Belo Horizonte City Guide
OVERVIEW: The city proper of Belo Horizonte is the sixth-largest in Brazil. It is a well-planned city with many parks and museums, but is often ignored by tourists because of its distance from Rio, and the fact that it's not on a beach. It has tons of bars and clubs, and many consider it to be "the bar capital of Brazil."
WEATHER: Tropical savanna (12-32 °C). Rainy season October-March.
SAFETY: Slightly sketchy, but safer than Rio and cities on the northern coast. Both tourists and locals have been robbed on the street in Belo Horizonte, even in daylight. Don't look wealthy and don't carry your camera around your neck. Don't use your cell phone while walking down the street.
MUST DO: Bars. You don't go to the bar capital of Brazil to spend all your time at museums.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN BELO HORIZONTE: $350.00 is a good reference. Generally, you're not going to pay less than $250 for an apartment or house in Belo Horizonte without being in a dangerous area.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $12.00-$15.00
NIGHTLIFE IN BELO HORIZONTE: 8.5/10
There are most definitely a lot of bars in Belo Horizonte. They are more or less spread out evenly throughout the city, but there are a fewer districts with a higher concentration of popular spots. The Savassi district has a number of stylish bars and restaurants that cater mostly to rich Brazilians. Lourdes, a neighbourhood next to Savassi is also worth visiting. I recommend getting a hostel or apartment in one of these two areas because Centro can be dodgy when the lights go down.
I recommend: Lord Pub. Good music, good Brazilians. I advise you to go in a group and get a table. Club Chalezinhobh is goddamn amazing, but only if money ain't a thang for you. Also, it is far from Savassi.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $1.75
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN BELO HORIZONTE: 7.5/10
Slightly better than in Rio. This is because you won't be assumed a sex tourist here, and also because your exotic factor will be higher. But, like in Medellin, the hottest girls in the hottest clubs in Belo won't give you the time of day, even if you're fluent in Portuguese. Most of them have boyfriends and strong social networks, so they couldn't care less about connecting with a gringo. Other girls, however, will show interest. Especially if you are blonde and have blue or green eyes...I'm not and I don't :(.
*If you plan on using online dating in Brazil, I recommend Brazil Cupid as your best option for meeting trustworthy local women.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN BELO HORIZONTE?: 8/10.
Very respectable. Some of the girls in the clubs will have your jaw in the basement and dick in the rafters. Many won't be accessible to you right away, but if you stay for awhile and get a feel for the city and learn some Portuguese, you'd be surprised at how well you can do.
If you want to meet women in Brazil, you will definitely need to learn some Portuguese. The Rocket Portuguese Program will teach you the basics faster than almost any other program.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.30 Loaf of Bread= $2.00 Eggs= $2.00 Water (1.5L)= $1.20 Cigarettes= $2.75
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: English teachers are in demand in Belo Horizonte, and you can get paid pretty well for it. I'd focus on business-English, and having decent Portuguese will help you a ton in the job search.
NOTES: Belo Horizonte is a great choice if you want to get out of Rio. As I've said the bars are excellent and the women are too. A couple downsides: it is slightly dangerous, and you may have difficulty filling your days with meaningful activities if you're not working or studying. Belo is best for a longterm stay; as far as Brazilian cities go, it would be a great place to live. If you are pressed for time, know zero Portuguese and prefer the beach, it is OK to give it a miss.
OVERALL RATING: 8.25/10
*More city guides from Brazil here!