Minas Gerais State ? VBRATA Destination of the Year


  1. Belo Horizonte
  2. Royal Road Brumadinho with Inhotim
  3. Royal Road with OuroPreto, Mariana and Congonhas
  4. Royal Road with São João Del Rei
  5. Royal Road with Tiradentes
  6. Royal Road with Diamantina
  7. Cave Trail - Peter Lund: Lagoa Santa (Lapinha Cave), Sete Lagoas (Rei do Mato Cave) and Cordisburgo (Maquiné Cave)
  8. Royal Road with Serra do Caraça Natural Park
  9. Serra do Cipo National Park
  10. Serra da Canastra National Park and Araxá


1) MINAS GERAIS: The State that Epitomises Brazil

Travelling through Minas Gerais is a journey full of surprises with the culture, nature, tradition, history, flavours and hospitality of the people.

The hospitality of the people of Minas Gerais, where "there is always room for one more at the table!" is famous throughout Brazil. Minas Gerais, also known as Minas, caters for many tastes, preferences, interests and desires, from the Adventure Tourist to those who want to relax, children and senior citizens, rural and urban. To experience the variety and beauty of Minas Gerais, it's not enough to just read about it you must experience it for yourself. You will be very welcome!

Minas Gerais has about 60% of the Historic Brazilian National Landmarks, with centuries old cities portraying the grandeur of Brazil's history. No traveller can fail to admire an authentic baroque church, an infinite horizon or even a plate of ora-pro-nobis. Minas Gerais is also a huge stage for artistic events, exported nationally and internationally. And here you find ideal destinations to relax and take care of mind and body. Visiting Minas Gerais is much more than just a tourist trip, it is to build a lasting experience with nature.

A place where the exuberance of nature combines with the simplicity of the past and where people live in harmony with the new. The State of Minas Gerais holds surprises for both those who enjoy tranquillity and for those who prefer the rush of adrenaline. For those fascinated by food and young people in search of fun.

Minas Gerais brings together the most important artistic and architectural heritage of the Brazilian colonial period, preserved in the cities of international fame such as OuroPreto, Diamantina and Congonhas, where there are many Baroque masterpieces including works by Antonio Francisco Lisboa - Aleijadinho and Master Athaíde.

  • Minas Gerais is one of 27 States of Brazil
  • Fourth largest in area of Brazil (587,172 sq. km) it is larger than France, Sweden, Spain or Japan
  • Located to the east of Brazil, it is bordered by six states (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, Bahia, MatoGrosso do Sul and Goiás) plus the Federal District - Brasilia (capital of Brazil)
  • More than 20 million people in 853 cities
  • Third largest economy and second largest industrial park.
  • Main types of industries: mining, metallurgy, automobile, food, textile, construction, chemicals, non-metallic minerals, electronics and communications technology: GDP: EURO 116 billion (10% of Brazil's GDP)
  • Largest producer and exporter of iron niobium
  • A major road system in Brazil (23,000 km)
  • Relative Humidity: 78% (annual average)
  • Climate: Tropical temperate (22º C to 27º C summer) and (15º C to 21° C winter)
  • Time Zone: GMT - 3 hours (Brasilia)
  • Major highways of the country: 27,000 km of paved roads and more than 5,000 km of Railways
  • 5 River Ports
  • Over 92 Regional Airports

Highlights of the State:

  • Most important historic scenario in Brazil: history and cradle of the country's independence
  • Approximately 60% of Brazil's Cultural Heritage (World Heritage Site - three cities on the UNESCO list - OuroPreto, Diamantina and Congonhas - Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos)
  • Original Gastronomy
  • Cultural Diversity
  • The hospitality of Minas Gerais people


Minas Gerais has 60% of the Brazilian national heritage. The State is an artistic cultural landmark in several areas and it is considered a cultural destination with historical, architectural heritage and museums highlighting the historical street with history of colonial Brazil.

The effervescent culture of Minas is expressed in music, dance, literature, cinema, arts and crafts, and an artistic stage, exported nationally and internationally. Minas culture is also celebrated and expressed in gastronomy, handicrafts, traditional festivals and hospitality, linked to its unique way of receiving visitors.

In Minas Gerais, modernity and tradition are shown daily in the intense cultural production, and many forms of artistic expression.

MINAS GERAIS GASTRONOMY- Recipes Handed Down from Generation to Generation

The typical Minas Gerais cooking enchants not only because it is the most characteristic of Brazil, but mainly because its dishes are rich in flavour and full of stories. Try the versatile cooking - the cheese bread and Cachaça, feijão (beans) tropeiro, chicken with okra and polenta and meat with ora-pro-nóbis - is a prerequisite for feeling at home in Minas Gerais.

