Ouro Preto is considered a gem inside the country. It$%s a important part of the history, known for the birth of Independence. You may visit the churches, even not being catholic. You only need to be interest in culture and historical places. The city is part of World Heritage by Unesco.
TRAVELLING: Most people will travel to Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais) and rent a car or take a bus to Ouro Preto, not too far away from the city centre of BH. Beware, however, most local natives don$%t speak English and you will find it very hard to communicate. Therefore, please be sure to plan ahead or have a guide in person with you.
SAFENESS: It$%s considered safe to travel to Ouro Preto. But avoid at all cost Religious dates as “Semana Santa” (April 21st), the city gets too crowded. Also, be cautious about your luggage and carry belongings all the time.
HEALTH ISSUES: Currently there is no warning about health issues in the city, but there may be some at nearby cities (specially Tiradentes). In the case of fever ou nausea and flu-like symptoms, look for a doctor promptly. Do not use self medication. If you prefer and depending on your hotel location, use insect repellent. Check if water used at restaurants is potable.
WHERE TO STAY: if money is not the problem, choose Solar do Rosario. Good location and comfort. For minded-budget travellers, Pousada Classica is clean and suitable for both young and old. Both have parking, in the case you choose visiting the city by car. There are many other places than those listed in Tripadvisor website, but prefer choosing known places and close to the city centre.
EATING AND DINING: local restaurants offers a varied range of food, but not particularly good for vegans. Everyone else will be pleased by the taste, even tough it might not look that great. Food is cooked in woodfire and huge pots, which changes the color of food. There$%s plenty of talking about Restaurante Chafariz (R. S. José, 167). I truly didn$%t find it great, but it$%s not bad either (and not cheap).
There are other buffet-style restaturantes in town. You may find two types of restaurants: one says “self-service” and you take what you want, put in a scale and pay by food weight (called “restaurante a kilo”). Before giving a try, you may look at the food and check if you really want to eat anything. Another one is a traditional “all-you-can-eat” buffet, you pay one price and eat as much as you want. Few restaurants will offer menu and “a la carte” plates, specially at night.
Another famous place is “Casa do Ouvidor” (R. Cde. de Bobadela, 42, sblj.)
Other places: www.benedaflauta.com.br; www.restaurantepiacere.com.br; Casa dos Contos (R. Camilo de Brito, 21) and Deguste Café e Restaurante (Rua Coronel Alves, nº 15)
ATTRACTIONS. Churches and historical sites. Every place charge a entrance fee (around R$2 up to R$5, some museums may charge more). With a good map in hands, you may walk wherever you want. Bring comfortable shoes.
If you have time, just walking in the neighborhood might be fun. You may also head the Train Station and get a short train ride to the city of Mariana (“Trem Da Vale”). The train is slow but it$%s sort of a good break between church circuit.
Some may find the Museum of Inconfidence poor, but it$%s the only one over there. It also lacks good information in English. It displays old historical artifacts, paintings, stones and gems, etc.
Most people will check all main churches in town and then head to another city. At some point, visitors may find distressing to visit so many churches in a row. Then, it$%s time to set something different, like visiting a National park (Serra do Cipó) or a Gruta (a rock cave) like gruta da Lapinha or Maquiné.
Few miles away of Ouro Preto, there is an interesting museum: Museu das Reduções at Amarantina. It display miniatures of local constructions.