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'Classic Brazil'

What makes this trip special?

The marvellous city

The marvellous city

Rio de Janeiro

Known to Brazilians as 'the marvellous city', Rio de Janeiro has undeniably the most beautiful setting of any city in the world. Rio also has style, culture, spirit, and an irrepressible thirst for life as it should be lived.

Iconic Rio

Iconic Rio

Christ the Redeemer

The statue of Christ the Redeemer, arms outstretched, is one of the most iconic sights in the Americas. The views from the foot of the statue are to die for. Straight ahead is Sugar Loaf mountain and Guanabara Bay, with successions of pepper-pot hills stretching to the horizon.

Tall and tanned and young and lovely

Tall and tanned and young and lovely

Ipanema

Rio is a city of beaches, and Ipanema is the loveliest. Or that's what its fans will tell you. You'll hear the same claim for Copacabana, and for others too. Choose your favourite - but there's no hurry to decide.

Cable car to stunning views

Cable car to stunning views

Sugar Loaf

Take the cable car to the top of Rio's Sugar Loaf mountain for stunning views across the city, along the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, across to Christ the Redeemer, and over Guanabara Bay.

Wildlife and waterfalls

Wildlife and waterfalls

Iguazu Falls

The Iguazu Falls lie on a triple border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The majority of the falls (around 70%) are situated on the Argentinean side of the border, which offers visitors a more up close and personal experience of the falls, but the best views, are from the panoramic viewpoints on the Brazilian side of the falls.

Rainforest metropolis

Rainforest metropolis

Manaus

Manaus is an extraordinary city, packed and bustling in its splendid isolation in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Rubber boom riches created its most well-known building - the 'Amazon Theatre' opera house, decked with statues of Carrara marble and 198 chandeliers of Murano glass.

All-round experience of the Amazon

All-round experience of the Amazon

Anavilhanas

The Anavilhanas Archipelago, just upriver from Manaus, is a haven for wildlife in huge areas of untouched rainforest.

Brazil's Afro-Brazilian heartland

Brazil's Afro-Brazilian heartland

Salvador

Salvador dances to a different beat, driven by its African heritage. A thriving colourful historical centre (with UNESCO World Heritage status), fine baroque churches, great views across the bay - and a public elevator to descend from the city to the port.

Sugar perfect

Sugar perfect

Cachoeira

The small town of Cachoeira flourished in the colonial era. When prices crashed, time stopped. Small streets of pastel-painted houses look across a wide riverfront - a rural Brazil of farming and condomble.

Itinerary map for Brazil 'Classic Brazil' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Rio de Janeiro
  • 2 Rio de Janeiro
  • 3 Rio de Janeiro
  • 4 Iguazu Falls
  • 5 Iguazu Falls
  • 6 Iguazu Falls
  • 7 Manaus
  • 8 Anavilhanas
  • 9 Anavilhanas
  • 10 Salvador
  • 11 Salvador
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Classic Brazil'

DAY 1

Rio de Janeiro

Most flights from Europe arrive in Rio in the morning. You are met on arrival at the airport and transferred to a mid-range hotel overlooking Copacabana beach and a short walk from Ipanema. You stay here for the next 3 nights. The rest of the day is free to relax after your long flight at your hotel or on the beach.

DAY 2
BL

Christ the Redeemer, "Historical Rio" and Ipanema

Today you are taken on a full day guided tour of Rio taking in some of the highlights of the 'marvellous city' as Brazilians call it. Make sure your camera battery is fully charged! An early morning start to the foot of Rio's most iconic landmark, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and to see one of the best views in the world. You take the train up Corcovado mountain to the foot of the statue where the whole of Rio is spread out below you. Straight ahead is Sugar Loaf mountain, Guanabara Bay, and across it the successions of pepper-pot hills that spread out beyond the city. Facing the Atlantic, the Rodrigo Freitas lagoon lies close to the foot of the mountain, with beyond it Copocabana, Ipanema and the beaches of the southern zone facing the ocean. Inland behind the mountain are the downtown areas of the city, spreading onwards to the Maracana stadium and much more besides. You will then be taken down to "old" Rio, visiting the old historic centre, with its museums, colonial buildings and baroque churches such as the exuberantly decorated Igreja São Francisco de Penitencia. Stop for a light lunch at the delightful Confeitaria Colombo, an art nouveau cafe in the heart of downtown Rio that is traditionally frequented by artists, intellectuals and politicians. In the afternoon your guide will take you back to the 'zona sul', or southern zone of the city, to Ipanema - its streets lined with trendy boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants. Zona sul's long beaches are divided into sections or 'postos', each of which attracts its own community of like-minded locals. Walk the swirling black and white tiled beachfront promenade, designed by Roberto Burle Marx, or sit on the sands of the beach and watch the 'cariocas' go about their daily life. It may be corny, but you might stop for a cold beer at the corner bar where a girl walked by, looking straight ahead on her way to the sea, and made the hearts of composer Tom Jobim and poet Vinicius Moraes skip a beat, or sip a coffee at the 'Girl from Ipanema' cafe run by the lady herself.

