The difference between basing yourself in a big city like Rio or São Paulo and a unknown city like Uberaba (unknown to non-Brasilians) is that you really do get to see stuff that most tourists might never even hear about.
Peiropoles is such a place.
The village is named after Spanish immigrant Frederick Peiro who founded two factories here in 1911 to extract limestone. But it was the discovery of dinosaur bones and eggs in the 1940s by Llewellyn Ivor Price (considered the father of Brasilian paleontology) that put Peiropoles on the map.
Since then, hundreds of dinosaur remains have been found that are 65 to 100 million years old — the majority are from the Upper Cretaceous period and a group of dinosaurs known as titanosaurs.
And more are being discovered every day.
The small museum (R$3,00) houses femurs and other bones from a Uberabatitan ribeiroi found during a dig in 2004. It´s the largest dinosaur ever found in Brasil — and more remains of this type were found just last year! Also on display is the world´s most intact skeleton of a crocodile fossil, otherwise known as Uberabasuchus terrificus, discovered in 2000.
But Peiropoles is more than just a prehistoric playhouse.
The area also has several restaurants, small pousadas (B&Bs), a swimming area with a waterfall and lush, rolling hills that are a delight for the eye.
We had a scrumptious, all-you-can-eat buffet at Toca do Dinosaur´s (Dinosaur´s Lair) for R$19.90 (US$10.) Amazingly, it was the best buffet I have had so far in Brasil! The quality of food was top-notch and really delicious, with stand-outs such as marinated pork, fried bananas and stewed okra.
Afterwards, we took a stroll, inhaled the sweet smell of grass and earth and listened to the buzz of insects in the quiet afternoon. Then we kicked out under a tree where we digested lunch and zoned out below the cloudless blue sky.
Peiropoles is cool and interesting even if you´re not a dino buff.
But it´s also a relaxing, mellow and scenic place to spend an afternoon.
IF YOU GO:
-Periopoles is located 20 kilometers from Uberaba´s town center, on highway BR 262, at
Km 784, on the way to Belo Horizonte.
-We took the #58 bus to Ponte Alta R$3,90 one-way (35 minutes)
-The museum http://www.peiropolisturismo.com.br/museu.php – (34) 3338-1502 – is open Mon-Fri 8:00-6:00 and Sat/Sun 11:00-5:00; cost R$3,00.
-Lunch at Toca do Dinosaur is R$19,90 for the all-you-can-eat buffet