The city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil - also known as Beagá or Belô for its initials - is provably not the best known among all tourist attractions in Brazil, at least for the international traveler.
If you've thought that is merely a place to pass through on your way to Ouro Preto or Diamantina, think it again
Belo Horizonte is a vibrant, laidback and very friendly place, just the way Brazilians are.
You will experience a wonderful time there.
Even when it doesn't have beaches, or famous carnivals like de ones Rio, Salvador and Recife/Olinda celebrate yearly, it has entered the hall of fame by becoming the bar capital of Brazil, with over 10,000 of them.
Botecos, as they are commonly known, are very informal bars with plastic tables and chairs spilling out onto the sidewalk, usually advertising some famous beer brand. It's the ideal gathering point to mix with locals and socialize, enjoy a beer, an informal meal or even a tira-gosto (appetizer).
Belo Horizonte is the mecca of Brazilian boteco culture, up to the point that they celebrate every April the Comida di Buteco festival. It started at the end of the 90s, and today is the biggest event of its kind in the whole country. Find more info here (site in Portuguese language).
Belô was the first planned city in Brazil, built to replace Ouro Preto as the State's capital of Minas Gerais, which happened in 1897. After experiencing a tremendous growth in the 40s and 50s, it became the third largest metropolis in the country. In fact, Greater Belo Horizonte comes right after Greater São Paulo City and Greater Rio de Janeiro, and it is Brazil's 4th largest economy.
Sitting at an altitude of 852 metres (2,795 ft) above sea level, enjoys a mild climate throughout the year - a tropical savanna climate bordering on a humid subtropical climate, according to the Köppen climate classification system.
With marked seasons, average yearly temperature is 22 °C (72 °F), being July the coolest month and January the warmest.
When it comes to sightseeing, the city has lots of attractions to offer, as well as nightlife, culture and culinary options. Two landmarks of Belo Horizonte are Freedom Square (Praça da Liberdade) and Pampulha Lagoon.
The Pampula Architectural Complex has some buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer (the architect behind the city of Brasilia), the São Francisco de Assis Church, the Zoo and the Mineirão soccer stadium.
Other attractions include...
There are also plenty of shopping centers with all the amenities: food, shops, cinemas, games,etc. On Sunday mornings go an visit the massive Hippie Fair, one of the biggest in the country. It opens every Sunday from 8am to 2pm.
And for dinner time, you would love to eat at some of the top restaurants in town. Don't leave out Porcão and Fogo de chão for the best Brazilian meat.
Tancredo Neves / Confins International Airport (CNF) connects the city with US and Europe as well as major cities in Brazil through domestic flights. Confins is located about 40km away from downtown city center, route served by taxis and Conexao Aeroporto, an express bus company that runs 24 hours around the clock.
You can also connect by express bus to Pampulha and the bus station (estacao rodoviária) for a few Reais. Pampulha (Carlos Drummond de Andrade Airport - PLU) is a smaller airport not far from downtown (9km) that serve interstate flights mainly.
As for taxis, there several companies in town. Please note that they are all white colored in Belo Horizonte and work with a taximeter. You could also opt for a radio-taxi company such as Coopertramo (Site in Portuguese). PH: (31) 3454-5757). They have dark blue taxis and will quote for the journey beforehand.
If you plan to reach Belo Horizonte by a long-distance bus, here are some distances and traveling time:
- Brasilia: (388 miles / 624.43 km). Around 10 hours traveling time.
- Sao Paulo: (314 miles / 505 km). 8 hours by bus.
- Rio de Janeiro: (219 miles / 352 km). 7 hours by bus.
The hotel sector is known to have over 20,000 rooms and expanding, in order to face the demands of FIFA World Cup 2014. To know more about them, including location, description, maps, reviews and prices, please visit Hotels in Belo Horizonte.
For budget accommodation, Book Belo Horizonte, Brazil with Hostelbookers.com.