This 11-day ‘Iconic Brazil’ adventure starts in Rio de Janeiro, where you will explore the largest urban forest in the world, take a cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain and relax on Copacabana Beach. Then head to Armação dos Búzios for two days, relax and visit the numerous beautiful beaches of the area aboard a catamaran. Fly northeast to Manaus and begin your Amazon cruise. Canoe through the watery forest of the Igapós, spot exotic wildlife in the jungle, and encounter the famous pink dolphins.
Rio de Janeiro
In Rio de Janeiro, ride the historic train up to the 2329-foot peak of Corcovado mountain to see the colossal statue of Christ the Redeemer, which not only stands tall as the iconic image of Brazil but is also counted among the seven man-made miracles of the world. Be blown away by the incredible view. Take the exciting cable car ride to the famous Sugarloaf Mountain, which towers over the Guanabara Bay.
Explore Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world, stop at the Vista Chinese lookout and later admire the gorgeous Tijuca Waterfall Cascatinha. Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral and the world-famous Selaron Steps. Enjoy a short tour of the traditional Cinelândia Square and its historical buildings; relax and people-watch on both Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach.
Spend two days in the sophisticated coastal town of Búzios, and visit some of its numerous beaches, including the famous horseshoe bay of Ferradura, and the popular surf beach of Geribá. At night, explore the nearby bustling town of Rua das Pedras. Head off on a whistle-stop tour, by catamaran, of the surrounding islands and as many as 12 beautiful beaches, where you can snorkel and swim. Keep your eyes peeled for sea life as you flit between the islands that Brigitte Bardot made famous to European visitors.
Your Amazon Cruise
Fly to Manaus and explore a little bit of this historic jungle city before embarking on your Amazon cruise aboard a luxury riverboat. Head to the ecological reserve of Lake Janauari, where there are floating houses. Walk along a suspended walkway, play with the wild monkeys and observe various other species of animals and plants, including the huge Victoria Amazonica waterlily.
Witness the extraordinary sight of the two-toned confluence of two massive Amazon tributaries, where the dark waters of the Negro River meet the muddy waters of the Solimões River to form the mighty Amazon. This meeting point is known as the “Meeting of the Waters”. Arrive at the National Park of the Anavilhanas Archipelago, walk through the Amazon forest, and learn about the insects and animals, plants and trees, including the rubber tree.
Meet an indigenous tribe at Aldeia Tucano and learn about their customs and rituals. Visit Lake Acajatuba and swim with the pink river dolphins. Observe animals such as spider monkeys, sloths, fisher-birds, parrots, and take a motorboat trip at night in search of eagles, herons, gypsy-birds, alligators, and more. Spend a day on the Ariaú River, observing more fauna and flora, and walk in the forest near Lake Tucumã. Dip into the deliciously cool waters of a small waterfall and take a canoe trip through the immense igapó (flooded forest), which unites the basins of the Mucuras and Cuieras River.
Please note all of the featured excursions, activities, and accommodations on this luxury tour can be tailored to suit your taste and your time availability in accordance with your personal wishes. All are private tours and transport with a private guide, with the exception of the cruise portion, which is on a shared basis with other passengers.
Itinerary & Prices
Welcome to Rio
We arrive in Rio in the form of a private transfer and straight into the beating heart of the samba rhythm of Brazilian life. Rio is known for its warm, friendly people, its beaches, and Carnival, but the city is rich in myriad ways and any trip to Brazil requires Rio to form a strong part of the itinerary.
Situated along the coast and with a string of beautiful beaches (the most famous being the Copacabana) this seaside city has sun, art, culture, and no shortage of fantastic visitor attractions. Although often thought of as the capital city, Rio has not been the de jure title holder of that honor since 1960, but it is very much the de facto hub of Brazil as far as tourism and outright beauty are concerned. Rio is home to dozens of beaches, all set along the spectacularly lush coast which is home to dozens of tall islands that dot the sea.
When in Rio we recommend visiting some of, and if not all of the following places: Sugar Loaf, Corcodova, Tijuca Forest, the city center, and last but by no means least, a traditional Brazilian steakhouse, or Rodizio.
Iconic Sugar Loaf and Corcovado
After breakfast, we embark on a trip to visit Corcovado Mountain. We take the cable car from Cosme Velho Station and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Our journey takes us through the dense Atlantic rain forest of Tijuca and offers us a wonderful opportunity for a closer look at the forest’s lush tropical vegetation and to enjoy the scenic landscapes of the beaches and city. Perched on top of the 2,300-foot high granite peak of the aforementioned Corcovado, the Cristo Redentor is as famous a landmark as there is globally.
