is a city
in eastern Minas Gerais
. The population in 2006
was 82,632 inhabitants and the total area of the municipality was 1251Km2
. The altitude is 578 meters above sea level, with maximum altitude of 1,516 m in the Serra do Rio Preto and 330 m at the mouth of the Córrego Boachá.
The municipality is located at 19º 37’ 30’’ latitude south and at 42º 09’ 00’’ longitude west. It is part of Region VIII, denominated Rio Doce, and part of the microregion of Mata de Caratinga, in the eastern part of Minas Gerais.
It lies on the important Rio-Bahia interstate highway (BR 116) and is connected to the state capital of Belo Horizonte by BR–381 to the city of João Monlevade. After João Monlevade there is a federal highway, BR 262, which leads into the capital. The state capital lies at a distance of 320 km. The nearest airport is in Ubaboranga
15 km do centro, tarmacked runway 1200 m long and 20 m wide.
The main rivers that cross the municipality are the Caratinga River and its tributary Laje, the Manhuaçu and the Preto.
Origin of the name
The name arose because of the lack of diversified food in the region, which made the first settlers eat a common tuber found there called caratinga.
The climate is tropical sub-hot, with mild summer temperatures and winter temperatures between 15 and 18°C. The average temperature is around 23 °C, while the maximum and the minimum are 28 °C and 17 °C respectively. In the summer season the concentration of rains is over 70% of the total annual rainfall, which is about 1.140 mm.
Caratinga is essentially agricultural. A large part of the landholdings (77%) are minifundios--small properties. The main crops are fruits and vegetables (1000 producers) but especially coffee. With an area planted with 66 million trees in more than 320 square kilometres, coffee growing provides about 8 thousand direct jobs and 35 thousand indirect. The harvest is from April to September.
Education and Culture
There are two institutions of higher education: FUNEC - Fundação Educacional de Caratinga and SPEP - Sociedade Presbiteriana de Educação e Pesquisa
There are three local newspapers: O Jornal de Caratinga (weekly), A Semana (weekly), and Diário de Caratinga (daily).
Declared a national historical monument, Pedra Itaúna, with its 1,012 meters elevation, attracts participants in rappel, paragliding, and mountain climbing.
Some 150 muriquis (Brachyteles arachnoids) live today at the Fazenda Montes Claros, near Caratinga. It is one of their last refuges. The muriqui is the largest monkey of the Americas and one of the most endangered primates of the world. Specialists cite the biological importance of the Fazenda Montes Claros, where three other primate species live along with the muriqui: the buffy headed marmoset, the black-capped capuchin and the brown howler monkey.