When to go
At 1,000m above sea level Ouro Prêto has a more temperate climate than the coast, with temperatures ranging from 2-28°C and cold winters. Most rain falls in Dec- Jan. Avoid visiting the Minas towns on Mondays when many attractions are closed.
Brazilian Portuguese, a more languid and musical version of Portugal’s mother tongue.
Getting local currency
Notes can be withdrawn from the ATMs of Bradesco and Banco do Brasils in Ouro Prêto using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.
GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from Oct to the end of Feb (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.
Fly from Rio de Janeiro to Belo Horizonte (1 hour) and continue by road (2hrs) to Ouro Prêto; it’s a 12 hour drive direct from Rio.
Salvador, the most atmospheric colonial and African city,( 2 hours by road to Belo Horizonte then 1 hour 50mins by air); Paraty (530 km) to discover another beautiful colonial town, on a bay on the Costa Verde west of Rio; Olinda, colonial gem near Recife on the northeast coast (fly from Belo Horizonte to Recife, 2.5 hours); Brasilia, the once futuristic planned capital of Brazil, (1.5 hours by air).
Carnival: 5 days in Feb/Mar, variable: 28 Feb – 4 Mar 2014.
Easter and Holy Week: Religious parades and traditional celebrations in Ouro Prêto and other Mineira towns.
Winter Festival of the Federal University of Minas Gerais: Ouro Prêto, Jul. Three weeks of shows, concerts, arts, exhibitions.