The city center of Bambuí is located at an elevation of 706 meters on a plateau and straddles the 20th parallel. Neighboring municipalities are: Tapiraí and Córrego Danta (N), Luz (NE), Iguatama (E), Doresópolis (SE), Piumhi (S), São Roque de Minas and Medeiros (W).
Bambuí is connected to major population centers by highways MG-050, BR-354 and BR-262. The distance to Belo Horizonte is 270 km.
Some historians believe that the name of the city was given by the Negros who lived in the region and belonged to a runaway slave colony called Campo Grande. This hypothesis is reinforced by the existence of a city with the same name in Cameroon, in Africa. Another interpretation for the name of the city is that it is of indigenous origin and means "river of dirty waters".
Services, mining of kaolin, and agriculture are the most important economic activities. The GDP in 2005 was approximately R$168 million, with 10 million reais from taxes, 86 million reais from services, 11 million reais from industry, and 61 million reais from agriculture. There were 1,361 rural producers on 90,000 hectares of land. 196 farms had tractors (2006). Approximately 4,000 persons were dependent on agriculture. The main crops are coffee (4,300 hectares in 2006), rice, beans, and corn. There were 76,000 head of cattle (2006), one quarter of which were raised for milk and cheese production.