Tiradentes’ bus station is just north of the main square, across the stream. Two companies, Presidente (R$3.80, 20 minutes) and Porto Real (R$4.20, 30 minutes), run regular buses between Tiradentes and São João del Rei. Thanks to this friendly rivalry, you’ll never wait longer than 45 minutes for a bus during daylight hours. After 7pm, only Porto Real operates, and departures are less frequent. If you miss the last bus from São João (at 10:10pm), a taxi costs about R$60.
With advance planning, it’s possible to catch a bus directly from Tiradentes to Rio. Paraibuna (www.paraibunatransportes.com.br) operates a morning bus originating in São João del Rei (8am Monday to Saturday, 10am Sunday) that will pick passengers up in front of the Tiradentes train station (not the bus station); you must buy your ticket in São João and indicate that you’re boarding in Tiradentes. Coming from Rio, you can do the same thing in reverse: take Paraibuna’s 7am bus Monday through Saturday (or the 2pm bus on Sunday) and indicate that you want to disembark in Tiradentes when buying your ticket; make sure to inform the driver as well.