Discover Brazil's coastal highlights—and inland waterfalls—on this thrilling 15-day tour. Start in Rio to trek through rainforests and see iconic monuments like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. Then, fly to Foz do Iguaçu to experience the full force of Iguaçu Falls on both sides of the border. Return to the coast for a dune buggy ride along Natal's dunes, followed by kayaking and mountain biking in Praia de Pipa, as you enjoy views of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and turquoise-blue water.


  • Get to know Rio's beaches as well as charming colonial architecture
  • Wander through the rainforest of Tijuca National Park to see exotic wildlife
  • Get drenched under waterfalls as you spend two days at Iguaçu Falls
  • Go beachcombing in a dune buggy along Natal's sandy beaches
  • Explore Praia de Pipa by bike and see rugged cliffs along the coastline

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Evening Boteco Tour Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Sugarloaf Mountain & Old Town Tour Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer Tour, Carnival Experience Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Visit Tijuca National Park Rio de Janeiro
Day 5 Full-Day Excursion to Petropolis Rio de Janeiro
Day 6 Hike to the Top of Pedra do Telégrafo  Rio de Janeiro
Day 7 Tropical Islands Tour Rio de Janeiro
Day 8 Free Morning in Rio, Fly to Foz do Iguaçu Foz do Iguaçu
Day 9 Visit Iguaçu Falls in Argentine National Park, Macuco Safari Foz do Iguaçu
Day 10 Discover Iguaçu Falls in Iguacu National Park, Visit Parque das Aves Foz do Iguaçu
Day 11 Itaipu Dam Tour, Fly to Natal Natal
Day 12 Take a Dune Buggy Ride Natal
Day 13 Transfer to Praia de Pipa, Kayak in Guaraíras Lagoon Praia de Pipa
Day 14 Pipa Bike Tour Praia de Pipa
Day 15 Explore Praia da Pipa, Depart Natal  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Evening Boteco Tour

A trip to Rio de Janeiro is not complete without at least a caipirinha or two!
Start your trip in Rio with a nightlife tour

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), as Rio is known, is a sprawling harbor city known for its beaches, festive culture, and raucous entertainment. On the drive into the center, catch views of Mount Corcovado's iconic Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. Cable cars transport visitors up its towering peak to enjoy expansive city views. You have the afternoon free to explore the city on your own or rest up for tonight's activity.

This evening you'll immerse yourself in Rio's vibrant nightlife on this boteco (a typical Carioca bar) tour in the lively Lapa neighborhood. Follow your local guide to the best and most authentic botecos, where you'll experience live music, sip on various Brazilian cocktails, and embrace the joyful spirit of Carioca culture. This tour goes beyond sipping caipirinhas, providing a unique insight into the lively social scene of Rio's locals. Soak in the warm, vibrant atmosphere and take home memories of an evening in one of the world's most captivating cities.

Day 2: Sugarloaf Mountain & Old Town Tour

Get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain via cable car

Begin your day with a visit to Sugarloaf Mountain, a must-see landmark that appears to rise abruptly from the ground like a fallen asteroid. Your adventure starts with a cable car ride to Urca Mountain, an intermediate stop, before reaching the summit. At Urca Mountain, take a break to savor a refreshing cocktail or indulge in some of Brazil's signature dishes as you soak in the incredible views. Next, continue your cable car journey to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, where you'll be captivated by the beauty of Rio from a lofty vantage point.

You'll see Copacabana Beach with the silhouette of Two Brothers Mountain. Take in the picturesque views of Guanabara Bay, Niterói, and Rio's central neighborhoods under the watchful eye of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. After descending Sugarloaf Mountain by cable car, head to Rio's historic Old Town. You'll discover the city's captivating colonial architecture here and visit churches such as the Candelária. Stroll through the charming, cobbled streets, admiring the vibrant colors that contrast sharply with Ipanema's sun-soaked, whitewashed streets.

Day 3: Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer Tour, Carnival Experience

Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer Tour & Carnival Experience
Board a train to get to the Christ the Redeemer statue for epic views

Today you'll visit Christ the Redeemer, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Start your journey at the mountain base and board a train that winds through the lush Tijuca Rainforest. As you ascend the 2,329-foot (710 m) high Mount Corcovado, marvel at the scenery laid out below. Once at the summit, stand in awe of the towering 124-foot (38 m) Christ the Redeemer statue and take in the panoramic views of Rio before you. Afterward, descend the mountain and take a scenic tour of Rio's South Beaches before returning to your hotel to relax.

