BELO HORIZONTE

Brazil

Belo Horizonte is the sixth largest city in Brazil, the thirteenth largest city in South America and the eighteenth largest city in the Americas. The metropolis is anchor to the Belo Horizonte metropolitan area, ranked as the third most populous metropolitan area in Brazil and the seventeenth most populous in the Americas. Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil's second most populous state. It is the first planned modern city in Brazil.

Info Belo Horizonte

introduction

Belo Horizonte is the sixth largest city in Brazil, the thirteenth largest city in South America and the eighteenth largest city in the Americas. The metropolis is anchor to the Belo Horizonte metropolitan area, ranked as the third most populous metropolitan area in Brazil and the seventeenth most populous in the Americas. Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil's second most populous state. It is the first planned modern city in Brazil.

The region was first settled in the early 18th century, but the city as it is known today was planned and constructed in the 1890s, in order to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais. The city features a mixture of contemporary and classical buildings, and is home to several modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. In planning the city, Aarão Reis and Francisco Bicalho sought inspiration in the urban planning of Washington, D.C. The city has employed notable programs in urban revitalization and food security, for which it has been awarded international accolades.

The city is built on several hills and is completely surrounded by mountains. There are several large parks in the immediate surroundings of Belo Horizonte. The Mangabeiras Park (Parque das Mangabeiras), located 6 km (4 mi) south-east from the city centre in the hills of Curral Ridge (Serra do Curral), has a very broad view of the city. It has an area of 2.35 km2 (580 acres), of which 0.9 km2 (220 acres) is covered by the native forest. The Jambeiro Woods (Mata do Jambeiro) nature reserve extends over 912 hectares (2,250 acres), with vegetation typical of theAtlantic forest. More than one hundred species of birds inhabit the reserve, as well as ten different species of mammals.

Belo Horizonte was one of the host cities of the 1950 and the2014 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, the city shared the host of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.

info
POPULATION :• Municipality 2,502,557
• Metro 5,156,217 (3rd)
FOUNDED : Founded 1701
Incorporated (as city) December 12, 1897
TIME ZONE :• Time zone BRT (UTC−3)
• Summer (DST) BRST (UTC−2)
LANGUAGE :  Portuguese
RELIGION :Catholic 59.87% 
Protestant 25.06%
No religion 8.02%
Spiritist 4.07%
AREA :• Municipality 330.9 km2 (127.8 sq mi)
• Urban 282.3 km2 (109.0 sq mi)
• Metro 9,459.1 km2 (3,652.2 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 760 m (2,490 ft)
COORDINATES : 19°55′S 43°56′W
SEX RATIO : Male: 46.9%
 Female: 53.1%
ETHNIC :White people (46.7%), Pardo (Multiracial) people (41.9%), Black people (10.2%), Asian people (1.1%), Amerindian people (0.1%).
AREA CODE : 31
POSTAL CODE : 30000-000
DIALING CODE :  (+55) 31
WEBSITE :  Belo Horizonte

Tourism

Belo Horizonte is Brazil's third largest city and the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. With its orderly grid plan and tree-lined avenues, it's a pleasant metropolis. For travelers, it's a good stopping point on the way to the beautiful colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes.

History

The metropolis was once a small village, founded by João Leite da Silva Ortiz, a bandeirante explorer from São Paulo. The explorer settled in the region in 1701, leaving a gold rush expedition. He then established a farm called "Curral d'el Rey", archaic Portuguese for the "King's Corral", which in modern Portuguese would be spelled Curral do Rei. The farm's wealth and success encouraged people from surrounding places to move into the region, and Curral del Rey became a village surrounded by farms.

Another important factor contributing to the growth of the village was the number of migrants from the São Francisco river region, who had to pass through Curral d'el Rey in order to reach southern parts of Brazil. Travelers usually visited a small wooden chapel, where they prayed for a safe trip. Due to this fact, the chapel was named Capela da Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, which means "Chapel of Our Lady of the Good Journey." After the construction of Belo Horizonte, the old baroque chapel was replaced by a neo-gothic church which became the city's cathedral.

The previous capital of Minas Gerais, Ouro Preto (meaning "black gold", due to dark rocks with gold inside found on the region), originally called "Vila Rica" ("wealthy village"), was a symbol of both the monarchic Brazilian Empire and the period when most of Brazilian income was due to mining, and that never pleased the members of the Inconfidência Mineira, republican intellectuals who conspired against the Portuguese dominion of Brazil. In 1889, Brazil became a republic, and it was agreed that a new state capital, in tune with a modern and prosperous Minas Gerais, had to be set.