DAY 3
B

Tijuca Forest, Botanical Gardens and Sugar Loaf

This morning you will be collected from your hotel by your private guide and be taken to the Tijuca National Park, the worlds largest forest in an urban area and a UNESCO natural heritage site. The park is home to numerous waterfalls, wonderful viewpoints over the city and well-marked walking trails. Hopefully you will have the chance to spot some of the wildlife that frequents the forest, including monkeys, iguanas and a variety of birds. You then descend to visit the Botanical Gardens (itself another UNESCO natural heritage site), which holds a large collection of tropical and subtropical plants and trees, including orchids, water lilies and towering palms. It is also a research institute and home to Brazil's biggest botanical library. After a stop for lunch of your choice (at your own expense) you are taken to the neighbourhood of Urca to ride the cable car up to Sugar Loaf mountain for more fantastic picture-postcard views of Rio. As this is your last night in Rio (until you come again!), you might choose to linger at the summit until sunset to see darkness fall over the city and twinkling lights start to illuminate the curvaceous cityscape.

DAY 4
B

Iguassu Falls

This morning you are transferred to Rio de Janeiro airport to catch your flight to Iguassu. You are met on arrival at Iguassu airport and transferred to a mid-range hotel in Iguassu, where you stay for the next 3 nights, set within well-maintained grounds a short distance from the entrance of the Iguassu National Park. The rest of the day is free to relax at your hotel.

DAY 5
B

Brazilian side of the falls

This morning you are collected from your hotel and taken on a private tour of the Brazilian side of the Iguassu Falls. You begin at the modern visitors centre at the entrance to the National Park where there is a small museum with interactive exhibits, information and facts about the falls. You are then taken to the start of the 'Waterfall Trail', a 1,200m paved trail dotted with superb viewpoints looking onto different parts of the falls, culminating in a catwalk that leads you to the base of the almighty Devil's Throat cascade, a sheer mass of thundering water that is undoubtedly the most impressive part of the falls. This trip ends at the upper part of the Iguassu river which is accessed by a panoramic lift, which gives you a view of the falls from above. You will then be taken on the 'Macuco' safari boat trip, which starts with a 3km ride through the forest in a wagon pulled by an electrical vehicle (which sounds corny but is actually quite good). There is an English-speaking guide with you who will point out the surrounding flora and fauna and tell you something about them. After a 500m walk in the forest to the riverbank you board an inflatable speedboat specially designed to get as close as possible to the waterfalls. Prepare to get soaked! We have not included today's lunch so that you can choose from the several places to eat around the park.

DAY 6
B

Iguassu Falls from the Argentinian side

This morning you are collected from your hotel and taken over the border to Argentina for a different perspective of the falls. Board the small 'Tren Ecologico' or Rainforest Ecological Train which winds through the National Park dropping visitors off at the various walkways. Visit both the lower circuit catwalk, a 1.5km loop offering views of smaller but spectacular falls such as Ramirez and Bosetti and the upper circuit catwalk, a short trail in the forest above the first few waterfalls. Keep your eyes peeled for 'toco' toucans. You are then taken by train to Devils Throat station from where you walk 1,100m along a flat catwalk suspended over the Upper Iguazu river. The lookout point at the end of the catwalk offers stunning views over this side of the Devil's Throat falls, a very different view from the one you experienced yesterday. Next, a change of scale to visit Puerto Iguazu town and the garden of a local family which has been transformed into a delightful 'Jardin de los Picaflores' or hummingbird garden, full of flowers and suspended water feeders filled with sweetened water which attract a variety of different species of hummingbirds. It is a magical sight to see so many of these tiny birds up close and hear the fast-paced buzz of their wings as they hover at the feeders. You are then transferred back over the border to your hotel where the remainder of the day is free to relax. There may be time for an optional excursion at additional cost. You might visit Itaipu Dam, go on a canopy tour, go walking on a nature trail in the National Park, or visit the rather incorrect 'Parque das Aves' or Bird Park - a series of aviaries within the humid subtropical forest, which houses over 800 species of birds, as well as alligators, butterflies and anacondas.

