Belo Horizonte (centro)
Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais (Mean-us Jay-rice). “Minas,” for short, lays West of Rio and North West of Sao Paulo.
Belo Horizonte (Belo Oh-hee-zon-chee) is a city of about 5 million inhabitants. The meaning of the name is “Beautiful Horizon.” It is one of Brazil’s planned cities, and so you will find a grid of streets that flow up and down in a nice organized pattern. However, there are a number of diagonal streets which can help you get lost.
As you wander around this hilly city, you will find much greenery and lovely architecture. As in other great cities of Brazil, Oscar Niemeyer, the famous architect, built several of the buildings in BH.
“BH,” is a common nickname for the city. But, since we are not in Kansas anymore, the pronunciation is in Portuguese, which should sound something like this: (Beh Ah-gah).
Minas Gerais, which means “General Mines,” is well known for its colonial towns, delicious soul food, beautiful women who outnumber men, and cachaça! Cachaça is the distilled cane spirit that comes from Brazil. Many claim that the best cachaças come from Minas Gerais. This is a matter of opinion but Minas does have a ton of these distilleries. A cachaça distillery is called an “Alembique,” (Al-em-bee-kee). They are well worth visiting as are as many small cities you can fit into your itinerary.
Ouro Preto (Oh-row Preh-toe) and Tiradentes (Tee-rah-den-cheess) are two of the bigger and better known colonial cities where you can find all of the above. Both are easily accessible by bus.
While searching for a bus ticket, it is important to pay attention to the bus stations.
Some destinations only have routes to one bus station and others more than one station. Depending on where you will stay in the city, it can make a difference in time and price if you have a choice in bus stations. Here is a brief summary of each station:
Terminal Rodoviário de Belo Horizonte – Belo Horizonte Bus Station
When speaking to a Portuguese speaker you can just say: Rodoviaria Belo Horizonte or
(Hodo-vee-are-ee-ah Belo Oh-hee-zon-chee)
The Belo Horizonte bus station is quaint but has everything that you would expect in a bus station; restaurants, ATM machines, little stores, lockers, showers, mail service, a LAN house, a pharmacy, and even an ice-cream stand. It has 43 bus companies and 16 platforms for buses coming and going from all over Brazil. The bus station is safe and a perfect jumping off point for all of the wonders that Minas Gerais has to offer.