This afternoon, you'll discover the vibrant and colorful world of Carnival in Rio. Meet your guide in the hotel lobby for a trip to Cidade do Samba (Samba City), where the various Samba schools create their choreography in preparation for Carnival. Your guide will introduce you to the Pimpolhos project, a social initiative that empowers the community through dance, production, music, and arts education. Learn the history of samba music, dance, and Carnival parades as you explore the workshops and warehouses of Samba City.

You'll have a chance to try on costumes and learn a few percussion and samba moves to embrace the Carnival spirit fully. Your hard work on the dance floor will be rewarded with a refreshing welcome caipirinha.

Day 4: Visit Tijuca National Park

The enchanting Tijuca Rain Forest
Spot toucans as you hike through Tijuca Rainforest

Lace up your hiking boots for an adventure through the Tijuca Rainforest. Your visit to the world's first significant reforestation project will begin in a comfortable Jeep. Established in 1961, it's nestled in the heart of Rio, a stone's throw from local neighborhoods, and spans 7,907 acres (3,200 ha). As you traverse this verdant landscape, your guide will offer insights into the significance of the Mata Atlântica ecosystem—a vital component of the expansive, protected Mata Biosphere Reserve that stretches across fourteen Brazilian states. You'll admire the scenery during the ride as your guide explains the park's history.

Next, you'll stop for an hour-long hike that promises to be a feast for the senses. You'll spot wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, birds, and vibrant butterflies. Witness panoramic views of iconic Rio landmarks such as Copacabana, Ipanema, and the shimmering Guanabara Bay from Vista Chinesa, also known as the Chinese View. From there, you'll head to the crystal-clear cascades of Cachoeira dos Macacos. Enjoy the sight of the glistening water cascading amid lush greenery. You'll also pass by the waterfalls of Cascatinha before finishing your hike.

Day 5: Full-Day Excursion to Petropolis

Royal Petropolis
Take in the fresh mountain air as you wander Petropolis

Your trip through Petropolis, one of Brazil's most historic towns, begins with a scenic 37-mile (60 km) drive from Rio. Nestled in the mountains, this charming town is steeped in Brazilian history, dating back to 1830, when Pedro II purchased it as a summer retreat for his daughter. The town's European influence is evident in the beautiful German-style architecture you'll witness. Visit the Royal Palace, now a museum housing an extensive collection of royal furniture and personal items belonging to the Brazilian royal family.

Next, visit the town's Gothic Cathedral, the final resting place for several prominent figures in Brazilian history. The day concludes with free time to discover the city with its mountainous backdrop. You'll have ample opportunities to capture memorable photos, purchase gifts, or relax and reflect on the rich history you've experienced.

Day 6: Hike to the Top of Pedra do Telégrafo 

The viewpoint at Pedra do Telégrafo
Enjoy breathtaking scenery from the viewpoint at Pedra do Telégrafo
Plan your trip to Brazil
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Today your guide will be waiting to take you on a scenic one-hour drive to the Pedra Branca State Park entrance. This is where you'll embark on a 2.2-mile (3.5 km) moderate hike up to the Pedra do Telégrafo hilltop. Along the way, your guide will share intriguing facts about the region's natural history and ecosystem. You can stop at some of the many scenic lookouts dotting the trail as you climb. Catch sight of the majestic mountains of Pedra Branca State Park and, in the distance, the Tijuca National Park.

At the halfway point, you'll reach the Pedra do Telégrafo viewpoint. Finally, at the top, you'll enjoy the stunning landscapes of Morro de Guaratiba before descending and returning to your hotel for some free time. 

Day 7: Tropical Islands Tour

Copacabana Beach
Discover Patience Beach as you wander on Mangaratiba Island

Get your fill of tropical scenery today with a visit to Itacuruçá, which is located on an island 1.5 hours away from Rio called Mangaratiba. It's active in fishing, tourism, and agriculture and has tiny fishing houses. To get there, you must cross Sepetiba Bay in the Saveiro schooner, and, during the trip, you can sit back and enjoy the romantic views of the tropical green islands. You may be lucky enough to see dolphins, colossal fish, parrots, turtles, and poisonous stingrays.

