Discover Rio de Janeiro — a vibrant and diverse city where emerald blue water, green inky forest, and rocky mountains meet. Explore the lush Costa Verde and the picturesque colonial town of Paraty. Visit the island of Ilha Grande to relax on dreamy beaches and enjoy a private boat tour. Get up close to the magnificent Iguazu Falls in all their thundering glory.

Highlights

  • Tour vibrant Rio de Janeiro 
  • Visit the majestic Iguazu Falls National Park 
  • Trek along the tropical coast and discover secluded beaches
  • Explore Ilha Grande by boat 
  • See wildlife like monkeys, toucans, and other rare birds

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Corcovado & Sugarloaf Mountain Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Rio by bike Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Rio - Ilha Grande Ilha Grande
Day 5 Hiking in Ilha Grande Ilha Grande
Day 6 Free day Ilha Grande Ilha Grande
Day 7 Ilha Grande - Paraty Paraty
Day 8 Paraty by boat Paraty
Day 9 Ponta Negra hike Paraty
Day 10 Saco do Mamangua hike Paraty
Day 11 Paraty - Iguazu Falls Iguazu Falls
Day 12 Iguazu Falls (Argentinian side) Iguazu Falls
Day 13 Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side) - Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro
Day 14 Departure from Rio de Janeiro  

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro

The infamous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Jainero 
The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer looking over Rio de Jainero 

Welcome to Brazil! You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. Take this chance to unpack, pick up last minute necessities, and do a bit of sightseeing. 

Day 2: Corcovado & Sugarloaf Mountain

The locals call the city "Cidade maravilhosa" - wonderful city 
The locals call the city "Cidade maravilhosa" — the "Marvelous City" 

Your tour this morning starts with a trip up to the Corcovado mountain, a world-renowned symbol of Rio. Take some time to soak in the beautiful panoramic views before heading back down via the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Take a walk through this quaint, historic area to get a sense of its current-day diversity. Make sure to pay a visit to the Escadaria do Convento da Santa Teresa,  brightly colored stairs designed by Jorge Selarón.

Later today, visit another symbol of Rio when you take a ride on the cable cart to the summit of Sugarloaf mountain, which marks the entrance to the Guanabara Bay

Day 3: Rio by Bike

Explore the beaches of Rio by bike today - it's a slow and easy ride with plenty to see
Explore the beaches of Rio by bike today — it's a slow and easy ride with plenty to see

Your English-speaking guide will meet you at the hotel this morning for a bike tour of the Rio beaches. Take a short subway trip to the iconic Ipanema, where you will rent your bikes and continue south. The first segment of your tour follows a bike path along the banks of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas for 4.6 miles, with an optional detour to Catacumba Park, a lovely oasis famous for its modern sculptures. 

From there, follow the coast to the Leblon and Ipanema beaches, which are crowded in the summer but quieter during the offseason. Take a break from biking to swim in the sea and then continue to the viewpoint in Arpoador, where a rock marks the end of the beach. From here, it's a short distance to Copacabana and the Copacabana Fort, which is well worth a visit. 

Day 4: Rio - Ilha Grande

The Green Coast is a corridor of forest that stretches between the mountains and water
The Green Coast is a corridor of forested land that stretches between the mountains and water

A private driver will meet you at the hotel in the morning to drive you to Conceição de Jacarei, a two-hour drive along the Costa Verde — the "Green Coast." Enjoy the lush tropical vegetation as you drive on the road today between the ocean and the mountains. 

Once you arrive, board a ferry for the 20-minute crossing to the island of Ilha Grande, where you will be met by your hosts and your luggage brought up to your pousada, or guesthouse, for you. 

Day 5: Hiking in Ilha Grande

The beaches, mountains, and lakes of Ilha Grande offer many recreational opportunities
The beaches, mountains, and lakes of Ilha Grande offer many recreational opportunities

There are many options for sightseeing today, and your English-speaking guide will accompany you on whichever you choose. Depending on the weather and your desire for physical activity, choose one of these following options: explore the waterfall at Feiticeira, roam the picturesque beach at Dois Rios, or climb the Pico do Papagaio — the highest point of the island.  

For those who enjoy being on the water, you may choose to go on a kayaking or boat excursion to the Lagoa Azul or Lagoa Verde instead of trekking today. 

Day 6: Free Day Ilha Grande

For some, vacation means being active - for others, a day at the beach is just perfect! 
For some, vacation means being active — for others, a day at the beach is just perfect! 

Today you have a free day to enjoy everything that Ilha Grande has to offer. Relax on the beach, go kayaking, take a boat trip to different spots on the island, or go diving in the beautiful blue water — the day is yours!  

Day 7: Ilha Grande - Paraty

The colonial town of Paraty dates back to the Brazilian Gold Rush
The colonial town of Paraty dates back to the Brazilian Gold Rush

In the morning, board the ferry for the 20-minute crossing to the mainland and Angra dos Reis. Your driver will meet you at the pier and drive you to Paraty, a 1.5-hour trip south down the coast. 

