The boundary with Venezuela, which was defined by a treaty of 1859, runs south-eastward from Cucuhy across a level country intersected by rivers and channels tributary to both the Negro and Orinoco, to the Serra Cupuy watershed which separates the rivers of the Amazon and Orinoco valleys.
North of Cape Frio the Coast Range is much broken and less elevated, while the Serra do Espinhaco takes a more inland course and is separated from the coast by great gently-sloping, semi-barren terraces.
The largest of the coastal rivers are the Goyanna, which is formed by the confluence of the Tracunhaem and Capibaribe-mirim, and drains a rich agricultural region in the north-east part of the state; the Capibaribe, which has its source in the Serra de Jacarara and flows eastward to the Atlantic at Recife with a course of nearly 300 m.; the Ipojuca, which rises in the Serra de Aldeia Velha and reaches the coast south of Recife; the Serinhaen and the Una.
Its culminating point is toward its southern extremity in the Serra da Canastra, 4206 ft.
Most of the wooded district south of the Mantiqueira belongs to the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but east of the Espinhago it belongs to Minas Geraes and extends eastward to the Serra das Aymores, on the frontier of Espirito Santo.
The longest and most prominent of these ranges, which are for the most part the eastern escarpments of the great Brazilian plateau, is the Serra dos Aymores, which extends along fully two-thirds of the western frontier.
There remains only the elevated valley of the Parahyba do Sul, lying between the so-called Serra das Vertentes of southern Minas Geraes and the Serra do Mar, and extending from the Serra da Bocaina, near the city of Sao Paulo, eastward to Cape Frio and the coastal plain north of that point.
The Mau5, railway was opened to the foot of the serra (Raiz da Serra) in 1854, and the macadamized road up the serra to the town in 1856.
The general elevation of the plateau is estimated to be about 2700 ft., and the highest elevation was reported in 1892 to be the Serra dos Pyreneos (5250 ft.).
The eastern range of this central system, which crosses western Minas Geraes from the so-called Serra das Vertentes to the valley of the Paracatu, a western tributary of the Sao Francisco, is called the Serra da Canastra and Serra da Matta da Corde.