In 1893, due to the climatic and topographic conditions, Curral Del Rey was selected by Minas Gerais governor Afonso Pena among other cities as the location for the new economical and cultural centre of the state, under the new name of "Cidade de Minas," or City of Minas.

Aarão Reis, an urbanist from the State of Pará, was then set to design the second planned city of Brazil (the first one is Teresina), and then Cidade de Minas was inaugurated finally in 1897, with many unfinished constructions as the Brazilian Government set a deadline for its completion. Inhabitation of the city was subsidised by the local government, through the concession of free empty lots and funding for building houses. An interesting feature of Reis' downtown street plan for Belo Horizonte was the inclusion of a symmetrical array of perpendicular and diagonal streets named after Brazilian states and Brazilian indigenous tribes.

In 1906, the name was then changed to Belo Horizonte, and at that time the city was experiencing a considerable industrial expansion that increased its commercial and service sectors. From its very beginning, the city's original plan prohibited workers to live inside the urban area which was defined by Avenida do Contorno (a long avenue which goes around the city's central areas), reserved for the public sector functionaries (hence the name of the still trendy neighbourhood "Funcionários"), and bringing about an accelerated occupation outside the city's area well provided with infrastructure since its very beginning. Obviously, the city's original planners did not count on its population growth afterwards, which proved especially intense in the last twenty years of the 20th century.

In the 1940s, a young Oscar Niemeyer designed the Pampulha Neighbourhood to great acclaim, a commission he got thanks to then-mayor, soon-to-be-president Juscelino Kubitschek. These two men are largely responsible for the wideavenues, large lakes, parks and jutting skylines that characterise the city today.

Belo Horizonte is fast becoming a regional centre of commerce. The Latin American Research and development centre of Google, situated in Belo Horizonte, was responsible for the management and operation of the former social networking website Orkut. It continues to be a trendsetter in the arts, particularly where music, literature, architecture and the avant-garde are concerned.

Climate

Belo Horizonte's latitude at 19'55"South places it in the tropical zone. Yearly temperatures average between 9 and 35 °C (48 and 95 °F). The Köppen climate classification of the region is tropical savanna climate (Aw) and it borders on a humid subtropical climate (Cwa), (tropical on high altitudes, humid/warm summers and a dry/mild winters). Belo Horizonte is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from the sea.

Even though inter-seasonal differences are not as pronounced as they are in temperate places, there is a contrast between spring and summer, and between fall and winter. The coldest month is generally July, with a lowest recorded temperature of 2 °C (36 °F). The hottest month is usually January, with a highest recorded temperature of 37.4 °C (99 °F).

The 852-metre (2,795 ft) elevation of Belo Horizonte helps a little in cooling the city, suppressing high maximum air temperatures experienced in nearby cities at lower altitudes. Belo Horizonte's climate is mild throughout the year. Temperatures vary between 11 and 31 °C (52 and 88 °F), the average being 22 °C (72 °F). Winter is dry and mostly sunny, and summer is rainy.

Climate data for Belo Horizonte

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)35.3
(95.5)
35.2
(95.4)
35.2
(95.4)
32.8
(91)
32.9
(91.2)
30
(86)
32
(90)
34
(93)
36.1
(97)
37.4
(99.3)
36.2
(97.2)
35.5
(95.9)
37.4
(99.3)
Average high °C (°F)28.2
(82.8)
28.8
(83.8)
28.6
(83.5)
27.5
(81.5)
26
(79)
25
(77)
24.6
(76.3)
26.5
(79.7)
27.2
(81)
27.7
(81.9)
27.5
(81.5)
27.3
(81.1)
27.08
(80.76)
Daily mean °C (°F)23.5
(74.3)
23.9
(75)
23.7
(74.7)
22.4
(72.3)
20.5
(68.9)
19.2
(66.6)
18.9
(66)
20.5
(68.9)
21.7
(71.1)
22.6
(72.7)
22.9
(73.2)
22.9
(73.2)
21.89
(71.41)
Average low °C (°F)18.8
(65.8)
19
(66)
18.8
(65.8)
17.3
(63.1)
15
(59)
13.4
(56.1)
13.1
(55.6)
14.4
(57.9)
16.2
(61.2)
17.5
(63.5)
18.2
(64.8)
18.4
(65.1)
16.67
(61.99)
Record low °C (°F)12.5
(54.5)
12.8
(55)
11.7
(53.1)
6.4
(43.5)
5
(41)
2.4
(36.3)
2.2
(36)
5.8
(42.4)
5
(41)
9.2
(48.6)
11.4
(52.5)
12.8
(55)
2.2
(36)
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization.
Source #2: Weatherbase (record highs and lows)

Geography

Geology and geomorphology

Belo Horizonte lies on a region of contact between different geological series of the Proterozoic. The geology largely comprises various crystalline rocks, which give rise to the varied morphology of the landscape. It is located in a large geological unit known as the craton of San Francisco, referring to extensive crustal nucleus of central-eastern Brazil, tectonically stable at the end of the Paleoproterozoic and bordering areas that suffered the regeneration at the Neoproterozoic.

