From vibrant cities and fantastic beaches to mountain treks, you'll discover everything Brazil has to offer on this colossal 14-day itinerary. Go bar hopping in Rio before taking a behind-the-scenes tour of a Carnaval samba school. Get a little island fever on Ilha Grande and bask on its pristine beaches. Trek through the enchanting Chapada Diamantina Natural Park to enjoy its canyons, caves, and waterfalls, then end your adventure dancing to the beat of samba music in Salvador.

Highlights

  • Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the year-long preparations for Rio's Carnival
  • Hike along white sand beaches and soak up the island life on Ilha Grande
  • Trek between the breathtaking waterfalls of Chapada Diamantina National Park
  • Dance the night away to the beat of samba music in Salvador 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Boteco Tour of Rio Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Free Morning in Rio de Janeiro, Walking Tour of Pão de Açúcar & Ipanema Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer Tour, Carnival Experience Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Transfer to Ilha Grande, Hike to Lopes Mendes Beach Ilha Grande
Day 5 Free Day in Ilha Grande Ilha Grande
Day 6 Transfer to Rio, Fly to Salvador Salvador
Day 7 Transfer to Lençóis & Chapada Diamantina National Park Lençóis
Day 8 Transfer to Guinea, Trek to Mucugê Mucugê
Day 9 Day Trek to Cachoeira dos Funis Mucugê
Day 10 Trek to Capão Capão
Day 11 Day Trek in Chapada Diamantina National Park, Transfer to Lençóis Lençóis
Day 12 Transfer to Salvador, Evening Adventure in Salvador Salvador
Day 13 Full-Day Cachoeira Cultural Tour Salvador
Day 14 Half-Day Historical City Tour, Depart Salvador  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Boteco Tour of Rio

Airport arrival in Rio de Janeiro
See Christ the Redeemer up close in Rio de Janeiro

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, the "Cidade Maravilhosa" (Marvelous City)! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Rio is home to mountains, tropical forests, and stunning beaches, making it the perfect place for travelers looking for both adventure and relaxation. The city offers many attractions and activities to explore that showcase the local culture and cuisine. Once checked in at your hotel, you'll have the afternoon free to explore.

Come nightfall, you'll embark on a guided tour of the city's botecos, beloved neighborhood bars where locals go to meet. Your pub crawl begins in the raucous district of Lapa, one of the city's most popular areas for nightlife. Learn about cachaça, its history, and how it became the central liquor used in Brazil's national cocktail, the caipirinha. From Lapa, the tour continues to three bars in the world-famous beach areas of Ipanema and Copacabana, where you'll sample different local snacks and drinks. By the end of the evening, you'll feel like a real Carioca (an affectionate name for Rio's locals)!

Day 2: Free Morning in Rio de Janeiro, Walking Tour of Pão de Açúcar & Ipanema

Free Morning in Rio de Janeiro
Play on the beach in Rio

Today you'll have the morning free to explore the city at your own pace. Spend some time on the beach, playing volleyball, or participating in some of the many watersports available. There's kite surfing, jet skiing, boat tours, and much more. Or you can always relax and mingle with the locals. It's an excellent opportunity to enjoy Rio's beaches like a native.

This afternoon visit the famous landmark of  Mirante do Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). Start at the cable car station of Praia Vermelha in Urca. From there, your local guide will take you on a hike along the Claudio Coutinho track, also known as the Bem Te Vi trail. As you go, observe the sights and sounds of the forest and spot marmosets and exotic birds. At the trail's end, take the cable car to the top of Pão de Açúcar to enjoy the best views of Rio.

After coming down by cable car, head to Ipanema, where you'll make a short stop at the famous Hippie Fair of Zona Sul. Find artwork, jewelry, handicrafts, clothing, and souvenirs as you munch on tasty street food. Afterward, go to the Arpoador, a rock between Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, to take in an incredible sunset.

Day 3: Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer Tour, Carnaval Experience

Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer Tour & Carnival Experience
Take the cable car to Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer 

Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World today at Christ the Redeemer. After reaching the base of the granite mountain, take the train through the lush Tijuca Forest to reach the summit of Corcovado at 2,329 feet (710 m) and look out over the Christ the Redeemer statue and fantastic panoramic views of the bay. Returning to the city, you'll have a scenic tour along Rio's southern beaches until arriving at your hotel.

