The State of Minas Gerais is at the frontier with five other important Brazilian States: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, Bahia and Goias.
Minas Gerais is the 4th largest Brazilian state and the 3rd most important economic pole in Brazil after the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro; and its economy is still booming at an amazing pace. Its capital Belo Horizonte is today one of the main destinations for business and finance in Latin America. Belo Horizonte is one of the 12 cities that will host the Fifa World Cup 2014.
The name “Minas Gerais” means General Mines, which is quite representative since this state overflows with natural resources among which the most exploited are ore minerals and semiprecious stones. The commerce of gemstones is still today a major activity in many historical cities, where tourists can make very good deals and even visit old mineral and gold mines.
Minas Gerais is renowned for its beautiful historical cities on the “Royal Road” of gold that are a must-see for visitors and even for locals. The particular disposition of these colonial cities as well as their charming portuguese architecture creates a romantic and pleasant environment.
Besides the strong visibility of its colonial history, Minas Gerais also guards archeological and paleontological treasures. Many archeological sites in Minas contain impressive rock paintings that date from 2,000 to 11,000 years ago. They also revealed numerous fossilized human skeletons among which the famous cranium of Luiza, of 11,000 years old, that caused to reconsider the theories on human origins.
In terms of paleontology, a surprising find made in Minas Gerais was the discovery of the fossil of a Maxakalisaurus topai dinosaur in 1998.
In addition to the remarkable vestiges of history, Minas Gerais also offers a vision of the future thanks to the avant-gardist constructions designed by the internationally renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The most daring one is the Palacio Tiradentes in the complex of Cidade Administrativa, a 21,000 m2 building entirely suspended above the ground that seems to float in the air. A real architectural and engineering work of art that is also environmentally friendly!
Another main touristic attraction in Minas Gerais is its nature itself that shows an amazing diversity of scenes.
The fabulous mountainous landscapes, the innumerable waterfalls, the lakes and natural pools, the dense forests, the many caves and caverns, the various curative thermal waters, the endemic plants, the rare and surprising species of animals; all of this beautiful variety constitute the identity of Minas Gerais and can be appreciated while benefiting from the modern comfort of a pousada (inn), fazenda (a functioning farm that offers the comfort of the hotels), sitio (house in the middle of nature), or hotel.
The richness of the nature in Minas Gerais makes it one of the primary destinations in Brazil for easy or radical sports in nature such as hiking, climbing, abseiling, paragliding, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, cycling, horse riding, fishing, golf and many more.
Last but not least, experiencing Minas Gerais is also tasting its local culinary specialties, assisting to its folkloric feasts and artistic events, dancing the samba and listening to Bossa Nova and Choro, knowing its amazing arts and crafts, and of course meeting its generous and welcoming people.