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Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

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Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

Hi, I’d really appreciate some tips and advice regarding my planned 3 week trip to Brazil in September 2019. My wife and I are planning to fly into Rio and stay for around 4 days (during that time we would probably do a one day tour that covers the main attractions, visit a Samba school and hopefully see a football match). After that we would want to visit Salvador for a longer time (around 7 days). We also want to go to Minas Gerais for around 6 days (my wife’s grandfather worked in the Morro Velho mines and her father was born there as well, so she’d like to see some of the key sights around there and Belo Horizonte). The other thing we’d like to include in our trip is a visit to Iguassu Falls. We’re working out the itinerary now - the most logical order looks to be Rio - BH - Salvador and finishing in Iguassu Falls (maybe for 2 days). We’ve read quite a few things already and are pretty good at planning things out but We’d really aprreciate advice and tips on the best / cheapest ways to execute this from people that have done this or similar itineraries.

8 replies to this topic
Belo Horizonte, MG
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479 posts
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1. Re: Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

Traveling around Brazil isn’t easy with depressingly few direct flights.

As for sights around Belo Horizonte, it sounds like you’re planning to visit Ouro Preto (since you post in its subforum). Other interesting places include:

- Mariana. Another historical town, which you can travel to by tourist train (with panoramic/view carriage): vale.com/brasil/…default.aspx (FYI, Mariana is also the name of the large nearby dam with mine tailings that ruptured a couple of years ago and that caused lots of environmental destruction - be aware when you google).

- Inhotim. Amazing outdoor modern art museum and botanical gardens. Not to be missed when you have more than a couple of days in the region.

There are lots of opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors. Personal favorites include:

- Santuário do Caraça. An old cloister converted into hotel; great simple food, visits of the Lobo Guara at night, wonderful walks to waterfalls and viewpoints. 2-3 days best.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g23…

- Parque Estadual do Sumidouro & Gruta da Lapinha. State park with a cave tour and hike to a huge sinkhole with prehistoric paintings. Day trip.

https://www.tripadvisor.com.br/Attraction_Re…

- Serra do Cipó. In the same general direction as the previous but a bit further. Nice pousadas (B&B’s) and hikes. 2-3 days are best.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

- Lapinha da Serra. A bit further still. More remote but better hikes imo. A few surprisingly nice restaurants. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g8454841…

Belo Horizonte, MG
Level Contributor
479 posts
10 reviews
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2. Re: Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

Traveling around Brazil isn’t easy with depressingly few direct flights.

As for sights around Belo Horizonte, it sounds like you’re planning to visit Ouro Preto (since you post in its subforum). Other interesting places include:

- Mariana. Another historical town, which you can travel to by tourist train (with panoramic/view carriage): vale.com/brasil/…default.aspx (FYI, Mariana is also the name of the large nearby dam with mine tailings that ruptured a couple of years ago and that caused lots of environmental destruction - be aware when you google).

- Inhotim. Amazing outdoor modern art museum and botanical gardens. Not to be missed when you have more than a couple of days in the region. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

There are lots of opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors. Personal favorites include:

- Santuário do Caraça. An old cloister converted into hotel; great simple food, visits of the Lobo Guara at night, wonderful walks to waterfalls and viewpoints. Minimum 1 overnight stay is best to experience and enjoy this place. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g23…

- Parque Estadual do Sumidouro & Gruta da Lapinha. State park with a cave tour and hike to a huge sinkhole with prehistoric paintings. Day trip. https://www.tripadvisor.com.br/Attraction_Re…

- Serra do Cipó. In the same general direction as the previous but a bit further. Nice pousadas (B&B’s) and hikes. 2-3 days are best. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

- Lapinha da Serra. A bit further still. More remote but better hikes imo. A few surprisingly nice restaurants. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g8454841…

- Santuário Nossa Senhora da Piedade. Amazing views, old church on top of a steep little mountain. Possibility to overnight but easy as a day trip from BH. https://www.tripadvisor.com.br/Attraction_Re…

Sao Paulo, SP
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6,890 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

1. i think OP means the gold mines near Sabará and Nova Lima (part of the Belo Horizonte metro area).... the old Mineração Morro Velho, which is now part of what is nowadays called AngloGold Ashanti (one of my relatives worked as an engineer there for some years some decades ago)...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morro_Velho

…anglogoldashanti.com.br/negocios/Paginas/Mi…

not sure how much access one would have to it though; it is a private mining enterprise.

