- Visit Rio's top landmarks, including Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain
- Discover diverse flora at Tijuca National Park and Rio Botanical Garden
- Feel the spray of Devil's Mouth at UNESCO-listed Iguaçu Falls
- Explore Salvador's colonial history, architecture, and musical culture
- Take a day trip to Morro de São Paulo and bask on its sandy beaches
|Arrive in Rio de Janeiro & Explore
|Rio de Janeiro
|Christ the Redeemer & City Tour, Visit Maracanã Stadium
|Rio de Janeiro
|Visit Sugarloaf Mountain, Santa Teresa & Old Rio
|Rio de Janeiro
|Visit Tijuca Forest & the Rio Botanical Garden, Fly to Foz do Iguaçu
|Foz do Iguaçu
|Iguaçu Falls Tour, Fly to Salvador
|Salvador Sightseeing Tour
|Day Trip to Morro de São Paulo
|Brazilian Music Experience, Depart Salvador
Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Explore
Welcome to Brazil! Touch down in vibrant Rio de Janeiro, where a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Also known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City), Rio is a sprawling harbor city known for its beaches, festive culture, and raucous entertainment. On the drive into the city, catch views of Mount Corcovado's iconic Christ the Redeemer and Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). Cable cars transport visitors up its towering peak to enjoy expansive city views. After settling into your hotel, head out to explore independently.
Stroll along the Copacabana boardwalk to Forte de Copacabana, a Portuguese-colonial fort perched on a rocky cape at the beach's southern end, which is still a working naval base and offers amazing views. Continue to Arpoador Beach, one of Copacabana's top surf haunts, or visit Ipanema Beach, where people from all walks of life come to savor the swaying palm trees and soft sand, from surfers and tourists to joggers and beach vendors.
Day 2: Christ the Redeemer & City Tour, Visit Maracanã Stadium
Today's guided tour covers some of Rio's most famous landmarks. First, you'll head to the top of Mount Corcovado to visit Christ the Redeemer, a 98-foot (30 m) statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the city below. Commissioned in 1920, it was built to symbolize the welcoming spirit of both Rio and Brazil. Once you arrive at the summit of the 2,310-foot (704 m) Corcovado and the base of this Art Deco statue, you'll be treated to panoramic views of Rio and beyond, from the southern beaches to Guanabara Bay and farther north to the city of Duque de Caxias.
After descending Mount Corcovado, continue to the Maya-pyramid-inspired Metropolitan Cathedral and the Sambadrome, where Río's colorful Carnival parade is held each year. Stop at Maracanã Stadium next, one of South America's most beloved soccer venues, built to open the 1950 World Cup. Since then, the stadium has hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final and the 2016 Río Olympic Games. Take a tour of this world-class stadium before returning to your hotel for a free afternoon.
Day 3: Visit Sugarloaf Mountain, Santa Teresa & Old Rio
This morning you'll embark upon a guided tour of the affluent Urca neighborhood, which overlooks Guanabara Bay. Ride a cable car from here up to Sugarloaf Mountain, named for its resemblance to a mound of sugar. The nearly 1,300-foot (396 m) peak showcases 360-degree views of the rainforest, beaches, cityscapes, and monuments that define Brazil's most famous coastal city. After descending, you'll wander the winding streets of Santa Teresa, Rio's wealthiest neighborhood in the 19th century.
To get there, take the tram uphill, passing colonial houses and exotic vegetation. At the top, you'll find popular bars and restaurants, workshops, impressive street art, and intricate mosaic stairs made by Chilean artist Selaron. Afterward, explore Old Rio, located in the heart of the city, with its natural and architectural landmarks. Highlights include cultural centers, galleries, and restaurants, allowing you to immerse yourself in the authentic spirit of Rio.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Visit Tijuca Forest & the Rio Botanical Garden, Fly to Foz do Iguaçu
Lace up your hiking boots today to explore Tijuca National Park, a lush rainforest in Rio de Janeiro where you're likely to spot monkeys, tropical birds, and sloths. Take in aerial city views from the Vista Chinesa Gazebo, followed by a stop at the stunning Taunay Waterfall. Your jungle experience ends with a visit to the Rio Botanical Garden, considered one of the world's 10 most significant botanical gardens for its diverse collection of over 7,000 tropical plants.
As you enter, you'll see the 128 palm trees that line the main avenue, Barbosa Rodrigues, dating back to when the garden was created. In addition to numerous greenhouses, orchidariums, and rose gardens, you'll discover a lake with giant aquatic plants, such as the largest water lily in the Amazon, Vitória regia. Later this afternoon, you'll board a two-hour flight inland to Foz do Iguaçu, the jumping-off point for trips to the famed Iguaçu Falls, one of the world's largest waterfall systems. Your driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel, where you can rest before tomorrow's adventure.
Day 5: Iguaçu Falls Tour, Fly to Salvador
Start the day with a trip to the UNESCO-listed Iguaçu Falls, which straddles Brazil and Argentina. You'll admire the collection of over 275 waterfalls from the Argentine side, taking a short train ride to the best viewpoint of the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Mouth) waterfall. This is the highest section of Iguaçu (known as Iguazú in Argentina), featuring towers of water that plummet from 262 feet (80 m). Watch from the spectacular footbridges to experience the roar, the spray, and the power of this natural phenomenon.
After the tour, you'll fly five hours north to the coastal city of Salvador, Portugal's former colonial capital. Salvador is the center of Afro-Brazilian culture, and the city is known for its music, frequent festivals, beaches, ancient architecture, and unique cuisine. Meet your driver, who'll take you to your hotel, then head out for a first glimpse of this historic city.
Day 6: Salvador Sightseeing Tour
Start your day with a visit to Salvador's Upper Town. Accompanied by an expert guide, you'll wander the streets and alleys of the Pelourinho historic district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the largest existing collections of 17th and 18th-century colonial architecture in Latin America. You'll find the Church of São Francisco in this district, often considered the country's richest Baroque work.
Later, visit Lower Town, the coastal area of Salvador, which is linked to the Upper Town by the striking Lacerda Elevator. Enjoy sweeping views of Salvador from the top of the 240-foot (73 m) elevator, which began life as a rope-and-pulley system devised by Jesuits in the early 1600s. Tour highlights in the Lower Town include Salvador's most famous Catholic church, the Church of Senhor do Bonfim, and the Mercado Modelo, a traditional craft center.
Day 7: Day Trip to Morro de São Paulo
Escape the city today to explore the idyllic island of Ilha de Tinharé. Meet your guide and take a ferry 37 miles (60 km) south of Salvador to the island. You'll disembark at Morro de São Paulo, one of Ilha de Tinharé's five historic villages and a peaceful car-free hub that features the ruins of a 17th-century fortress and a whitewashed church. Wander the quaint streets lined with local bars, restaurants, and shops.
Afterward, take a short walk to pristine Fourth Beach, where you can bask on golden sands and cool off in its collection of sparkling natural pools. Spend time relaxing and soaking up the sun before a delicious lunch at Second Beach. The day ends with a scenic ferry ride back to Salvador, where you'll enjoy a final night in the city.
Day 8: Brazilian Music Experience, Depart Salvador
There's no better way to spend your last few hours in Salvador than to experience a slice of vibrant Brazilian culture in the Pelourinho neighborhood. You'll witness the captivating performances of Olodum, a renowned percussion band, at Largo da Tieta. For a more immersive and hands-on activity, join one of Salvador's axé (Afro-Caribbean music) percussion classes or workshops for beginners, and learn the rhythms that pulse through the heart of Bahian and Brazilian culture.
When it's time to say tchau (goodbye) to Brazil, your driver will be waiting to take you to the airport for your onward flight. Safe travels!