DAY 7
B

The Amazon and Manaus

An early start this morning to catch your flight to Manaus, the cosmopolitan heart of the Amazon, changing planes in Sao Paulo. You are met on arrival at Manaus airport and transferred to the Hotel Tropical Manaus, located on a river beach 16km from downtown Manaus where you stay for the night. Manaus is the financial and industrial capital of the Amazon and the chief port and hub for the region's extensive river system. In the mid-afternoon you are collected from your hotel for a tour of Manaus, visiting its famous Opera House, the Indian museum (with fine collection of ceramics, sacred masks and replicas of Indian dwellings), the rubber museum, which shows the great wealth of the city during the rubber boom and the local fish market where weird river fish are laid out for your inspection. Afterwards you are driven back to your hotel where the rest of the day is free.

DAY 8
BLD

Anavilhanas Archipelago

Early this morning you are picked up from your hotel and driven on asphalt road for a 2h 45min trip to the port of Novo Airão, where you board a motorised boat for a 15 minute trip to your base for the next 2 nights, the Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge. The Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge is a small, stylish hotel in a vast stretch of untouched rainforest adjacent to the Anavilhanas archipelago, the largest fluvial archipelago in the world. The lodge offers an all-round experience of Amazonian wildlife. You stay on a full-board basis in comfortable suites with twice-daily wildlife excursions led by experienced English-speaking local guides. After an welcome drink and lunch, you will embark on an afternoon tour of the Anavilhanas islands in regional watercraft. You stop at one of the islands to disembark for a nature walk to experience a small example of the Amazon's immense array of plant and wildlife. After dinner at the Lodge get ready for a night-time alligator-spotting excursion where you are likely to see other nocturnal fauna too.

DAY 9
BLD

A full day discovering the Amazon based at Anavilhanas. After breakfast embark on a 2 hour forest hike (dry season) accompanied by a local guide who will escort you through the mainland forest. In the afternoon you will set out on an excursion in wooden canoes around the regional riverbanks, hoping to see Amazonian dolphin and to try your hand at piranha fishing. After dinner, you will have a chance to hear about the surrounding Amazon environment and the Anavilhanas Lodge in a lecture given at the lodge.

DAY 10
B

Salvador

This morning you are transferred by boat and road to Manaus and on to the airport for your flight to Salvador. You are met on arrival at Salvador airport and transferred to your chosen hotel in the heart of this fascinating city where you stay for the next two nights. Salvador is the capital of African-Brazilian Brazil, an intoxicating mix of sights, sounds and flavours.

DAY 11
BL

Recôncavo and Cachoeira

For a good introduction to Bahia today you take a day trip out into the countryside around Salvador, to the fertile Reconcavo farming region which surrounds the Bay of All Saints to visit the delightful, sleepy, river port town of Cachoeira. The Reconcavo grows much of Bahia's fruit and also spices such as peppers and cloves. In past centuries this was the plantation zone where sugar cane and tobacco were harvested by slaves. These crops brought riches to the region and paid for the fine colonial buildings in Salvador and Cachoeira. The day starts with a brief stop in Santo Amaro (hometown of two of Brazilian most popular musicians Caetano Veloso and his sister Maria Betania) to visit the local market. Here the stalls are piled with all sorts of local produce: pineapples, chillies, exotic gnarled squash, coconuts, melons, tarry black coils of chewing tobacco, and blue-legged crabs all covered in mud. From here you continue to the pastel painted town of Cachoeira which nestles at the foot of a hill spread out along the Paraguaçu River. Depopulated since the crash of sugar prices in the 19th century, Cachoeira remains as it was then - seemingly untouched by modern life. You'll be able to look into some of the local churches, and visit the Dennemann cigar factory, across the iron bridge in Sao Felix, where you can watch Brazil's finest cigars being hand rolled and learn about the beliefs and rituals of candomble.

DAY 12
BL

Salvador's Pelhourino, Cidade Baja and Igreja do Bomfim

Today your local guide will accompany you on a full day tour of Salvador, visiting the cobbled streets of the Pelhourino district and some of the lower town. The Pelourinho is the historic centre of Salvador and it is a UNESCO world heritage site, bursting with well preserved colourful colonial buildings (Salvador contains the largest collection of colonial architecture in Latin America). We suggest you start the tour with some early morning street photography to best capture the different pastel shades of the fine colonial houses before the city comes to life. Then you will visit the Sao Francisco church - one of the richest churches in Brazil. It has a painted ceiling, blue and white azulejos tiled cloisters and an extravagantly carved Baroque interior gilded with 800kg of gold leaf except at the rear where the slaves worshipped. There are many other interesting churches, such as the Catedral Basilica and several museums. Your guide can adapt the day's schedule to best match your interests. There will be time to window shop in the artisan's boutiques, and soak up the city's great atmosphere. 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) whilst the hypnotic sound of the berimbau and capoeira chants permeate through the air as a group of locals perform impromptu capoeira shows in church squares. You will then be taken to visit the lower town. Starting with the 18th century Igreja NS do Bonfim church. This is the most important church to the followers of Candomble who syncretize Jesus Christ (Nosso Senhor do Bonfim) with Oxala, their highest deity. This is where the colourful bands of cotton, fitas, which have become a symbol of Bahia are tied around peoples' wrists. They are tied on with three knots and with each knot you make a wish which it is said will come true by the time the fita falls off. It's bad luck to cut off the fita and they can take two years or so to fall off by themselves. The church is a popular shrine as Bonfim is said to have miraculous healing powers. In the room of miracles devotees leave ex votos, photos and prayers for those who need healing. Then take in the view of All Saints Bay from the battlements of nearby Forte de Sao Felipe on Monte Serrat hill. There is time for dinner before you are driven to Salvador airport for your international flight home overnight.