While everyone will be familiar with it, not everyone has the chance to visit it up close and personal and appreciate just exactly how immense and imposing it is. Built between 1922 and 1931 in the art-deco style of the era, the statue is an enormous 100 feet high and the outstretched arms are only a few feet shorter.
We head on to the Aterro do Flamengo and the neighborhood of Urca and the site of the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain. You will travel all the way to the top in two steps by cable car. The first cable car takes us to Urca Hill, a vantage point some 215m (nearly 700 feet) high, from where we can enjoy fantastic views of Guanabara Bay and its islands, the Rio-Niterói Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. The second leg of our cable car journey reaches the top of Sugar Loaf and from here we get a whole new set of views of such sights as Copacabana beach, the Santa Cruz fortress, and several beaches of Niterói.
Rio's Atlantic Rainforest
Today, we head to the Tijuca Forest National Park, one of the largest urban forests in the world, and a rare strand of Atlantic rainforest which is now nearly extinct. The trip is done partly in a 4 x 4 vehicle and partly on foot. There are two ways of entering the park and we opt for the less well-known route as the better views can be found on this road. Our first stop is at a lookout known as the Vista Chinese due to the oriental-styled pagoda-like gazebo. From here we get spectacular panoramic views of the south of Rio de Janeiro before rejoining the more well-trodden path and arrive at the second entrance to the park.
Once past the Açude da Solidão, (the secondary entrance to the forest), we make a stop at the famous Tijuca Waterfall Cascatinha, a waterfall so beautiful it almost looks like it has been designed and admire the natural beauty of the water cascading down from the rock. After driving a bit further into the forest we begin a short trail of around 30 minutes which allows us to really appreciate the rarity of a jungle forest within the confines of a city! After finishing our trail we still have time for a panoramic tour of downtown and a visit to the Metropolitan Cathedral which was built in a pyramidal form with an internal diameter of 96 meters and a height of 80 meters.
We head on to the world-famous Escadaria Selarón, also known as the ‘Selaron Steps’, a wonderful colorful staircase comprising of some 215 individually mosaiced steps. They are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it as “my tribute to the Brazilian people. We end our day’s excursions with a short tour of the traditional Cinelândia Square and its historical buildings.
Brazil's Beautiful Beaches
Today we pick you up at your hotel and transport you to the coastal town of Búzios. Armação dos Búzios often referred to as just Búzios, is a resort town and a municipality located in the state of Rio de Janeiro and to the east of the city of the same name. It is known as a sophisticated vacation destination with numerous beaches, the most famous of these being the Ferradura, a picture-perfect emerald horseshoe-shaped bay perfect for water sports, and Geribá, a popular surf spot.
At night explore the nearby village of Rua das Pedras a bustling town with restaurants, bars, and lively locals.
A Boat Tour of Buzios
Today we head off on a whistle-stop tour of the surrounding islands and beaches. In order to best take in all of the little beaches and island retreats, we take you on a catamaran trip. We head to the northern side of the peninsula and take in no less than 12 beautiful beaches. Whilst it would be impossible to stop at every one, we do make three separate stops allowing you to bathe, snorkel and swim. All equipment is provided so all you need is your swimsuit! The order of the beaches is as follows and the stops are also highlighted: Armação Beach – Caboclo Island – Orla Bardot – Ossos Beach – Beach Azeda & Azedinha – João Fernandes Beach (stop 1) – João Fernandinho Beach – Ilha Branca – Ilha Feia (stop 2) – Tartaruga e Tartaruguinha Beach (stop 3) – Virgens Beach – Praia dos Amores and Praia do Canto.
Aside from the scheduled stops, you will also be able to take advantage of the two glass windows situated on either hull. These windows can be used to spot sea life as they give you a clear view of the bottom of the sea. Keep your eyes peeled for sea life as you flit between the islands that Brigitte Bardot made famous to European visitors. Known as the St. Tropez of South America, it is easy to see why with the beautiful bays, white sands, and warm aquamarine water.
From Buzios to Manaus
We pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to the jungle city of Manaus. Manaus is located right in the middle of the world’s largest rainforest and was founded when the Portuguese needed a base from which to defend their claim on the surrounding area from the Dutch who were based in what is now modern-day Suriname. Manaus became known worldwide as a city in the 19th Century with the Rubber Boom, and at the time was amongst the richest cities in the world.
These riches prompted extravagant spending, and a series of one-upmanship from rubber barons left a legacy of marble-clad buildings and huge estates that soon fell into disrepair once the rubber boom ended. Modern-day Manaus is a testament to this fascinating period in South America, and any visit to the Amazon in Brazil should include a stay in Manaus in order to understand modern-day man’s impact and interaction with the surrounding rainforest.