After lunch, get an insider's look at Rio's famous Carnival culture. Visit the Cidade do the Samba (Samba City), a special place that concentrates warehouses of the different samba schools. With a local guide, you'll learn about the history of samba music, dance, and Carnival parades. You will also have a chance to try on some costumes, take pictures, and learn a bit of percussion and samba to feel the Carnival atmosphere. Finally, after all that dancing, be rewarded with a delicious caipirinha! Next, visit the Sambadrome, its cultural center, and the birthplace of samba at Pedra do Sal

Day 4: Transfer to Ilha Grande, Hike to Lopes Mendes Beach

Enjoy the island life hiking along Ilha Grande's beaches and coves

After breakfast, a driver will take you to the coastal town of Conceição de Jacareí. From there, a taxi boat will be waiting to take you to the idyllic island of Ilha Grande, and its only village of Vila do Abraão, where your adventure begins. Once checked in at your hotel, set out on a guided hike to enjoy the peaceful calm of the island, passing five different beaches along the way, including Palmas Beach, Mangues Beach, and Pouso Beach at Enseada de Palmas.

Your destination is Lopes Mendes, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It captivates visitors with its fine white sands and crystal clear waters. Along its 1.5 miles (2.4 km), you'll find a beautiful stream, a picturesque chapel, and a mosaic by Silvio Cavalheiro in an old ship barrel. Take time to relax and enjoy the beach. Afterward, it's a 30 minutes walk to return to the boat and transfer back to Vila do Abraão.

Day 5: Free Day in Ilha Grande

Free day in Ilha Grande
Hit the surf in Ilha Grande

It's your last day on the island, and you are free to enjoy the peaceful beaches of this tropical paradise however you like. For those who want more action, it's possible to participate in one of the many local eco-trekking tours. You could also explore the island by kayak or try your hand at surfing. Don't forget you're in a diver's paradise, so organizing a snorkel or diving trip is easy. Discovering the surrounding islands by boat tour is highly recommended to discover more of the stunning surroundings that preserve the region's wildlife and diverse ecosystems.

Day 6: Transfer to Rio, Fly to Salvador

Salvador's colorful Old Town
Get ready for a change of scene as you transfer by boat and then by private vehicle to Rio de Janeiro Airport for your flight to Salvador, the capital of Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia. Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you to your accommodations. Salvador is considered the center of the country's Afro-Brazilian culture and is famous for its distinctive cuisine, music, and architecture. Founded in 1549 as the first capital of colonial Brazil, it is one of the oldest cities in the Americas and one of the first planned cities in the world. Relax this evening so that you're ready to tackle tomorrow's big adventure.

Day 7: Transfer to Lençóis & Chapada Diamantina National Park

Aerial view of Lençóis
View of the quaint village of Lençóis

Board a bus early this morning for a six-hour drive to Lençóis. Once you've arrived, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. This charming cobbled stone town is in the center of the nature reserve of Chapada Diamantina National Park (Diamond Plateau). All of the towns that dot the national park, including Lençóis, are full of colonial buildings representing the riches of the diamond era that helped make Brazil the first global diamond producer at the beginning of the 20th century.

The trails created by diamond prospectors are still accessible today and serve as paths for exploring secluded caves, enchanting waterfalls, and stunning table mountains. Once checked in, explore this town's brightly-colored architecture and quaint atmosphere. In the evening, sit down and relax in one of its many outdoor cafés.

Day 8: Transfer to Guinea, Trek to Mucugê

Trek to Vale do Pati
Uncover the best waterfalls for a dip in Vale do Pati

While still within the Diamond Plateau, a private driver will transfer you 52 miles (85 km) to Guinea, where your first day of trekking begins. Spend some time wandering this beautiful and rustic village before hitting the trail. Join your guide on an 11-mile (18-km) hike through the Vale do Pati, the center of the national park. You'll connect with nature along the way as you discover hidden waterfalls, exotic vegetation, and spectacular scenery.

Surrounded by a panorama of table mountains and canyons, hike toward Cachoeirão, one of the loveliest waterfalls in the park. Take a soak and relax before continuing on the forest-lined trail to reach the village of Mucugê, where you'll spend tonight in a local's home. Enjoy dinner with plenty of time to relax and recover from your trek.

Day 9: Day Trek to Cachoeira dos Funis

Day-Trek to Cachoeira dos Funis
Relax in a cave lagoon near Cachoeira dos Funis
After yesterday's long trek, enjoy a more relaxed excursion to soothe those sore muscles. Join your guide on a leisurely 4-mile (8-km) walk to the waterfall of Cachoeira dos Funis, where you can swim, unwind, and soak in the sun. This is one of seven waterfalls following the Cumbuco River, and along the trail, you'll also find many interesting caves. Discover one or two nearby cave lagoons and jump into the deep blue waters for a refreshing dip. Later in the afternoon, you'll return to your host family and learn more about the local culture as you sit down for a home-cooked meal.

