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Americans Can Now Fly Nonstop To This Beautiful Undiscovered Latin American Destination

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For the first time since Latin America's borders reopened, nonstop flights from the United States to one of the region's most beautiful yet least-visited destinations are finally being reinstated.

Minas Gerais is one of Brazil's most culturally-wealthy and diverse states, home to breathtaking natural vistas, towering peaks, majestic waterfalls, centuries-old colonial towns, and best known for its mouth-watering cuisine.

Aerial View Of Serro, Diamantina, A Colonial Town In The Inland State Of Minas Gerais, South America, Latin America

As the local saying goes, ‘Minas doesn't have an ocean, but the ocean doesn't have Minas', and from this summer onward, Americans can once again reach without long, unnecessary layovers:

What Makes Minas Gerais A Great Vacation?

Minas Gerais is a state in Southeastern Brazil, bordering the coastal states of Rio de Janeiro, where the ‘Marvelous City' is located, and Sao Paulo.

A territory as large as a country, it stands among Brazil's most traditional and culturally-charged places, with the native mineiros being proud of their distinct identity, History, and defining lingo.

Colonial Town Of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil, South America, Latin America

The more sing-songy, melodious Portuguese spoken here is not the only major difference you will notice upon landing in Belo Horizonte, the state capital, especially if you've been to the tourist hotspots of Rio or Sao Paulo before:

A World-Class Foodie Destination

Mineiro cuisine has often been described as Brazil's best regional variety, and it was recently proclaimed an intangible cultural heritage by the local Government.

From pao de queijo, the small, round cheese bun, to feijao tropeiro, a cassava flour and bean-based dish, countless of Brazil's most famous culinary exports in fact originated from Minas, making it a world-class foodie destination.

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Pans Resting On Oven As Brazilian Food South American Food Latin American Food Is Cooked, Brazil, South America, Latin America, Foodie Destination

Walking the vibrant streets of Belo Horizonte, the state's largest metropolis and financial center home to over 3 million inhabitants, you will find an abundance of traditional restaurants where you can sample the rich cuisine, as well as Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean-style eateries, reflective of the city's multicultural character.

Underrated City Breaks

As a city break, Belo Horizonte is probably Brazil's most underrated, what with its extensive list of museums, leisure centers, underground jazz clubs, catering to a reclusive elite and shrouded in secrecy, night bazaars lined with pubs and quirky cafes, and electric nightlife.

Aerial View Of Belo Horizonte, Capital Of The State Of Minas Gerais, Brazil, South America, Latin America

Whether you're more the introvert, cultural type, or a social creature, Belo Horizonte and its many facets will not disappoint you.

Minas' true beauty lies outside its bustling capital, though.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

As it is a short 1h30 drive from Belo Horizonte, tourists can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ouro Preto, one of the first European settlements in Brazil and a 17th-century gem oozing Old World charm.

Panoramic View Of Old Colonial Historical City Of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil

The cobbled streets lead to richly-decorated Baroque churches and other minor Catholic shrines, and the cityscape is dotted with old colonial Portuguese houses set against the dramatic backdrop of the Ouro Pretana mountain range.

If folk art, small historical towns that seem frozen in time, and a quaint atmosphere all sound appealing to you, you should definitely pay Ouro Preto a visit.

Other gorgeous colonial towns include Mariana, linked to Ouro Preto by a heritage steam locomotive, traversing the lush green hills of Minas, the idyllic Tiradentes, where the whitewashed houses are distinguished for their colorful doors and wooden windows, and Diamantina, yet another UNESCO-protected city resting on a rocky, rugged terrain, once Brazil's capital of diamond mining.

Colonial Era Blue Building In Diamantina, A Colonial Town In Brazil, Minas Gerais, South America, Latin America

Wellness & Spas

The city is also famous for its fast-growing wellness scene, housing numerous spa hotels and wellness retreats nestled in the surrounding mountains.

