Today it has about 500 residents and the main source of income for each has something to do with tourism. It's a jumping off point for many trekking tours into the park. Many of its little buildings are made of rock found in the area and some in the style of those miner cave holes in Mucugé are built right into the side of hills.
The road to get in left something to be desired... 7 km of red dirt and rock. It took about 30 minutes to get to the turn off from where we had slept in our car in Mucugé the night before. I should note that the truck stop was very clean and quiet after 8 pm, but we got a little hot and stuffy until rain started sometime after midnight.
No one really greeted us or spoke to us the whole time we walked around. I had anticipated an onslaught of "guides" wanting to show us around for a small fee. Instead we walked here and there at will.
The church was open when we walked by with a small group that looked like they were getting ready to practice something or have a class. They didn't seem to mind our curiousity.
I sort of needed to use a nice, clean bathroom or any bathroom for that matter. I listened as a tour group stopped near the church and one of the girls asked their guide where she could use a bathroom. He indicated an inn just up the stone street. So I tagged along. The above photo was taken from the windowsill looking out into their lovely garden. Many houses in this area have working wooden shutters and glass windows with panes. Where we live in the N.E. of Brazil we have wooden louvered windows that look short of like shutters but no actual glass windows.
Byron took few minutes to check out a rattle in the front end before leaving town by a different, supposedly better route suggested by a passerby that did answer our question. The "better" route was also 7 km long - all stone and somewhat wider.
The city has several bed and breakfast inns and restaurants. There is a tourist agency with an office that has guides for trails and such into the national park.