Day 1 You are on arrival at Salvador airport and transferred to a mid-range hotel in this fascinating city where you stay for 2 nights at a characterful pousada.
Salvador is the African-Brazilian capital of Brazil and is an intoxicating mix of sights, sounds and experiences. The cobbled streets of the Pelourinho, a UNESCO world heritage site bursting with colourful colonial buildings - the largest array of colonial architecture in Latin America.
Bahian ladies dressed all in white wander the streets selling delicious freshly cooked acaraje (deep-fried black-eyed pea fritters stuffed with caramelized onions and shrimp) Walking through these characterful streets and squares you might come across an impromptu capoeira performance (a form of Brazilian martial art fusing music and dance) accompanied by the hypnotic sound of the berimbau and capoeira chants permeating the air.
Day 2 B Today you will be taken on a half day panoramic and city tour, taking you into the historical heart of Salvador. Visit the Cidade Alta, where some of the first streets in Bahia were laid, the "Farol da Barra", a lighthouse that now functions as the city's nautical museum and "Porto da Barra" from where you can see the Santa Maria and Sao Diogo forts.
You are the taken to visit Salvador's more traditional neighbourhoods, namely Corredor da Vit¢ria, Campo Grande and Piedade. By far the most significant site visited during the excursion is the Pelourinho, the historical centre of Salvador. After the tour you will be taken back to your hotel where you have the rest of the day free to relax or do some independent sight-seeing.
Day 3 B This morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the bus station with a guide who will assist you to catch your bus for 5-6-hour journey to Lenç¢is, the gateway to the Chapada Diamantina National Park. Stay for the next three nights at a characterful pousada on a B&B basis. Rest of the afternoon free to relax after your journey or wander Lençois.
This delightful, pretty town with cobbled streets and fine old buildings was a prosperous mining community in the late nineteenth century famed for its diamonds and attracted diamond buyers from as far afield as Europe, who would trade in the ornate municipal market.
Day 4 B Today you will do two half day hikes in the area surrounding Lençois. Walking along the riverbeds of the Grizante and the Lenç¢is,visit the Spring Waterfall and admire chambers made of coloured sand, or bathe in the Serrano river.
The second hike takes you across the Sossego canyon to the Sossego waterfall, returning via the Rebeirao do Meio creek.
Day 5 B Today you will be taken to explore the caves of the region, situated approximately 75km from Lençois.
Starting at Lapa Doce cave, full of stalagmites and stalagtites continue on to Pratinha cave, where you can stop to bathe in an underground river with crystal-clear water.
Sunbeams shining into the Azul cave display a spectrum of colours, a unique natural phenomenon. In the afternoon, the visitor climbs the Morro de Pai In cio, a landmark of the Chapada Diamantina, to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Day 6 B Today you will be transferred back to Salvador, arriving in the afternoon for a positioning night at before your flight to Sao Luis the following morning.
Rest of the afternoon free to relax or perhaps do some independent sight-seeing.
Day 7 B Early this morning you will be transferred to Salvador airport for your flight to Sao Luis
You will be met on arrival in Sao Luis and transferred to a hotel in the city where you will stay for the night.
Sao Luis is the capital of Maranhao, the second largest state in Northeast Brazil and a transitional region of the country between the Northeast and Amazonia. The south and east of Maranhao are largely semi-arid sertao, covered in vast areas of babaçu palm, whilst the north and northeast are covered with equatorial forest and receive regular rainfall. In the afternoon you will be taken on a half-day city tour of this fascinating city. Sao Luis is a steamy Amazonian riverport and North-eastern seaport situated on the corner of the 50km long Sao Luis island, split in two by the Anil river.
The modern half of Sao Luis, residential suburbs and lively city beaches are situated north of the river. To the south of the river lies the real jewel - the historic centre, its atmospheric cobbled streets lined with churches, museums and restored and decaying tropically coloured 18th and 19th century colonial mansions, considered to be some of the finest and best preserved colonial architecture in all Brazil.
One of the reasons for the excellent condition of many of these historic buildings can be credited to the 19th century azulejos or tiles, relics of the Portuguese colonisers, that adorn many of the buildings and have protected their walls from the intense humidity and heat in Sao Luis. Another more recent contributor to the upkeep of the area is `Projeto Reviver', a local government funded initiative started in the late 1980's with the goal of regenerating and recuperating the historical centre, whose efforts culminated in the historical centre being declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997. There is, however, more to Sao Luis than colonial architecture.
The city is famed for its arts and crafts, ranging from replica azulejos to oil paintings, typical confectionary, basketry and embroidery. There are well-renowned large array of museums and galleries showcasing local art, furnishings and historical artifacts. Festivals are also a strong point in Sao Luis and every June the city is besieged with people coming from far and wide to celebrate `Bumba Meu Boi' - a folkloric, carnivalesque spectacle based around the death and resurrection of a prize boi or bull, fusing dance, theatre and song and drawing on the regions mixed Indian, European and African heritage.
Sao Luis is also known as the reggae capital of Brazil, stemming from its proximity to the Caribbean and the large African presence in the city, which has the third largest population of Afro-Brazilians in Brazil after Rio and Salvador.
Day 8 B This morning you will be collected from your hotel and be transferred by van to Barreirinhas (approximately 3« hours). Afternoon visit to the grand Lençois (lakes and sand dunes). Stay for the next two nights at e.g Porto Preguiças Resort
Day 9 B Early morning boat trip down the Preguiças river that runs alongside the desert until it meets the sea. Visit the fishermen's settlements of Vassouras, Mandacaru and Cabur‚. Return to Barreirinhas. Overnight at Pousada Porto Preguiças.
Day 10 B Free morning at your hotel in Barreirinhas. In the afternoon you will be transferred back to Sao Lu¡s to be ready for your flight to Natal the following day.
Praia da Pipa
Day 11 B Most of this morning is free in Sao Luis, until you are collected from your hotel in the late morning and transferred to the airport for a flight to the city of Natal.
On arrival in Natal, you will be met by a private English-speaking guide and be transferred to Praia da Pipa 87km south of the city, where you stay for the next 3 nights at a mid-range pousada.
A small fishing village until its discovery by surfers in the 1970's, Praia da Pipa is a laid-back and increasingly popular beach village situated on a beautiful stretch of coast famed for its succession of white-sand beaches backed by cliffs.
Dolphins are frequent visitors to waters here. Green turtles are known to nest on the beaches between November and May.
Hotels in Pipa are either sited on the cliff-top with a steep walk down to the beaches below, or in the bustling village of Pipa itself, which is spread along an avenue lined with bars, restaurants and shops.
Day 12 B Free day in Praia da Pipa to relax on the beach or perhaps do an optional excursion e.g horse-riding along the beach, kayaking, visit to Pipa Ecological Sanctuary which contains trails leading to cliff-top lookout points, surfing.
Day 13 B Free day in Praia da Pipa to relax on the beach
Day 14 B Most of today is free to relax at your hotel in Praia da Pipa. You will be transferred to Natal airport in time to check in for your international flight home overnight.
14 days / 13 nights.
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