Diamantina, Brazil is a colonial town in the state of Minas Gerais with beautiful architecture, nearby waterfalls, and a fun weekend market. It doesn’t have the beautiful churches of Ouro Preto nor the outstanding food of Tiradentes, but it certainly has a more authentic feel. If you’re a solo traveler, you may find it difficult because it’s not on the foreigner tourist trail in Brazil and there isn’t much English spoken. Overall, I found Diamantina to be a pleasant, relaxing town to spend a couple of days.
How to Get There
Go to Belo Horizonte, and from there the bus ride to Diamantina is 6 hours. BlaBlaCar is active in Brazil and it’s often a cheaper and faster alternative to get to Diamantina.
What to Do
Mercado Municipal – The town market is empty during the week, but on the weekend it fills up with vendors selling crafts, sweets, and craft beer. On Friday and Saturday nights, there is live music as well.
Cachoeira da Toca – A 10-meter waterfall with a swimming area below. The walk here is an hour from town and it’s not a very scenic one. However, a taxi can bring you within a short walk of the waterfall.
Parque Estadual Biribiri – To the north of town is a state park with waterfalls and hiking trails. The main attractions of the park are the waterfalls of Cachoeira Sentinela and Cachoeira dos Cristais. You can visit by car, walking, and on weekends there are tours. If you want to hike, I’d recommend taking a taxi to the first waterfall. Otherwise, you’re in for 7 hours of hiking without much protection from the sun.
Visit the town museums – The town has two historic house museums, Casa da Gloria and Casa de Chica da Silva. They were a bit meh for me because there’s not much historical information and the guided tours are only in Portuguese.
Where to Eat
Relicario Gastronomía – Tasty regional dishes in a unique setting with antiques lining the walls.
Rei do Pastel – Brazil is not known for having strong street food culture, but this food truck serves delicious pastels.
Açaí do Vale – It’s only right to go for an açaí bowl after a hike in Brazil.
Where to Stay
Pousada Presidente – There are cheap private rooms at this homely hostel with the downside being the walk to the historic center.
Pousada Dona Dazinha – A clean and cozy guesthouse right in the heart of the historic center.
Where to Next
Ouro Preto (9 hours by bus) – A UNESCO town with incredible churches and hiking.
Tiradentes (10 hours) – A beautiful colonial town known for its fabulous restaurants.
Rio de Janeiro (14 hours) – One of the world’s most iconic cities known for its beaches, viewpoints, and samba.