Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Visiting Ouro Preto with Children

We rather spontaneously decided to go to Ouro Preto last Saturday. It was only our second trip outside of Belo Horizonte since we've been here. There are several buses that go from BH to Ouro Preto (here's one), and we've been told that their pretty nice, with air conditioning, reclining seats and bathrooms. However, traveling with a family of 5 can pretty quickly make a bus trip kind of pricey, and we just didn't feel up to renting a car. Thankfully, a friend from the Orquestra recommended their driver, so for $220 R round trip (about $125 US) we had someone come to our front door, deal with the headache of driving around this city, and even help us find our way around Ouro Preto. It felt sooo luxurious! Unfortunately thought, he liked to drive fast, and there are lots of curves on the way there. Sebastian kept complaining about being hungry, and I was doing my best to distract him and tell him that we would eat when we got there (I didn't want to get crumbs all over the car, especially since Sebastian is a CRUMB MACHINE!!) Suddenly, Sebastian said he didn't feel good and the vomit started flying; so much for keeping the car clean. Of course the water and wipes were in the trunk, so I did my best to mop up the barf using sweatshirts. The driver didn't even bat an eye, and said he would stop at a gas station. Twenty minutes later, we finally pulled into a gas station.

We got relatively cleaned up, filled up some tummies with snacks and hit the road again. It really is a beautiful drive, despite things being a little bit brown (it's the dry season). When we finally pulled into the main square in Ouro Preto, it was like stepping back in time, complete with cobblestone streets. Upon which Beatrice immediately tossed her cookies. I'm sure the hundreds of tourists in the Praca enjoyed that sight.

We spent an hour just poking around, and Matt got to play with his camera.

My suggestion with traveling with kids is to have low expectations, bring lots of snacks, and go with the flow. We decided to just spend about 6 hours there. We let the kids play around the churches a lot, to climb into the watchtowers and run around the fountains. We visited the Mineralogy Museum, which was great for kids because they have hundreds and hundreds of gems and stones on display, and a nice Physics exhibit that's hands on. We took a risk at the end and walked down a street that we weren't sure where it would lead. Matt got some great pictures there, and we did have to hike back up to the Praca, but we bribed the kids with the promise of a snack. Overall, they handled it well, and they took a nice nap on the way home. Then I came home and was inspired to research more about the history, and make plans for future trips.


  1. Ouro Preto is a nice trip - for us though it is 3 days - from Friburgo is nearly 7 hour drive. probably the drive around the curves fast did not help the kids and no the Brasilians would not get upset over a little barf.... very tolerant of kids. next time ask about the gold mind... I don't it is in Ouro Preto but close.... you take a wooden cart on a slide down / down / down into the mind (well it seemed so to me) then you can walk around seeing the layers of jem stone still in the mine and a pool with white fish and salamanders with no eyes - from living in the dark 24/7 - the boys would love it. If someone has a tendency to car sickness - beside slowing down - put them in the front seat. and don't let them read in the car. seems to help.

  2. that is ask about the gold mine!

  3. I love Ouro Preto! I haven´t taken my kids yet but I will one day.

  4. How wonderful! I have been dying to take this trip! We just havent gotten around to it! How far was it from BH? I was just thinking we'd take a weekend trip to BH, and hop over to Ouro Preto one day!

    Looks like you had a good time! The pictures are beautiful!!

  5. It it technically about 1 1/2 hours from BH, but with kids it took about 2 hours. I think it would be a nice weekend to visit here and then head over to Ouro Preto....