The archean rocks members of Belo Horizonte complex and supracrustal sequences of the Paleoproterozoic is predominant. The area of Belo Horizonte complex includes the geomorphological unit called Depression of Belo Horizonte, which represents about 70% of the municipality area and has its greatest expression in the northern Ribeirão Arrudas (Rues Stream) pipeline. The metasedimentary rocks has its area of occurrence on the south of Ribeirão Arrudas pipeline, constituting about 30% of the area of Belo Horizonte. The characteristics of this area are lithological diversities and rugged topography, which has its maximum expression in the Serra do Curral (Corral Ridge), the southern boundary of the municipality.

Its soil comprises a succession of layers of rocks of varied composition, represented by itabirite, dolomite, quartzite, filities and schists different from the general direction northwest-southeast and dip to the southeast. The hills of Belo Horizonte are part of the Espinhaço Mountains and belong to the larger Itacolomi mountain chain. The highest point in the municipality is in the Serra do Curral, reaching 1,538 metres (5,046 ft).

Economy

Belo Horizonte receives large numbers of visitors, as it is in the Brazilian main economic axis, exerting influence even on other states. Both multinational and Brazilian companies, like Google and Oi, maintain offices in the city. The service sector plays a very important role in the economy of Belo Horizonte, being responsible for 85% of the city's gross domestic product (GDP), with the industry making up for most of the remaining 15%. Belo Horizonte has a developed industrial sector, being traditionally a hub of the Brazilian siderurgical and metallurgical industries, as the state of Minas Gerais has always been very rich in minerals, specifically iron ore.

Belo Horizonte is the distribution and processing centre of a rich agricultural and mining region and the nucleus of a burgeoning industrial complex. Production is centred on steel, steel products, automobiles, and textiles. Gold, manganese, and gemstones mined in the surrounding region are processed in the city.[23] The main industrial district of the city was set during the 1940s in Contagem, a part of greater Belo Horizonte. Multinational companies like FIAT (which opened its plant in Betim in 1974), Arcelor, and Toshiba have subsidiaries in the region, along with other textile like Group Rachelle Textil, Ematex and Cedro Textil, cosmetic, food,chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furnishing and refractory companies. Among the companies headquartered in the city we can list steel producer Açominas (held by Gerdau, one of the largest multinationals originated in Brazil); Usiminas; Belgo-Mineira (held by Arcelor); Acesita (partially held by Arcelor); mobile communication Vivo; and Telecom Italia Mobile, Dasein executive search,executive coaching company, as well as the NYSE-listed electrical company CEMIG. Leading steel product makers Sumitomo Metals of Japan and Vallourec of France have also plans to construct an integrated steel works on the outskirts of the city.

There are also a large number of small enterprises in the technological sector with regional to nationwide success, particularly in the fields of computing and biotechonology. Because of both governmental and private funding in the diversification of its economy, the city has become an international reference in Information Technology and Biotechnology, and is also cited because of the advanced corporate and university research in Biodiesel fuel. The number of jobs in the Information sector has been growing at annual rates above 50%. The Belo Horizonte Metropolitan Area, composed of 33 cities under the capital's direct influence, is home to 16% of the country's biotechnology companies, with annual sales of over R$550 million.

Projects in these fields are likely to expand because of integration between universities, the oil company Petrobras and the Brazilian Government. One of the largest events that ever took place in the city, the Inter-American Development Bank meeting, occurred in 2005 and attracted people from everywhere in the world.

For a long time it was marked by the predominance of its industrial sector, but from the 1990s there has been a constant expansion of the service sectoreconomy, particularly in computer science, biotechnology, business tourism,fashion and the making of jewelry. The city is considered to be a strategic leader in the Brazilian economy. The move towards business tourism transformed the capital into a national hub for this segment of the tourist industry.

  • In 2008, the city's GDP was R$42 billion (or about of US$26,2 billion). In 2008, the Greater Belo Horizonte's GDP was R$98,5 billion (or about ofUS$61 billion).
  • In 2008, the city's per capita income was R$17,313 (or US$10,820). In 2007, it was R$15,830 (about of US$9,893).