On the way, the schooner will stop for you to swim in the ocean. You'll have a delicious lunch on the island, take a walk, swim in the bay or the pool, and return to the schooner that will take you back to Rio.

Day 8: Free Morning in Rio, Fly to Foz do Iguaçu

The famous mosaic sidewalk at Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro
Savor your final hours on one of Rio's beautiful beaches

This morning you're free to explore during your last hours in Rio. 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. 

This afternoon, brace yourself for a change of scenery as you're picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for a flight inland to Foz do Iguaçu, which lies at the borders of Argentina and Paraguay and is home to one of the world's largest waterfall systems. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by a driver and taken directly to your hotel.

Day 9: Visit the Argentine Falls, Macuco Safari

Argentinian Falls
Take in all the incredible views from the Argentine side of the falls

Say goodbye to Brazil for the day as you head to the Argentine side of the falls, known as Iguazú. When you arrive, board a train to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat), one of the largest and most powerful falls in the national park. As you approach the observation platform, the thunderous roar of the cascading water will surround you. Look out over the massive horseshoe-shaped cascade, then continue down the network of walkways that extend over the river to admire the waterfall from each angle. 

Jump back on the train to the next station, where you can take a 2-mile (3 km) walk along the smaller falls. Leave the water behind as you follow the Sendero Yacaratiá Trail into the forest in an off-roading vehicle. Pass through the lush greenery, looking out for colorful butterflies or birds, until you reach Porto Macuco, where you can board a boat to cruise down the Río Iguazú to reach the base of the falls. If you weren't wet before, you will be now, as the refreshing mist covers the boat while you approach the cascades. After the exhilarating cruise, cross back into Brazil and return to your hotel to dry off.

Day 10: Visit the Brazilian Falls, Iguaçu National Park & Parque das Aves

A visit to Foz de Iguacu Falls - Brazilian Side
Get drenched as you get up close to Brazil's Iguaçu Falls

Spend another morning exploring Iguaçu Falls, this time from the Brazilian side. Immerse yourself in one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World with a stroll along the walkways, starting in the lush tropical rainforest. As you approach the falls, the roar of the water intensifies, as you're closer to the water's edge on the Brazilian side. Meander down the path, surrounded by more than 275 waterfalls, until you get to the highest observation deck, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the cascades and the rushing Rio Iguaçu

Once you've dried off, it's time to explore the vibrant and diverse birdlife at the Parque das Aves in Iguaçu on an eye-opening tour. Begin with a stroll through the park, spotting and learning about different bird species. Enjoy the unique opportunity to enter the large aviaries and get up close with beautifully colored toucans, macaws, flamingoes, and more. Finish your tour by visiting the butterfly house, leaving you with an appreciation for the region's biodiversity.

Day 11: Itaipu Dam Tour, Fly to Natal

Itaipu Dam Tour
Learn all about the environmental impact of the Itaipu Dam 

Embark on a four-hour educational adventure to Itaipu Dam, the world's largest operational hydroelectric power plant near Foz do Iguaçu. Your knowledgeable local guide will provide insights into this architectural marvel, its environmental impact, the history of its construction, and its significance for the people of Paraguay and Brazil. This informative excursion is perfect for those interested in engineering, sustainability, and modern infrastructure. Your tour begins at the Visitor Center, where you'll watch a 10-minute video recounting the fascinating history of the dam's construction.

Following the video, hop aboard a bus for an engaging guided tour around the reservoir's perimeter, with three stops to admire the panoramic views. Stand at the dam's edge for a dizzying perspective on this massive structure and feel the power of the water rushing below. As you continue the route, you'll explore the lush natural surroundings and scenery within the Itaipu Touristic Complex. Marvel at the lush vegetation and keep an eye out for local wildlife as you traverse the area.

You'll better appreciate the delicate balance between engineering and nature while learning about the environmental measures to protect this vital ecosystem. The final highlight of your tour is the captivating view of Itaipu Lake, a serene and picturesque sight to conclude your excursion. Afterward, a bus will take you back to your hotel. From there, you'll be transferred to the airport to catch a flight to Natal, where you'll stay for two nights.

