Trapped in a 300-year time warp, the entirety of this former gold rush town has been named a national historic monument. Its delightful Portuguese colonial architecture remains undisturbed, and nothing spoils the mood, not even traffic, as no cars are allowed in the old town center. In the 17th century it was one of the busiest and most important harbors on Brazil’s Atlantic coast, exporting gold from the interior. Follow the gold trail into the hinterlands in a 4WD, or tour a sugar estate and Cachaça distillery, where they brew up the strong sugar cane liquor that is the key ingredient in the national cocktail, the Caipirinha.
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