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Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais in the southeast of Brazil and is one of the biggest cities in the country, after Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with about 2.5 million people in the city and well over 5 million in the total metropolitan area.
Note that a lot of places including museums, the parque municipal and the Mangueira park are closed on Mondays.
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The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. It takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in 1950. The national teams of 32 countries will join the second biggest sports event in the world (after the Olympic Games). A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil, with the tournament beginning with a group stage. For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches will use goal-line technology. Twelve locations will be World Cup host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. They cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil provided, when matches were concentrated in the south-east and south. As a result the tournament will require significant long-distance travel for teams. Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia, played in Sao Paulo on the 12th of June, and the final will be played on the 13th of July in Rio de Janeiro.
Belo Horizonte's latitude at 19'55" south places it in the tropical zone. Yearly temperatures average between 9 and 35 °C. The Köppen climate classification of the region is tropical savanna climate (Aw) and it borders on a humid subtropical climate (Cwa), (tropical on high altitudes, humid/warm summers and a dry/mild winters). Belo Horizonte is located about 300 kilometres from the sea.
Even though inter-seasonal differences are not as pronounced as they are in temperate places, there is a contrast between spring and summer, and between fall and winter. The coldest month is generally July, with a lowest recorded temperature of 2 °C. The hottest month is usually January, with a highest recorded temperature of 37.4 °C.
The 852-metre of Belo Horizonte helps a little in cooling the city, suppressing high maximum air temperatures experienced in nearby cities at lower altitudes. Belo Horizonte's climate is mild throughout the year. Temperatures vary between 11 and 31 °C, the average being 22 °C. Winter is dry and mostly sunny, and summer is rainy.
Tancredo Neves-Confins International Airport (CNF) is located about 40 kilometres from Belo Horizonte downtown. Azul Linhas Aereas has its second main hub at this airport. Also, Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes and Latam Brasil have regional flights from this airport.
American Airlines, Copa Airlines and TAP Portugal have international flights to Miami, Panama City and Lisbon.
Belo Horizonte/Pampulha – Carlos Drummond de Andrade Airport (PLU) is located about 8 kilometres from downtown Belo Horizonte. From 2004, the operations of this airport were reduced to small planes with a capacity of max. 50 passengers. Only Passaredo and FlyWays Linhas Aéreas serve the city from Pampulha.
Belo Horizonte is one of very few Brazilian cities with a scheduled long-distance train service. A daily train operated by minng giant Vale connects with Vitória, the seaside capital of Espírito Santo state, taking about 12 hours. The central station, 1 Estação Central, is located in the city centre on Av. dos Andradas.
You can safely drive to Belo Horizonte from major Brazilian cities, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Vitoria. You have to pay toll on the roads from Rio de Janeiro and from São Paulo. All major car rental companies can be found in Brazil. You can also drive from/to the historical cities of Minas Gerais, like Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, Diamantina, São João del Rey, Mariana and others. The roads and the city of Belo Horizonte are GPS mapped. Be sure that the GPS contains the latest version of the maps.
BH is a major national hub for bus travel. The bus terminal rodoviária is located downtown at the northern end of Afonso Pena Avenue. Approximate travel times from other capitals:
You can rent cars at the Confins Airport or at Pampulha Airport. All major car rental companies, like Localiza and Hertz have booths at the airports. It is a long drive from Confins airport to downtown Belo Horizonte. Be sure to get a GPS with new maps, since there were some modifications on main avenues for the World Cup. You can also rent a car at other places around the city.
BH is well served by buses. The SC buses circulate through the downtown area; others serve outlying neighborhoods.
To pay the bus tariff, you can use cash, or the electronic billing card (Cartão BHBUS). For the tourist, its recommended to use cash. As of 2014, you can buy a rechargeable bus card with the onboard agent or the driver for 12R$. You can recharge it on some BRT stations, BHTrans offices or even into some buses.
From 2016, the bus tariff is R$3.70 (or R$ 2.65 for some feeder lines or specific lines)
The buses are color-coded:
The Metrô snakes through the city, from Eldorado northeast to Vilarinho, tangential to the north side of downtown. Lagoinha Station is near the rodoviária (bus station), Gameleira Station is near the ExpoMinas Convention Center and Minas Shopping Station is near the Mall of the same name and Ouro Minas Palace Hotel. Unfortunately, unlike subways in developed countries or in São Paulo, the Metrô lines, even though connecting the two biggest cities in the metro area, Belo Horizonte and Contagem, do not cover most of the city and outside the stations can be dangerous (true for São Paulo's). New lines have been planned and when completed will connect downtown to Pampulha and Savassi, the two most visited neighborhoods.
The trains are useless for someone traveling. Take a taxi. Taxis inside the safe are generally considered very safe (if a bit expensive).