Sabará (easily reached from BH proper) has a small colonial heritage too (but definitely not on same scale as Ouro Preto and next door Tiradentes):

https:/…ATTRACTION_SORT_WRAPPER

2. Rio to Belo Horizonte (CNF airport) will have a lot of daily nonstop flights, it is a busy route... if you can, choose one leaving from Rio's downtown airport (SDU) closer to where you will likely lodge in Rio, rather than from the farther away GIG; a decent number of nonstop flights between CNF and Salvador (SSA)....

now, from SSA to IGU, you are almost certain to have to connect somewhere.... then you will find some daily nonstops from IGU back to Rio

buy flights at least 3 or 4 weeks in advance, or you will pay a lot more than you have to...

see this thread for tips on domestic flights:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29428…

3. if you have questions about the IGU leg of the trip, post it in that specific forum... some contributors only reply to local forums and not the "generic" Brazil forum... IGU is case in point, a very helpful local contributor there:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g30344…

4. samba schools in Rio... what you will be able to see is what is called an "ensaio"... basically a weekly party that samba schools have in their "quadras" (HQs) on weekends,,,, like a party with live music, dancing etc....

for example, take a look at reviews of these events for some schools:

Salgueiro:

https:/…REVIEWS

Mangueira:

https:/…REVIEWS

5. fyi, Friday, Sept 7 is a national holiday (Independence Day).. as it will be a long holiday, flights, hotels etc may be more expensive than on regular weekends.

Sao Paulo, SP
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4. Re: Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

edit...

in point 1 above... I meant to say Ouro Preto and the next door MARIANA.... not Tiradentes, sorry...

Mariana is just about one hour away from Ouro Preto...

Tiradentes is much farther away...

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10 posts
1 review
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5. Re: Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

Mariana is about 15km from Ouro Preto and it shouldn't take more than 20-25 minutes. There is a nice gold mine in Passagem de Mariana, which is between OP and Mariana. I'd stick to Ouro Preto if you fly into Belo Horizonte and only have a couple of days. It's a lot richer in culture and sights than Sabara. Skip Nova Lima altogether, there's nothing there.

r c
Portland, Oregon
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1 review
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6. Re: Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

welcome,

the chances of someone doing similar is slim.

your best bet is to start some reserach. i havent plotted your path, but im assuming you looked for a path to take. Then you need to research the logisitcs if your path is possible via air, bus or whatever.

what i noticed is that when you start bouncing aorund S.America you will probably need to fly. Then where the pain may come in is that you may have to fly out of your way for a connection/layover to make to your next place. ANd then you may have to go back to that layover to get to someplace else.

what i notice is that some of the airports are "hubs". So you may have to use them. If you are lucky you can fly direct. but thats something you will have to figure out with your path.

My geography is bad but i think most of your places are north of Rio so that maybe good. Getting to Iguazu Falls (brazil or AR side) will be a long flight. You may have to go from Rio to there too. but again, do some research on that.

You may have to be creative on how you move about. What you may think you want, may not be what the airlines provide.

good luck.

Dakar, Senegal
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7. Re: Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

The Morro Velho mine you mention is /was in Nova Lima, a kind of outlying neighborhood just southeast of Belo Horizonte and probably reachable by local public bus. But as mentioned above, not much to see. While in Minas Gerais state, the must-see sights are the Colonial towns and their architecture. Start with Sabara, also an outlying neighborhood,, and, yes, reachable by local bus.. The most well-preserved and popular town is probably Ouro Preto, in the mountains about a 2 hour bus ride away from BH. It can be done as a long day trip, but you probably want to stay overnight and also visit Mariana and the gold mine. IMO the next most popular might be Tiradentes, often accessed from Sao Joao del Rei, by Maria Fumaca steam train if you plan well for the days it runs. Congonhas has the famous sculptures by Aleijadinho of the 12 prophets and a spectacular view, worth a few hours.

Lots to see and do in Salvador and environs for your time there.

Most flights from Salvador to Foz do Iguacu (IGU) probably connect in Rio. You could also choose to see the falls directly from Rio on arrival, which may get you a more efficient flight schedule and more actual time at the falls. I suggest not traveling back to Rio (from any point in Brazil) on the same day as an evening flight home.

r c
Portland, Oregon
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9,138 posts
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8. Re: Itinerary -Rio / Belo Horizonte / Salvador / Iguassu Falls

im back,

something to think about. IF you are going to travel more and come back to Brazil/S.America, look what what future places you want to see. You may find that breaking up your trip into regions or areas maybe easier logistics wise.

good luck.

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