On this well-rounded 15-day tour of Brazil, you'll visit many must-see attractions in different parts of the country. Start in the relaxed beachside town of Paraty before spending a few days in lively Rio de Janeiro, ticking off its iconic attractions (and beaches). Then, take things down a notch on the remote tropical island of Fernando de Noronha. From there, visit national parks and protected areas around Barreirinhas before ending in Salvador, the epicenter of the colorful Afro-Brazilian culture.


  • Admire views of Rio de Janeiro from Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer
  • Spend three days on the beautiful and remote Fernando de Noronha Island
  • Marvel at the sand dunes and lakes in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
  • Soak up the UNESCO-listed districts and local culture in São Luís and Salvador

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in São Paulo, Transfer to Paraty, Explore Paraty
Day 2 Boat Tour of Paraty Bay Paraty
Day 3 Free Morning in Paraty, Transfer to Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Visit the Christ the Redeemer Statue, Hike to Sugarloaf Mountain Rio de Janeiro
Day 5 City Walking Tour, Free Afternoon Rio de Janeiro
Day 6 Rio Botanical Garden Tour, Fly to Fernando de Noronha Fernando de Noronha
Day 7 Hike the Emerald Coast Fernando de Noronha
Day 8 4WD Tour of Fernando de Noronha Fernando de Noronha
Day 9 Fly to São Luís, Explore São Luís
Day 10 Transfer to Barreirinhas, Tour Lençóis Maranhenses National Park Barreirinhas
Day 11 Boat Tour on the Rio Preguiças Barreirinhas
Day 12 Transfer to São Luís, City Tour São Luís
Day 13 Fly to Salvador, Explore Salvador
Day 14 Walking Tour of Pelourinho, Evening Cultural Experience Salvador
Day 15 Salvador Market Tour, Cooking Demonstration & Lunch, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in São Paulo, Transfer to Paraty, Explore

Take an easy stroll through the colorful streets of Paraty upon arrival

Welcome to Brazil! Upon arrival at São Paulo Airport, your driver will meet you and transfer you to the coastal town of Paraty, a journey of about four hours. Sit back and enjoy the views along the way.

In Brazil's beautiful Costa Verde—a haven of forested mountains, untouched jungle, and sandy bays—idyllic Paraty is one of Brazil's most unique destinations. The historic Old Town is like a postcard of pedestrianized cobblestone streets and colorful buildings, with the calm waters of the Baia Carioca on one side and the lush green hillsides on the other. Take a walk through the historic streets with your camera before enjoying dinner and a good night's rest.

Day 2: Boat Tour of Paraty Bay

Take a relaxing boat tour of Paraty Bay with several stops for swimming and snorkeling

After breakfast at your hotel, get to know the Paraty area during a boat tour of Paraty Bay on a small converted fishing boat. Sail past and visit some of the bay's most beautiful beaches and islands. Each stop will be for about 40 minutes, which allows you plenty of time to swim, snorkel, sunbathe, and simply wander on the sand and enjoy the views and the tropical landscape.

Day 3: Free Morning in Paraty, Transfer to Rio de Janeiro

Spend a leisurely morning enjoying the beaches of Paraty

After breakfast, spend the morning exploring Paraty at your leisure. You might want to tour the surrounding area and beaches by bike or take a kayaking tour of the bay. You could even join an optional tour to see some waterfalls and visit an artisanal cachaça distillery—a local liquor made from sugar cane. Paraty is also known for its vibrant cultural scene, with several festivals and events taking place throughout the year. Check the local events calendar to see if any cultural events are happening during your visit. Later in the day, transfer to Rio de Janeiro, about four hours away. 

Day 4: Visit the Christ the Redeemer Statue, Hike to Sugarloaf Mountain

Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)
Start your day by visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue for epic views

One of the Brazilian capital's most iconic sights is the remarkable Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Perched atop the 2,300-foot (700 m) high Corcovado Mountain, this giant representation of Christ looks down benevolently over the city with open arms. Your tour of this century-old landmark begins with a 20-minute train ride from the base of Corcovado through the lush forest to the peak. You can see all of Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, the south beaches, and far north to Duque de Caxias

After a break at your hotel, take in another must-visit Rio attraction, Sugarloaf Mountain. There's a timeless and almost mystical beauty to the towering granite rock formations on this peninsula, dating back 500 million years. Begin the tour at Praia Vermelha Beach in the eastern neighborhood of Urca. This is where you'll hike the 721 feet (220 m) to the top of Morro da Urca along the Claudio Coutinho Trail. It's a steady, leisurely hike that winds its way up the mountain and takes about 45 minutes. Keep an eye out for marmosets and other local bird species en route. 

