By Alison McGowan
May 20, 2008

Tiradentes is wonderful. After hours of rolling green hills, dark pink and terracotta earth, and seemingly interminably potholed roads you reach this picture perfect, almost unspoilt, colonial town, nestling at the foot of the huge escarpment of Sa Jos, where gold was first found in the early 1700s. The town owes its existence to this, but its fame to Joaquim Jos da Silva Xavier, popularly known as Tiradentes” – or “teethpuller” – who, convicted of rebellion and treason, was hung drawn and quartered in 1792.

These days Tiradentes is becoming better known, but it still retains a sleepy feel outside of festival season due to its difficult access. The Pousada da Terra, with its wonderful atmosphere and gorgeous surroundings, is only one of some 100 pousadas here, but is always the one I come back to.

Getting there without a car
From Rio de Janeiro:
Air – TOTAL linhas areas to São João Del Rey, then taxi
Bus – Paraibuna company to São Joao (5.5 hours) then Presidente bus company to Tiradentes (half an hour).

From Belo Horizonte:
Bus – Viaão Sandra Not to be missed
– Walking tour, or horsedrawn cart tour around the town
– Steam train trip to São Joao del Rey and back
– Festivals of cinema in January; gastronomy in August
– Churches, particularly Matriz de Santo Antonio, which has carvings by Aleijadinho, and an 18th century organ
– Local handicrafts from Tiradentes and Bichinho (7 kms away),paricularly household items and furniture made out of reclaimed wood.

Starpoints at the Pousada da Terra
* Conversations with hosts and other guests round the pool/ bar
(NB Z Renato has an amazing scrapbook of the 1958 World Cup, and also hosts an annual Harley-Davidson meeting)
* Informal system for marking drinks taken from communal fridge
* Large swimming pool in beautiful park
* Close enough to walk to the center; far enough away to be peaceful at night

Try somewhere else…
– if you have trouble walking
– if you want to be in the center of town
– if you dont like (well behaved) kids or dogs
– if you want sophistication/internet/airconditioning/cable TV

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on Visit her blog at

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

Can’t make this up