- Immerse yourself in Carioca culture in Rio de Janeiro
- Enjoy the white-sand beaches and clear waters of Arriel do Cabo
- Embark on rainforest adventures deep in the Amazon region
- Ride speedboats and catamarans around Brazil's northeast coast
|Day 1||Arrive in Rio, Optional Activities||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 2||Full-Day Rio City Tour||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 3||Day Trip to Arraial do Cabo||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 4||Tijuca National Park & Botanical Garden||Rio de Janeiro|
|Day 5||Fly to Manaus, Optional Activities||Manaus|
|Day 6||Transfer to Amazon Rainforest (Day 1)||The Amazon|
|Day 7||Amazon Rainforest Activities (Day 2)||The Amazon|
|Day 8||Amazon Rainforest Activities (Day 3)||The Amazon|
|Day 9||Fly to Recife, Transfer to Olinda||Olinda|
|Day 10||Transfer to Porto de Galinhas||Porto de Galinhas|
|Day 11||Maragogi Speedboat Tour||Porto de Galinhas|
|Day 12||Praia dos Carneiros Catamaran Tour||Porto de Galinhas|
|Day 13||Transfer to Recife, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Rio, Optional Activities
Bem-vindo! Welcome to Brazil! South America's largest country is a paradise rich in biological and cultural diversity. This is reflected in the vibrant culture, world-class cuisine, and stunning natural beauty found in every corner of the nation. Brazil is far too big to see in one trip, which is why this itinerary focuses on a few highlight locales. Everything kicks off in Rio de Janeiro, one of the great world's great cities.
Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up for the ride to your hotel in the beachfront Copacabana neighborhood. On the drive there, Rio will unfold before your eyes, with its numerous hills, bays, beaches, and waterfront apartment buildings/hotels. From afar, you'll even glimpse two of the city's most iconic landmarks: Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) and the hilltop statue of Christ the Redeemer. Once you've settled in, you can spend the day strolling the waterfront, mingling with "Cariocas" (as the locals are known), or relaxing on the beach, which is mere steps from your hotel.
Day 2: Full-Day Rio City Tour
Rio is packed with culture, history, scenic beauty, and famous landmarks—so there's no time to waste exploring it. In the morning, meet your guide for a full-day private city tour, beginning with a trip to the top of Corcovado Mountain and the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Commissioned by a local Catholic group in 1920, this 98-foot (30 m) representation of Christ (and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World) looks down benevolently over the city below with open arms.
After snapping selfies at the base of Christ the Redeemer, you'll head over to the Urca district on Guanabara Bay. Then, venture up another famous mountain: Sugarloaf. Rising 1,299 feet (396 m) above the harbor, this city landmark unsurprisingly gets its name because it resembles a giant mound of sugar. It's accessible via cable cars and a hiking trail, and once at the top, you'll enjoy panoramic views out over the bay and around Rio.
Later, you'll visit the historic Lapa neighborhood, known for its Arcos da Lapa (stone aqueduct) and colorful tile mosaic stairs, built by Chilean artist Selarón in 1990. Other highlight landmarks you'll pass include the conical-shaped São Sebastião Cathedral, the Maracanã soccer stadium, and the Sambódromo, the 90,000-capacity exhibition center that hosts Rio's largest parades during the annual Carnaval celebrations. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel.
Day 3: Day Trip to Arraial do Cabo
Wake up early and meet your driver for a 2.5-hour ride east to Arraial do Cabo. Famous for its soft white-sand beaches and clear waters, this resort area is so beautiful it has earned the nickname the "Brazilian Caribbean." On a full-day tour, you'll get to enjoy Arraial do Cabo's best beaches and also explore some of its lesser-known but no less beautiful corners.
Upon arrival, you'll head to the marina and board a large schooner for a leisurely cruise across the clear, placid waters. During the ride, you'll stop at remote beaches and coves, plus enjoy a 40-minute snorkeling break at Ilha do Farol, a peninsula known for its lighthouse. You'll also stop at Prainhas do Pontal, a coastal area lined with towering cliffs and verdant mountains.