At the trail's end, you'll hop aboard the cable car to get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Rising 1,299 feet (396 m) above the harbor, the mountain gets its name because it resembles a giant mound of sugar. After enjoying the marvelous views and snapping plenty of photos, head back down by cable car and return to your hotel.

Day 5: City Walking Tour, Free Afternoon

Spend quality time at Copacabana Beach after your walking tour

Begin today with a relaxed morning walking tour to experience the lifestyle of the Cariocas—a nickname given to people from Rio de Janeiro. Head to the nearest subway station, where you'll take a 15-minute ride to the city's commercial and historic center. From there, explore the highlights on foot, including the Metropolitan Cathedral of São Sebastião and the Saara neighborhood, home to a bustling open-air market. Stop to try some delicious natural juice made from fresh tropical fruit along the way.

The afternoon is free to spend as you like, according to your interests. You might like to take a cooking class, ride a bike along the coast and lagoon, or relax on one of Rio's beaches, such as the famous and fashionable Copacabana or Ipanema.

Day 6: Rio Botanical Garden Tour, Fly to Fernando de Noronha

Visit the serene Rio Botanical Gardens before heading to the airport

This morning, you'll visit the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden, a magnificent 338-acre (137 ha) garden that's over 200 years old. It features a long avenue of 134 impressive royal palms and more than 7,000 types of plants, including orchids, bromeliads, cactuses, bamboo, and even carnivorous plants. You can sometimes see monkeys in the park, and there are always many birds flying over the trees, including dramatic toucans. 

In the afternoon, fly from Rio to Fernando de Noronha, an island located 220 miles (354 km) off Brazil's northeastern coast. The flight time is around five hours as you pass a considerable portion of the country to get there. The Fernando de Noronha archipelago—of which only the main island of the same name is inhabited—offers a volcanic landscape with jagged mountains, so keep your camera close. 

Day 7: Hike the Emerald Coast

Hiking the Emerald Coast
Expect stunning views while hiking along the Emerald Coast
Plan your trip to Brazil
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Get active today on a hiking tour along Fernando de Noronha's Emerald Coast, which is known as the mar-de-dentro (inside sea) and characterized by calm, greenish waters. Your walk starts at the pretty town of Vila dos Remedios, where many of the roughly 3,000 islanders live, and passes many beaches and the hillside of Morro do Pico. You can make stops to enjoy the views, sunbathe, and swim at the beaches that appeal to you.

Day 8: 4WD Tour of Fernando de Noronha

Travel off-road to get to lesser-visited parts of the island

See more of the beautiful island today on a 4WD tour of the coastline and interior. You'll get to see parts of the island that are difficult to access any other way. Your driver will take you along dirt roads and beaches and will take you to refreshing swimming spots and lookouts along the way. Stop for lunch at a lovely local spot recommended by your guide. End the day by watching the sunset from the Boldró lookout. 

Day 9: Fly to São Luís, Explore

Head out after sundown and check out the reggae capital of Brazil
Fly back to the mainland today, to São Luis, a coastal city in northeastern Brazil. After you've checked into your hotel and have had some time to rest, explore the charming old town. After dinner, keep an eye out for the city's lively music scene that has earned São Luís its reputation as the reggae capital of Brazil. You'll likely hear the infectious Jamaican rhythm around every corner. Soak in the vibrant atmosphere and maybe even catch a live performance by a local reggae band. 

Day 10: Transfer to Barreirinhas, Tour Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Take a 4WD tour of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Travel east today for about four hours to get to Barreirinhas, a peaceful town on the banks of the Rio Preguiças. After arriving, depart in a 4WD vehicle to the heart of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, which is close to the town. The park has unbelievable sand dunes that, between May and September, are pockmarked with blue lakes in between. After arriving at the dunes, you can take a short walk on them, as vehicles aren't allowed in the park itself. You can also swim in the crystal-clear lagoons. 

After sunset, return to Barreirinhas and have a look around. Enjoy your hotel's pool, stroll through the city's quiet streets, or have dinner at a local restaurant beside the river.

