See two sides of Brazil on this 12-day trip that covers both urban and rainforest highlights. Start in Rio to hop a cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain, visit a favela, and join a raucous samba circle. Fly north to Manaus next, where you'll set off into the Amazon to spend three nights in a remote rainforest lodge. It's back to the big city as your adventure winds down in São Paulo—getting to know the sprawling metropolis' vibrant street art, bustling markets, and historic landmarks.


  • Stroll the cobbled streets of Old Rio and cycle along the iconic Ipanema Beach 
  • Dive into Rio's famous nightlife and samba culture with an evening tour
  • Venture deep into the Amazon by motorized canoe to reach a rainforest lodge
  • Discover flora and fauna on a jungle trek before camping out under the stars
  • Explore São Paulo's modern city and wander Batman Alley to see its vibrant graffiti

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rio de Janeiro & Explore Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Christ the Redeemer & Sugarloaf Mountain Tour, Samba by Night Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Old Rio Tour Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Two Brothers Peak & Vidigal Favela, City Bike Tour Rio de Janeiro
Day 5 Free Morning in Rio, Fly to Manaus Manaus
Day 6 Transfer to Amazon Jungle Lodge, Meeting of the Waters & Nocturnal Safari The Amazon
Day 7 Discover the Flora & Fauna of the Amazon The Amazon
Day 8 Amazon Canoe Tour, Overnight Jungle Adventure The Amazon
Day 9 Fly to São Paulo & Explore São Paulo
Day 10 São Paulo Historic Center & Graffiti Tour São Paulo
Day 11 Explore More of São Paulo São Paulo
Day 12 Depart São Paulo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro & Explore

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro
See stunning bay views before touching down in Rio

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. This evening you'll find plenty of great restaurants in the city where you can enjoy a traditional Brazilian dinner.

Day 2: Christ the Redeemer & Sugarloaf Mountain Tour, Samba by Night

Join in the fun tonight at a samba circle

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. Here 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 you can rest up for tonight's festivities.

An authentic caricoca evening awaits as you meet up with your guide for a night on the town. Start in the Santa Teresa neighborhood for drinks and typical Brazilian appetizers at a nearby bar. Listen to the infectious rhythms of a street samba circle, and even join in if the mood strikes you! After enjoying some caipirinhas, you'll continue to the Lapa neighborhood for a taste of more local nightlife before returning to the hotel. 

Day 3: Old Rio Tour

Full-Day Private Tour through the Old Rio
Climb the colorful Escadaria Selarón in Santa Teresa

Today you'll get to know another side of the city with a guided stroll through the streets of Old Rio. As your guide shares stories of this culturally rich area, you'll pass historic landmarks like the Modern Metropolitan Cathedral, Candelaria Church, Saint Benedict Monastery, Tiradentes Palace, Lapa dos Mercadores Church, and Plaza XV.

In the afternoon, continue through the winding streets of Santa Teresa, Rio's most charming neighborhood. Ride the traditional tramway uphill, passing colonial houses and lush vegetation. At the top, you'll find popular bars and restaurants, workshops, and impressive street art, immersing you in an authentic and bohemian side of Rio. Admire its many 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: Two Brothers Peak & Vidigal Favela, City Bike Tour

Two Brothers Mountain and Vidigal favela
Learn about life in the favelas and take in sweeping vistas from the top of Two Brothers Mountain

This morning starts with a tour of one of Rio's famous favelas. These neighborhoods, comprised of low-income residents living in shacks and shanties, have earned a reputation as dangerous slums. However, the less sensationalist reality is that these are primarily working-class communities, home to local families. Some favelas have even become hot tourist destinations. This is the case with Vidigal, one of the city's most-visited favelas and your destination today. Located on Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain), the top of Vidigal reveals some of the best views of the Brazilian coast.

The tour begins with a walk along the seaside, where your guide will share the history of the favelas. Once you reach Vidigal, you'll hop in a van and ride up steep hillsides and winding streets to the beginning of the Two Brothers Trail. From there, hike to the 2,165-foot (660 m) peak, where you'll be rewarded with stunning city vistas and can take plenty of photos. Your return takes you back down the mountain along Vidigal's many staircases.

Next, get a different view of the city, and take a tour by bike, starting in the Flamengo district. You'll head to Leblon Beach on a relatively easy, flat route, varying in distance from 10-15 miles (15-25 km). Pass by the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which connects to the ocean and the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Enjoy beautiful ocean views of these landmarks and take advantage of the many photo-ops before you return to your hotel.
Plan your trip to Brazil
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Free Morning in Rio, Fly to Manaus

Free Morning in Rio de Janeiro
Savor your last moments in Rio with a morning at the beach

You'll have this morning free to explore the city at your own pace. Spend some time on the beach, playing volleyball, or participating in some of the many watersports available, including kite surfing, jet skiing, boat tours, and more. Or you can always relax and mingle with the locals. It's an excellent opportunity to enjoy Rio's beaches like a local.

Later in the day, a driver will be waiting to take you to the airport for the roughly four-hour flight north to Manaus, where you'll be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. The capital of the state of Amazonas, this historic city sits at the meeting point of the Rio Negro and the Rio Amazonas (Amazon River) and is a popular base for trips into the surrounding rainforests. The remainder of the evening is free to rest for your big adventure tomorrow.

Day 6: Transfer to Amazon Jungle Lodge, Meeting of the Waters & Nocturnal Safari

From Manaus to the Amazon
Set off for your Amazon rainforest lodge by canoe

Rise early today for the transfer to Ceasa Port, where you'll board a speedboat for the first leg of your journey. Along the way, stop to observe the "Meeting of the Waters," the natural phenomenon where the muddy waters of the Rio Solimões meet the black waters of the Rio Negro. At this crucial junction, the two rivers run side by side for several miles without mixing due to temperature, speed, and density differences. Ultimately they join to form the mighty Amazon.

