This unique 10-day itinerary from Rainforest Cruises offers the perfect package for those thinking of heading to Brazil for Carnival in 2018.
Explore the magical realm of the Brazilian Amazon on an all-inclusive river cruise before taking part in the biggest party on Earth at Rio Carnival.
Please note that the cruise featured in the itinerary below is dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to locations, so may vary.
DAY 1: SUN 4 FEB - ARRIVAL IN MANAUS
You are met at the airport in Manaus and escorted to your luxurious hotel in Manaus via private transfer. Depending on your arrival time, you either have the day to explore the city and its historic sights such as the incredible Teatro Amazonas, or instead rest in your comfortable ecoresort.
DAY 2: MON 5 FEB - CRUISE EMBARKATION
We embark the Iberostar Grand Amazon in the Port of Manaus in the late afternoon and then, after settling into our luxurious cabins, we can watch the sunset from the Top Deck as the boat begins sailing on the Amazon. Tonight, the crew welcomes you aboard with a cocktail, followed by a delicious dinner. This is your first opportunity to take advantage of the ship's open bar policy! (Meals - B, D)
DAY 3: TUE 6 FEB - JARAQUI STREAM + TRES BOCAS
After breakfast, we explore the Jaraqui region by expedition skiffs or take a guided hike along a jungle trail. Later we explore the incredible Anavilhanas archipelago, specifically one of its largest islands Tres Bocas, home to bountiful orchids and bromeliads, and birds such as toucans and macaws. After dark, caimans are abundant and fun to spot from the skiffs. (Meals - B, L, D)
DAY 4: WED 7 FEB - CUIEIRAS RIVER & ARIAU REGION
After breakfast, we visit Cambebas, a fascinating indigenous village, where we learn how the locals have adapted their way of life to best suit their environment. Later we head back out onto the waterways of the Ariaú region in search of monkeys, sloths and try our hand at catching piranha. Alternatively we may pay a visit to a local farm to learn about the way of life there. (Meals - B, L, D)
DAY 5: THU 8 FEB - PRAIA GRANDE & RUBBER MUSEUM
Today there will be a chance to swim in the refreshing waters of the Rio Negro and possibly interact with the pink dolphins! After lunch, we step back in time as we visit the Rubber Tapping Museum. This evening we celebrate the end of our Amazon adventure with a special gala dinner, with exotic Amazon dancing. (Meals - B, L, D)
DAY 6: FRI 9 FEB - ARRIVAL RIO + CARNIVAL OPENING
We wake up early in order to see the fascinating phenomenon known as the Meeting of the Waters at sunrise. We then continue to the port of Manaus, for disembarkation and private transfer to the airport for your flight to Rio. Upon arrival you will be taken to your hotel in Lapa, Rio’s colourful bohemian centre and have the option of an orientation walk. At 5PM you’ll meet fellow guests at our welcome Cocktail Party, and after a caipirinha or two and perfecting our samba moves (in our group samba class!) we get our faces painted and head out into the streets escorted by our guides for our first night in Rio!* (Meals - B)
*For those who choose to purchase the Samba School Add-On upon booking, you're going to be part of the Sambadrome Parade tonight! Your costumes will be delivered to your accommodation room. There will be plenty of time to get ready after our group meeting, caipirinhas and samba class. Once everyone is dressed and prepped, you will be guided to the meeting point on Avenue Presidente Vargas. This will be one to two hours before the school's scheduled parade time. (Please note that the costume you will provided with for the Samba School depends on the theme set by the school you will be dancing with. You could be anything from a clown, an animal or even food!
DAY 7: SAT 10 FEB - MORNING BLOCO & SUNSET BOAT CRUISE
This morning we head to one of the biggest and best blocos (street parties) in Rio, ‘Céu na Terra’ in Santa Teresa. Then this afternoon we will walk down to Gloria Maria for some lunch before we board our magnificent private schooner boat and the next 3-4 hours will be spent cruising around Rio’s spectacular Guanabara Bay. On board the schooner there will be bathrooms, music, a dance floor, a chill-out area, snacks, and an open bar for the first hour of the cruise! Returning just after sunset, you'll have the chance to view the city, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Christ the Redeemer from a different light and angle. After the boat returns to port, you will have a chance to return to your accommodations, where you can take your time and get ready for another big night out on the town accompanied by a guide. (Meals - B, L)
DAY 8: SUN 11 FEB - PRE-CARNIVAL PARTY + SAMBADROME
This morning you are free to head to the beach, or you may take an optional city day tour** for an additional cost, payable locally. If you feel like heading to the beach as a group, one of our guides will meet you in the hotel lobby at 10AM and take you on the metro to the best parts of the beaches at Ipanema and/or Leblon. Tonight we enjoy some pre-drinks and face painting before we grab dinner at one of Rio de Janeiro's most famous churrasco restaurants to enjoy dinner, giving out bodies the much-needed fuel to last the entire night! Our guides will then escort us to the main event of the week - the Special Group (i.e. best) of samba schools parade at the Sambadrome! We have tickets for the lively sections 12-13 right by the climactic conclusion at the iconic arch of Apotheosis Square. You’ll see that the local Cariocas really support their samba school (similar to supporting a football team!) singing ALL the words to the ‘anthems’. It is a wonderful local experience and one that goes on until the wee hours of the morning! (Meals - B, D)
**Optional City Day Tour (include transfers, guide and Christ Redeemer Statue entrance):
After admiring the incredible views of the mountains from Sao Conrado beach the mini-bus will take you to the Tijuca National Park to get a glimpse of the greenest tropical rainforest. In the forest we will change the bus to go to the iconic Christ The Redeemer Statue where you can take as many photos as your heart desires from this fanatstic vantage point 710 metres above the city. Afterwards we'll stop for a lunch (food expenses not included) in Santa Teresa, one of the oldest and most traditional neighbourhoods of Rio. See the well preserved original architecture and feel the character of this unique neighborhood. At the end of your Rio day tour you will see the colorful Lapa steps “Escadaria Selaron" where Snoop Dogg shot his famous video for Beautiful. Finally, you will be offered two options. The first option is to be dropped off at the Sugarloaf Mountain where you can hop on two cable cars (first up to Urca Hill at 220 metres above sea level, then Sugarloaf Hill at 396 metres) to experience some of the most stunning views of the city and Guanabara Bay (ticket not included), or you can choose to return to the door of your hotel.
Note: The City Day Tour itinerary is subject to change so may vary.
DAY 9: MON 12 FEB - BLOCO + COPACABANA BEACH
If you have the energy, there will be the option to go to one of the BEST blocos - Sergeant Pepper's Bloco. This party is a Beatles-themed party, featuring over 100 samba percussionists. Drinks, hats, and water pistols included! Be sure to wear you swim suits underneath your clothes and, if it's a sunny day, don't forget your sunscreen! Otherwise the morning can be spent at your leisure. This afternoon our guides will take us to the famous Copacabana beach, ending with the iconic sunset over Dois Irmãos mountains, watching from Arpoador Rock and clapping with the locals as the sun disappears beyond the horizon. For those who want to stay on in Rio’s South Zone there will likely be night markets in Copacabana and parties that our guides can direct you to. (Meals - B)
DAY 10: TUE 13 FEB - DEPARTURE
Our carnival package officially finishes after breakfast today. The rest of the day is yours. Check-out is at midday. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home or to another destination. Rainforest Cruises hopes that your Rio Carnival experience has been a success and wish you safe travels for your onwards journey! (Meals - B)