By trying these dishes, tourists can also learn about the history of the state: This genuine Brazilian cuisine has been influenced by indigenous, Africa and various European recipes and created from home grown ingredients such as chicken, pork, cheese, corn, roots, herbs and vegetables of the region.

The menu is composed of numerous Minas dishes cooked in a wood stove, scones, biscuits, cakes and the famous cheese bread (pão de queijo). Recognised products of excellence such as the famous cheeses (Canasta and Serro), doce de leite (caramel) and the best cachaça in Brazil ? many handmade - surprise those coming to Minas Gerais.

Belo Horizonte is considered the city with the highest number of bars in Latin America. Sitting with friends, chatting and indulging in the famous and irresistible appetizers is a must for tourist programmes. For those who prefer, there are delicious options from traditional local food and great restaurants of contemporary and international cuisine.

Besides the traditional dishes that can be enjoyed anywhere in the state, gastronomic events and competitions take place throughout the year such as the "Comida di Buteco (bar food)" in Belo Horizonte, the Cheese Festival in Serro and the International Festival of Culture and Gastronomy in Tiradentes, where fine cuisine and contemporary gastronomy steal the scene.


  • Cheese Bread
  • Minas and Canastra Cheeses
  • Chicken with Okra, Chicken with pardo sauce and chicken with ora-pro-nobis
  • Beans (feijão): Tutu de Feijão and Feijão Tropeiro
  • Homemade Sweets
  • Alambique Cachaça (cachaça brewers)

CACHAÇA - Minas Gerais is one of the largest producers and exporters of quality Cachaça

Distilled from the juice of sugar cane, the authentic taste of cachaça is smooth with a light warming after glow. Always popular, cachaça has earned the status of a fine drink and an appetizer and there is no shortage of Brazilians and especially the Mineiros (local people from Minas Gerais), who are keen to serve it accompanied by typical dishes. The drink is also appreciated worldwide.

Minas Gerais is a world reference when it comes to quality Cachaça. Minas Cachaça, which is distilled by hand (with only natural ingredients), is recognised as a beverage of quality, winning the preference of fans around the world. The Minas brands are renowned, assuming a position in the country and the world.


Minas Gerais is an ecological sanctuary favoured by Atlantic Forest biodiversity. The eastern state is covered by Cerrado vegetation - in the west - and the Caatinga - to the north. Mountains and Caves also make up the Minas ecosystem, one of the main areas of protection of endangered animal species in Brazil, such as the maned wolf, giant anteaters, pumas, ocelots, deer- pampas and merganser.

The parks in Minas Gerais are perfect for observing its flora - consisting of orchids, bromeliads, candeias, lichens, ferns and campasrupestres - and attract people from photographic tours to tourists in search of physical and spiritual well-being. The state is the source of major rivers in Brazil such as the São Francisco River, the principal river of Minas Gerais and one of the most important in Brazil. Native forest and many waterfalls lure tourists seeking contact with nature.

Minas Gerais is also one of the richest states in the country for caves, a perfect place for lovers of speleology and for travellers in search of adventure. Two thousand caves have been catalogued - among the three thousand that exist in Brazil - hidden rivers, waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites, human bones of large extinct animals, stone tools that worked ancient arts, rare limestone formations and inscriptions.

The tours include all the wealth of the Minas ecosystem, while respecting the fragility of nature, yet promoting visitors through sustainable tourism.

2) BELO HORIZONTE: FIFA's World Cup Brazil 2014 Hosting City

As the country's first planned city, Belo Horizonte is differentiated by its architectural diversity that was embedded in the original plan of the city: wide streets, grand boulevards and symmetrical blocks.

Despite its age, inaugurated in 1897, the capital of Minas Gerais has about 2 and a half million inhabitants and over 5 million in the greater metropolitan area, making this city the third largest in the country.

Belo Horizonte was nominated by the UN as one of the cities of Latin America with a better quality of life and chosen by the WHO as model environment.

The city has 32 sq. m of green area per inhabitant. With 27 parks and about 500 squares, it is one of the greenest capital cities in the country. The city has the 4th highest GDP among Brazilian cities, the 5th largest industrial park on the continent - the third in the country - and is one of the capitals with the highest human development index - HDI. Strategically located in the central portion of the southeast region, Belo Horizonte is an hour flight time from all the major capitals of the country.


