São Gonçalo do Rio das Pedras, where Pousada do Capão is located, is a peaceful and well-preserved village in northern Minas Gerais (34 km from Diamantina and 30 km from Serro) which still retains much of its 18th century heritage.
Wandering its cobblestone streets with horses and pack mules, against a backdrop of period houses, churches, and gristmills, one can easily drift back in time to the days when the Estrada Real connected the interior to the port cities of Rio de Janeiro and Paraty. The habits and customs of colonial Brazil are ever-present in the local handcrafts, in the simple but flavorful regional food, and in the colorful religious and folk festivals.
The town is surrounded by the austere majesty of the cerrado, with its numerous waterfalls and its vibrant flowers and twisted trees providing sanctuary to a diversity of birds and small animals. The landscape is defined by the imposing outlines of the Pico do Raio, with its yet unstudied petroglyphs, and Itambé. Here one encounters the source of the historically important Jequitinhonha River.
To know São Gonçalo do Rio das Pedras is to travel to an idyllic past where man still lives in concert with nature – a past which seems to be slipping away with each passing day.
Coordinates (Google Earth): 18°24'51"S, 43°29'23"W