Saturday, June 4, 2011

Things to do in Belo Horizonte (with visitors)

My sister is coming to visit in July--hoooray! I'm making plans for while she is here. Here is my list of things that we must do while she is here (besides play with the kids, and enjoy adult beverages):

1. Walk/hike Mangabeiras. We live about 10 minutes from this park. Every time I go there I think, "I should come here more often." And I keep talking to Brazilians that have NEVER visited the park. Such a shame--it is a treasure!

2. Visit a historic city (Ouro Preto/Tiradentes/Diamantina). We are probably going to go to Tiradentes because we haven't been there, and it's not as far as Diamantina.

3. Mercado Central. Love love love the Mercado. You can find all sorts of random things there, and it is so colorful, noisy and Brazilian.

4. Sunday Hippie Fair. All sorts of kitchy things for sale. Every Sunday. Plus you get to people watch, see some Capoeira, street performers, and eat food on a stick. Fun times.

5. Inohtim. Another hidden secret about Minas Gerais. One of the best places in the world to see large art exhibitions. A beautiful location, with beautiful art. I've heard that the food at the restaurant is really yummy too. We opted out last time because we knew the kids were too picky, and it wasn't worth the money. But maybe this time...

6. Vale Verde. Even before we moved here I read about Vale Verde. But we've yet to visit. I think my sister's trip here might just motivate us to get our behinds over there.

7. Go to hubby's concert. Of course. Best. Orchestra. In. Brazil.

8. Eat pão de queijo, drink cachaça, enjoy churrasacaria, eat by the kilo. All the yumminess we can handle.

9. Take the bus. This has been so much a part of my experience living here, I just think that she has to enjoy it with me. Plus, she is so incredibly awesome that she took "3 taxis, a motorized canoe, and a horse-cart" in a 10 hour trip, just to get her tourist visa. My sister rocks.

Other suggestions of sights to see in Minas Gerais/Belo Horizonte?


  1. We enjoyed Vale Verde recently. Food is expensive. Park is great. We called it Inhotim 'lite'. Take an alambique tour. There were no English speaking guides for us so the distiller showed us around which was great as my husband is a scientist and we got a lot more out of it because of distiller's knowledge of the Vale Verde stills which are of an older type. There is a bit of a museum of bottles. The zoo is good. I love that there is a still on a family park.

    Again and again I go to Congonhas to see Alejandrino's greatest works, but mostly to see the adjoining room that has pictures and objects of people who need prayed to. Very moving. Also don't miss the small buildings in front and look inside.

    A place I go back to is Caraça, a monastery. Stay over night in monk's quarters for a reasonable fee and dine in the refractory. Limited menu, buffet style dinner, excellent price and taste. You make your own breakfast, toast etc. in the dining room. Watch pere feed the wolves at dusk. He knows them all individually and their grandfathers too as he has been doing this for years. He speaks English. Hike in the hills for hours. The museum is excellent too. A wonderful all-round experience.

    We always stop in Pampulha to see the capyvaras (big guinea pigs). Check times the island is accessible otherwise see them from across the water.

    These places are near Belo Horizonte for day trips.

  2. Visit the Bichinho art colony.

    Go out for rodizio sushi! That's our favorite when in BH.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions--things and places I've never heard of! Jim, I looked at the website, but I'm trying to find where the colony is located. Is Bichinho close to Tiradentes? Thanks!

  4. Caves! The giant Sloth at Lapinha! There are at least three caves near BH.

  5. don't forget Pampulha! The architecture around the lake, the Ecological Park and the Zoo. And of course lunch at Paladino or Xapuri (or now fondue rodizio at Paladino on Wed and Thurs nights).

  6. Capoeira. I love it. I used to watch at Savassi Square beside MacDonald's every Friday at noon in BH. There are many wonderful things about capoeira.
    1. Everybody engages in it, all colours, ages, abilities, by all men and woman, boys and girls.
    2. The leaders are so friendly and welcoming inviting all to participate. I have seen men in suits take off their jackets, put down their bags and join. There was one young fellow in his twenties who needed the care of his mother and he was given a turn when he showed up.
    3. The participants smile and are happy.
    4. The moves are incredibly difficult, and not - some are beautifully simple.
    5. The dance/martial art is complex. Sometimes reminds me of insects in a mating dance.

  7. I really want to go to Beaga sometime. It looks like an interesting city, because of it's location. The weather, from what I've heard, is supposed to be pretty nice too! BTW I enjoy your blog, it will for sure help me with adapting to Brasil in the future!

  8. Thanks amgeiger, glad to know that it's helpful! Hope things work out that you can come soon!