City of Belo Horizonte

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Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte (map) is Brazil’s third largest city and the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. For travelers, it’s a good stopping point on the way to the beautiful colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and *Tiradentes. It is the first planned modern city in Brazil.

Near Liberty Square (map) and the city center. The two regions Savassi and Lourdes, are neighbors. The area is full of restaurants, bars, shops and trees. It is the best area to stay in as it houses the largest concentration of hotels is in this region.

The rainy season is in the hottest months, between October and March. During these months, thunderstorms are almost daily, with long periods of continuous rain and can flood some parts of the city, causing inconvenience.

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A must-see if you travel to Belo Horizonte, the central market (Mercado Central, map) has been a meeting point for residents and tourists for over 80 years. There you will find a mix of popular culture, typical products and ingredients (from medicinal herbs to cheeses and cachaça), as well as bars and cafés with traditional dishes.

It’s already been considered the 3rd best market in the world. The best way to explore the market is to get lost among the aisles and get confused with over 400 stores while tasting some of its great food.

São Francisco de Assis Church (map). The building is not shocking by itself, until you realize it was meant to be a church. Not surprisingly, the Catholic Church refused to consecrate it for more than one decade.

Praça da Liberdade (map). A beautiful palm tree-lined square, sidelined by interesting buildings from the 19th century, including the seat of the State Government.

Alta Vila Tower (map). This tower offers a spectacular view of Belo Horizonte and its surrounding mountains. On the main floor is the Hard Rock Cafe.

If you have a few days available on your trip, visit Serra do Cipó National Park (map). 100km from BH, it is a great place for camping, mountaineering, trekking, caving and other extreme activities. With a good tourist infrastructure, it is also suitable for those who like to rest close to nature.

Major high-rise hotels are generally on Av. Afonso Pena or at Savassi neighborhood, while mid-range and budget accommodations are clustered around the train station.

 !  The city suffers from crime related to drugs. Avoid walking alone at night or carrying expensive electronics such as cameras, notebooks, iPods or jewelry. It is not uncommon to be mugged at traffic lights or walking during the day or night.

If you stay in the City Center, avoid the area around the bus station and Praça Sete. Very crowded during the day and not so safe at night.

Public transport

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The Metrô – snakes through the city, from Eldorado northeast to Vilarinho, tangential to the north side of downtown.

Taxis inside the safe are generally considered very safe (if a bit expensive).

 BUS >  Belo Horizonte is a major national hub for bus travel. The bus terminal rodoviária is located downtown at the northern end of Afonso Pena Avenue. Approximate travel times from other capitals > Brasília – 10 hours, Rio de Janeiro – 7 hours, São Paulo – 8 hours.

Green Toad Bus – knows that booking local transport and activities around South America can be challenging and confusing at times. We make it easy, safe, cheap & fun with our carefully designed Bus Travel Passes! Busca Ônibus is a useful resource for finding bus schedules.

 RAIL >   Belo Horizonte is one of very few Brazilian cities with a scheduled long-distance train service. A daily morning train operated by mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce takes around 12 hr to get to Cariacica’s Pedro Nolasco station (map), which is one bridge hop away from *Vitória, the island capital of Espírito Santo state. >> vale.com

 AIRPORTS >   Confins Airport (map) connects the city with direct flights to the USA, the Caribbean and Europe, and to most major cities in Brazil through domestic flights. It’s about 40 km from the city center. Pampulha Airport (map) 9 km from downtown. For a few domestic flights, especially within the state of Minas Gerais.

Most all airports with regular passenger traffic are operated by the federal – Infraero. They have a very convenient website, with an English version. By far, the largest international airport in Brazil is São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport. The second largest airport is Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport.

 WATERWAYS >   In northern Brazil, it is possible to travel many distances by boat. In fact, the boat is the main and most accessible means of transport to get around the Amazon, since the Amazon Forest is cut by many rivers and some cities are inaccessible by road. The best boat services in the country are in the Amazon, where you can ride on speedboats and comfortable yachts or small wooden boats.

::: Source: Mr Drones

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