Since the discovery of the New World in the fifteenth century, the legend of the Eldorado fascinated and obsessed most European settlers. In High Peru (today Bolivia), the Spanish conquered and exploited the fabulous silver mines of Potosi, which attested to the existence of great wealth and provoked the jealousy of the Portuguese who were burdened with the difficult colonization of Brazil. It was on one of these expeditions of the "Bandeirantes" that these adventurer-explorer-indigenous people hunters, brought to light the incredible gold, diamond and precious stone deposits located in this region soon to be known as Minas Gerais (Main Mines). Very quickly and thanks to the massive influx of slaves, cities of ambitious architecture and startling beauty in the purest baroque colonial style of the epoch, started springing up. Today the splendor of these cities remains mostly intact under the sun of the Minas Gerais, a region of foothills and natural generosity, offering a rich and varied gastronomy. The numerous national parks of the region (in the Serra da Mantiqueira) and the colonial towns compete for the traveler’s attention, making Minas Gerais an ideal region to combine ecotourism with cultural tourism in addition of being located only a few hours away from Rio.