Internet, Comunication

By net

  • MP Games, Rua dos Inconfidentes 868, between Pernambuco and Paraíba, Savassi. You can bring your laptop. 3 R$/h.

Wifi is readily available in many bars and restaurants throughout the city.


By phone

The area code for Belo Horizonte is 31. The code for Oi, the phone company that runs most of the phone booths in the city, is also 31. So to call Belo from outside using Oi, you dial 031 31 and the desired number, for example: from São Paulo to Belo, dial 03131 xxxx-xxxx. But to make a local call, you don't have to dial 31 at all, just the eight digits. Sometimes, it depends, because there are many other cities surrounding Belo, with the same area code, so you might be dialling the long distance code, using 31. Dialing from or to Ouro Preto, to or from Belo, you need to dial 03131 xxxx-xxxx. There are other long distance companies codes available, which can be used to make calls, such as Embratel (21), Intelig (23), which provides long distance calls with suitable rates, to or from Brazil, and to other countries.

Prices in Belo Horizonte

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter$0.85
Tomatoes1 kg$1.70
Cheese0.5 kg$3.50
Apples1 kg$1.85
Oranges1 kg$1.10
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.50
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$9.40
Coca-Cola2 liters$
Bread1 piece$
Water1.5 l$

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2$12.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$25.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$7.50
Water0.33 l$0.95
Cappuccino1 cup$1.50
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$3.15
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.90
Coca-Cola0.33 l$1.10
Coctail drink1 drink$

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets$13.50
Gym1 month$37.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$
Theatar2 tickets$
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$2.60

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack$
Tampons32 pieces$
Deodorant50 ml.$
Shampoo400 ml.$
Toilet paper4 rolls$
Toothpaste1 tube$

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1$
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$
Leather shoes1$

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter$
TaxiStart$
Taxi1 km$
Local Transport1 ticket$1.15

Tourist (Backpacker)  

41 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

103 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

BH is served by two airports:

  • Confins (Aeroporto Internacional Tancredo Neves - CNF) - Rodovia MG 010 S/N, 40 km - Confins/MG. Phone: +55 31 3689-2700. Confins 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 located about 40 km from the city center. It's connected to the downtown area by Conexão Aeroporto [www] express buses (R$26.75) and taxis. There is also an express bus to Pampulha and the rodoviária for R$6,45.
  • Pampulha (Aeroporto Carlos Drummond de Andrade - PLU). For a few domestic flights, especially within the state of Minas Gerais. 9 km from downtown.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Belo Horizonte is one of very few Brazilian cities with a scheduled long-distance train service. A daily train operated by minng giant Vale connects with Vitória, the seaside capital of Espírito Santo state, taking about 12 hours. The central station, 1 Estação Central, is located in the city centre on Av. dos Andradas.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

BH 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

Transportation - Get In

By Car

You can safely drive to Belo Horizonte from major Brazilian cities, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Vitoria. You have to pay toll on the roads from Rio de Janeiro and from São Paulo. All major car rental companies can be found in Brazil. You can also drive from/to the historical cities of Minas Gerais, like Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, Diamantina, São João del Rey, Mariana and others. The roads and the city of Belo Horizonte are GPS mapped. Be sure that the GPS contains the latest version of the maps.


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

On foot

If you plan to get around the city center on foot, you might want to take a map. Because the city grid is laid out with both ordinal and diagonal streets, it is very easy to take a wrong turn. Also, the land where the city was built has plenty of hills, so one should wear comfortable shoes to go up and down the streets. At night, stay on the main avenues and streets for safety, because it can be dangerous.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

BH is well served by buses. The SC buses circulate through the downtown area; others serve outlying neighborhoods.

To pay the bus tariff, you can use cash, or the electronic billing card (Cartão BHBUS). For the tourist, its recommended to use cash, by the way...

The buses are color-coded:

  • Blue buses go from one region of the city to another, via the city center;
  • Red buses go from one region of the city to downtown and then go back to the same region (often serving more distant neighborhoods);
  • Yellow buses are called "circular" (or SC) buses - they circulate within a single city region, and unlike other bus lines, travel in a roughly circular route. Stay on long enough, and you'll eventually loop back to where you originally boarded;
  • Orange buses go from one region of the city to another, without going through downtown (there are very few of these lines);
  • Green buses serve BHBUS bus stations, going from a BHBUS station to downtown and then back or connecting two different BHBUS stations.
  • Grey buses (can be identified by the SE prefix in line number), are the special executive service, and it's a more expensive buses, that circulate through some specific regions. These lines have free Wi-Fi and Air Conditioned system.