  • A bustling city: Belo Horizonte pulsating energy and creativity
  • It is a source of writers, artists and musicians of all kinds
  • The capital is a paradox: it has the beat of a big city but still retains traces of the inner city
  • It is the capital of gastronomy
  • Nightlife: nationally recognised as the Brazilian capital of the Bars
  • City headquarters of Brazil's World Cup FIFA Football 2014

Must-see Attractions:

  • Architectural Group Pampulha Lagoon with works by the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer including the Church of St Francis of Assisi
  • Joint Architectural and Landscape of Praça da Liberdade (Cultural Centre of Praça da Liberdade)
  • Mineirão Stadium (Stage of the FIFA World Cup 2014)
  • Central Market ? an experience for all senses, where you can meet the local culture
  • Afonso Pena Craft Fair - (Sunday)
  • Bars and Restaurants in the region of Savassi and Lourdes (Typical Contemporary Cuisine and Gastronomy)
  • Important destination for business and major events
  • Environment: Vilarejo de Macacos (São Sebastião das Aguas Claras), Serra do Rola Moça State Park, Lagoa dos Ingleses (Nautical Sports), Ecological Park and Cachaça Brewer Vale Verde (Vianópolis, Betim)

General Information:

How to get there:

Tancredo Neves International Airport (Airport Confins)

  • From Europe: TAP Portugal (via Lisbon), TAM Airlines (via São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro) and with all major European airlines via an European city
  • U.S. / North America: TAM Airlines, American Airlines and Copa Airlines
  • South America: Pluna, TAM Airlines and GOL
  • Regional Airport Pampulha
  • Carlos Prates Airport

Distance from Major Brazilian Cities:

City Distance(km) Flight Time (min)
Brasilia 740 60
Cuiaba 3,082 140
Fortaleza 2,346 160
Manaus 3,941 230
Natal 2,262 200
Porto Alegre 1,658 220
Recife 1,756 160
Rio de Janeiro 464 40
Salvador 1,364 90
São Paulo 586 60

Distance Between Destinations

  • Tancredo Neves International Airport: 40 km
  • Diamantina: 305 km
  • Tiradentes: 225 km
  • OuroPreto: 95 km
  • São João del Rei: 180 km

The Caves near Belo Horizonte:

  • Maquiné Cave / Cordisburgo: 124 km
  • Lapinha Cave / Lagoa Santa: 42 km
  • Gruta Rei do Mato / SevenPonds: 79 km
  • Inhotim / Brumadinho: 60 km
  • National Park of Serra do Cipo / Jaboticatubas: 100 km
  • National Park of Canasta / São Roque de Minas: 328 km
  • Caraça Sanctuary: 120 km

3) INHOTIM - The World's Largest Open Air Museum of Contemporary Art

The Institute Inhotim is an artistic complex set in a beautiful park environment. Located 60 km from Belo Horizonte, its contemporary art collection focuses on works created from the 60's.

It has an interesting collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, videos and installations of Brazilian and international artists.

In addition to art collections, the Institute Inhotim has an extensive botanical collection - one of the largest varieties of plants in the world - with rare tropical species and a forest reserve that is part of the Atlantic Forest biome. It is currently the largest open air centre for contemporary art in the world. Inhotim is art in every way.

General Information:

  • Location: City of Brumadinho
  • Brumadinho Population: 34,013 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 21º C
  • Nearest airport: Belo Horizonte

Distances from:

  • Belo Horizonte: 60 km
  • São Paulo: 548 km
  • Rio de Janeiro: 452 km
  • Brasilia: 763 km

4) ESTRADA REAL (ROYAL ROAD): More than just a road; a journey through the past

The old roads have been operating for over 300 years by the Portuguese Crown and is a recognised tourist route in Brazil and abroad. Today, the Royal Road passes through 199 districts - 169 in Minas Gerais, 22 in Sao Paulo and 09 in Rio de Janeiro - and it is 1,600 km long with over 80 thousand sq. km of area of influence.

For those who want to re-live all these experiences together in one tour, the Royal Road is the perfect choice. Trails opened in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for the exploration of gold and diamonds, the Royal Road is divided into three colonial trails: New Road, Old Road and Diamond Trail.

  • More than 1,900 concrete markers
  • You can travel sections on horseback, on foot, bicycles, bike or car


  • HistoricCities: Ouro Preto, Mariana, Congonhas, Tiradentes, São João Del Rei and Diamantina
  • Caraça Sanctuary
  • Serra do Cipo National Park
  • For more information visit


Marked by the gold cycle, slavery and revolutionary ideals such as the Minas Conspiracy, cities hold historical baroque relics, known worldwide by the works of artists including Aleijadinho and Ataíde. Minas Gerais has the largest collection of Baroque in Brazil and some cities like OuroPreto, Diamantina and Congonhas have received World Heritage titles granted by UNESCO.