Day 12: Take a Dune Buggy Ride

Natal - Dune Buggy Ride Tour
Comb Natal's beaches during an exhilarating dune buggy ride

Experience a thrilling buggy ride along the beaches of Natal this morning. This exciting journey will take you through some of Brazil's most spectacular coastal landscapes, offering a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. Your journey begins as you meet your experienced buggy driver and guide, who'll ensure your safety and comfort throughout the ride. Once settled, you'll set off on a thrilling journey along the coast, taking in the breathtaking beauty of Natal's diverse beaches.

Feel the wind blow through your hair and the sun warm your skin as the buggy zips along the soft sand, offering unparalleled views of the sparkling ocean and lush surrounding vegetation. As you ride along, your guide will share fascinating stories and insights about the local landscape, history, and culture, making this an educational and engaging experience. Along the way, you'll stop at some of the area's most picturesque and lesser-known beaches, offering a unique opportunity to explore hidden gems and take in fantastic panoramas.

You'll also visit charming local villages and interact with the friendly residents. As your exhilarating buggy ride comes to an end, you'll head back to your starting point, with a new appreciation for the natural beauty and vibrant culture of Natal. 

Day 13: Transfer to Praia de Pipa, Kayak in Guaraíras Lagoon

Start your kayaking adventure at Tibau do Sul Beach

Bid farewell to the dunes this morning as a driver takes you on a short one-hour drive to Praia de Pipa. After checking in at your hotel, you'll drop off your bags and head back out for a kayak journey. Begin your eco-friendly adventure at Tibau do Sul Beach, located 10 miles (7 km) from the center of Praia da Pipa. This picturesque location is the perfect starting point for your journey through the Guaraíras Lagoon. As the tide comes in, embark on your kayaking expedition, exploring the cliffs formed along the lagoon's shores. During the 2.5-hour excursion, you'll make two stops for swimming.

Your guide will accompany you the entire trip, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Whether in a single or double kayak, you'll be captivated by the beauty of the lagoon and its surroundings. Next, venture into the second part of your adventure—exploring the mangroves. This unique ecosystem is home to diverse marine flora and fauna, offering an immersive experience. As you paddle through the network of mangrove channels, known as levadas by the locals, you'll learn more about the delicate balance of this ecosystem.

Day 14: Pipa Bike Tour

Praia do Amor
Explore Pipa's coast and rugged cliffs on two wheels

Embark on an exciting and scenic adventure along the Rota das Falésias, the gateway to Pipa via the southern coast. The excursion involves cycling along the rugged cliffs, passing through sandy beaches, and discovering the local history and wildlife. Your journey begins by cycling along the Falésias, a rocky terrain with patches of sand that offer an enjoyable ride. Feel the constant breeze and bask in the bright sunshine as you pedal through this windswept landscape. If the tides are low, you can cycle along the hard sand of Minas Beach, a 10-mile (6 km) stretch of deserted coastline.

Minas Beach is a primary nesting site for sea turtles, managed by the Tamar Project. Stop for a refreshing swim in the natural pools and take a dip in the Rio Catú, immersing yourself in the pristine environment. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty and serenity of this secluded area and learn about the efforts to protect its precious marine life.

After 10 miles (6 km) of cycling, you'll reach the charming village of Sibaúma, inhabited by fishing communities. The town is comprised of the descendants of enslaved people who sought refuge in the region during the slavery era. As you explore Sibaúma, engage with the locals and learn about their fascinating culture. Discover the traditions passed down through generations and gain a deeper understanding of the struggles and triumphs that have shaped this vibrant community.

Day 15: Explore Praia da Pipa, Depart Natal

Self guided day in Praia da Pipa (Natal)
Until next time, Brazil!

Savor your last few hours on the coast exploring the beach town of Pipa. This sleepy spot was a small fishing village until the 1970s when surfers and tourists discovered the tiny town and were fascinated by its beauty and friendly locals. Take a stroll along the beach and keep an eye out for dolphins in the surf. At the scheduled time, meet your driver for a transfer to the airport for your flight back home. Safe travels!

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Map of Brazil's Coastal Gems: Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu, Natal & Praia de Pipa - 15 Days
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