Some companies sometimes use temporary replacements buses with the wrong color, so even thought the colors can help, always pay attention to the line number.

If you are outside the downtown area (and wish to go there), take a blue bus headed in that direction. As there is no bus map, remember its number to find your way back. Keep in mind that the return route may be on a different street than where you got off. Check BHTrans-Ônibus [www] for more information on buses.

The buses are complicated and are excruciatingly slow and full during rush hours. Don't go anywhere by yourself without properly planning your itinerary first.

Transportation - Get Around

By train

The Metrô [www] . snakes through the city, from Eldorado northeast to Vilarinho, tangential to the north side of downtown. Lagoinha Station is near the rodoviária(bus station), Gameleira Station is near the ExpoMinas Convention Center and Minas Shopping Station is near the Mall of the same name and Ouro Minas Palace Hotel. Unfortunately, unlike subways in developed countries or in São Paulo, the Metrô lines, even though connecting the two biggest cities in the metro area, Belo Horizonte and Contagem, do not cover most of the city and outside the stations can be dangerous (true for São Paulo's). New lines have been planned and when completed will connect downtown to Pampulha and Savassi, the two most visited neighborhoods.

The trains are useless for someone traveling. Take a taxi.

Transportation - Get Around

By taxi

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

The main taxi companies in Belo Horizonte include Hutaxi, Jo Taxi, Intertaxi, Pitangui and Protaxi. Most cabs in Belo Horizonte are painted white - however, starting from 2012, there are some so-called "special" cabs which are black (and are marked as such). Inside the city, all cabs work with taximeters. However, in case of travelling to the countryside or others states, the fare can be discussed.

There are also radio taxis such as Coopertramo [www] ((31) 3454-5757) which can be booked and the fare discussed beforehand. It's a common way of getting from the airport to the city and the other way around. They have boths in Confins airport. Their cars are all dark blue.

Transportation - Get Around

By car

You can rent cars at the Confins Airport or at Pampulha Airport. All major car rental companies, like Localiza and Hertz have booths at the airports. It is a long drive from Confins airport to downtown Belo Horizonte. Be sure to get a GPS with new maps, since there were some modifications on main avenues for the World Cup. You can also rent a car at other places around the city.

Hotels

- BEST RATED -

Hotels

- BEST VALUE -

Shopping

  • BH Shopping. BH's oldest and largest shopping malls, with shops, a food court, movie theatre and games. It's in the Belvedere area and close to Nova Lima road.
  • Shopping Del Rey. Another of BH's oldest and largest shopping malls, with shops, food court, movie theatre and games.
  • Minas Shopping. Among the largest shopping malls, with shops, a food court, movie theatre and games. Metrô station nearby.
  • Diamond Mall. A very refined (and usually expensive) shopping center.
  • Pátio Savassi. Also very refined (and usually expensive) shopping center, in the heart of Savassi.
  • Mercado Central, Av. Augusto de Lima and R. Curitiba. A large, traditional indoor market founded in 1929 where you can find tofu, whole grains, cheese, meat, herbs, traditional foods, religious articles, fruit, live birds, pots, souvenirs and lots of other stuff. It's one the most visited places in the city.
  • Hippie Fair, Av. Afonso Pena in front of the Municipal Park. Opens every Sunday, from 8AM to 2PM. This artesian fair is one of the largest in the country and offers everything from crafts to jewelry, furniture to souvenir, clothing to food. Receives from up to 100,000 people every Sunday. Definitively worth the visit.

Restaurants

Minas Gerais is renown for its cuisine across Brazil, and is the origin of many famous foods such as pão de queijo (small baked roll made with cheese and cassava flour) and feijoada (black bean and meat stew). Like elsewhere in Brazil, restaurant food is typically served in some variation of a buffet. For a good sample of traditional mineira food, here are some options:

  • Dona Lucinha IIRua Sergipe, 811,  +55 31 3261-5930, e-mail: . Mon-Fri 12PM-3PM and 8PM-midnight, Sat 12PM-5PM and 8PM-midnight, Sun 12PM-5PM. R$19-27.
  • Restaurante XapuriRua Mandacaru, 260. Pampulha, near the Pampulha Lake and the City Zoo, the restaurant is open Tue-Thu from 11AM to 11PM, Fri-Sat from 11AM to 2AM and Sunday and holidays from 11AM to 6PM. It has live music from Wed-Sun (and Holidays)

