Minas Gerais is a weird region of Brazil because it’s the size of France but no one knows it. Of course, people in Brazil do, but it’s not that important a region. It just has a lot of farms that make cheese and cachaça, it has some cracking food and a mixture of beautiful historic towns and a large city. In any country that isn’t the size of Brazil it would be a gem.
My weekend in the Serra do Cipó convinced me that it truly is a gem. The village is about 2 hours from Belo Horizonte depending on traffic (leave early to miss the rush, it’s popular at weekends). The reason for its popularity is the national park that surrounds it. There are various walks in the Serra to various waterfalls, some are free, but many aren’t.
On day 1 we went on an 8km (ish, it might have been a bit less) walk to Cachoiera Farofa. This waterfall is free, and really lovely. You can walk or rent a bike to get to the waterfall, I would recommend walking unless you have iron thighs as a lot of the ride is on a sandy path.
I didn’t take any pictures of the walk unfortunately, but it’s beautiful. Through wide open scrubland with hills in the distance, then through some forest, high grass and crossing several streams to get to the waterfall. The water was the coldest I had ever swam in, which was so amazing after the long walk.
That evening we also went to Cachoeira Grande at night, which was absolutely stunning, the stars were so clear and the waterfall was beautiful (but not recommended without someone who knows the area)
I’m going to be really unhelpful and admit I have no idea what this waterfall is called. We had to pay 30 reais to access it, and the other waterfall in the area. This walk was much shorter (less than 1km I think), but it did involve some rock climbing.
Anyone going to Minas needs to eat pão de queijo and feijoão tropeiro (apprently, I don’t eat meat so haven’t tried it) and get their butt to the Serra!
You can get to Serra do Cipó by bus from Belo Horizonte, but getting a lift with a mineiro is ideal.