Discover Brazil by hitting the best highlights of this massive country in 10 days. Start in Rio de Janeiro and visit a local samba school preparing for the world-famous Carnival. Journey along the Amazon river and get close to the jungle's exotic wildlife. Move to the beat of the drums as you learn about Bahian percussion instruments in Salvador, and take a tour of the city's traditional markets for a taste of the flavorful local cuisine.


  • Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the yearlong preparations for Rio's Carnival
  • Escape the city to discover the dense forest of Tijuca and its secluded trails
  • Uncover the natural beauty and stunning wildlife along the Amazon River
  • Learn about art, cooking, and music in Salvador, the center of Afro-Brazilan culture

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Sugarloaf Mountain Walk Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Rio City Tour & Carnival Culture Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Full-Day Art & Architecture Tour in Niterói Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Jeep Tour of Santa Teresa & Tijuca, Transfer to Manaus Manaus
Day 5 Transfer to the Amazon, Boat Ride & Jungle Activities The Amazon
Day 6 Adventures in the Amazon The Amazon
Day 7 Transfer to Salvador  Salvador
Day 8 African Heritage City Tour with Lunch, Bahian Percussion Workshop Salvador
Day 9 Salvador Market Tour, Art Tour of Bahia, Evening in Rio Vermelho Salvador
Day 10 Depart Salvador  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Sugarloaf Mountain Walk

Sugarloaf Mountain
A morning view of the harbor

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 a wide range of attractions and activities to explore that showcase the local culture and cuisine.

No visit to Rio is complete without a trip up to the peak of the famous Sugarloaf Mountain for panoramic city views. This afternoon you'll embark on a tour that begins at Praia Vermelha beach, where you and your local guide will hike 721 feet (220 m) to the top of Morro da Urca along the Claudio Coutinho trail. It's a steady, leisurely 45-minute hike that winds its way up the mountain. Keep an eye out for marmosets and birds! At the end, take the cable car to the top of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) to enjoy marvelous views, then head back by cable car and return to your hotel.

Day 2: Rio City Tour & Carnival Culture

Carnival celebrations at the Sambódromo in Rio
Carnival celebrations at the Sambódromo in Rio

After breakfast, venture into the city and experience authentic Carioca ( Rio's locals) culture on a walking tour with a local expert. Highlights include the conical-shaped São Sebastião Cathedral and the Saara Shopping District, a lively hub for bargain hunters. Then, marvel at the spaceshiplike architectural design of the Contemporary Art Museum (MAC), and see a wide array of traditional Brazilian handicrafts at the CRAB Museum. Have a buffet lunch at Confeitaria Colombo, one of the oldest restaurants in Brazil, before heading to the historical enclave of Pedra do Sal, the birthplace of samba music.

Here you'll go behind the scenes of Brazil's Carnival celebrations with a visit to a samba school. Even if you aren't here during the actual carnival, you'll see people working diligently during this yearlong process of building floats, sewing costumes, and preparing dance routines. You can try on some outfits and learn a bit of percussion to get the feel of Brazilian samba. Enjoy a delicious caipirinha—Brazil's national cocktail made with cachaça (sugar cane liquor) and lime before returning to your hotel.

Day 3: Full-Day Art & Architecture Tour in Niterói

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (MAC)
A bird's-eye view of Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (MAC)

It's just a hop over Guanabara Bay by bridge to Niterói, where you'll take a guided cultural tour of this city. Visit the vast and inviting Icaraí Beach, the Copacabana of Niterói. From there, head to the dazzling Contemporary Art Museum (MAC). Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, its unmistakable flying-saucer design has become an icon of Rio and Niterói. With a prime position on the Mirante de Boa Viagem viewpoint, it looks across Guanabara Bay back to Rio's skyline. Go inside to admire the museum's over 1,200 works of modern art.

After the art museum, you'll stop at the Mercado São Pedro, which dates to the mid-19th century and is the largest fish market in Rio de Janeiro. After a fresh and delicious seafood lunch at a recommended restaurant, you'll return to your hotel in Rio for the afternoon.

Day 4: Jeep Tour of Santa Teresa & Tijuca, Transfer to Manaus

Monkey in Tijuca National Park
Monkey in Tijuca National Park

Today you'll visit Santa Teresa, a neighborhood offering the quintessential Brazilian experience. Winding narrow streets and colorful historical buildings characterize the bohemian area. From the top of Santa Teresa Hill, some of Rio's best views of lush landscapes and Guanabara Bay unfold. Explore Tijuca Forest; while still in the city, it feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle. There are a few easy trails where you can experience nature up close. Depending on the time of day, monkeys, toucans, iguanas, anteater-type mammals, and other life-forms are never too far away.

