Enjoy Brazil's stunning coastlines and spectacular waterfalls on this 12-day trip full of captivating beauty. Start in Rio to discover the spirit of Carnival in Samba City and see beaches and mountains from above by hang glider. Discover some of the 275 waterfalls of Foz do Iguaçu as you explore its mist-laden boardwalks, then head for the coast to stroll Paraty's colonial streets and take a scenic boat ride. Finally, escape to the quiet shores of Ilha Grande to enjoy its unspoiled beaches and forest hiking.


  • Wander Rio's bohemian neighborhoods and learn about its Carnival culture
  • See the "Marvelous City" from above with a hang-gliding flight
  • Visit Foz do Iguaçu and discover its waterfalls, rainforests, and birdlife
  • Stroll Paraty's colonial streets and sail around its bay to nearby islands
  • Hike to the top of Parrot's Peak before lazing on Ilha Grande's beautiful beaches

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Carnival Experience Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Christ the Redeemer & Sugarloaf Mountain Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Discover Old Rio Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Hang Glide Over Rio, Fly to Foz do Iguaçu Foz do Iguaçu
Day 5 Explore Iguaçu Falls (Argentine Side) Foz do Iguaçu
Day 6 Explore Iguaçu Falls (Brazilian Side), Fly to São Paulo, Transfer to Paraty Paraty
Day 7 Paraty Bay Boat Tour Paraty
Day 8 Nature & Culture Tour Around Paraty Paraty
Day 9 Transfer to Ilha Grande, Explore the Island Ilha Grande
Day 10 Ilha Grande Beach-Hopping Boat Tour Ilha Grande
Day 11 Hike to Pico do Papagaio (Parrot's Peak) Ilha Grande
Day 12 Boat Tour to Lopez Mendes, Transfer to Rio & Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Carnival Experience

Feel the pulse of Rio's Carnival culture with a tour of Samba City

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. The "Cidade Maravilhosa" (Marvelous City) is a sprawling harbor city famous for its beaches, festive culture, and raucous entertainment. On the drive into the city, catch views of Mount Corcovado's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Once you settle in your beachfront hotel, you can stroll along Ipanema or Copacabana Beach to stretch your legs and get your bearings.

Later today, immerse yourself in the world of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Visit the Cidade do Samba (Samba City), where all the city's 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, then put on some costumes, take pictures, and try out a bit of percussion and samba to feel the Carnival atmosphere. Finally, after all that dancing, you'll be rewarded with a delicious caipirinha!

Day 2: Christ the Redeemer & Sugarloaf Mountain

The view from Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro
Get spectacular views over Rio from Christ the Redeemer

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 Urca neighborhood and the mouth of Guanabara Bay, where you'll hop on a cable car up to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). This nearly 1,300-foot (396 m) mountain peak unsurprisingly gets its name because it resembles a mound of sugar. From its peak, you'll enjoy a 360-degree view of the rainforest, beaches, cityscapes, and monuments that define Brazil's most famous coastal city. Upon completion of the tour, your guide will return you to your hotel, and the rest of your evening is free.

Day 3: Discover Old Rio

Full-Day Private Tour through the Old Rio
Climb the colorful Escadaria Selarón in the historic neighborhood of Santa Teresa
Today you'll get to know another side of the city by strolling through the streets of Old Rio. Visit the Modern Metropolitan Cathedral, Candelaria Church, Saint Benedict Monastery, Tiradentes Palace, Lapa dos Mercadores Church, and Plaza XV. In the afternoon, continue to the charming neighborhood of Santa Teresa to see its historic buildings and elegant mansions and grab a photo op at the famous Escadaria Selarón, where 215 colorful steps are decorated in mosaic tiles collected from more than sixty countries worldwide.