The religiosity of Minas Gerais is expressed in the beautiful churches and festivals that attract tourists from all parts who are enchanted with the welcoming hospitality of people.

Besides all the richness of these historic heritage towns they also have several attractions such as film festivals, winter gastronomy, carnivals and especially the lush landscapes of the mountains of Minas. Discover Historic Cities of Minas Gerais in Brazil and rediscover the places where we can breathe history, culture and fresh air.

Must-visit Historic Cities :

  • OuroPreto
  • Mariana
  • Congonhas
  • São João Del Rei
  • Tiradentes
  • Diamantina

Royal Road Religious Way Project (under development)

Minas Gerais, is the right destination for religious holidays and pilgrimages. The Royal Road Religious Way Project (CRER - CaminhoReligioso da Estrada Real) involves 37 districts on the Royal Road route catchment area. The path can be started or ended, in Serra da Piedade, at the Sanctuary of NossaSenhora da Piedade in Caeté, Patroness of Minas Gerais, or the Sanctuary of NossaSenhoraAparecida, patroness of Brazil, in Aparecida do Norte, São Paulo State.


  • Project dedicated to faith, spirituality and meditation, based on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (Spain-France, 750 km)
  • The Royal Road Religious Way : 840 km in length, journey time approx. 40 days
  • Can be travelled on foot, by bicycle or on horseback
  • 37 districts along the Royal Route, with 05 located in the State of Sao Paulo
  • Sanctuary OF NossaSenhoraAparecida, Aparecida / SP: "Catholic heartland of Brazil," 10.3 million pilgrims year
  • Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy, Caeté / MG: 10,000 people / day, holidays
  • 2013 World Youth Day in Brazil

4.1.2) MARIANA

The oldest city in Minas Gerais and the first capital of the state preserves rich churches and colonial architecture in the historic centre. Take the opportunity to visit it on foot. Each 16th July, on its anniversary, Mariana hosts the Governor of Minas Gerais and again becomes the capital of State.

Must-see Attractions:

  • Praça Minas Gerais, Church of St. Francisco de Assisi, Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo and Casa de Camara
  • Basilica de Sé Cathedral
  • Mina de Ouro da Passagem (Gold Mine)
  • Maria Fumaça Steam Train tour to OuroPreto
  • Cathedral of NossaSenhora de Assunção - the Arp Schnitger organ, built in 1701 in Germany and installed in Mariana in 1753 as a gift from the Portuguese Crown, today, it is the only copy of Schnitger 30 organs that still exist in the world, outside of Europe.

General Information:

  • Approximately 53,000 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 19º C
  • Nearest airport: Belo Horizonte


  • Belo Horizonte: 116 km
  • OuroPreto: 15 km

4.1.3) CONGONHAS - One of the World's Most Important Architectural Jewels

Congonhas is an obligatory stop on the itinerary of the historical cities of the Estrada Real (Royal Road). Located in Congonhas, is the entire Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matozinhos, with six chapels and the a church, which stand out from the landscape. Inside each chapel are scenes of the Stations of the Cross of Christ. Above them stands an imposing church, with 12 statues of the prophets in its churchyard, almost like guardians of the temple. An impressive and unforgettable sight.

This set in the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matozinhos, carved by Master Aleijadinho, is the most magnificent and important masterpiece of the Baroque world. A demonstration of faith and devotion of a man, so grand and beautiful, it has received, from UNESCO in 1985, the title of Cultural Heritage.

The set of images is so monumental that it was considered by the Frenchman GermainBazin, a great scholar of Minas Baroque, one of the most beautiful on earth. GermainBazin went further: he believed it to be "the last appearance of God evoked by the hand of man." And all this in the heart of Minas Gerais, near the city of OuroPreto and the capital Belo Horizonte.

General Information:

  • Approximately 46,000 inhabitants


  • Belo Horizonte: 85 km
  • OuroPreto: 63 km
  • São João Del Rei: 110 km


From all the historical cities of Minas Gerais, Tiradentes was one of those best able to maintain the romance of its colonial past - with well-kept houses, cobbled streets - and still enjoys the intensity of modern events like the Cultural and Film Festival and The International Festival of Culture and Cuisine.