The main taxi companies in Belo Horizonte include Hutaxi, Jo Taxi, Intertaxi, Pitangui and Protaxi. Most cabs in Belo Horizonte are painted white - however, starting from 2012, there are some so-called "special" cabs which are black (and are marked as such). Inside the city, all cabs work with taximeters. However, in case of travelling to the countryside or others states, the fare can be discussed.
If you plan to get around the city center on foot, you might want to take a map. Because the city grid is laid out with both ordinal and diagonal streets, it is very easy to take a wrong turn. Also, the land where the city was built has plenty of hills, so one should wear comfortable shoes to go up and down the streets. At night, stay on the main avenues and streets for safety, because it can be dangerous.
Minas Gerais is renown for its cuisine across Brazil, and is the origin of many famous foods such as pão de queijo (small baked roll made with cheese and cassava flour) and feijoada (black bean and meat stew). Like elsewhere in Brazil, restaurant food is typically served in some variation of a buffet.
People from BH are famous for their love of bars. The central Savassi neighborhood has dozens of bars. Also, at São Lucas neighborhood, on Contorno Avenue, you will find "Sociedad Pub", one of the best Pubs in town (Contorno Av., n.3849). The city is widely known (although without any confirmation) as the city with most bars per capita in the world. Some clubs that charge a cover are overrated and expensive. The outdoor bar scene is the authentic Brazilian experience.
Major high-rise hotels are generally on Av. Afonso Pena or at Savassi neighborhood, while mid-range and budget accommodations are clustered around the train station.
|Alpes BH||Alpes street 797 House 1||hostel||-|
|Hostel O Sorriso do Lagarto BH||Cristina, no 791 Região da Savassi||hostel||-|
|Hostel Taiua||Rua Amapá 67||hostel||-|
|La em Casa Hostel-Pousada||Rua Eurita, 30 Santa Tereza||HOSTEL||78|
|HI Belo Horizonte Hostel||Rua Itatiaia, 157 Bonfim||Hostel||-|
|Max Savassi Apart Service||R. Antônio de Albuquerque, 335||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Bragança||Av. Parana, 109 Centro||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Financial||Av Afonso Pena, 571 Centro||Hotel||-|
|Laranja Mecanica Hostel & Pousada||Rua Rodrigues Caldas, 703, Sto Agostinho||HOSTEL||87|
|Amazonas Palace Hotel||Av. Amazonas,120||HOTEL||-|
|Ginga Hostel||Rua Gabriel Santos, 165 Serra||HOSTEL||-|
|Bristol Jaragua Hotel||Rua Boaventura, 987 Jaragua||HOTEL||-|
|Minas Hostel||Rua Sabara, 26 Bairro Floresta||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostel BH||Rua Brasilia, 298 - Bairro Carlos Prates||HOSTEL||-|
Internet cafes (Lan houses) are increasingly common, and even small towns often have at least one spot with more or less decent connections.
An increasing number of hotels, airports and shopping malls also offer hotspots for Wi-Fi with your laptop computer or of course smartphone. Sometimes it is free, sometimes you need to register and there is a time limite and sometimes you need to pay a small amount for (day) use.
See also International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Brazil is: 55. To make an international call from , the code is: 0014. All cities use the following emergency numbers: 190 (police), 192 (medical) and 193 (fire department). However, if you dial 911 or 112 while in Brazil, you will be redirected to the police.
Brazil uses two-digit area codes, and phone numbers are eight digits long. Numbers beginning with digits 2 to 5 are land lines, while eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 6 to 9 are mobile phones.
Public payphones use disposable prepaid cards, which come with 20, 40, 60 or 75 credits. The discount for buying cards with larger denominations is marginal. Phone booths are nearly everywhere, and all cards can be used in all booths, regardless of the owner phone company. Cards can be bought from many small shops, and almost all news agents sell them.
Brazil has 4 national mobile operators: Vivo (Telefónica Group), Claro (Telmex/América Móvil Group), OI and TIM (Telecom Italia Group), all of them running GSM and HSDPA/HSPA+ networks. Pay-as-you-go (pré-pago) SIM cards for GSM phones are widely available in places like newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, retail shops, etc.
Correios is the national postal service of Brazil. It is a government run postal service and overseen by the Brazilian Ministry of Communications. Post offices are generally open from Monday to Friday from 09:00am to 5:00pm, although post offices located in shopping malls have their own opening hours, usually from 10:00am to 10:00pm. There are no set opening hours at weekends and as post office owners can choose when to open and close. More and more post offices are open until 1:00pm on Saturdays though. You can check things at the nearest post office.
Sending postcards, letters and parcels is a rather straightforward process and services are reliable, though not overly fast when sending post internationally, mostly taking about a week to the USA and Europe, and there is a track-and-trace service for this as well. Domestically, there are both next day as well as more expensive same day delivery options. Stamps are available at post offices, as well as some kiosks or other places where they sell postcards.
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