Continue sailing to Grota Azul, a sea cave known for its vivid blue waters. From there, you'll pass the Fenda de Nossa Senhora, a unique rock formation comprised of a cove and towering sea cliffs with a crack down the middle. At the base of this fissure is a statue of a saint. Following this is an additional 20-minute stop at one of the region's most popular beaches, Praia do Forno. After enjoying a dip and some sunbathing, you'll return to the harbor in town and enjoy lunch at a beachfront restaurant. Then hop in the car for the ride back to Rio, arriving in time for dinner.
Day 4: Tijuca National Park & Botanical Garden
Today, you'll stay in the city and explore two more highlights of Rio de Janeiro on a half-day tour. After meeting your guide at the hotel, you'll transfer to Tijuca National Park, which at 8,300 acres (3,359 ha), is the largest urban park in the world. On the way there, you'll pass landmarks like the Vista Chinesa lookout point, the Taunay Waterfall, and the quaint Mayrink Chapel.
Once there, you'll embark on one of the park's hiking trails. It's a great opportunity to spot wildlife, as the area is home to several species of small animals, such as squirrels, monkeys, porcupines, foxes, and armadillos. It's also ideal for birding—watch for toucans, parrots, and other tropical species.
After Tijuca, you'll visit the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden). Covering an area of approximately 345 acres (140 ha), this natural wonderland boasts around 6,500 species of plants, making it one of the most diverse and important botanical gardens in Brazil and the world. Highlights include royal palms, orchids, bamboo groves, Amazon water lilies, African baobab trees, and more.
Day 5: Fly to Manaus, Optional Activities
It's time to say goodbye to Rio. Not to worry, as today you're off to another wildly beautiful region of Brazil: the Amazon. In the morning, you'll transfer to the airport for the four-hour flight north to Manaus, the capital of Brazil's state of Amazonas. Sitting on the banks of the Negro River, this is the major hub in north-central Brazil for trips and expeditions into the rainforest. After transferring from the airport to your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day free to explore the city on your own.
There are many fascinating architectural landmarks in Manaus. Head to the city center to see the early-20th-century Black River Palace, the 19th-century Customs House, the neoclassical Palace of Justice, and the incredible Amazon Theater. This opera house, with its elegant pink facade and colorful dome, was built in 1896 during the rubber boom.
To learn more about the original inhabitants of the Amazon, you can stop at the Museu do Índio (Indian Museum), which promotes the cultural heritage, history, and traditions of Indigenous peoples in Brazil. For a bit of local color and to do some shopping, head to the historic Mercado Adolpho, a waterfront marketplace that dates to the 19th century and sells everything from artisanal crafts to fresh produce.
Day 6: Transfer to Amazon Rainforest (Day 1)
At 8 am, you'll transfer to the riverfront and board a speedboat for a 3.5-hour ride deep into the Amazon. During the ride, there will be brief stops to snap photos and observe pink river dolphins, which are common on these waterways. Eventually, you'll arrive in the village of Vila do Careiro, where you'll visit a local fruit market. From there, it's a scenic 50-minute journey by minibus to Turtle Lodge, an ecolodge in the remote rainforest. You should arrive by midday.
After checking in and taking a break for lunch, you'll head out on a canoe trip down the waterways near the lodge. It's a great opportunity to spot some native jungle residents, like sloths, monkeys, and various tropical birds, including toucans. You'll return to the lodge in time for dinner, which will be served at 7 pm.
Day 7: Amazon Rainforest Activities (Day 2)
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Wake up at 5:30 to experience an unforgettable sunrise over the forest and do a bit of birding before breakfast. Then, leave the lodge at 8 am along with an expert guide for a jungle hike. Just know that this isn't your typical hike—as you go, your guide will offer survival tips while in the Amazon. These are the same techniques that Indigenous residents have been practicing since antiquity.
