-55-11-3865-7460. The Immigration Museum (Museu da Imigração) in Santa Barbara is at Praça 9 de Julho s/n; phone: 011-55-19-455-5082.
There is a fair body of literature on the American descendants. Two books worth looking at before traveling are The Lost Colony of the Confederacy by Eugene C. Harter (University Press of Mississippi) and The Confederados: Old South Immigrants in Brazil , edited by Cyrus B. Dawsey and James M. Dawsey (University of Alabama Press). Of all the standard guidebooks, the only one with information on Americana and Santa Barbara d’Oeste is The Rough Guide to Brazil .
There is regular bus service from São Paulo to Americana; the trip takes about two hours. If you rent a car, be warned that finding your way out of the city of São Paulo can be a nightmare, but once you’re on the highway (Via dos Bandeirantes) the trip is easy. A taxi from Americana to the Campo costs about fifteen dollars; make sure the driver has directions. Or, preferably, go with one of the locals.. They know not only the old roads but the way back in time.