The Colonial Towns Of Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Minas Gerais is located in the nortwest of Rio de Janeiro State, and easily accessibly by bus. Known for its cheese, pork, and women, I decided to have a little look before leaving Brazil. I visisted four cities in two weeks.


Tiradentes is a tiny colonial town named after a famous dentist freedom fighter (the name translates to “Tooth Puller” in English). It’s located about five hours by bus from Rio.

The town has a big tourist side so you’ll find a lot of cutesy antique, chocolate, and artesanal shops. There is a peaceful little river that snakes by the main square and a tiny coffee shop with only two tables. Street signs cannot be found. The colonial arquitecture, peacefulness, and safety made it seem more like I was in Europe than Brazil, so it’s no surprise that on weekends couples pour in for romantic walks down its stone-lined streets. There are also nearby hiking trails if you’re into that sort of thing.

There is absolutely nothing here for the single man, though it’s a nice break from city life. Come between Sunday through Wednesday for maximum isolation.

If you insist on talking to girls, find a club in the nearby city of São João del Rey. It’s only 30 minutes away by bus, but you’ll probably have to catch a cab back afterwards.

Where to stay? There are a couple dozen pousadas here and I can’t really recommend the one I stayed at due to its horrible foam mattresses. Bargain during weekdays and be sure to make a reservation if you come during the weekend.


Four hours away from Tiradentes is Ouro Preto, another colonial town with more arquitectural goodness for your digital camera. There is a large university here so you have more options for girl watching, but I didn’t see anything spectacular. Surprisingly there are tons of fat girls even though the city is incredibly hilly (it’s possible that the fatties I witnessed were tourists).

The city reminds me a bit of Valparaiso, Chile, but smaller, prettier, and safer. On the downside it has very limited nightlife options and is extremely touristy. There is one club near the main square but it’s full of college kids, and the bars are of the sit-down variety. Day trips can be made to other colonial towns nearby with Mariana being your best choice.

Where to stay? I stayed in the Pousada Sao Francisco de Paul, a hostel with rustic private rooms. It’s not particularly good value but it’s close to the bus station so you don’t have to take a taxi.


A ways off in the northern part of the state, Diamantina is another colonial town that receives far less tourists than the others in Minas (except for its Carnival, which is supposedly the best in Brazil). Within ten minutes of arriving I knew it was a special place, and told the taxi driver upon leaving four days later that I’d like to grow old here with my Brazilian wife. It’s safe with a small-town vibe, but during the day streets feel alive with animated people going about their business.

There aren’t many girls but the ones that come out of hiding during the day can be very beautiful. Supposedly there is a university on top of some hill but I didn’t bother to check it out because of my short stay. It’s here that I realized how relative beauty is. Seeing a girl who’s a 6 on the streets got my complete attention, though in Rio I wouldn’t have noticed. That’s actually a problem in cities: you’re surrounded by so much beauty that you don’t want to settle down until you get a bonafide hottie, yet in Diamantina I’d wife up the first 7 that was down. (Is city life constructed to make you less happy when it comes to finding mates?) If I lived in Diamantina and built roots, I’m confident I’d get something very decent.

There is not a whole lot to do here, so come if you want to relax, read, or get some work done without other tourists around. The value here is very good, as food and lodging is the cheapest of the other colonial cities.

Where to stay? I highly recommend Pousada Dos Cristais. For only 70 R$ per night I stayed in a very large room with a balcony. The staff is very friendly and there are two cats.

These colonial towns are great to relax in when you want to get away from the dirty cities, but are horrible for talking to girls. Overall they’re definitely worth a visit.

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  1. Ed April 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Good info, Roosh.

  2. Supa Buck April 21, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Can’t wait for tomorrows post I’m thinking about going to teach english in Belo Horizonte. And I was wondering how the nightlife is and how the women compare to other parts of Brazil.

  3. The Rookie April 21, 2010 at 11:44 am

    These look like good options when you’re tired of the beach.

    The Rookie’s last blog post: The Touch.