Paraty is a small Portuguese colonial town on Brazil's Costa Verde, and its cobbled streets and 17th and 18th-century buildings date back to its time as a port. Enjoy exploring the pretty streets and stop in at Capela de Santa Rita, a whitewashed church built in the 18th  century. 

Day 8: Paraty by Boat

This colorful tourist boat was one of many like it that were once used for fishing
This colorful tourist boat was one of many like it that were once used for fishing

In the morning, the captain will drive you down to the pier to board a private tour boat, which will be your home for the day. Originally a fishing boat, this craft has been adapted for travelers — benches and cushions, a cooler, and a sunshade make this boat a comfortable place to spend the day. 

Sail around the Bay of Paraty, traveling between islands and from one beach to the next. There are several stops planned at different sites — Ilha Comprida, Saco da Velha, and Praia Vermelha. All of these destinations are great places to swim or snorkel among tropical fish.

Day 9: Ponta Negra Hike

Your three-hour hike today is pleasant and lovely - enjoy the views!
Your three-hour hike today is pleasant and lovely — enjoy the views!

Today you will take a local bus in the morning from Paraty to the village of Laranjeiras, a short 30-minute trip.  Your hike will start with a short, easy climb before entering the Mata Atlantica (the Atlantic Forest), located in the heart of the ecological preserve of Joatinga. After an hour and a half of pleasant hiking, you will reach the hamlet of Sono just in time for lunch. This town is located on the border of one of the loveliest beaches in the area — Praia Do Sono.  

After lunch, you'll face the only difficult section of trail — a steep hill, after which the hike becomes much less demanding. Pass through Praia Da Velha and Praia Dos Antigos before arriving an hour and a half later to the small fishing village of Ponta Negra. Tucked into the recesses of a cove, this hamlet is completely secluded from the rest of the world. Listen to the waves crashing on the white sand beach as you enjoy the isolation of this lovely place. Later, return by boat to Laranjeiras and by local bus to Paraty.

Day 10: Saco do Mamangua Hike

The emerald green water will be your incredible view during the trek today 
The emerald green water will be your incredible view during the trek today 

Today, like yesterday, take the local bus from Paraty — this time, to the village of Paraty Mirim, a 40-minute trip.  Paraty Mirim is famous for its Portuguese-style church and gorgeous beaches. The village sits on the edge of an ecological preserve, which is where your hike to Saco do Mamangua starts. 

The beginning of this hike is the hardest, with a significant ascent into the Joatinga reserve. The trek to Saco do Mamangua will take approximately 1.5 hours, and will take you deep into the forest. Keep an eye out for wildlife like tropical birds and monkeys.  Continue down a 5-mile-long fjord alongside beaches with emerald green water. Stop for lunch at a small local restaurant in Regato, before walking back to Laranjeiros to catch the local bus back to Paraty. 

Day 11: Paraty - Iguazu Falls

The incredible power of the falls is best seen from the walkways and paths that wind through the park 
The incredible power of the falls is best seen from the walkways and paths that wind through the park 

Head to the airport in Rio for your flight to Iguazu. There, you'll be met by your driver and transferred to the hotel, or, depending on arrival time, directly to the Iguazu Falls National Park for a day of sightseeing.  These magnificent falls straddle the borders of three countries: Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Enjoy exploring the park and the falls, as well as the surrounding areas. 

Day 12: Iguazu Falls (Argentinian Side)

Get up close and personal with the secure walkways that bring you next to the falls 
Get up close and personal with the secure walkways that bring you next to the falls 

Today you will visit the Argentinian side of the park. Your guide will meet you at the hotel for the drive, which is approximately 45 minutes. From the Argentinian side, you will be able to get closer to the water, as well as visit the impressive Devil’s Canyon — a breathtaking geological feature. In the afternoon, return to your hotel on the Brazilian side of the falls. 

For the adventurous among you, take a boat tour into the middle of the falls to feel the spray of the water on your shoulders and feel the thundering water come down around you. 

Day 13: Iguazu Falls (Brazilian Side) - Rio de Janeiro

The magnificent Iguaçu Falls offer many views of the powerful water - including some with rainbows!
The magnificent Iguazu Falls offers many views of the powerful water — including some with rainbows!

Spend the morning exploring the Iguazu Falls National Park. Head to the Brazilian side of the park to admire wonderful panoramic views, more falls, and if the sun is out — rainbows! 

The Iguazu Falls National Park covers 185,000 acres and was created in 1939. Its ecological beauty and biological reserve are classified as a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site. Today, pass by hundreds of smaller falls on your way the last one — Floriano Falls

On the return trip to Foz do Iguazu, stop and visit the aviary at Parque das Aves to see hundreds of different species of birds from Brazil and other tropical countries. There may be an optional trip for a short helicopter flight over the falls — check with your tour guide for availability. In the afternoon, catch a flight back to Rio de Janeiro. 

Day 14: Departure from Rio de Janeiro

Sugarloaf mountain and a view of the blue water around Rio
Sugarloaf mountain and a view of the blue water around Rio

Today is your last day in Brazil. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Have a safe trip!