For great Brazilian food, here are some options:

  • Porcão, Avenida Raja Gabaglia, 2985,  +55 31 3293-8604. Cep:30350-540. One of the most famous restaurants in BH is the steakhouse chain Porcão. Considered to have the best meat in BH, it is also one of the most expensive in town. Some nights there are live performances by some of the more well-known performers in BH.
  • Fogo de chãoRua Sergipe, 1208+55 31 3227-2730. Savassi. It's a restaurant chain similar to Porcão. Both offer the traditional Brazilian barbecue. They are a must go to any tourist who isn't familiar with the Brazilian way to prepare and serve meat. Fogo de chão started in Porto Alegre (Brazil) and now has subsidiaries in many other Brazilian cities and even in the United States.

For great international food, here are some options:

If your food tastes lean toward brown rice and tofu, try Bem Natural. This is both a snack bar with tuna and chicken sandwiches on whole wheat, and a por quilobuffet with stuffed tomatoes, vegetarian feijoada, and brown rice. There are four locations in BH:

  • Av. Afonso Pena 941, Centro, +55 31 3224-1385.
  • Augusto de Lima 1652, Barro Preto, +55 31 3295-2325.
  • Bernardo Guimarães 166, Funcionários, +55 31 3284-6680.
  • Tomé de Souza 947, Savassi, +55 31 3261-5676, open weekends and holidays too.

Coffe & Drink

Beware: Brazilian law regulates that you can't drive if you have more than 0.2g/l of alcohol in your blood. It used to be 0.6g/l, and the new law is commonly referred to as the "dry law". If you drink, take extra care if you're going to drive through big avenues or through places crowded with bars. If you ever get caught by an officer while drinking and driving, treat the policeman with respect and calmly refuse to take the breathalyzer test—you are not obligated to generate evidence against yourself. You are going to be charged anyway, but they will only have the testimony of the officer(s). Of course, the safest thing to do if you drink is not to drive afterwards. There are usually plenty of taxis in front of popular bars during peak hours.

  • People from BH are famous for their love of bars. The central Savassi neighborhood has dozens of bars. Also, at São Lucas neighborhood, on Contorno Avenue, you will find "Sociedad Pub", one of the best Pubs in town (Contorno Av., n.3849). The city is widely known (although without any confirmation) as the city with most bars per capita in the world. Some clubs that charge a cover are overrated and expensive. The outdoor bar scene is the authentic Brazilian experience. Good places to look for a bar:
    • Avenida Prudente de Morais
    • Rua Marília de Dirceu (follow it while it becomes Rua Curitiba and then Rua São Paulo—yeah, that's how streets work in Belo Horizonte)
    • Rua Pium-í crossing with Rua Passatempo
    • Avenida Fleming (only if you are in the Pampulha region)
  • You may know it only as an ingredient in vitamin pills, but here you can get fresh acerola puree in orange juice squeezed before your eyes. This is called a vitamina with good reason. The fruit is perishable and is stored on ice. Other fruits prepared the same way are abacaxi (pineapple), açaí, banana, and mamão (papaya).
  • Although Savassi is the place to go on Friday and Saturday nights, Trevo Five Place (close to the Hard Rock Cafe) is a great spot on Thursday nights. The dancing is great however the environment is not for the cautious.
  • The state of Minas Gerais is famous for their cachaça (distilled spirit similar to rum made from sugarcane juice). The price ranges from R$1 to R$50 and above, for some high-end brands. It is the main ingredient of the famous caipirinha cocktail, but Brazilians enjoy drinking it straight as well.
  • Another great drink is a sweet tasting wine-like substance called pronounced "catuaba".
  • If your looking for some dancing and clubbing visit naSala [www]. For sure the best nightlife in town. Expect to meet beautiful people.
  • Rei Do PastelSavassi. Rei Do Pasetel is a small little corner bar located in the centre of Savassi. It has cheap shots, cheap food and always has something interesting going on, a great place for backpackers

Sights & Landmarks

Note that a lot of places including museums, the parque municipal and the Mangueira park are closed on Mondays.

  • Pampulha - This 1940's neighborhood has some of the highlights of Brazil modern architecture, including the São Francisco de Assis Church, designed by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of the United Nations building in NYC and also Brasilia, Brazil's capital) . 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. Next to the church, there's the Parque Guanabara, an amusement park that is small, but worth visiting. In Pampulha lies the world-famous Iate Tenis Clube, founded along with the Pampulha Architectural Complex designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Invitations to the club can be bought at the place (they are free if you know someone affiliated to the club). The Pampulha Modern Ensemble is listed as a world heritage site.
  • Mineirão Stadium - One of the largest and newly renovated stadiums in Brazil, where several matches from the FIFA Federation Coup (2013) and FIFA World Cup (2014) were played including the infamous 1-7 semifinal loss in Brazil v Germany. It is located at Pampulha neighborhood.
  • Mangabeiras Park - This is an amazing place for nature lovers, a place where the Cerrado mixes with the Atlantic Forest, this is a great visit for children and family.
  • Praça da Liberdade - A beautiful palm tree-lined square, sidelined by interesting buildings from the 19th century, including the seat of the State Government, and a curvaceous (yes, you can use this word to describe an Oscar Niemeyer building) edifice from the 60s. Also museums and a Planetarium (you can get tickets for free)
  • Museum of Arts and Crafts,  +55 31 3248-8600, e-mail: . Praça Rui Barbosa, Centro. . Tue, Thu, Fri noon to 7PM. Wed, noon to 9PM. Sat, Sun, 11AM to 5PM. Groups: daily, from 9AM-noon. The Museu de Artes e Ofícios is installed in the 19th Century buildings of the former Central Train Station. Its collection shows the richness of Brazilian popular work and professions before the country's industrialization. Admission: R$4. Saturday - free.
  • Alta Vila Tower - Located in the district of Nova Lima, (Belo Horizonte city Metro area), this tower offers a spectacular view of Belo Horizonte and its surrounding mountains. On the main floor is the Hard Rock Cafe - Belo Horizonte.
  • Parque Municipal - An oasis of green right in the centre of downtown. Based on French parks, it has small lagoons where you can rent a boat or feed the ducks. It has the Casa Maluca (Crazy House), the Casa dos Pneus and a small amusement park - three places where children always like to play.
  • Museu de Ciencias Naturais - Take the Metro to the Gameleira station, go NW to the PUC campus, and turn right. Diverse mollusks, whales, and Brazilian forest animals. A new exhibit is under construction. Admission: R$3.
  • Museu Histórico Abílio BarretoAv Prudente de Morais, 135. Cidade Jardim Neighborhood - (0xx)31 3342-1268 - This museum is dedicated to the history of the city and was created in the only standing farmhouse from the old Curral d'El Rey, farmland replaced by the new planned city.

Museums & Galleries

Belo Horizonte features a number of museums including the Mineiro Museum, the Abílio Barreto Historic Museum, Arts and Workmanship Museum, a Natural History Museum and the UFMG Botanic Gardens, a telephone museum, the Pampulha Art Museum, the Professor Taylor Gramke Mineralogy Museum, and the UFMG Conservatory. The puppet theatre group Giramundo was established here in 1970, and continues to maintain a puppetry museum hosting a collection of their creations. There is also The Circuito Cultural Praça da Liberdade, located in the central region of Belo Horizonte is currently the largest cultural circuit in Brazil. In all, there are eleven functioning museums and cultural spaces: Arquivo Público Mineiro (Minas Gerais Public Archive), Biblioteca Pública Estadual Luiz de Bessa (Luiz de Bessa State Public Library), Cefar Liberdade, Centro de Arte Popular Cemig (Cemig Center of Popular Art), Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (Culture Center Bank of Brazil), Espaço do Conhecimento UFMG (UFMG Knowledge Space), Horizonte Sebrae - Casa da Economia Criativa (Sebrae Horizon - The House of Creative Economy), Memorial Minas Gerais Vale (Minas Gerais Memorial), Museu das Minas e do Metal (Mines and Metal Museum), Museu Mineiro (Minas Gerais Museum) and Palácio da Liberdade (Liberty Palace). Besides these, another three spaces are already in the process of being implemented: the Casa Fiat de Cultura (Fiat Culture House), CENA and Oi Futuro. The proposal, according to the Circuit manager, Cristiana Kumaira, is to strengthen the circuit in the world cultural context. “We are already on this path and are being careful to ensure that the activities, services and assistance fulfill the needs and expectations of both the local population and the tourists who come to Belo Horizonte from different parts of the world. The Circuit is establishing itself as one more source of pride for the people of Minas Gerais”, she stresses. Inaugurated in 2010, the Circuito Cultural Praça da Liberdade was created with the goal of exploring cultural diversity – with interactive options open to the public – in an area of great symbolic, historical and architectural value for Belo Horizonte. The opportunity came with the transference of the Minas Gerais Government headquarters to the Cidade Administrativa (Administrative City), in Serra Verde. After they had been adapted, the old department buildings opened their doors and began to house museums and cultural spaces. The Circuito Cultural Praça da Liberdade is co-managed by the Instituto Sérgio Magnani (Institute) since June, 2012, through a partnership signed with the Minas Gerais Government, and the museums/spaces are mostly run by private companies, which carry out investments in heritage recovery and building maintenance. According to Kumaira, this public-private partnership model allows large companies to participate and effectively contribute to the cultural advance of the city. “Beyond their fields of activities, the partners invest in the implantation and maintenance of museums, learning spaces, exhibitions rooms and shows, as well as memory centers that consolidate the history of Minas Gerais, presenting it either for free or at affordable prices”, she adds. 

