This 10-day classic Rio and Amazon tour offers a great way to see Rio De Janeiro and the Amazon Rainforest. Start your amazing Amazon river tour from Rio de Janeiro, visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer, take a cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain, explore the urban forest of Tijuca, and see the highlights of the city. Then head to the Amazon, where you will cruise through the Anavilhanas archipelago and the rivers of the watery forest, spot exotic wildlife in the jungle, meet an indigenous community, and swim with pink river dolphins.
Roam Rio’s Famous Landmarks
In Rio de Janeiro, ride the historic train up to the 2329-foot peak of Corcovado mountain for a close-up experience of 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. This is an experience you’ll never forget, while the jaw-dropping vista from the summit is truly spellbinding.
Explore Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world and admire the gorgeous Tijuca Waterfall Cascatinha. Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral and the world-famous Selaron Steps, the vibrant colors of which have transformed this area of Rio into an artistic masterpiece. Enjoy a short tour of the traditional Cinelândia Square and its historical buildings; relax and people-watch on both Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach.
Explore The Secrets Of The Amazon
Transfer to the jungle city of Manaus, which serves as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest. The port is located on the dark waters of the Negro River, just east of where it meets the muddy waters of the Solimões River to form the mighty Amazon. The largest rainforest in the world is fed by ten of the world’s largest rivers, including the Amazon itself. Step aboard the wooden, 8-cabin Jacaré-Açu, for an exciting cruise during which you’ll explore parts of the Anavilhanas archipelago.
Ride on a motorized canoe through the islands and lagoons, and keep your eyes peeled for river dolphins, herons, egrets, macaws, parrots, caciques, oropendolas, and jacamars. Head to the Madadá Observatory for a spectacular lookout over the Rio Negro. Hike through virgin rainforest to Madadá Caves, and stop by an Amazon farmhouse to learn about local customs, farming techniques, and crops. Cool off with a dip in the Rio Negro. Cruise through the Rio Negro State Park and try your hand at fishing for piranha.
Follow the Rio Jaú, a river of mirror-like waters, see the igapó forest and canoe through the Jaú National Park looking for giant otters, and later caiman and nocturnal animals after dark. Meet and interact with the indigenous community of Aturia, and gain an insight into their traditional lifestyle in the Amazon. Continue to Novo Airão and jump at the opportunity to swim with the elusive pink river dolphins. End with a city tour of Novo Airão, to see the ship-building, the craftsmanship, and other attractions of this Amazon River town.
Floating through the rainforest along the biggest river system on the planet is one of the greatest experiences any traveler can ever have. This thrilling tour, combining the contrasting life of the city with the life of the rainforest is perfect for couples, families and groups of friends.
Itinerary & Prices
Welcome to Rio de Janeiro!
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.
Tijuca Forest and City Tour
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.
Free Beach Day
Today we leave you a free day to enjoy the sights and smells of Rio at your own leisure. No trip to Rio is complete without experiencing one of its famous beaches, the most famous of which are of course the Copacabana and Ipanema, and these are easily accessible from your hotel.
A standard day at the beach for a Cariocas (native Brazilians born in Rio de Janeiro) usually involves iced coconut water and a lot of people watching. Street food in Rio is also something worth trying and the classic combo is Coxinha com uma Caiprinha (soft fried cassava dough with a lime and cachaca alcoholic drink) or queijo coalho em espetos (fresh cheese which the vendor cooks in front of you on a portable grill).
N.B If you would prefer to experience the above with a guide, one can be arranged for you.
Today, you will be taken to the airport in Rio for your flight to Manaus.
On arrival, we pick you up from the airport and transfer you 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: At 9:00 we pick you up from your hotel or the airport in an air-conditioned van, and drive to the riverside town of Novo Airão. We arrive here in the early afternoon and give you a briefing on Amazon’s biology, history, and the things you may see, along the way. After boarding the Jacaré-Açu, we start sailing through the spectacular Anavilhanas Archipelago while enjoying our first delicious lunch on board.
PM: In the afternoon, we take a ride on the motorized canoes through the islands and lagoons of the archipelago. This is an area rich in wildlife, and we hope to see two species of river dolphin, as well as multiple species of birds, such as herons, egrets, macaws, parrots, caciques, oropendolas, and jacamars. Once back on the boat, we set sail to Madadá Observatory, a spectacular lookout over the Rio Negro, with basic bungalow facilities in the middle of the jungle. After dinner onboard, you can choose if you want to spend the night in your cabin or a hammock at the Observatory.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Anavilhanas & Madadá Caves
AM: After breakfast, we make a three-hour round-trip hike through virgin rainforest to Madadá Caves, with our guides giving a mini jungle survival course, along the way. We then visit an Amazon farmhouse to learn about local customs, farming techniques, and crops. In the late morning, we have a chance to cool off with a dip in the Rio Negro.
PM: After lunch on board, we set sail for the Rio Negro State Park area and a chance to try our hand at piranha fishing before sunset. Once back on the boat we set sail to Sleepy Beach, on the Rio Jau, where we will anchor for the night and enjoy dinner and sit around a bonfire for a night of native folklore storytelling.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Jaú National Park
AM: This morning we sail to the Jaú National Park Ranger Station, and then along the Rio Jaú, a river of mirror-like waters, with likely sightings of aquatic mammals and birds. The Park consists of three major rivers – Unini to the North, Carabinani to the South, and Jau in the middle – along with countless smaller black water tributaries.
The water level varies drastically during the year and the igapó forest found near the waterways can be flooded for up to eight months of the year. This type of forest is tropical and humid, with as many as 200 species per hectare. In the rainy season, we moor the boat and take the canoes through the Park’s creeks, looking for families of Giant Otters. In the dry season, we explore the Rio Pauini, a tributary filled with boulders and waterfalls.
PM: On return to the Jacaré-Açu, we sail to the indigenous community of Aturia where we moor for the evening. After dark, we go looking for caiman and nocturnal animals in the canoes, using spotlights.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Jaú National Park
AM: This morning, after breakfast, we visit Aturia village, where we can learn more about traditional life in the Amazon. The children of the village are always extremely happy to interact with visitors, so be prepared to get involved in a game of soccer or swimming or some impromptu arts and crafts.
Later we will be visiting a giant tree around the community, a very old lady from the ancient forest, before we begin an aquatic trail with regional canoes, keeping a lookout for Bicoh Monkeys and other animals.
PM: Once back on the boat, we have lunch on board before we return to the IBAMA base and sail out of Jaú National Park.
Meals: (B, L, D)
AM: Today we continue sailing from Jaú to Novo Airão. On the way, we may have the chance to swim with Pink River Dolphins. A real highlight. Once back in Novo Airão, we take a city tour to see the ship-building, the craftsmanship, and other attractions of this Amazon River town.
PM: We have a farewell lunch at “Flor do Luar”, a floating restaurant in the Anavilhanas National Park. before taking the van back to Manaus, arriving mid-afternoon.
Meals: (B, L)