Guide prices for 'Classic Brazil'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price 2 people sharing £2,495
Prices are per person and include:
  • all accommodation
  • all land transport in Brazil
  • meals as indicated: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
  • tours as described with an English speaking local guide
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • domestic flights
  • airport and departure taxes
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc

Customer reviews for 'Classic Brazil'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average customer rating 100%

rating

Seasonal information for 'Classic Brazil'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Rio de Janeiro 30°C rainfall 152mm
2 Rio de Janeiro 30°C rainfall 152mm
3 Rio de Janeiro 30°C rainfall 152mm
4 Iguazu Falls 32°C rainfall 173mm
5 Iguazu Falls 32°C rainfall 173mm
6 Iguazu Falls 32°C rainfall 173mm
7 Manaus 31°C rainfall 271mm
8 Anavilhanas 31°C rainfall 339mm
9 Anavilhanas 31°C rainfall 339mm
10 Salvador 30°C rainfall 76mm
11 Salvador 30°C rainfall 76mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Classic Brazil'

Days 1 - 3

Orla Copacabana

rating

Average rating 4.7 (3 ratings)

Excellent location in Rio's south zone overlooking Copacabana beach life-guard station 6 and the military fort. Within walking distance of Ipanema beach.

Tall, narrow hotel with 115 rooms split over 13 floors each with air-conditioning, cable TV, wifi, safety box and fridge.

Stylish and ideal for trendy types but standard rooms really too small. Superior rooms are much bigger and a good size.

Deluxe ocean-front same as superior but face the sea.

Facilities include a restaurant, lobby bar, roof terrace with plunge pool and views over Copacabana beach, sauna and fitness centre.

Orla Copacabana
Days 4 - 6

San Martin Hotel & Resort

The San Martin Hotel & Resort is located 5 minutes from Iguassu airport and a short walk from the main entrance to the Iguassu National Park. It is set within well-maintained grounds and has a swimming pool and numerous leisure facilities on-site such as a tennis court, gym and hiking trails

San Martin Hotel & Resort
Day 7

Tropical Manaus

The Hotel Tropical Manaus is located on the  fluvial beach of Ponta Negra, 10km from Manaus airport and 16km from downtown Manaus.

This is the only upmarket hotel in the Manaus area. Alternatives here would be more budget city hotels located in downtown Manaus.

The 589 rooms each have air-conditioning, cable TV, wi-fi internet connection, hair-dryers, mini-bar, safe.

There are a huge vareity of leisure and entertainment activities on offer, numerous swimming pools, tennis court, gym, shops, restaurants.

Clients should be aware that there is a zoo on-site with animals including a jaguar in small cages.

Tropical Manaus
Deluxe Room
Days 8 - 9

Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge

The Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge is a small, stylish hotel nestled in a vast stretch of untouched rainforest adjacent to the Anavilhanas archipelago, the largest fluvial archipelago in the world. The lodge offers an all-round experience of Amazonian wildlife. Here you stay on a full-board basis in comfortable suites with twice-daily wildlife excursions led by experienced English-speaking local guides.

Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge
Days 10 - 11

Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador

historic Pelhourinho
rating

Average rating 5.0 (1 ratings)

Casa do Amarelindo is a small, 10 room hotel in a fully restored 19th century building located in the city's historic and colourful Pelourinho  district with impressive views out over the All Saints bay and its islands, the lower city and the Covento do Carmo.

Rooms are comfortable and all have 1 king bed or 2 queen beds, a/c and ceiling fan, TV, DVD, free internet access, safe, hair dryer, mini-bar. There is a small decked swimming pool and roof top terrace ideal for watching the sunset.

 

Cannot be reached by car and guests are escorted down a cobbled street from the Pelhourinho area so better to arrive before dark.

 

Other facilities include a restaurant, bar and, laundry service and a fitness centre. Great attention to detail, breakfast served all day, and even a caipirinha to welcome you on arrival!

Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador