Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte, a city of 2.5 million people, is the capital and largest city of Minas Gerais. Located in southern Brazil, it is noted for its mixture of classical and contemporary architecture, and an impressive history of urban revitalization and food security, for which it has won international awards.
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Belo Horizonte SkylineBuilt on a hilly region, surrounded by mountains, it is one of the wealthiest and most economically productive parts of Brazil. Founded as Brazil’s first planned city, it drew inspiration from the urban planning of Washington, DC. Belo Horizonte differs from some other cities in that it has a four season climate, with hot summers and cool winters.

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Activities and Attractions
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The Parque Municipal, with its lush tropical greenery and lakes, is a popular attraction, ten minutes from the city’s downtown. Try to head there on a Sunday. The Museu Historico Abilio Barreto, offers history buffs a unique opportunity to examine the remnants of Curray del Rey, the town that was destroyed in the 1890s to build Belo Horizonte.

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In the city’s old train station you’ll find Museu de Artes e Oficios, which is something shrine to Minas Gerais history, while the Aquario do Rio Sao Francisco boasts Brazil’s largest freshwater aquarium, and showcases the fish species of the lengthy San Francisco River. The science museum, Espaco TIM, and the Museu das Minas e do Metal (Museum of Mines and Metal) are also worthy stops.

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The city’s principal thoroughfare, Av Afonso Pena runs diagonally from northwest to southeast through the city. It passes through three Pracas (squares), Praca Sete, Praca de Liberdage, and Praca de Savassi, where you’ll find the best bars, cafes, and restaurants. Fairly trendy and sophisticated, expect for things to be a little on the pricy side. Outside of downtown, the Pampulha neighborhood offers additional attractions and entertainment for tourists.

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Accommodation
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Pousadinha Mineira
This is as budget as they come in Brazil, but it is clean and comfortable. Guests sleep in enormous 20 person dorms, but at R$20 for a bed, you can't go wrong.
Rua Espirito Santo 604
Tel: 3423 4105
www.pousadinhamineira.com.br

Hotel Metropole
Close to the Parque Municipal, this hotel is a great option for mid-range travelers, offering comfort, cleanliness, wi-fi, nice bathrooms, and flat-screen tvs.
Rua da Bahia 1023
Tel: 3273 1544
www.hotelmetropolebh.com.br

Liberty Palace Hotel
For those looking for the lap of luxury, this luxury hotel features amazing amenities, including pool, sauna, gym, and top-notch restaurant. Enjoy the large and comfortable rooms for the high-end traveler, and marvel at the exquisite lobby.
Rua Paraiba 1465
Tel: 2121 0900
www.libertypalace.com.br

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Where to Eat
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Belo Horizonte offers good food for every budget level. The Savassi and Lourdes neighborhoods offer the best by way of fine dining. If you're looking for non-Brazilian cuisine, you can't go wrong with the Italian options.

Cafe Kahlua Tabacaria
This restaurant caters to a young and hip crowd, offering the finest coffee and sandwiches around.
Rua dos Guajajaras 416
Tel: 32225887

Restaurante do Minas Tenis Clube
Great atmosphere and reasonable prices make this a favorite. Make sure to check out the all-you-can-eat buffet lunches.
Rua da Bahia 2244, Lourdes
Tel: 3516 1310

A Favorita
Classy and pricy, it's hard to find anything that isn't lovely on this menu, which is heavy on the grilled meats and pastas.
Rua Santa Catarina 1235
Tel: 3275 2352

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Getting There
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Belo Horizonte Park

Belo Horizonte is graced with two airports, the international Aeroporto Confins, and the domestic Aeroporto da Pampulha. You can fly to Belo Horizonte from most Brazilian cities. Belo Horizonte's bus station is located in the north of town.
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Brasilia can be reached in 12 hours, and costs around R$90, while Rio de Janeiro can be reached in 6 hours and costs around R$60. Buses leave with frequency for most major Brazilian cities. As always, make sure you know what you are getting when you sign up for the bus ride by way of time and amenities.

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