Belo Horizonte, a city of almost three million people, is located in the state of Minas Gerais, which is known for its historical significance, natural beauty, and vibrant economy. This area includes wealthy colonial towns such as Ouro Preto, as well as beautiful baroque architecture. The city was founded in 1897 as the first planned city in the Brazilian Republic and was designated the capital of Minas Gerais. It is considered a leading cultural center, with several universities, museums, numerous libraries, and sports stadiums.
Belo Horizonte is located in the southeast region of Brazil and is the sixth largest city in the country. The Population Crisis Committee of the United Nations considered Belo Horizonte as the city with the best quality of life in Latin America, and it is ranked 45th among the 100 best cities in the world. Today, the city has the fifth largest GDP among the Brazilian municipalities, representing 1.38% of the total wealth produced in Brazil. An evidence of the city's development in recent years is the magazine América Economía's classification, in which Belo Horizonte appears, in 2009, as one of the 10 best cities in which to conduct business in Latin America, ahead of cities like Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, and Curitiba.
The city is built on several hills and is completely surrounded by mountains; it is located in the center of the state of Minas Gerais and only six kilometers from the Serra do Curral, Minas Gerais' highest point, and which offers a magnificent view of the city. With an average temperature of seventy degrees Fahrenheit and claims of having more culinary and entertainment establishments than most cities in Brazil, it is no wonder that it was considered the 'city with the best quality of life in Latin America.'
In addition, it is a reference in business and health tourism. Currently, it is the seventh Brazilian city that most hosts international events, according to the International Congress and Conference Association's (ICCA) ranking.
BH in numbers
Area: Approximately 330 km
Population: Total population in 2010: 2,375,444 inhabitants.
Average Altitude: 850m.
Founding date: 12.12.1897
Time zone: UTC - 3:00
Number of parks: 69 parks, covering an approximate area of 8.6 million square meters.
Number of plazas: There are almost 600 plazas, 17 of them with tourist attractions.
Number of Public Universities: 4 Public Universities: The Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), the Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais (CEFET-MG), the Government School of the João Pinheiro Foundation and the Minas Gerais State University (UEMG).
Number of Public Hospitals: There are 36 hospitals, including one municipal, two federal, and 7 state hospitals; the rest are philanthropic or private hospitals, offering nearly 5,500 hospital beds in the capital. There are also 141 public health clinics.
Not sure where Belo Horizonte is? Click here for a map location.
For further information, visit the website: http://visitbh.pbh.gov.br/
Electric current: 110 volts
Taxes: In Brazil, taxes are already included in the price of products .
Health: Some medications, such as anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic drugs, may be purchased over the counter or by telephone. For controlled drugs, such as antibiotics and antidepressants, you need a prescription. In Brazil there is the Sistema Único de Saúde / SUS (Public Health System), which provides free health care for everyone. More information can be found at: http://portalsaude.saude.gov.br/portalsaude/
Smoking: The Brazilian Civil Code forbids smoking under the age of 18. Some enclosed spaces in Belo Horizonte have a smoking area. If there is no such space, tourists should ask the management of the establishment. Smoking on public transportation, in public buildings and in concert halls is prohibited.
Vaccination: The Federal Government has regulations about vaccination for foreigners who enter Brazil and also for Brazilians who travel from some regions of the country to others. In order to find out if vaccination is mandatory and which vaccinations are recommended or required, contact your consulate.
Monthly living expenses: The estimated monthly cost of living for an individual in Belo Horizonte varies between 1,200 and 1,800 reais.
Accommodation: The foreign student at UFMG may live with a host family, in a hotel or apartment. Those interested should contact the Office for International Relations (DRI). The most common form of housing is the traditional 'república': a house or an apartment rented by one student who then sublets rooms to other students, so that a total of 4 to 6 people share the expenses.
Food and Drink: The price of a meal in UFMG restaurants varies between 5 and 10 reais. The price of a meal in other city restaurants varies between 15 and 20 reais. UFMG also has a university restaurant with a fixed price of 4,15 reais for international exchange students. The main university restaurant, also known as 'Bandejão', provides both lunch and an evening meal.
Transportation: Bus tickets in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte cost approximately 3 reais. More information about public transportation in Belo Horizonte can be found at:
Airports: Belo Horizonte has two airports: Pampulha's Airport and Tancredo Neves/Confins International Airport, with domestic and international flights. This airport is located in the towns of Lagoa Santa and Confins, about 38 km (23 miles) away from the center of Belo Horizonte.
Medical and Hospital Assistance: UFMG requires that foreign students have a health plan with coverage abroad, including ambulatory care.
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