Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, the city between mountains and beaches! Welcoming you to the 'marvelous city' is your bilingual Tour Director who will escort you to your hotel on the Copacabana – 4-star The Luxor Continental. The afternoon is free for a stroll, some shopping or relaxing on the beach or at your rooftop pool! Meet your fellow travelers for a complementary caipirinha or other tropical drink before attending a Rodizio, an All-You-Can-Eat Brazilian Barbecue (included). Includes: (D).
Day 2: The panoramic view from the top of the Sugar Loaf Mountain is the highlight of today's sightseeing tour. Board a cable car to reach the summit with its 360† spectrum of golden beaches, green forests and a thriving metropolis that has earned Rio de Janeiro the title of the "world's most beautiful city". Sightseeing continues with a tour of Rio's historical past. Learn how Portugal's prince scandalously broke all family ties and declared himself Emperor of Brazil. In the afternoon heat, everything slows down, and the Cariocas (as the people of Rio call themselves) head for the beach! Includes: (B).
Day 3: Christ the Redeemer keeps an eye on Rio from an elevation of 710 m (2340 ft). Board the tremzinho (cogwheel railway) up to the top of Corcovado Mountain for a bird's eye view of the center of the city from the center of the city! In the afternoon follow Brazil's winding coastline and granite cliffs south to the ancient port city of Paraty. Check in to the Pousada Porto Imperial. Enjoy dinner in one of the charming local restaurants (included). Includes: (B), (D).
Day 4: In Paraty, the gold was loaded on ships destined for the Old World. The city has been declared a world heritage treasure by the UNESCO. Stroll through the streets often covered by water, past houses in elegant decay before boarding a schooner for a half-day cruise of the islands including a lunch prepared by the crew! Includes: (B), (L).
Day 5: This morning, board your coach for a climb up to the Serra da Bocaina National Park, amongst the world's oldest rock formations. Retrace the route of Rio State's gold rush, up to Minas Gerais, Brazil's historic mining area. Take a sip of Caxambu's world-renowned mineral water in this well-preserved spa town, getaway of Brazil's health-conscious, before continuing on to the historical mining town of S“o Jo“o del Rey. Check into Pousada Beco do Bispo, before taking a stroll through the city and enjoying a hearty local dinner (included). Includes: (B), (D).
Day 6: A few minutes' drive brings us to the hilltop town of Tiradentes (lit. Tooth-puller), the most charming of colonial cities. Named after the martyr of the InconfidÍncia who was known for his dental skills, Tiradentes exudes a sense of another age. The masterwork "The Prophets" by Aleijadinho (Brazil's Michelangelo) is the highlight of our stop in Congonhas. Chiseled out of soapstone by the artist without the use of his arms or legs, the sculptures bring the Old Testament figures to stirring life.
The 'Black Gold' of Ouro Preto (the largest deposits in the Western Hemisphere) financed Lisbon's glory as well as the English Industrial Revolution. At its peak, this town's population was twice New York's and five times Rio de Janeiro's! Check in to the Pousada Luxor Ouro Preto. Dinner is included tonight in what was once 'the world's richest city'. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 7: This morning's walking tour covers the best of the former state capital, declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Ouro Preto's churches and plazas have been witness to incredible wealth and bloody rebellion. Formerly known as Vila Rica - the name was changed by decree of Emperor Dom Pedro I, and Ouro Preto was declared an Imperial City. The town of Mariana, Ouro Preto's quieter cousin just 12km away, offers a unique contrast. Take an adventurous visit into a former gold mine and shop for local arts and crafts. Includes: (B)
Day 8: Return to Rio de Janeiro through the spectacular Serra do Mar, stopping in the Imperial city of PetrÛpolis, the former Summer residence of the Emperor. Continue on your next tour, post extension or return home. (Some guests may transfer directly to Belo Horizonte for tour continuation.) Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
South America Brazil Local Culture Cultural Journey