The colonial houses and cobblestone streets give the impression that the story takes place in past centuries. Tiradentes is the ideal city for a walk by couples, holding hands, seeing the richness of the Matriz, dine in places under a sky full of stars and sleeping in cosy rooms. To experience the region, take the train ride from Sao Joao del Rei to Tiradentes on the Maria-Fumaça (steam trains).

Birthplace of InconfidenteJoaquim Jose da Silva Xavier , who fought for freedom in Brazil, the city is one of the most charming historic towns of Minas Gerais.

Must-see Attractions:

  • Maria Fumança (steam train) Tourist Train to São João Del Rei
  • Church of Santo Antonio
  • Fountain of Santo Antonio
  • Museum of Padre Toledo
  • Church of Nossa Senhora Rosário dos Pretos
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Food: Fine cuisine, Contemporary Cuisine and Typical Gastronomy
  • International Festival of Gastronomy and Culture (August)
  • Cultural & Film Festival (January)
  • Serra de São José
  • Street Carnival

General Information:

  • Population: 7,000 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 19 º
  • Nearest airport: Del Rei

Distance between destinations:

  • Belo Horizonte: 225 km
  • São João del-Rei: 12 km
  • OuroPreto: 127 km
  • Diamantina: 368 km


Grandiose, in a contemporary and lively area. Quiet and cultural in its historical part, São João del Rei is a unique city. Endowed with a wide range of architecture, not only restricted to the Baroque. In its historical quarter (protected from the rest of the city) it is possible to see various architectural styles, separated by genre.

Shopping, history and proximity to the city of Tiradentes, make São João del Rei a strong destination to be visited. A stroll through the historic centre reveals museums, churches, bars and restaurants. To begin exploring the surrounding area take a steam train ride to Tiradentes.

São João del Rei preserves, besides its beautiful heritage, rich secular traditions. One of the most curious is the tradition of the bells, passed from generation to generation. The chiming of the bells, tells you where, when and what ceremony the celebrant will perform, and if, for example, there will be a procession.

Must-see Attractions:

  • Hear the tolling of church bells
  • Show: "Symphony of Bells"
  • Church of Sao Francisco de Assis
  • Maria Fumaça (steam train) Train Tour to Tiradentes
  • Railway Museum
  • Museum of Tin
  • Tin Craft
  • Street Carnival
  • Attractions in the surroundings: The oldest distillery in Minas Gerais, and one of the oldest in Brazil, is located in the city of Coronel Xavier Chaves, LagoaDurada (Golden Pond) is approx. 36 km from Tiradentes, taste the delicious sweet "rocambole" (Swiss Roll), considered the best in the country.

General Information:

  • Population: 83,000 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 19º C
  • CasteloBranco Airport

Distance between destinations:

  • Belo Horizonte: 180 km
  • Diamantina: 373 km
  • Tiradentes: 12 km
  • OuroPreto: 136 km

4.1.6) DIAMANTINA ? UNESCO World Heritage Site

One of the most famous and historical cities visited in Brazil, Diamantina is a spectacle for the eyes, ears, taste, for all the senses. Visitors are dazzled by its colonial houses, baroque-inspired, historic buildings, the secular churches, scenic landscape a strong religious tradition, and folk music, with its serenades that touch the deepest soul.

Founded nearly three centuries ago, Diamantina is a city that has managed to preserve its architecture, culture and nature. Today, these characteristics that delight everyone, gained the title of UNESCO Cultural Heritage City. Centre of the diamond exploration in the eighteenth century from which it takes its name, Diamantina is a jewel in the history of Brazil.

Must-see Attractions:

  • Churches: Nossa Senhora do Carmo, São Francisco de Assis and Nossa Senhora do Rosário
  • Diamantina Municipal Market
  • Slave Trails
  • Passadiço da Casa da Gloria
  • Casa de Chica da Silva
  • Garimpo Real
  • Participate in a Serenate - a spectacle in full moon night
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Typical Gastronomy
  • Street Carnival
  • Holy Week
  • Nearby Villages and Surrounding areas: Serro, Milho Verde and Biribiri

General Information

  • Population: 45,000 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 18º C
  • Nearest Airport: Belo Horizonte 305 km or Montes Claros 226 km

Distance between destinations:

  • Belo Horizonte: 305 km
  • Tiradentes: 368 km
  • OuroPreto: 257 km
  • São João del Rei: 373 km
  • Conceição do Mato Dentro (Serra do Cipo): 145 km
  • Cordisburgo: 206 km
  • Serra do Cipo: 248 km
  • Serro: 87 km
  • Milho Verde - Serro District: 40 km

4.2) NATIONAL PARK - Serra do Cipo - Brazil's Botanical Garden

The Serra do Cipo National Park, created in 1984 with the objective of protecting its natural diversity, has 100,000 hectares, 34 square kilometres and one of the richest floras in the world. More than 1,600 different species of flowers in the region, some are unique to this region and have recently been catalogued. Not for nothing, the Espinhaço was elected Biosphere Natural Reserve by UNESCO and the region is considered by renowned landscape architect, Burle Marx as "The Botanical Garden of Brazil."