Day 4: Hang Glide Over Rio, Fly to Foz do Iguaçu

Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro
See the city from above as you hang glide over Rio
Plan your trip to Brazil
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Get ready to get your adrenaline pumping this morning as you meet your driver and head to São Conrado Beach. From there, a Jeep will take you to Pedra da Gávea and the Pedra Bonita Ramp in Tijuca Forest National Park, where you'll prepare for a hang-gliding flight over Rio. Float over the city free of noise and vibrations, with only a soft tropical breeze on your face as you observe the scenery from above. As you approach the sea, you'll land on the beach at Praia do Pepino in São Conrado. After this exhilarating activity, you'll have boasting rights for life!

After lunch, it's time to say your goodbyes to Rio as your driver takes you to the airport to catch a two-hour flight west to Foz de Iguaçu. The gateway to the famous falls of the same name, this city sits at the borders of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. On the Brazilian side of the falls, Iguaçu National Park is home to southern Brazil's largest Atlantic semi-deciduous forest and walkways with views of the 275 waterfalls. Get settled into your hotel and rest up for tomorrow's day of adventure.

Day 5: Explore Iguaçu Falls (Argentine Side)

Waterfalls of Iguaçu
See the power of Iguaçu from the Argentine side today 

Today's tour takes you across the Argentine border to the other side of Iguaçu Falls (known as Iguazú in Spanish) in Argentine National Park. Upon arrival, you'll board a train and head to the natural wonder's tallest waterfall, the Devil's Throat. You'll have time to disembark and take in the beauty of this majestic waterfall, which drops more than 260 feet (80 m) into mist-shrouded pools. Afterward, you'll hop back on the train and head to the next station, where you'll take a walking tour of 2 miles (3 km) along wooded footpaths and pathways that bring you closer to the falls and provide a complete view. 

Day 6: Explore Iguaçu Falls (Brazilian Side), Fly to Sao Paulo, Transfer to Paraty

Iguazú from the Brazilian side
Walkways take you to the fall's edge on Iguaçu's Brazilian side

It's an early start this morning as you meet your guide and set off into Iguaçu National Park to spend a day exploring the falls from the Brazilian side. Follow the many raised boardwalks and bridges and enjoy panoramic views of this breathtaking natural wonder. The park has more than 275 falls, with heights over 260 feet (80 m), surrounded by lush greenery and plentiful flora and fauna.

Next, take a stroll around the Parque das Alves (Bird Park), an internationally recognized center for the protection of birds as well as butterflies, alligators, and snakes in the lush Atlantic rainforest. Since the enclosures are expansive, you can observe birds, such as macaws, parrots, and toucans, up close in their natural habitat without the barrier of cages. 

After your visit, it's time to move on to your next destination as you transfer to Foz do Iguaçu's airport to board a flight to São Paulo. Upon arrival, a driver will be waiting to transfer you four hours east to the coastal town of Paraty, where you'll get settled into your hotel for the evening. 

Day 7: Paraty Bay Boat Tour

Enjoy a day out on the water for swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Paraty Bay

The Portuguese colonial harbor town of Paraty has become a prime destination in recent decades. Besides its charming whitewashed homes lining historic streets, it's backed by jungle-clad mountains offering incredible nature tours, and offshore are idyllic islands that make great day trips. Get your bearings with a stroll through its historic Old Town, passing cobblestone streets and whitewashed facades with rainbow-colored doorways and window frames.

Take today to enjoy a traditional boat tour of Paraty Bay. You'll discover the area's most beautiful beaches and islands as you sail on a small converted fishing boat with an onboard bar. The ship will make three or four stops around the bay for excellent snorkeling. Each visit takes about 40 minutes, allowing you to swim in the crystal clear waters or lie out on the deck and admire the beauty of Paraty's skyline.

Day 8: Nature & Culture Tour Around Paraty

Cool off in the waterfalls of Serra da Bocaina National Park outside Paraty

Rise early and hop in a vehicle for a ride outside town and into the Atlantic rainforests of Serra da Bocaina National Park. This nature tour will take you to some of the region's many waterfalls, which plunge over cliffs into crystalline lagoons. Stop at falls like Poço do Tarzan and Pedra Branca to swim and cool off. At Poço do Tarzan, specifically, you can speed down the falls on a natural rock waterslide. You'll also get to spot some exotic animals in this national park, such as spider monkeys and possibly even jaguars. 

