Pelotas is an important Brazilian city, the third most populous of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. Pelotas is located 271 km (168 mi) from Porto Alegre, the capital city of Rio Grande do Sul, and 150 km (93 mi) from the Uruguayan border. The Lagoa dos Patos lies to the east and the São Gonçalo Channel lies to the south, separating Pelotas from the city of Rio Grande.
In the 19th century, Pelotas was Brazil's leading center for production of dried meat (charque), a staple food made by slaves and destined to feed the slaves of sugarcane, coffee and cocoa plantations across the country.
The city is a large commercial center in the region, attracting shoppers to its sidewalk and neighborhood galleries and shops.