Much smaller and quite a bit prettier than Alto do Paraíso , the village of São Jorge is a former quartz mining town that has given itself over to ecotourism. Despite the influx of nature-loving Brazilian youth in high season, it has managed to retain its small-town flavor.
Apart from the advantage of being only 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the entrance to the Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Veadeiros , São Jorge  boasts a wealth of other natural attractions within close proximity that involve easier hikes than those in the park. The most spectacular is the appropriately named Vale da Lua (Moon Valley), 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) east towards Alto do Paraíso, where the Rio São Miguel has sculpted a canyon out of a lunar landscape of granite.
While São Jorge has fewer hotel options than Alto do Paraíso, the village’s pousadas have considerably more charm. Pousada Trilha Violeta (Rua 12, Qd. 7, Lote 5, tel. 62/3455-1088, www.trilhavioleta.com.br , R$68–98 d) is a case in point. The simple rooms are housed in attractive bungalows painted pale violet (the owners are staunch believers in chromotherapy), with verandas gazing out onto a tranquil garden and a “Zona Zen” for meditation. The friendly staff can help you with guides and excursions.
A little more upscale is the enchanting Pousada Bambu Brasil (Rua 1, Qd. 1, Lt. 8, tel. 62/3455-1044, www.bambubrasil.com.br , R$98–148 d), whose comfortable rooms, housed in chalets painted in rich mango and pumpkin hues, are offset by exuberant greenery. Natural woods, including bamboo, abound, as do hammocks and lounge chairs, and there is an inviting pool. The Bambu Café serves up delicious snacks, desserts, and light meals. Children under 14 aren’t permitted.
Also charming with a pronounced esoteric edge is Pousada Casa das Flores (Rua 10, Qd. 2, Lt. 14, tel. 62/3455-1055, www.pousadacasadasflores.com.br , R$158–287 d), where you can indulge in Ayurvedic massages, tarot card and astrology readings, and a dip in the pool or Jacuzzi. Lighting is courtesy of candles or romantic gas lanterns, and breakfast is served on the verandas of the cozy rooms. A very attractive restaurant (open to the public) serves a buffet lunch and à la carte dishes at dinner (you can opt for half- or full-board), and prepares snack boxes for hikers.
For a mixture of local and international fare, head to Papalua (Rua 12, Qd. 7, Lt. 8, tel. 62/3455-1085, 5–11 p.m. Fri.–Wed., R$10–20), celebrated for its homemade pasta and crêpes as well as its tasty “trail kit” lunch boxes.
Restaurante da Nenzinha (Rua 6, Qd. 11, Lt. 2, tel. 62/9669-1004, daily, R$8–15) operates out of the humble home of a former quartz miner, Dona Nenzinha. The home-cooked local dishes served for breakfast and the buffet lunch are simple but delicious. Much of the fresh produce is harvested from Nenzinha’s own garden.
From Alto Paraíso to São Jorge, Santo Antônio (tel. 61/3234-3997) operates only one daily bus that leaves at 3:30 p.m. (and returns at 8:30 a.m.). By car, follow the GO-239 for 36 kilometers (22 miles).