The National Park region of Serra do Cipo is formed by several rivers, waterfalls, canyons and open country, which makes it the ideal setting to practice adventure tourism in various forms, including trekking, hiking, climbing, crossing, rappelling, cascading, zip line, mountain biking or simply observing wildlife and flora.

Its area includes the cities of Santana do RiachoJaboticatubas, Morro do Pilar, Itambé do MatoDentro and surrounding - Conceição do MatoDentro and Lagoa Santa.

  • Botanical gardens of Brazil, one of the greatest biodiversity in the world
  • Cordilheira do Espinhaço ? UNESCO Natural Biosphere Reserve

Must-see Attractions:

  • Observation of flora and fauna - especially bird watching
  • Adventure tourism:
  • waterfalls and trails
    • Tabuleiro Waterfall - 273 m (Conceição do MatoDentro) ? Highest in Minas Gerais and the third largest in Brazil
    • Farofa Waterfall - 240 m (Santana do Riacho)
    • Canion dos Bandeirinhas (Santana do Riacho)
    • Véu da Noiva Waterfall - 70 m (Santana do Riacho)
    • Trilha dos Escravos (SlaveTrail ) (Santana do Riacho)
    • Gavião Waterfall - 15 m (Santana do Riacho)
    • Vale do Travessão - 700 m (Santana do Riacho)
    • Andorinhas Waterfall - 40 m (Santana do Riacho)
    • Grande Waterfall - 50 m (Jabuticatubas)
    • Congonhas Waterfall - 70 m (Conceição do Mato Dentro)
  • Sculpture of Juquinha Sierra (Santana dos Riacho)
  • Numerous trails for mountain biking
  • Highest rock climbing point in Minas Gerais
  • Untouched Archaeological sites, farms, historical villages.
  • Typical Gastronomy
  • Charming small hotels and inns
  • Highlights in the surrounding area: Lapinha Cave (Lagoa Santa)

General Information - Serra do Cipo

  • Population: 4,023 inhabitants (Santana dos Riacho)
  • Annual average temperature: 21º C
  • Nearest airport: Belo Horizonte

Distance between destinations:

  • Belo Horizonte: 100 km
  • Lagoa Santa: 59 km
  • Conceição do MatoDentro: 73 km


Located in the vicinity of the welcoming and peaceful cities of Santa Barbara and CatasAltas, in Minas Gerais, the Natural Park of Serra do Caraça is a rich historical natural heritage, in the midst of one of the most fascinating landscapes of Minas Gerais. Here you will find streams, lakes, waterfalls, mountains and the fauna and flora peculiar to the region.

Its rich fauna has about 339 species of birds, of which 71 species are endemic to the Atlantic, 4 are endemic to the Cerrado and 4 are endemic to the mountain tops of southeastern Brazil. In addition, 66 species of mammals, among which the maned wolf stands out.

The Serra do Caraça is the Cordilheira do Espinhaço and is located east of the QuadriláteroFerrífero in Minas Gerais. Its peak, which is also the highest elevation in the region, is the Pico do Sol (peak of the Sun), 2072 m , in the Fazenda do Engenho (Mill Farm). Due to its geographical location, the Caraça Reserve has in its territory three vegetation types: the Interior Atlantic Forest, the Cerrado and the Campos de Altitude.

Endowed with significant architectural heritage, the park offers many cultural attractions, being the main sanctuary of Caraga, a Private Reserve of Natural Heritage part of the Religious Way, the Royal Road, and where tourists can visit the Historical Centre of the Sanctuary of NossaSenhoraMãe dos Homens - a fantastic neo-Gothic church, the old College building , the Cloister and Catacomb and Relógio do Sol e o Calvário.