Day 10: Trek to Capão

Trek to Capão
Soak up the enchanting scenery on your way to Capão

Have your camera ready for today's 13-mile (22-km) trek toward Rio Preto. First, you'll climb to the peak of Gerais do Vieira, where you can take a swim in the natural pools and reward tired legs. Take plenty of photos and soak in the sumptuous scenery. Later in the afternoon, descend to the start of the valley known as Vale do Capão. From there, hike through dense forest until you reach Calixto Waterfall, where you'll have a break at this welcoming oasis. Follow this trail to find exotic flora and fauna before getting to a dirt road where a vehicle will be waiting to take you to the village of Capão for the evening.

Day 11: Day Trek in Chapada Diamantina National Park, Transfer to Lençóis

Morro do Castelo Trekking, Chapada Diamantina
View from the top of Morro do Pai Inacio

It's an early start this morning, so you'll have time to explore the nearby hippie village of Capão before heading out on the day's hike. Walk along the trail until you reach one of the main trailheads of Chapada Diamantina National Park, leading you to climb Morro do Pai Inácio. This table-shaped mountain is one of the park's most recognizable and popular landmarks. At an altitude of 3,674 feet (1,120 m), the path becomes very steep but well worth the effort as you're rewarded with incredible panoramic views over breathtaking scenery.

After descending the trail, you'll spend the afternoon exploring the park, wandering in grottoes, and observing the exotic wildlife one last time. As the day draws to a close, your driver will be waiting to take you back to Lençóis for the night.

Day 12: Transfer to Salvador, Evening Adventure in Salvador

Evening adventure in Salvador
Spend a night out on the town in Salvador

Savor your last moments of calm in Lençóis before taking a private transfer back to Salvador. After a six-hour drive, allow some time to relax before an exciting evening of adventure. It starts in the Rio Vermelho, affectionately called the Bairro Boemio, or the bohemian quarter. Everything is open all night, and it's the best place in town to rub shoulders with the locals. This traditional and popular neighborhood is home to many bars, restaurants, and botecos (informal neighborhood bars), institutions key to the district's charm.

The boteco tradition is synonymous with a bohemian lifestyle. Grab a beer accompanied by the all-important petiscos or snacks, complemented with lively banter and conversation. The neighborhood is also home to three of the city's most famous and treasured baianas de acarajé (vendors in traditional dress) selling the best Bahian street food. Music completes the bairro's attractions, with many bars providing excellent local live entertainment, from traditional to contemporary.

Day 13: Full-Day Cachoeira Cultural Tour

Discover Cachoeira along the Paraguaçu River

Today's day trip takes you on a journey back in time to the Brazil of yesteryear. Heading northwest of Salvador, you'll start with a stop at a busy country market in Santo Amaro, where little has changed over the years in this traditional fruit and vegetable marketplace that's perenially popular with locals. Continue your drive west through rolling hills to the UNESCO-listed town of Cachoeira, the jewel of the Bahian hinterland nestled in the deep valley of the Paraguaçu River.

The town's importance goes beyond its architectural wealth. It is home to a thriving culture grounded in African traditions and visible in its local art and sculptures. After lunch, take a walking tour of the town, with an opportunity to browse some local wood carving stores. Cross the western bank of the river and visit Dannemann, a cigar company, where you can see world-class cigars being expertly rolled. At the end of the day, your driver will take you back to Salvador, where you can enjoy your final evening in Brazil amid the lively nightlife of the Bairro Boemio.

Day 14: Half-Day City Tour, Depart Salvador

Half Day Historical City Tour
Farewell Salvador!

This morning starts with a tour of Salvador, where you'll visit essential points in the city's history, such as its first streets, squares, and churches. From the Farol da Barra Lighthouse on the coast to the Upper City perched atop a hill, stroll through the neighborhoods of Corridor of Victory, Campo Grande, and Piedade. Walk along the traditional Salvador Carnival circuit to reach Pelourinho, the city's center and one of the most important architectural sites of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Climb the Elevador Lacerda lookout point to see the Upper and Lower City and notice how the almost carved-out streets lead to Pelourinho's square. You'll enjoy the fantastic scenery in every place you visit. Experience beautiful churches like St. Francis of Assisi, Basilica Cathedral, and Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks. The tour ends at Largo do Pelourinho, where it's time to say farewell. A driver will be waiting for you at your hotel to drive you to the airport, where you'll say tchau Brasil and catch your departing flight.

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Map

Map of Active Brazil: Rio, Ilha Grande, Chapada Diamantina National Park & Salvador - 14 Days
Map of Active Brazil: Rio, Ilha Grande, Chapada Diamantina National Park & Salvador - 14 Days