Day 1: Pick up at airport and transfer to the hotel. End of the day open. Meals not included. Night in hotel.
Day 2: Rio/Corcovado - Santa Teresa - Sugarloaf. Our private English-speaking guide meets us at the hotel at 09:00 for the visit of town. Climb to the Corcovado, universally known symbol of the town of Rio. By car, we climb to an elevation of 700 meters above sea level. Once on the summit, we take the time to appreciate the unique and enchanting panoramic view of the "cidade maravilhosa" (magnificent city). Rio spreads under our feet, majestic and languid. This advantageous viewpoint gives us a better understanding of the physical and "social" topography of the town. We descend via Santa Teresa, which used to be one of the wealthiest residential neighborhoods of Rio, at the time when the town was the capital of Brazil and all the principal powers where located there.
Surrounded by the agglomeration, the neighborhood has lost its exclusive character, and the wealth of the area has moved to the Southwest of Rio, to Barra da Tijuca. Santa Teresa shelters today an unconventional population, constituting the bohemian quarter of modern Rio. We stroll through this neighborhood to get a taste of its quaint and dated atmosphere. Along its narrow and winding streets, we can admire some splendid houses dating from the 19th century and catch a glimpse of the soul of a Rio from another time.
The best way to realize this nostalgic trip is to take the bondinho, a little wooden tramway, a miraculous vestige from the start of the 20th century, and the most famous symbol of Santa Teresa. During the descent to Lapa, we visit the colored staircase or "Escadaria do Convento da Santa Teresa", decorated by Jorge Selarón. This autodidactic Chilean artist is one of the best-known personalities of this neighborhood.
After exhibiting his paintings around the world, he settled in Brazil in 1983 and spontaneously decided to decorate this staircase with a multicolored mosaic in perpetual evolution. His ambition is to link the neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa, by covering the staircases with thousands of azulejos (ceramic tilework). We might have the opportunity to see him at work. We, later, reach the cable cart taking us to the summit of the Sugarloaf (el. 400 m.a.s.l.) the symbol of Rio, marking the entrance of the Bay of Guanabara. Return to our hotel at 17:00. Meals are not included. Night in hotel.
- Helicopter flight of a few minutes from the mirador of Dona Marta.
- By night with samba show.
Day 3: Rio. Open day to explore Rio. You can relax in one of the famous beaches (Copacabana, Ipanema, etc.), do some shopping or join another tour. Meals not included. Night in hotel.
- Favela tour (half day)
- Down town tour (half day)
- Boat tour in Guanabara bay (half day)
- Visit of Maracanã stadium (half day)
- Visit of cidade do samba (half day)
- Visit of the botanical garden (half day)
- Samba lessons (half day)
- See kayaking (half day)
- Petrópolis tour (full day).
Day 4: Rio - Iguaçu. Departure from the hotel with a private vehicle, for a transfer to the airport, 3 hours before departure time. Domestic flight Rio – Iguaçu (not included). Pick up at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Meals open. Night in hotel. Options (depending on the time of arrival):
- Brazilian side of the falls
- Birds park
- 12-minute helicopter flight over the falls.
Day 5: Iguaçu Falls Argentine Side. At 08:45 we meet at the hotel with our English-speaking guide. Transfer to the Argentine side of the park (about 40 minutes). Stop at the symbolic panoramic triple border point Paraguay - Brazil - Argentina. Visit of the falls from the Argentine side, from where we get closer to the water, and of impressive "Devil’s Canyon" opening at our feet. Then return to our hotel on the Brazilian side in the afternoon. Meals open. Night in hotel.
- Boat tour at the heart of the falls
- Excursion in the forest.
Day 6: Iguaçu - Salvador. Departure from the hotel in private transportation, for our airport transfer, 2 hours prior to departure. Domestic flight Iguaçu - Salvador (not included). Airport pick up and transfer to hotel. End of day open. Meals not included. Night in hotel.
Day 7: Salvador. Meeting at the pousada at 09:00 with our English-speaking guide who takes us to the discovery of the neighborhood representing best the heart and soul of Salvador. In the morning, a visit to the lower part of town, starting with its monuments and its markets. The Mercado Modelo (touristy) then São Joaquim market (authentic Bahianese market). We cross town towards the North to reach the Church of Bonfim, a pilgrimage site where we can admire, in the "miracle room", an impressive collection of votive offerings, testifying to the local popular devotion for Senhor do Bonfim. We follow with a visit to the Museum of Sacred Art (open afternoons only, visit after lunch). Located at the heart of the antique Santa-Teresa convent, it exhibits a collection of unique pieces dating from the 16th to the 20th century: azulejos (ceramic tilework) panes, sculptures, silver and furniture.
In the afternoon, we visit the high part of town, dominated by the historical quarter of Pelourinho. Its prestigious architectural ensemble, renovated with its original bright colors, is constituted by magnificent colonial mansions and baroque churches one of them being the Church of São Francisco and its stunning azulejos fresco. By drawing from its African roots, the city created for itself a unique identity in Latin America, animating its daily life by the frenetic rhythms of Capoeira and religious ceremonies of Candomblé. Return to the pousada at the end of the day. Meals not included. Night in hotel. Option: mix the un-avoidable and an initiation to candomblé (we recommend, after this day, that you go to a ceremony).
Day 8: Salvador – Coconut Coast - Salvador. Departure from the pousada at 09:00. On board a minibus, we drive to "Recanto Ecologico do Rio da Prata". A 40-minute hike in the primary forest, during which we may have the chance to spot a few toucans or parrots, takes us to the shores of the river da Prata. Equipped of a wetsuit, a mask and a snorkel (provided on location - included), we slip into the incredibly clear water to let ourselves be swept by the current over a few miles of a peaceful “flotation” in the middle of a multicolored fauna and flora. This site, which feels us with the unforgettable sensation of closeness and communion with nature, is surprisingly little known. However, it is one of the most impressive in the country. We indulge in an excellent buffet for a recovery lunch.
On the way back towards Bonito, in the middle of the afternoon, we stop at Buraco das Araras, a 200-meter deep, almost circular, cavity. Hundreds of red, blue or multicolored Aras (large parrots), living on the inaccessible cliffs of this geological curiosity, fly whichever way, a few meters away from the visitors. Their strident calls pierce the atmosphere and seem to be aimed at annoying a lost alligator, which arrived, by accident at the bottom of the hole, where he lives a prisoner, forever. Return to Bonito at the end of the day. Lunch included. Dinner open. Night in a pousada.
Note: It is not possible to do this excursion as a private trip but the sizes of the groups, accompanied by specialized guides, are always reasonable (8 people max).
Day 9: Open day to explore Salvador. You can relax in one of the beaches, do some shopping or join another tour. Meals not included. Night in hotel.
- Recôncavo tour (full day)
- Boat tour in the bay of all saints (full day)
- Candomblé tour (full day)
Day 10: Open day to explore Salvador. You can relax in one of the beaches, do some shopping or join another tour. Meals not included. Night in hotel.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Brazil Local Culture Cultural Journey Rainforest
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