Must-see Attractions:

  • Sanctuary of Caraça
  • Observation of flora and fauna:
  • Highlights: Maned Wolf and bird watching

General Information:

  • Santa Barbara: 26,368 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 22 º C
  • Tropical Climate
  • Nearest Airport: Belo Horizonte

Distance between destinations:

  • Belo Horizonte: 120 km
  • Mariana: 66 km

5) CAVE ROUTE - PETER LUND: Travel to the Centre of the Earth, but Very Close to the Capital City

The Minas Gerais mountains hide the great mysteries of our ancestors. Visiting the area of the caves, visitors discover the stories and customs activities experienced by the first inhabitants of the Americas. The region has great importance worldwide for its rich scientific, cultural and geomorphologic, and the work of Danish scientist Peter Wilhelm Lund (1801-1880), the first palaeontologist to visit Brazil. He was responsible for making this region the cradle of world science, ecology and the cradle of American archaeology, palaeontology and caving. The Caves of Maquiné, Lapinha and Rei do Mato have great beautiful areas with hidden rivers, stalactites, stalagmites and limestone rare formations, found in few places. True works of art, carved by time and open to visitors.


Maquiné Cave - Cordisburgo

The main attraction is the CordisburgoMaquiné Cave, which is rated three stars, the highest of its kind worldwide. Danish scientist Peter Lund, who found the cave in 1835, described it this way: 'My eyes have never seen anything so beautiful in the fields of nature and art'. And this was said without Lund having had a chance to see their outlines and their beautiful speleothems under the special lighting that exists today. Walkways allow the safe operation of seven areas and the entire journey is accompanied by a local guide. The city also has other caves like the Morena and the Salitra, which provide good hiking in places surrounded by ponds and lakes including Poço Azul and Lagoa Jaime Diniz.

The Maquiné Cave, located in Cordisburgo, was discovered in 1825 by Joaquim Maria Maquiné a local farmer and later explored scientifically by Danish naturalist Dr. Peter Wilhelm Lund in 1834.

The naturalist searched the cave for nearly two years. In his research on the Brazilian palaeontology, Dr. Lund discovered human remains and petrified animals, from the Quaternary Period.

The Cave of Maquiné has seven halls 650 metres long and 18 metres depth. Its galleries and areas are the results from water erosion for millennia. The main element of the formation of Maquiné is calcium carbonate. However, the cave also shows signs of other minerals, silica, gypsum, quartz and iron.

Lapinha Cave ? Lagoa Santa

The Lapinha Cave is situated in Lagoa Santa and because of its geological importance receives tourists from different parts of Brazil and the world.

The great example of the scientific enterprise of Dr. Lund, the Lapinha Cave, became a major tourist attraction in Lagoa Santa.

The Lapinha cave reaches a depth of 40 metres and has a length of 511 metres. It is 900 million years old and its composition is hardened mud and waste from the seabed, which were accumulated in layers and worked by the erosion of ocean currents and air. Its halls, ornamented with crystal and calcite, received names suggested by natural forms. Therefore, they were called Cauliflower Hall, the Cathedral, the Cataract, the Lamp, the Curtains, the Sheep, Gallery of Brides and the Crib. There is also in front of the cave a museum with a collection of rare and ancient objects found in the area.

Fascinating for its natural beauty, the Lapinha is part of an integrated circuit which is one of the gateways to the Sumidouro State Park, which has numerous archaeological sites, caves and staging areas for migratory birds.

Rei do Mato Cave ? Sete Lagoas

The cave was opened to the public on 22nd October 1988 and various government agencies, linked to the environment, participated in its design and use of conservation tourism. The Cave is 220 metres long with an elevation of 48 metres, and in its 4 halls there are stalagmites, stalactites and amazing limestone cascades. In the 4th room of the cave a formation of two rare slender columns of perfectly cylindrical harmonics stand out, composed of beautiful calcite crystals with diameters of 20 to 30 cm and a height of approximately 20 metres. Formations of this type, according to geologists are only found in the Altamira Cave in Spain.


1) Cordisburgo:

  • Population: 8,667 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 22º C
  • Nearest airport: Belo Horizonte
  • Distance from Belo Horizonte: 116 km

2) Lagoa Santa:

  • Population: 52,520 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 22º C
  • Nearest airport: Belo Horizonte
  • Distance from Belo Horizonte: 35 km

3) SeteLagoas:

  • Population: 211,094 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 23 º C
  • Nearest airport: Belo Horizonte
  • Distance from Belo Horizonte: 70 Km


Createdby the headwaters of the São Francisco river, the Serra da Canastra National Park covers sixdistricts of Minas Gerais, they are:Sacramento, Capitólio, Delfinópolis, São João Batista do Glória, São Roque de Minas and Vargem Bonita.

