I got a long holiday to know the historical cities of Minas Gerais. I spent only an afternoon and two nights in Belo Horizonte, but that was enough to get the idea and make me want to go back for more. Like any other, the third largest capital in the country has a lot to offer.

The image from this week is a tribute to the city I chose to live since 2008. São Paulo is loved and hated at the same time from its residents. But anyone who spends a season there can’t stay away for longer. The Latin America’s biggest city is celebrating today 459 years old.

About one-hour flight away from Mexico City, Aguascalientes, capital of the smallest state in the country has much more than what the name suggests. The origin dates back almost 500 years ago with the discovery of hot springs and reserves of gold and silver. If nowadays the hot springs are no longer a tourist attraction, the city still counts on its architecture, its people with sweet accent and the typical food, some of the main things that travelers look for. Another attraction is Feria de San Marcos, the largest agro-industrial and folklore fair in Mexico.

One of the most authentic experiences I had in Guatemala happened in San Andrés Itzapa, a small city around Antigua. I was with my Spanish teacher Francisco and we took a “chicken bus” to a place known by the devotion of San Simón, a kind of pagan saint beloved by Guatemalans. The ceremony was an excellent opportunity to see the religious syncretism so strong in Latin America. Catholic elements such rosaries and candles mix with indigenous religion represented by incenses and offers.

A university and historical city, declared World Cultural Heritage by Unesco. Surrounded by mountains, it keeps the young and cheerful vibe of the students who live in the several frat houses in old Vila Rica, as it was called before becoming Ouro Preto.

Mariana was the most important city in the Gold Cycle – founded in 1696, is full of slopes and houses from the Colonial Period. It is part of the sightseeing tour like Circuito do Ouro, Circuito da Estrada Real and Trilha dos Inconfidentes. You can see it all in half a day.

I escorted my grandma, who was 78 at the time, with a group of Catholic elder ladies and an Italian priest on an excursion to Fátima. It was quite odd, I only recommend it for the really devoted ones. But it was fine, for after 5 days the group came back to Brazil, we paid a fine and spent a couple more days traveling around other cities. Eventually, grandma confessed she had her dream come true, but that the following days had been the most fun.

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