Later, you'll meet local artisans as they demonstrate how they produce the famous handmade cachaça of Paraty. Cachaça is a Brazilian spirit made from fermented sugar cane juice, and it's the main ingredient in the country's national cocktail, the caipirinha. During this tasting experience, you'll sample different cachaças and learn about the spirit's origins, dating to the 18th century. Then, you'll visit the Ouro Branco Flour House, a historic landmark where you can see how manioc flour is manufactured. Afterward, enjoy a freshly ground cup of coffee paired with a traditional sweet treat.

Day 9: Transfer to Ilha Grande, Explore the Island

Transfer from Paraty to Ilha Grande
Settle into a slower pace on the beaches of Ilha Grande

Travel from Paraty to the coastal town of Angra dos Reis via a private transfer. During the 1.5-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. Your base for the next three nights, the idyllic island of 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.

Spend the rest of today relaxing on the island's many peaceful beaches, 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. 

Day 10: Ilha Grande Beach-Hopping Boat Tour

Enjoy some fun in the sun sailing around the hidden beaches and bays of Ilha Grande

People come to Paraty to experience its culture and colonial history. But when folks want to enjoy the best beaches in the area, they hop on a boat to nearby Ilha Grande. Not only is this island beautiful, but its north and south shores are fringed with incredible stretches of sand to suit every kind of beach bum. The island has everything from secluded coves to tranquil lagoons to long, palm-fringed surf beaches.

You'll depart in the late morning for a five-hour boat tour that stops at some of the best of Ilha Grande's many beaches. Enjoy the panoramic views at Dois Rios, the romantic (and hidden) lagoon at Caxadaço, the wide and inviting Parnaioca Beach, and the turquoise waters and postcard scenery at Aventureiro—and that's just the start. Several more stops are planned at the island's beautiful virgin beaches, where you can swim, lay out, and relax. After a day of beach hopping, you'll return to the harbor in Ilha Grande in the late afternoon.

Day 11: Hike to Pico do Papagaio (Parrot's Peak)

Hike up Parrot's Peak
Hike up Parrot's Peak today for views across the island

While beaches encircle Ilha Grande, the island's interior is known for its lush Atlantic forests. In the morning, you'll embark on a 4-mile (6 km) hike up Pico do Papagaio (Parrot's Peak). At 3,221 feet (982 m), the summit of this mountain (whose unique rock formations resemble a parrot's beak) is the second-highest point on Ilha Grande. It's a moderately strenuous hike that leaves from Vila do Abraão, ascends thousands of feet, and takes about three hours to complete. The effort is well worth it because once you reach the top, you'll be treated to incredible views of the island's beaches and the ocean. 

Day 12: Boat Tour to Lopez Mendes, Transfer to Rio & Depart

Pouso beach to Lopes Mendes

Savor the last few moments of your trip at Lopes Mendes

Embark on a scenic boat tour near the stunning Lopez Mendes Beach, known for its breathtaking beauty and unspoiled nature. Your adventure begins as you leave Vila do Abraão and head out hiking to Lopes Mendes Beach. From there, enjoy a scenic boat ride as you take in the mesmerizing views of the surrounding islands and the azure ocean. Once you've returned to the beach, take some time to explore the area and soak in the stunning surroundings. 

Savor your last few moments on the island with nothing but the gentle sounds of the waves and rustling palm fronds to heighten your senses. At the scheduled time, you'll head to the harbor in Ilha Grande and transfer by boat to the port of Conceição de Jacareí. From there, a car will pick you up for the two-hour drive to the airport in Rio, where you'll catch a flight to your final destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Brazil City to Coast Tour: Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu, Paraty & Ilha Grande - 12 Days
Map of Brazil City to Coast Tour: Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu, Paraty & Ilha Grande - 12 Days