Upon arrival into Belo Horizonte, you’ll be greeted by an Exeter Latin America representative outside the airport who will transfer you to your accommodations.
Belo Horizonte, the capital of the mountainous, powerhouse state of Minas Gerais, was constructed in the 1890s to replace Ouro Preto as the capitol of the region, but was inhabited long before. Modeled after Washington D.C, much of the area was designed by world renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer. Belo Horizonte – or BH as it’s referred to by many Brazilians – is known for being an industrial city specializing in agriculture and mining, and is the principal gateway to some of South America’s most incredible colonial towns like Ouro Preto and Diamantina as well as Inhotim, one of Latin America’s most important contemporary art centers.
Journey to Ouro Preto via Inhotim
This morning your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby for your private transfer to the Inhotim Contemporary Art Center. Located on 87 acres of beautiful gardens, Inhotim features artwork ranging from sculptures, paintings, drawing, photography, and more, displayed both indoors and outdoors for a more interactive appreciation for the art. You’ll be able to experience more than 500 works of art by over 100 artists from all over the world that are featured in an ever-changing and transformative venue.
A prominent feature of this art collection is the botanical garden surrounding the venue. Nearly 1500 species of palm trees surround the collection and are situated in a way that promotes biodiversity over just aesthetic appeal. Visitors can choose their own route through the garden, lending to a unique experience for each guest as they explore gorgeous artwork under the shade of unique trees.
After your visit, you’ll continue on to Ouro Preto, an approximately 2.5 hours’ drive.
Exploration of Ouro Preto and Mariana
The city of Ouro Preto (meaning Black Gold in Portuguese), was given its name as it was once the center of the Brazilian gold rush in the 18th century. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the buildings here are quintessential colonial Brazilian architecture with its baroque aesthetic. Ouro Preto was once known as Vila Rica, or ‘rich village’ and while its name has changed it’s still very rich in culture, history and art.
This UNESCO gem came to its opulent existence through the mining of its rich gold mines that helped finance the expansion of the city for over 70 years starting in 1698. Golden structures, plazas, and fountains can be found throughout the city and are protected by its World Heritage Site status.
Nestled below the Espinhaço Mountains, Ouro Preto is rich with religious art and features an unmistakably historic city center with maze-like streets and red-roofed buildings lining the top of the city. Within the city you can see artwork from Aleijadinho in Rococo churches and a vast collection of minerals in the Museum of Mineralogy.
Next, you’ll continue east to Mariana, the oldest city in the state of Minas Gerais. Throughout your guided exploration of the city, the baroque architecture is a stand-out feature of the historic homes. If traveling on a Friday or Sunday you’ll have the opportunity to see an 18th century organ concert within the Mariana Cathedral.
Journey to Tiradentes via Congonhas
This morning your guide will meet you for your transfer to Tiradentes with a stop in Congonhas where you will visit the Bom Jesus do Matozinho sanctuary, recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1985. Considered one of the Aleijadinho’s masterpieces, the sanctuary contains several life-size sculptures illustrating a highly expressive form of Baroque art.
Despite its small town vibes, Tiradentes boasts a rich cultural lifestyle. Known for its annual film and food festivals, as well as its Saint Anthony Church, this town has an up-scale ambiance and a charm that makes it unmissable.
Exploration of Tiradentes and Sao Joao del Rey
This morning your guide will meet you for a walking tour through the colonial and up-scale town of Tiradentes. Home to an annual film festival and gastronomic festival, Tiradentes also has many historical sites that you’ll visit including the churches of Matriz of Santo Antonio and Rosário. After lunch (cost not included), you will visit the historic district of neighboring São João del Rei.
Journey to Ibitipoca
This morning your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby for your private transfer to Ibitipoca. The journey takes approximately 3 1/2 hours.
One of the oldest towns in Minas Gerais, Conceição do Ibitipoca (informally known as just Ibitipoca,) is home to the Ibitipoca State Park.The town itself makes you feel you’ve stepped back in time, with its colonial architecture and dirt roads, and just a short drive away is a nature lover’s paradise – Ibitipoca State Park’s more than 3600 acres include a rich mountainous landscape with many caves, waterfalls, and a plethora of flora like orchids and bromeliads.