From here, continue to the village of Careiro, where you'll disembark and transfer to the Rio Tupana. A guide will be waiting to take you the rest of the way via a motorized canoe, eventually arriving at the small jungle lodge that serves as your base for the next three nights. Get settled into your charmingly rustic accommodations, rest after your journey, and enjoy a relaxed dinner. As darkness falls, you'll join a guide on an atmospheric canoe ride to enjoy the night sounds of the jungle and spot its many nocturnal animals. With a flashlight, you'll keep an eye out for frogs, sloths, armadillos, and caimans.

Day 7: Discover the Flora & Fauna of the Amazon

São Paulo cityscape
Immerse yourself in the world of the rainforest today with wildlife watching, treks, and canoe tours

Wake up to the sounds of the jungle this morning. After a hearty breakfast, you'll spend the entire day exploring your rainforest surroundings, with the incredible opportunity to observe its diverse ecosystems up close. Learn about the local flora and fauna as you trek into the forest depths, accompanied by a specialized guide. Later, hop in a motorized canoe to fish for piranhas and end the day gazing at a spectacular Amazon sunset.

Day 8: Amazon Canoe Tour, Overnight Jungle Adventure

Canoeing in the Amazon and overnight in the jungle
Don't forget to keep an eye on the sky to spot exotic birdlife

Savor your last full day in the jungle with a peaceful paddle along the Amazon in a canoe, spotting exotic birds, rare pink dolphins, and many other species. Afterward, you'll be welcomed into the home of one of the area's local Indigenous residents, where they'll share stories about their culture and customs as you learn more about life in the rainforest. 

If you're craving more adventure, this afternoon you have the option to leave the lodge and spend the night in a jungle camp deeper in the wilds of the Amazon. Your guide will lead you on a trek to the campsite, where you'll enjoy dinner around the campfire as you learn about survival techniques like finding water and food, identifying medicinal plants, and first aid. When it's time to turn in, a hammock and mosquito net await, and you'll fall asleep to the ever-present soundtrack of the rainforest.

Day 9: Fly to São Paulo & Explore

Get your bearings in São Paulo this afternoon and visit landmarks like the Sé Cathedral

It's time to bid farewell to the jungle as you transfer to the airport in Manaus to catch a four-hour flight southeast to São Paulo. Once you've arrived, a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. One of the oldest cities in the Americas, São Paulo has grown from a hilltop village to a multicultural metropolis and the most populous city in Brazil. With a diverse population of more than 11 million, you'll find renowned museums and art as well as world-class cuisine on offer. And, of course, this welcoming city also has excellent nightlife options.

Your afternoon is free, so you could visit the historical center to see some of the city's famous sites, such as the Sé Cathedral, the Mosteiro de São Bento (St. Benedict's Monastery), or the Martinelli Building, Brazil's first skyscraper. Otherwise, settle into your hotel and relax for the rest of today.

Day 10: São Paulo's Historic Center & Graffiti Tour

Take an open-air art tour as you discover São Paulo's famous graffiti

Meet your guide in the hotel lobby for today's tour through the historic center of São Paulo. Stop by the Mercadão Municipal for a historic and gastronomic experience. Afterward, learn about the city's history as you head to Viaduto do Chá to see City Hall, one of the town's main symbols. Across from City Hall, you'll pass by the Municipal Theater and visit other historic sites, such as the Pateo do Colegio, Cultural Center Banco de Brasil, and São Bento Monastery.

Later in the afternoon, you'll venture farther afield to see some of the city's most exciting street art. With your guide, see Batman Alley, located in the bohemian neighborhood of Vila Madalena. You'll witness an explosion of color splashed upon the walls composed by various graffiti artists. You'll also visit the Mural of Urban Art, an open-air museum in the Santana neighborhood. Located north of the city, it's considered the birthplace of graffiti.

Day 11: Explore More of São Paulo

City of São Paulo
See the elegant cultural center of Casa das Rosas on today's city tour

Meet your guide in the hotel lobby this morning to delve deeper into the city and its vibrant lifestyle as you learn about its rich history. Walk down Avenida Paulista and arrive at Casa das Rosas, a cultural center that hosts various events and exhibitions in an old mansion with a beautiful garden. Take time to have a coffee there before continuing to Sesc Avenida Paulista. Take the elevator straight to the top floor and enjoy the incredible view. Finally, visit the São Paulo Museum of Art and admire the impressive building designed by Lina Bo Bardi.

The rest of the afternoon is free for you to enjoy your penultimate day in Brazil at your leisure. If you feel like some retail therapy, don't miss a visit to Oscar Freire Shopping Street. Located in the charming neighborhood of Jardins, this main street and its surroundings are known for its luxury stores, but it also has shops for various budgets. Nearby you'll also find Iguatemi Shopping Center, one of Brazil's oldest and most popular shopping centers.

Day 12: Depart São Paulo

Until next time Brazil!

Your Brazilian adventure draws to a close today. At the appropriate time, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your onward flight. Safe travels!

More Great Brazil Itineraries

Are you looking for more inspiration for your trip to Brazil? Check out these other Brazil itineraries, explore different ways to spend 12 days in Brazil, or discover the best time to visit Brazil.


Map of Brazil City & Rainforest Adventure - 12 Days
Map of Brazil City & Rainforest Adventure - 12 Days