When the hike is over, you'll return to the lodge for lunch. After eating and a well-deserved siesta, the adventure continues at 3 pm with a little fishing trip where the prized catch is piranha. After hooking a few of these carnivorous fish, you'll return to the lodge and can relax until dinner. Later, there's the option to embark on a guided night hike to try and spot caimans and nocturnal wildlife in the forest, like armadillos and kinkajous.
Day 8: Amazon Rainforest Activities (Day 3)
Leave the lodge at 8 am on a canoe ride to a local Caboclo community. Caboclo, in Brazilian Portuguese, refers to a person of mixed Indigenous and European descent. During this guided tour, you'll visit one such community and learn about the culture and agricultural practices of these long-standing residents of the Amazon.
Lunch will be served at noon, after which you'll venture out on another boat ride, this time on a photo safari. During the ride, you'll spot exotic birds like flycatchers, hummingbirds, herons, hawks, and more. You might also see giant anteaters, pink dolphins, river otters, and manatees. If you're really lucky, jungle cats like margays and jaguars will make an appearance. After the tour, you'll return to the lodge and will have the evening free.
Day 9: Fly to Recife, Transfer to Olinda
It's your last day in the Amazon. Make it count with another sunrise start and a rainforest hike. Then, at 8 am, you'll tour the area's igapós (flooded forests), rivers, and lakes to spot more pink river dolphins and the famous Victoria amazonica. These giant lily pads measure up to 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter and produce colorful flowering plants. Following a visit to a school in a Caboclo community, you'll board a speedboat for the return trip to Manaus. There, you'll transfer to the airport for the four-hour flight to the coastal city of Recife, the capital of Brazil's Pernambuco region.
Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up for the 30-minute ride north to Olinda. This colorful town is known for its colonial heritage and stunning beaches like Praia do Farol and Praia de Casa Caiada. After checking in at your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day to relax on these golden stretches of sand, plus tour the historic buildings and hike up to incredible viewpoints overlooking the Atlantic.
Day 10: Transfer to Porto de GalinhasIt's another travel day, and in the morning, you'll leave Olinda on a 1.5-hour drive south to Porto de Galinhas, one of the top beach resort areas in Pernambuco state. It's famous for its natural reef-formed pools and shallow waters, which make great snorkeling spots. Upon arrival at your hotel, you'll again have the day free to relax, enjoy a snorkeling/dive tour, or participate in other water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding.
Day 11: Maragogi Speedboat Tour
Get ready for a full-day tour exploring the coast around Porto de Galinhas. In the morning, you'll transfer south by car to the resort town of Maragogi, known for its palm-fringed white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters. On the way, you'll stop at the jaw-dropping Praia de Barra Grande, a beach with a long sandbar running out into turquoise and crystalline waters.
Once in Maragogi, you'll board a speedboat for an exciting tour around the coast. The route covers about 3.7 miles (6 km), with stops during the trip at natural pools, beaches, and sandbars. You'll return to Maragogi in time for lunch and can then spend time relaxing on the postcard beaches in town, like Praia de Antunes. You'll return to Porto de Galinhas at the end of the afternoon.
Day 12: Praia dos Carneiros Catamaran Tour
Rise early yet again for an excursion to Praia dos Carneiros, known for its shallow waters, perfect for snorkeling. It starts with a pickup at your hotel and then a one-hour drive to Carneiros. Besides its turquoise waters, this beach town is famous for the 18th-century Chapel of São Benedito, a quaint whitewashed church on the water. It's a popular spot for weddings and other events due to its charming setting and ocean views.
When you arrive in Carneiros, you'll board a catamaran for a leisurely trip along the coast. Relax onboard as you cruise across turquoise waters past inviting beaches and mangroves. There will even be a stop for a revitalizing soak in mud baths at natural pools. When you return to Carneiros, you'll have time to go snorkeling before returning to Porto de Galinhas.