A region of indescribable natural beauty, with large rock cliffs and beautiful waterfalls that attract fans and lovers of nature and the outdoor life style, with special emphasis on the fauna and flora, the region's predominant cerrado biome covers 40% of endemic species which ensures a rich experience of nature in unique environments.

Serra da Canastra National Park is also known as the "Terra do Queijo" (Land of Cheese)," for having the famous cheese basket listed as a national heritage that has been produced for over a century and enjoyed by many visitors.

Location:District of São Roque de Minas and surroundingareas: São José do Barreiro, São João Batista, São João Batista do Glória, Vargem Bonita, Delfinópolis, and nearby Sacramento and Araxá.

Park Access :

  • Three Entrances in the District of São Roque de Minas: São Roque de Minas, best access for Pinhui, São João Batista, best access for Araxa, São Jose Barreiro, best access for Passos and via Sacramento, best access for those coming from São Paulo, via Franca.

Highlight and Must-see Attractions:

  • Adventure tourism in the park: hiking and biking
  • Observation of flora and fauna - Highlight for bird watching (over 300 species catalogued)
  • Activities in the vicinities of the park: horseback riding, rappelling, zip-lines, cascading, rock climbing, buoy cross, tree climbing and bird watching (Highlight of Sacramento ? premier location for the largest variety of birds in the State of Minas Gerais)


  • Canastra Cheese (São Roque de Minas)
  • Handmade sweets

Serra da Canastra:

  • Casca D'Anta Waterfall (186 m) ? Serra da Canastra National Park
  • Source of the São Francisco river ? Serra da Canastra National Park
  • Rolinhos Waterfall (300 m) ? Serra da Canastra National Park
  • Fundão Waterfall (80 m) ? access by Serra da Canastra National Park
  • Claré Waterfall - Delfinópolis
  • RPPN do Cerradão (90m) - São Roque de Minas
  • Capãoforro Waterfalls ? sequence of 5 waterfalls - São Roque de Minas
  • Serra da Babilônia - access for Serra da Canastra National Park and/or São José do Barreiro
  • Vale do Céu ? São João Batista do Glória
  • Paraíso Perdido ? São João Batista do Glória
  • Rock climbing ? Delfinópolis - Considered the best location in Minas to practice this sport

Nearby Destinations:


  • João Inácio Waterfall (80m) - Sacramento
  • Parida Waterfall (80m) - Sacramento
  • Povoado do Desemboque ? beginning of the mining triangle - Sacramento


  • Destination for well-being
  • Spa with various therapeutic properties
  • Araxá Spa
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Grand Hotel - Araxá
  • Tells and stories of Dona Beija
  • Gastronomy: Typical sweets


São Roque de Minas:

  • Population: 6,686 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 21º C
  • Nearest Airport: Passos, Uberaba and Araxá


  • Belo Horizonte: 322 km
  • São Paulo: 595 km
  • Rio de Janeiro: 675 km
  • Araxá: 168 km
  • São João Batista: 53 km
  • Vargem Bonita: 13 km
  • Uberaba: 350 km


  • Population: 93,672 inhabitants
  • Annual average temperature: 20º C
  • Nearest Airport: Romeo Zema


  • Belo Horizonte: 372 km
  • São Paulo 593 km
  • Rio de Janeiro: 795 km
  • Uberaba: 131 km
  • Uberlandia: 186 km
  • Sacramento:
  • São Roque de Minas: 168 km


1. Belo Horizonte

  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:
  • Belo Horizonte Tourist Office (Belotur): (available only in Portuguese)

2. Royal Road Brumadinho and Inhotim

  • Inhotim:
  • The Royal Road:
  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:

3. Royal Road: OuroPreto, Mariana and Congonhas

  • The Royal Road:
  • UNESCO (Ouro Preto):
  • UNESCO (Congonhas):
  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:

4. Royal Road:São João Del Rei

  • The Royal Road:
  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:

5. Royal Road: Tiradentes

  • The Royal Road:
  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:

6. Royal Road: Diamantina

  • The Royal Road:
  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:

7. Route of the Caves - Peter Lund: Lagoa Santa (Lapinha Cave), Sete Lagoas (Rei do Mato) e Cordisburgo (Maquiné Cave)

  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:

8. Royal Road: Natural Park of Serra do Caraça

  • Sanctuary of Caraça:
  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:

9. National Park of Serra do Cipo

  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas:

10. National Park of Serra da Canastra and Araxá

  • Minas Gerais State Tourist Authorities (SETUR / MG):
  • Discover Minas: