- Discover Rio through its botecos, samba bars, and beaches
- Visit Christ the Redeemer before learning all about Carnival and samba music
- Relax on Ilha Grande and enjoy the island life as you hike to Lopes Mendes Beach
- Trek in Chapada Diamantina National Park for stunning scenery and waterfalls
- Discover the fascinating Afro-Caribbean history of Salvador
|Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Evening Boteco Tour
|Rio de Janeiro
|Free Morning in Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain & Ipanema Walking Tour
|Rio de Janeiro
|Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer Tour, Carnival Experience
|Rio de Janeiro
|Transfer to Ilha Grande, Hike to Lopes Mendes Beach
|Free Day in Ilha Grande
|Fly to Salvador, Explore
|Transfer to Lençóis, Explore
|Transfer to Guiné, Hike through the Vale do Pati to Mucugê
|Day Trek to Waterfalls & Caves at Cachoeira dos Funis
|Trek the Vale do Capão
|Trek in Chapada Diamantina National Park, Return to Lençóis
|Transfer to Salvador, Historical City Tour & Evening Boteco Tour
|Full-Day Cachoeira Cultural Tour, Depart Salvador
Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Evening Boteco Tour
Welcome to Rio de Janeiro! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City), Rio is a sprawling harbor city famous for its beaches, festive culture, and raucous entertainment. Along the drive, catch views of Mount Corcovado's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, an unmistakable emblem of the city.
Once settled in your beachfront hotel, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Rio as you stroll along the beachside promenade, snapping photos of the distinctive sidewalks and admiring the stunning beaches of Zona Sul. Other options are to visit the lush Parque Lage or meander through the Botanical Gardens. Later, head to Ipanema or Copacabana Beach to enjoy the sunset. Just make sure you're well-rested for this evening's activity!
During the day, Rio is all about beaches, but at night it's time for the botecos. Locals meet at these small bars after work to socialize while enjoying ice-cold beers. You'll embark on a guided tour of these watering holes this evening, visiting two bars in Ipanema and Copacabana. The first is Pavão Azul, a heritage bar whose specialty is a cod fish cake known as patanisc. Next, continue to the Lapa neighborhood, famous for its nightlife. You'll discover different customs and sample local snacks and drinks as you explore. By night's end, you'll feel like a real carioca (a Rio native)!
Day 2: Free Morning in Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain & Ipanema Walking Tour
This morning you're free to explore. Soak up the city's electric atmosphere as you stroll the iconic beachside promenade. Relax on the powdery sands, jump in the ocean for a swim, and treat yourself to refreshing coconut water at one of the main beaches, such as Copacabana, Leme, and Ipanema.
In the afternoon, visit the famous Mirante do Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). The tour starts by driving to the cable car station at 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, for almost a mile. As you hike for about 45 minutes, enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods and watch marmosets and exotic birds. At the trail's end, take the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf for the best views in the city and an incredible sunset.
Return by cable car and transfer to Ipanema, where you'll make a short stop at the Hippie Fair, Zona Sul's most famous market. Find artwork, jewelry, handicrafts, clothing, and souvenirs. Stalls in the plaza's four corners sell tasty plates of pastel (fried pastry with savory filling) and cups of caldo de cana (sugar cane juice), perenially popular Brazilian snacks. Afterward, you can return to your hotel or head out to have drinks and dinner on your own.
Day 3: Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer Tour, Carnival Experience
Start the day climbing to the top of Mount Corcovado to visit Christ the Redeemer, a 98-foot (30 m) statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the city below. 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, take a scenic tour along Rio's southern beaches until arriving back at the hotel.Later today, immerse yourself in the world of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Visit the Cidade do Samba (Samba City), where all the Samba schools are located. With your guide, learn about the Pimpolhos project, which seeks to transform the community by training dance, production, music, and arts professionals. Discover the history of samba music, dance, and carnival parades. Put on some costumes, take pictures, and then try out a bit of percussion and samba to feel the carnival atmosphere. Finally, after all that dancing, you'll be rewarded with a refreshing caipirinha!
Day 4: Transfer to Ilha Grande, Hike to Lopes Mendes Beach
Leave Rio early this morning and head to the coastal town of Angra dos Reis via private transfer. During the 2.5-hour long drive, you'll have the chance to enjoy beautiful coastal views. Once you've arrived in Angra dos Reis, take a one-hour flex boat to Vila do Abraão, the only town on the island of Ilha Grande. Check into your hotel, and head out to explore. Ilha Grande was closed to the public by the Brazilian government for nearly a century, leaving its natural beauty in pristine condition today. Thanks to its biodiversity and lush Atlantic rainforest, the island is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Later, you'll leave Vila do Abraão and head off hiking to Lopes Mendes Beach. Walking with your guide, you'll pass by the beaches of Palmas, Mangues, and Pouso, then follow a trail for 15-20 minutes to Lopes Mendes. This peaceful spot is one of the region's gems, with its fine white sand and crystal-clear water. At the end of the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) long stretch of sand, you'll find a small chapel and a mosaic by Silvio Cavalheiro on an old ship's barrel. Once you've looked around, return to Pouso Beach to catch a taxi boat back to Vila do Abraão.
Day 5: Free Day in Ilha Grande
Savor a free day to enjoy this island however you like. If you want to relax and recharge your batteries, there are around 100 beaches here that you can visit. They've all remained relatively unspoiled over the years because, for a long time, Ilha Grande was off-limits to the general public (in past centuries, it served as a leper colony and maximum-security prison island).
Or, if you're looking for more action and adventure, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Participate in an eco-trekking tour, explore the ocean surrounding Ilha Grande by kayak, or try your luck at surfing. You can also discover the neighboring islands on a boat tour, where you'll have the opportunity to visit some beautiful untouched spots and secluded havens.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Transfer to Salvador, Explore
Bid farewell to the island life as you transfer to the airport in Rio to catch a two-hour flight to Salvador. Upon arrival, meet your guide and continue to your hotel. The capital of Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia, the 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.
After you check in and get settled, you'll have the rest of the evening free to explore the city on your own or rest up for your next adventure in the morning.
Day 7: Transfer to Lençóis, Explore
Rise early this morning for a scenic six-hour transfer to Lençóis, a charming cobblestone town in the center of Chapada Diamantina National Park. All the cities 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.
Day 8: Transfer to Guiné, Hike through the Vale do Pati to Mucugê
Head deeper into Chapada Diamantina National Park today as your driver takes you on a one-hour drive to Guiné, where you'll begin the trekking portion of your trip. Explore the beautiful and rustic village of Guiné before hitting the trail to discover crashing waterfalls, exotic vegetation, and spectacular scenery—an ideal place to connect with nature.
Day 9: Day Trek to Waterfalls & Caves at Cachoeira dos Funis
After yesterday's long trek, today is a more relaxed day to soothe those sore muscles. Join your guide on a 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 exciting 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 the Vale do Capão
Be sure to have a hearty breakfast before starting today's 13-mile (22 km) hike toward Rio Preto. First, trek to the peak of Gerais do Vieira, where you can take a swim in the natural pools. Later in the afternoon, continue walking to the start of the valley known as Vale do Capão, where a vehicle will be waiting to take you to a local pousada (inn) in the village of Capão.
Day 11: Trek in Chapada Diamantina National Park, Return to Lençóis
In the morning, there will be time to explore the nearby hippie village of Capão before heading out on your day's hike. Leaving the village, walk along a well-marked 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 national park's most recognizable and famous 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, discovering hidden 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 to stay for the night.
Day 12: Transfer to Salvador, Historical City Tour & Evening Boteco Tour
Today, take a private car from Lençóis to Salvador, around a six-hour drive. Soon after you arrive, you'll take a historical tour starting from your hotel. Visit essential points in the city's history, such as its first streets, squares, and churches. From the Farol da Barra to the Upper City, walk through the Corridor of Victory, Campo Grande, and Piedade. Stroll through the heart of the traditional Salvador Carnival circuit to reach Pelourinho, an important cultural center of the city and one of the most important architectural complexes of the 17th and 18th centuries.
From the viewpoint of the Elevador Lacerda, see the Upper City, the Lower City, and the diversity of angles offered by the carved-out streets and architecture of Pelourinho. 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, with the possibility of a visit to the Casa de Jorge Amado Foundation.
Tonight is your chance to party like a Bahian. In the evenings, locals head to the southern beach neighborhood of Rio Vermelho, which is affectionately referred to as the bairro boemio or bohemian quarter. This lively area is home to bars, restaurants, and botecos, informal spots to meet for drinks. There are also countless places to enjoy great Bahian street food and many bars with live music. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you on a four-hour celebration where you'll try local street food, visit a boteco, enjoy the live music, and dance along the waterfront.
Day 13: Full-Day Cachoeira Cultural Tour, Depart Salvador
Prepare to be taken back in time to the Brazil of yesteryear. A driver will be waiting to take you northwest, where you'll have a stop at a busy country market in Santo Amaro. Little has changed in this traditional fruit and vegetable marketplace, and it remains 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 valley of the Paraguaçu River.
The town's importance goes beyond its architectural wealth— it's also 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 and browse local woodcarving stores. Cross the western bank of the river and visit Dannemann, a cigar company, where you can see world-class cigars being expertly rolled. Afterward, your driver will take you back to Salvador. Return to your hotel, and at the appointed time, your driver will take you to the airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!