Clarion Hotel Lourdes - Belo Horizonte
Rua Bernardo Guimaraes 2032
Belo Horizonte, 30140-082
Phone: (55) 31 30550650
Fax: (55) 31 30550651
Mountain Bike BH is a cycling society set up in 2008. They organize large events focused on promoting cycling for a greener city. They also host biking competitions, bike touring and adventure cycling events. Mountain Bike BH engages with the community through a Christmas project in less privileged areas of town, and through "Pedal in Silence," a silent ride to remember those who were killed in traffic accidents. Most of their events are for members only, but they also have the RUTs (Tuesday Urban Rides), nocturnal bike tours that happen every Tuesday and are free for anyone to join. They change routes every week and there will be two or three guides, but bikes and safety equipment are not provided.
Minas Tennis Club first opened in 1935 and has become one of the most important sports clubs and training centers in Brazil. The club has two units in the city center (Minas I and Minas II), plus a country club and a nautical sports club. They have athletes on the teams of seven Olympic sports: volleyball, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, tennis, judo and indoor soccer. The club has a fantastic infrastructure for the practice of sports and fitness, but use of facilities is for members only. Visitors can, however, go in to watch sports competitions, attend parties and other social events, or watch stage plays and concerts in their auditorium Teatro Bradesco.
Also known as the "Municipal Park," Americo Renne Giannetti Park is older than the city itself. The park opened in 1897 and the city was planned around it afterwards, making it the pulsating heart of Belo Horizonte. It comprises an area of 180,000 square meters, where you will find hiking trails, sports and fitness facilities, a couple of theaters, snack bars and lakes where you can go rowing or paddling. It is a fantastic place to observe native flora and fauna as well, with over 280 species of trees and a wide range of birds. Small mammals such as skunks and marmosets can also be found roaming in the park. Everything you need for a lovely day out.
The Curral Hills surround the city of Belo Horizonte and were elected its most representative symbol in 1997. The natural reserve around the hills spans for 400,000 square meters and is a protected area, allowing only 700 visitors per day. There are viewpoints around the reserve, areas for resting and relaxing and hiking trails. Travessia da Serra is the main trail, going for over 2 kilometers along the ridge. It is the most demanding of the paths, so visitors going on this trail must be accompanied by one of the park rangers. The views from the trail are amazing, and you can observe the rich variety of plants and animals in this place where the Brazilian grasslands meets the Atlantic forest.
Mangabeiras is the largest green area in Belo Horizonte, located at the foot of the Curral Hills at 1,000 meters above sea level. This is a conservation area dedicated to the preservation and study of native ecosystems. The leisure area of the park includes sports courts, skateboarding ramps, arenas for theater and music shows and playgrounds. In the protected part of the park, you will find a large number of both native and exotic species. Special highlights are the few trees remaining from the Atlantic Forest, like jequitibá, and small mammals such as marmosets, armadillos and coatis. There are also a number of river sources that integrate the Sao Francisco Basin.
Like most fairs back in the day, Guanabara used to move from city to city. It traveled around Brazil for the first couple of decades of its existence until it got to Belo Horizonte in 1964 and the owner decided to stay there permanently. It retains some vintage characteristics such as Monga, the girl-to-gorilla sideshow, the House of Mirrors and House of Terror. Other classic rides that can be found at Guanabara are the carousel, pirate ship, bumper cars, teacups and a big Ferris wheel, the second tallest in Latin America. Located by the Pampulha Lake, the Carnival also has a food court and an arcade with all sorts of games. They have special deals for birthdays and do corporate events too.
The Pampulha Zoo first opened in 1959, but it has been part of the Zoobotanical Foundation of Belo Horizonte since 1991, covering an area of 1.4 million square meters by Pampulha Lake. There are over 200 species of native and exotic animals, including birds, insects, mammals and reptiles. The biggest attractions are the new couple of gorillas, Brazilian tropical fauna (jaguars, caymans and boa constrictors) and the first butterfly garden in South America, with over 2,000 species of butterflies. The largest fresh water aquarium in Brazil is also located in the same grounds, but a separate ticket is required for that. There is free entry on Tuesdays.
Sumidouro State Park is a protected area located about 40 kilometers away from Belo Horizonte and is easily reached by car or by bus. The park has 53 caves and grottoes, including famous Lapinha, one of the most visited underground caves in Brazil. There are also over 150 archaeological sites where you can see 4000-year-old rupestrian art, and where fossils of prehistoric animals such as saber-tooth tigers and giant sloths were found. There are signs of human presence in the area dating from 11000 years ago, and you can see a very well preserved human skeleton from that period in one of the museums in the village. Nature attractions include native fauna and flora, unique geological formations and gorgeous lakes.
Vale Verde is a huge park and cachaça distillery located 42 kilometers away from Belo Horizonte, easily reached by car or public transport. The park has a zoo with interactive enclosures where you can feed the native birds. There are activities such as adventure biking and a fishing pond. You can also chill on a horse-and-cart ride around the park. You can also visit a traditional distillery and see how the most Brazilian of drinks, cachaça, is made. There is a museum dedicated to the drink as well, with a collection of 2000 labels including rare ones such as Caninha Pelé, a tribute to the famous soccer player.
Located just about 35 kilometers away from Belo Horizonte, the Horizonte Ballooning Club offers a brilliant day out for those wishing to try something a bit different. Weekly hot-air balloon flights take off every Sunday morning and fly over gorgeous landscapes and some of the nearby historical towns. It is not the cheapest of activities, but the price includes access to and from the take off/landing spot by Jeep, a one-hour-long flight with an instructor, a glass of sparkling wine and breakfast. Balloons can carry up to 10 people and minimum for taking off is 6 passengers. They also offer special packages for couples.
Located about 60 kilometers away from Belo Horizonte, Inhotim is one of the most important contemporary art centers in Latin America, and boasts the largest outdoors art collection in the world. The Institute combines the private art collection and huge botanical gardens of iron-mining tycoon Bernardo Paz, who lives and works there. Paz started developing Inhotim in the 1980s, initially with the help of landscape gardener Roberto Burle Marx. In the past three decades, both the art and the botanical collection have expanded and gained importance. You will find specimens of rare native and exotic plants around the gardens interspersed with the work of huge national and international artists. Guided tours are available if booked in advance. Free on Tuesdays.