Your home away from home in Conceição do Ibitipoca is the breathtaking Comuna do Ibitipoca. While on the surface Comuna do Ibitipoca checks the box for luxurious accommodations, it’s truly so much more. Deep within the highlands of Minas Gerais, you’ll explore this stunning 13,000 acre private reserve on foot, bicycle, horseback and paddleboard for true cultural immersion that also emphasizes sustainability and conservation. It’s highly recommended to stay at least two nights here, but to get the absolute most out of this area, more time is preferred. Your stay here includes all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, daily yoga and two guided hiking activities per day. Extra activities such as horseback riding, bike rides, a visit to a local village and hiking off of the property can be arranged directly with the hotel for an additional cost.
Exploration of Ibitipoca
The day is yours to enjoy the amenities offered to you by Reserva do Ibitipoca.
Further Exploration of Ibitipoca
The day is yours to enjoy the amenities offered to you by Reserva do Ibitipoca.
Journey to Rio de Janeiro
This morning your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby for your private transfer to Rio de Janeiro. The journey takes approximately 4 hours.
Rio de Janeiro the previous capital of Brazil, is one of the most-visited cities in the Southern Hemispheres. It is known for its picturesque landscapes of mountains and seaside, as well the famous attractions like Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, and the neighborhoods of Ipanema and Copacabana. Rio de Janeiro lives up to its nickname of the “Cidade Maravilhosa” or “The Marvelous City.”
Exploration of Rio de Janeiro
Today you’ll spend the day with your guide exploring various fascinating aspects of Rio de Janeiro. Beginning with a morning visit to one of Rio’s many local food markets that feature exotic fruits and vegetables that are used in local cuisine and are important staples of Brazilian dishes. Don’t be shy to ask for a sample or two of a fruit or vegetable that you haven’t seen before!
After your market visit, you’ll visit the world-renowned statue of Christ the Redeemer. Located atop Corcovado hill, this 122-feet tall (37-meters) concrete statue simultaneously welcomes new visitors with open arms and blesses the entire city of Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy the panoramic, almost aerial, view of the city as well as its surrounding neighborhoods like Copacabana and Ipanema and the geographic landscapes from the lush blue waters, sandy beaches, and high mountains that encompass Rio.
The final stop of the day, you’ll visit the uniquely shaped Sugar Loaf Mountain – whose name comes from the cone-like moulds that were once used in the production of sugar in the 16th century. Sugar Loaf Mountain is one of Brazil’s most famous tourist attractions. Aboard the cable car to the top, you’ll be given a unique view of the mountain and the city behind you through the glass walls of the car.
Further Exploration of Rio
Today, delve into the works of world-renowned architect, Oscar Niemeyer, with a tour through Rio and the neighboring city of Niterói. You will visit 14 of his masterpieces including the Hotel Nacional Obra do Berço, Samba Avenue, the Rede Manchete Building, Palacio Gustavo Capanema, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) located along the Caminho Niemeyer.
Please note – all sites on this tour will be viewed from the exterior with the exception of the MAC museum where there is an option for a tour of the exhibits (cost of tickets not included.)
Until Next Time!
This morning your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby for your private transfer to the airport for your journey home.
Private Journey PricingPer Person
From Price Per Person
2 Guests Traveling -
4 Guests Traveling -
1 night in Belo Horizonte: Deluxe room at Hotel Fasano Belo Horizonte.
2 nights in Ouro Preto: Executive Suite at Solar do Rosario.
2 nights in Tiradentes: Massimo room at Solar da Ponte.
3 nights in Ibitipoca: Suite at Comuna do Ibitipoca.
3 nights in Rio de Janeiro: Ocean Deluxe room at Hotel Emiliano.
Lunch on days 6-8.
Dinner on days 6-8.
Private arrival and departure transfers (assumes all guests on same flights.) English-speaking guide included when specified in itinerary.
Private, local English-speaking guides for all activities as described in the program.
Cost of entrance for all sights and experiences specifically included in your program.
24/7 local emergency contact during your journey.
Full-service advance tailoring of your itinerary and assistance with restaurant reservations.
Lunches, dinners and alcoholic beverages unless otherwise specified in your program.
Gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel porters, etc. unless otherwise specified in your program.
Travel or medical evacuation insurance.
Any other items or services not specifically included in your itinerary.
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