AM: All aboard, we will make a brief meeting to explain the navigation procedures, as well as the itinerary to come. We begin to sail to the East, where we can see the coastal area of Manaus, the beach of Ponta Negra, the dome of the Amazonas Theater, the favelas, the Adolpho Lisboa Municipal Market, the colossal engineering work of the Floating Port, and more. We continue sailing through the Rio Negro and continue to the ecological reserve of Lake Janauari, where there are floating houses.
PM: Lunch will be at a floating restaurant, where you can enjoy Amazonian cuisine and local handicrafts. After lunch, we will walk along a suspended walkway, from where it is possible to play with the wild monkeys and observe various other species of animals and plants, including Victoria Amazonica, the famous Victoria Regis. The climax of the day is still to come. It is when we follow the spectacular natural phenomenon, unique in the world, the Meeting of the Waters, where for more than three miles, the waters of two rivers, the Negro and Solimões, run side by side without mingling. A real natural spectacle! But the day is not over yet, and we will still visit a floating house where there is a creation of the Giant Pirarucu, an icon fish of the Amazon. Back on board, we will go up the Rio Negro towards the West, watching the setting sun. At dusk, we will arrive at the Reserve Palmeiral, the gateway to the National Park of the Anavilhanas Archipelago. There, we’ll settle down for the night.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Reserve Palmeiral, Tucano Village & Ariaú River
AM: The first activity of the second day is an adventure on land. The walk in the forest at the Palmeiral site is an excellent opportunity to get to know up close the life that exists inside the Amazon forest. We will enter the forest, learn about the species of plants and large trees that live there, as well as insects and special animals of that forest. We will discover the Rubber Tree, from which latex and rubber are extracted. This product is responsible for much of the economic and social development of Brazil during the rubber boom. While walking through the forest, accompanied by an experienced forest guide, you will also be presented with some survival techniques for the jungle.
PM: Our next stop is Aldeia Tucano, where you will meet an indigenous tribe native to the region and learn more about their customs and rituals. To feel the Amazonian welcome, the Pajé, chief of the tribe, will welcome us with a presentation to the sound of tribal flutes and dances with the participation of the Indian men and women of the tribe. After the warm reception, to refresh ourselves, we can go to Lake Acajatuba to take a swim with the Pink Dolphins. These friendly dolphins live in freedom in nature and are familiar with human presence, approaching humans when they offer them fish. The tour continues towards the Ariaú River, where the film Anaconda was recorded. In this area, it is common to observe animals such as spider monkeys, sloths, fisher-birds, parrots, among others. After dark, you can head out on a motorboat with a lantern, in search of animals like hunting eagles, herons, gypsy-birds, alligators, among others.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Ariaú River & Tucumã Lake
AM: Enjoy the beauty and the aspect of nature at dawn on the Ariaú River. During this period, it is possible to observe some species of animals that are more active at the beginning of the day. We leave for a ride on a motorboat to observe the typical fauna and flora. Among some common animals to watch are monkeys, sloths, parrots and herons, you may also see fishermen and gypsies. On the banks of this river, you can also enjoy the view of the largest tree in the forest, the giant Samaúma.
PM: We continue towards the National Park of the Anavilhanas Archipelago, an area of 350,000 hectares with more than 650 groups of islands. In the dry season, it is possible to enjoy groups of islands. In the dry season, it is possible to enjoy the white sandy beaches and cool off here. Before the end of the day, we will still explore the archipelago region in the motorboat.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Tucumã Lake & Mucuras River
AM: Let’s start the day with a walk in the forest, near Lake Tucumã, to observe the flora and fauna of the Negro River region. During the course of the trail, we will arrive at a stream with a small waterfall. A charming place where you can bathe and cool off in these delightful waters. We will then return to the boat and head towards the Mucuras River. Depending on the water level, it is possible to stop and bathe on the white sandy beaches that appear in the dry season in the Anavilhanas archipelago.
PM: Arriving at the Mucuras River, we will take a canoe trip, to observe the fauna and flora of the magical igapó. This immense igapó (flooded forest), unites the basins of the Mucuras and Cuieras River. The place is little frequented, being the scene of some local legends and also the habitat of the feared electric eel. Here, you can observe some wild animals and some very beautiful birds, such as toucans, and macaws. At night, we can continue the canoe trip to hear the sounds of nature.
Meals: (B, L, D)
AM: We recommend that you wake up early to enjoy the sunrise. The experience of seeing the day brightening, within the Amazon Rainforest, is a unique sensation of peace. We will start the navigation back to Manaus. Depending on the level of the water, we can make a stop for a swim off a beach or in the Arara waterfall.
We will return to the boat to collect the bags. A speedboat will take us to the land, where a car will be waiting for the transfer to Manaus.