Day 11: Boat Tour on the Rio Preguiças

Visit different communities of Pequenos Lençois, including one with a lighthouse

After breakfast, head to the Rio Beira and take a speedboat to the Rio Preguiças Circuit, a protected area with a variety of flora, including palm trees, açai berry plants, and mangroves. From here, visit a few communities within the EPA (or Environmental Protection Area) of Pequenos Lençois. For instance, Vassouras has a large number of capuchin monkeys, while Mandacaru is home to the 114-foot (35 m) high Preguiças Lighthouse, from where there are great views of the Grandes Lençóis and the mouth of the Rio Preguiças.

Your next stop is Caburé, on a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio Preguiças. It's a nice place to hang out and swim in the sea or the river. There are some excellent restaurants here, too. In the mid-afternoon, return to your hotel in Barreirinhas and enjoy some free time.

Day 12: Transfer to São Luís, City Tour

São Luís City
Wander through the colorful streets in São Luís City

Today, make the return journey back to São Luis and get to know the city better on an afternoon tour of the UNESCO-listed historical center. São Luis has a rich history and is characterized by its 17th-century French, Dutch, and Portuguese architecture. Wander the cobblestone streets admiring landmarks, including the Palace of the Lions, and make sure to stop by one of the bustling markets to shop for local goods and sample some delicious regional cuisine. You can also visit numerous palaces, churches, and other landmarks. 

Depending on how much time you have, you might also want to make your way to the beautiful beaches that surround São Luís, where you can try windsurfing, diving, and fishing or simply relax on the warm sand and soak in the stunning views of the ocean and nearby mountains. 

Day 13: Fly to Salvador, Explore

Check out the historic streets of Salvador at dusk

Today, you'll transfer to the airport in São Luis for a flight south to Salvador, the capital of the Bahia state. Salvador is the center of Afro-Brazilian culture, and the city is known for its music, frequent festivals, beaches, historic architecture, and unique cuisine.

After you check in and get settled, you'll have the rest of the evening free to explore the city on your own or just rest. You could take a walk along the popular Praia da Barra, a beach with natural rock formations that divide the water into pools that are fun to swim or snorkel in. You can rent beach equipment here, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby.

Day 14: Walking Tour of Pelourinho, Evening Cultural Experience

Explore Pelourinho, the UNESCO-listed historic district in Salvador

Get active on a guided walking tour of Salvador's historic downtown and the Pelourinho district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the most extensive collection of colonial buildings in Latin America. Walk along cobblestone streets surrounded by pastel-colored houses, visit the exuberant São Francisco Church, and see the Cathedral of Salvador's Rococo refinement. Then, continue to the Lacerda Elevator, a public elevator connecting the city's upper and lower parts.

In the evening, it's your chance to party like a Bahian! By night, many locals head to the southern beach neighborhood of Rio Vermelho, affectionately referred to as the Bairro Boemio or bohemian quarter. This lively area is home to bars, restaurants, botecos, and informal spots to meet for drinks. There are also countless places to enjoy great Bahian street food and many bars with live music. You'll embark on a four-hour guided evening tour during which you'll try local street food, visit a boteco, enjoy the live music, and even get a chance to dance along the waterfront. 

Day 15: Salvador Market Tour, Cooking Demonstration & Lunch, Depart

Pick up fresh produce at São Joaquim Fair

There are few better ways to immerse yourself in Salvador than by visiting its municipal markets. The São Joaquim Fair is the largest such market in the city, and today, you'll have an opportunity to tour this massive labyrinth of merchant stalls, produce vendors, and food purveyors. Rub shoulders with locals doing their daily shopping, try a fresh fruit suco (juice), or purchase authentic Bahian souvenirs. 

The market is also where you can find all the ingredients necessary to prepare Bahia's signature dish, moqueca—a rich seafood stew made with cilantro, lime, garlic, coconut milk, and dendê (red palm) oil. After you've visited the market, head to a local restaurant for a cooking demonstration in which the chef will prepare this dish right before you.

After this exciting final activity, the time has come to say goodbye to Brazil. When it's time for your flight, head to Salvador airport and fly to São Paulo, where you'll connect to your international flight home or to another destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Best of Brazil: Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Fernando de Noronha, São Luís & Salvador - 15 Days
Map of Best of Brazil: Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Fernando de Noronha, São Luís & Salvador - 15 Days