  4. The G Manifesto April 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Good data sheet.

    Diamantina looks like a good spot to kick up your handmade loafers and spark up a smoke.

    – MPM

    The G Manifesto’s last blog post: The Best Feeling.

  5. Justin April 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I went through two of the above towns in January and your commentary/advice is top notch, Roosh.

    I know some of your readers just want posts about picking up girls, but I’m glad you mix in travel posts as well. I like vag as much as the next guy, but there are other things I enjoy in life as well – like travel.

    Justin’s last blog post: Paintings of The Day: The Course of Empire by Thomas Cole.

  6. Simon April 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Glad that you enjoyed Diamantina as well. Carnaval there was a total shitshow, it was awesome if you enjoy making out with cute Brazilian girls, the only downside was you could not walk around the main areas at night because it was so freaking crowded (so you would just try to pick off the girls who leave the main herd)

    Simon’s last blog post: Final Thoughts on Brazil, LMR, AA, Etc..

  7. Tarl April 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Five hours on a bus? Fuck that shit. Are Brazilian buses much less loathsome than Greyhound in the US?

  8. Mrs. Chocolate April 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Today is Tiradentes’ holiday!
    Enjoy the food from Minas, it is awesome. I won’t introduce you rice and beans, of course, but try the desearts (green papaya, cashew (better than the fresh fruit, I can tell), banana…) with fresh cheese and also Pão de Queijo!!! (the state of origin)

  9. Simon April 21, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    @Tarl – 5 hours is nothing bro…

    If you’re not cut out for bus riding, don’t go to Brazil.

    And the buses are usually about as nice as a greyhound, unless you take an overnighter which you can pay to be on a more luxurious bus.

    Simon’s last blog post: Final Thoughts on Brazil, LMR, AA, Etc..

  10. speakeasy April 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I took the Pluma bus which is supposed to be one of the best in Brazil. It was absolute crap. I was miserable. Seats didn’t recline much, the bus was freezing cold the entire night. Thank God I read about the cold Brazilian buses in advance and took a sweater with me that helped a bit. Nothing at all like the clean, comfortable luxury buses I got for cheap in Argentina and Chile. And Pluma was expensive too. I took a 24hr bus ride from Foz do Iguacu to Rio. Cost me around R$185 I believe it was. Yeesh.

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  12. Brandon E April 26, 2010 at 4:50 am

    My ex girl from Brazil went to Diamantina for Carnaval and she said it’s awesome. She knows her shit as far as partying goes too, she was a promoter at Mais, one of the biggest nightclubs in South America. She also does some promotions for events in Diamantina, so I would assume there are also some other good times to go during the year. Another good colonial town is Leopoldina. People are very friendly and it didn’t seem too bad as far as quality of women, though I was with locals so I had my foot in the door (My friends dad also owns the only night club in town). It’s a really cool place to chill out for a week or two and the landscape is beautiful. Juiz De Fora is also less than an hour away (But take a bus, the road from Leopoldina to Juiz De Fora is the worst road I’ve ever been on), which definitely has quality girls. I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I would have liked to. Leopoldina is also very cheap. Not sure how much hotels run there though since I was staying with my friend. It’s also known to have a lot of crazy people there as well. They have the highest suicide rate per capita of any city in Brazil, but the loonies won’t give you much trouble, they are usually too busy talking to people who aren’t there.

  13. Brandon E April 26, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Oh and speakeasy, you have to hit up the executivo busses or something like that. Pay the extra R$20 or 30, it’s worth it.

  14. Mikeyy August 25, 2011 at 1:53 am

    I have been to ouro preto two times. Safe city to be. Alot of college parties, almost every day. Alot of drinking. Becareful with the hills they are very steep and never ending. You can pay a republica which is a dorm money to stay there it’s the cheapest place to stay like 20 reais a night and you can meet people that live in ouro preto. You can walk all of ouro preto in one day, and us an historical old city. Also a old mini series call Hilda furacao was partally filmed there. And this is the place were the Portuguese from Portugal took all brasils gold in 18 century.