The hospitable city of São Roque de Minas (just over 6 thousand inhabitants), is located 330 Km from Belo Horizonte, and is the main gateway to the Serra da Canastra National Park.

About 80% of the preservation area belongs to the mining town, which makes its residents very proud. Today, the city occupies the area that was once inhabited by the Cataguazes Indians, extinct in 1675 by the bandeirante Lourenço Castanho T.

The town was founded in 1762 thanks to the faith and the strength of its inhabitants, who raised a chapel in honor of San Roque on a farm by Manoel Marques de Carvalho, the founder of the city.

The city offers an excellent infrastructure of hotels, inns, restaurants and guides for tourist who want to visit the Serra da Canastra Park, one of the largest reserves of environmental preservation in the country, with 220 thousand hectares.

The mountain which gives its name to the Park has that name because its hills and peaks seem to form in the distance, a large trunk, or canastra.

The Park displays great scenic beauty: huge walls of rock waterfalls, rapids and caves that protect a transition region between the Cerrado and Atlantic forest. The source of the São Francisco River, the second largest in Brasil, is located in the Park.

The scenery attracts lovers of adventure sports and contemplative tourism. It is normal to see animals such as the giant anteater and the giant armadillo.

A must-see attraction is the Casca d’ Anta Waterfall, with 186 m of free fall. There are pools of crystal clear water at the top, before the fall, and an observatory where you have a spectacular view of the Park.

Another attraction in São Roque is the famous canasta, cheese produced in the region for over 200 years. The cheese is slightly spicy, dense and full-bodied and displays a yellow color. Since May 2008, the cheese became a cultural heritage.

Source: www.visitbrasil.com