Natural History Museum and the UFMG Botanic Gardens

The Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden holds an important treasure of folk art – the Nativity of Pipiripau. Created during the 20th century, the craftsman Raimundo Machado, synchronizes 586 figures, distributed in 45 scenes, which tell the story of life and death of Jesus, mixed with its variety of arts and crafts.

With 600,000 sq. m. of green area, the UFMG Museum of Natural History and Botanic Garden (MHN-JB) is a privileged ecological space that enables visitors to experience nature in a rich, multidisciplinary way. For 30 years, the mission of the MHN-JB has been to do research, to educate, and to meet the community’s demand for service. It covers the areas of Anthropology, Archeology, Environmental Education, Natural History, Mineralogy, and Paleontology. It has an Ecological Amphitheater, a Free Art Atelier, a Greenhouse, and an Interactive Room. One of its traditional exhibitions is the Pipiripau Nativity Crèche.It has also created many attractions for the public such as:

Palácio das Artes

Palácio das Artes, inaugurated in 1970, is the largest and most varied cultural complex in Minas Gerais. It comprises three theaters, three art galleries, a movie theater, a bookstore a coffee shop and photography exhibition space. It offers high quality programs for the several expressions in arts. The building was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and it also houses the Minas Gerais Handcraft Center.

Pampulha Art Museum (MAP)

The Pampulha Art Museum is located at the Pampulha Lake in Belo Horizonte in a building that originally housed the Pampulha Casino. The building was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, commissioned by the then mayor and future president of Brazil Juscelino Kubitschek in the early 1940s, with external grounds by landscaper Roberto Burle Marx.

The building was the first project of Oscar Niemeyer, opened as a casino, and closed in 1946. In 1957, it was re-opened as the Art Museum. His design was influenced by the principles of Le Corbusier. The gardens of Burle Marx are an tribute to the tropical green. There is three sculptures by Ceschiatti, Zamoiski and José Pedrosa. In 1996, it won new multimedia rooms, library, café bar, souvenir shop and technical infrastructure. The MAP has an impressive collection of 1.600 works. The Museum is an integral part of the "Pampulha Architectural Complex" a watershed in the history of modern architecture in Brazil and internationally.

Things to know


Food and drink

Belo Horizonte is internationally known as the "capital of neighborhood bars."Every year, the city hosts the Comida di Buteco festival ("Pub Foods", in an approximate translation), in which a panel selects 41 bars to be visited, and then elects the one with the best appetizers using the theme ingredient of each year.

Minas Gerais' cuisine is famous for its traditional dishes, like pão de queijo, feijão tropeiro, tutu de feijão, pork ribs, chicken-and-okra (served with a rich, brown gravy and rice) and other usually heavy, comfort-like food. The city also abounds with pizza places, barbecue houses, fine restaurants of various nationalities and other options.

Safety in Belo Horizonte

Stay Safe

Safety ( overall) - Mid. /4.0

Safety ( day) - Very High /5.5

Safety ( night ) - Low/2.0


When crossing the street, watch for motorcycles, which can appear out of nowhere and sometimes ignore stop signs. At some intersections with divided streets, you can cross only one side at once.

Minas has both the military police (polícia militar) who are the enforcers of the law at street level, however not linked to the Brazilian Military and the civilian police (polícia civil) who conduct further investigations like the British CID. Note, though, that most officers don't even have a knowledge of basic English. The uniform of the Minas Gerais state military police is brown.

The emergency number (by which you can reach the military police) is 190.

The city has its own police, the Municipal Guard, the uniform is blue and officers are found in parks, near monuments, schools, hospitals.

The city has seen a recent surge on crime related to drugs. It is wise to 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. Despite Brazil's huge ethnic diversity, tourists can be easily identified by bad guys as people who carry electronics carelessly and seem to be always wondering where are they going. Be discreet.

If someone mugs you, don't resist. Your life is worth more than a hundred dollars.

Mid. / 5.5

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Low / 2.0

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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