Plan your trip to Brazil
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Late afternoon, you will be picked up from your hotel by a private car and transferred to Rio de Janeiro's airport. Board a domestic flight to Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas. When you arrive that night, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.

Day 5: Transfer to the Amazon, Boat Ride & Jungle Activities

The Amazon River
Explore the Amazon River

An early pickup at your hotel for a group transfer to the Amazon kicks off your jungle adventure as you hop in a boat for a ride along the Amazon River to a lodge in the heart of the rainforest. You'll be welcomed with fresh fruit juice before check-in when you step off the boat. After settling in your room, embark on an afternoon of exciting jungle activities. These might include riding down the river in a motorized canoe to visit a ribeirinhos (river people) village, learning about the native fruit that grows in the area, and seeing a traditional casa de farinha (manioc flour house).

Day 6: Adventures in the Amazon

Take a canoe ride down the Amazon
Take a canoe ride down the Amazon

Rise early and marvel at the sunrise over the Amazon River. After breakfast at the lodge, you'll venture into the rainforest and enjoy more small-group tours. These are great, immersive ways to experience the Amazon's diverse ecosystem, incredible landscapes, and exotic flora and fauna. You might visit riverine villages to see how they make farinha (manioc flour) or try piranha fishing using traditional techniques from the native populations. Other activities include canoeing around forested wetlands as your guide explains Indigenous traditions and customs.

Day 7: Transfer to Salvador 

The historic center of Salvador 

You'll take a boat back up the Amazon River to Manaus in the morning. After transferring to the airport, you'll catch a connecting flight to Salvador, the capital of the northeastern coastal state of Bahia.

This city is known as a center of Afro-Brazilian culture and is famous for its unique cuisine, music, and architecture. Salvador was founded in 1549 as the first capital of colonial Brazil, making it one of the oldest cities in the Americas and one of the first planned cities in the world. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel in the city. Relax this evening, so you'll be ready to soak up the vibrations of this fascinating city tomorrow.

Day 8: African Heritage City Tour with Lunch, Bahian Percussion Workshop

São Francisco Church, Salvador
Move to the beat of the drums in Salvador

Today's walking tour allows you to trace Salvador's African roots by exploring the Pelourinho historic city center. Visit the Afro-Brazilian Museum (Museu Afro-Brasileiro), which tells the city's West African history. Stroll along cobbled streets to Pelourinho Square with the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black People, dedicated to enslaved people and freedmen. Learn about the African influence on Bahian cuisine at the Gastronomy Museum. Afterward, pull up a seat on the terrace of Odoyá restaurant and dine on a delicious Bahian lunch and enjoy the ambience in the square.

Later in the afternoon, discover the percussive sounds of Bahia. The rhythmic soul of this region is African, and the distinctive syncopations created by Bahians have inspired musicians worldwide. Along with a local percussionist who will act as a guide, you'll participate in an interactive and engaging musical workshop to learn about Bahia's rhythms and capoeira hand percussion instruments. 

Day 9: Salvador Market Tour, Art Tour of Bahia, Evening in Rio Vermelho

Brazilian moqueca
Eat your way through Salvador's food markets

One of the best ways to get to know any city is to visit its markets. Explore São Joaquim Fair, the largest market in the town, where you'll find a labyrinth of merchant stalls, produce vendors, and food outlets. Browse the bustling aisles as you rub shoulders with locals doing their daily shopping. Try a fresh fruit suco (juice), or sample other goodies at the food stalls. After the market, you'll visit a local restaurant for a cooking demonstration in which the chef prepares a dish. When it's finished, it's time to eat!

After lunch, start in the beachside suburb of Rio Vermelho to tour the museums of three of Bahia's most famous artists: the novelist Jorge Amado, photographer Pierre Verger, and the Argentine-Brazilian painter Carybé. Each of their works documented daily life in and around Salvador, showcasing the street scenes and religious traditions that make Bahia a singularly beautiful culture.

As evening falls, get ready to party like a Bahian! With your local guide, head back to Rio Vermelho and embark on a four-hour Bahian celebration. The first stop is a small bar/restaurant to have a drink and try acarajé. These iconic street-food fritters mix black-eyed peas, onions, and dried shrimp into fried balls. You'll then visit a boteco to try more delicious local food. Afterward, continue exploring along the waterfront, mingling with locals, and enjoying live music and dance.

Day 10: Depart Salvador

Salvador de Bahía Port
Farewell Brazil!

Spend your last morning exploring Salvador at your leisure. When it's time to say tchau (goodbye) to Brazil, your driver will be waiting to take you to the airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Adventure in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, the Amazon & Salvador - 10 Days
Map of Adventure in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, the Amazon & Salvador - 10 Days