Called pousadas, these bucolic, colonial properties offer guests an escape from the chaos of the modern world, with nightly rates for five-star listings starting at just US$118 on Booking.com (August dates).

Within short driving distance of Ouro Preto, tourists can visit the landmark Andorinhas Waterfall – the walking trail leading down to it is particularly beautiful, and the mountain waters will help you cool down from the tropical heat.

Stunning Nature

A Wooden Pier Stretching Out Onto A Crystal Clear Lagoon Near Diamantina, In The State Of Minas Gerais, Brazil, South America, Latin America

If you're a nature seeker, then you've come to the right place. There are just too many natural sites, and impressive mountain ranges to list, but five of our favorites include:

  • Inhotim, a nature reserve and research center where modern art housed within the lush green Atlantic forest
  • Serra do Caraça, a mountainous region full of hiking paths, with a landmark 17th-century Neo-Gothic church and its adjacent school
  • The Capitolio Canyons, a deep canyon flanked by jagged rock formations where the water is crystal-clear, and boat tours are common year-round
  • Sao Thome das Letras, a typical hinterland mineiro town full of chalets, hiking spots, and sweeping mountain views
  • Poços de Caldas, famous for its therapeutic hot springs, unspoiled nature, and well-developed spa scene
The Capitolio Canyons, Brazil, South America, Latin America

The Nonstop Route

The nonstop route to Minas Gerais is served by Azul Airlines, a Brazilian carrier, with prices starting at US$739 one-way.

Flights to Belo Horizonte departing from Fort Lauderdale are already operational, since at least June 23.

They take off at 8:00 PM local time, landing in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais, at 5:30 AM on the following calendar day. Flights are available every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.

The Nature Of Minas Gerais, An Inland State In Brazil, South America, Latin America

On the way back, Americans returning to Fort Lauderdale take off from Belo Horizonte at 12:30 PM, arriving in the North American city at 8:00 PM. These are available on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Orlando Flights Are Launching Later

Orlando flights will not start until September 24, though when they do, the frequency will be twice a week, every Friday and Sunday.

They are scheduled to depart from Orlando International at 9:00 PM, landing in Minas Gerais 6:00 AM. Returning flights will operate on the same days, departing Brazil at 9:30 AM, and touching down in Orlando at 5:30 PM.

View Of The Colonial Town Of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil, South America, Latin America

It is worth noting that, from October, Americans will need tourist visas to enter Brazil, in accordance with the country's visa reciprocation policies.

Learn more about how the visa policy change affects you and which documents you are expected to provide, visiting this link.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Asa George

Tuesday 5th of September 2023

I visited Rio and Parti,to be honest it was meh,I wouldn't rush to go back.Reinstating visas for Americans will cost Brazil alot of tourist revenue.Just another example of a Latin country shooting itself in the foot.

RioDon

Thursday 20th of July 2023

I lived in Rio for 11 years, from 01 to 2012. Opened a travel agency 100 yards from the sand in Copacabana. As an agent/owner I received comped travel all over. Loved BH, Minerals, and all wonderful experiences Brasil offers. Lula did great things for the poor and likely to do again. We don't need fascholes like donnyjeezus and bozo in charge of anything anymore. The people won't stand for nazi bullshit. Amo Rio e saudades do meu Pais adotado, Brasil. ❤

justcheckin

Wednesday 19th of July 2023

So, I assume everyone is cool with the "undiscovered" part of the headline? Now where have I heard that before?...

Ricardo

Tuesday 18th of July 2023

You forgot to mentioned Governador Valadares, where the world tournament of paragliding takes place, Ibituruna. Minas indeed is a beautiful state with full warmth people. Also, Belo Horizonte with many local brewery restaurants/bars. So much to see in Minas Gerais.

Great article and about time someone gives MG recognition.

Ron

Tuesday 18th of July 2023

How about opening a nonstop from Orlando to Brasília? Hugely popular destination