'Northeast Discovery'

What makes this trip special?

Brazil's Afro-Brazilian heartland

Brazil's Afro-Brazilian heartland


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.

Ancient table mountains

Ancient table mountains

Chapada Diamantina

A region of dramatic scenery covering an area larger than the Netherlands, the table mountains of Brazil's Chapada Diamantina sparkle with quartz as they rise sheer-sided from the plains - relics of a time before the continents divided.

Artsy Amazonian port city

Artsy Amazonian port city

Sao Luis

Sao Luis is an atmospheric Amazonian port city with a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage declared historic quarter, famed for its arts and crafts and lively "Bumba Meu Boi" folk festival

Towering sand-dunes and freshwater lagoons

Towering sand-dunes and freshwater lagoons

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses is the largest National Park in the Northeast, a stunning and vast desert scape of sand-dunes speckled with crystal-clear lagoons. Visitors typically explore the area by boat or jeep.

Stunning white-sand, cliff backed beaches

Stunning white-sand, cliff backed beaches

Praia da Pipa

Praia da Pipa is a laid-back, bustling beach village set on a beautiful stretch of coast frequented by dolphins and green turtles. The best beaches are accessed by a steep walk down the clifftop.

Itinerary map for Brazil 'Northeast Discovery' holiday


  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Salvador
  • 2 Salvador
  • 3 Lencois
  • 4 Lencois
  • 5 Lencois
  • 6 Salvador
  • 7 Sao Luis
  • 8 Lencois Maranhenses
  • 8 Lencois Maranhenses
  • 10 Sao Luis
  • 11 Praia da Pipa
  • 12 Praia da Pipa
  • 13 Praia da Pipa
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Northeast Discovery'



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.


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.


Chapada Diamantina

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.


Today you will do two half day hikes in the area surrounding Lençois. Walking along the riverbeds of the Grizante and the Lençois,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.


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.



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.


Sao Luis

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.


Lençois Maranhenses

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


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

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.

DAY 11

Praia da Pipa

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

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

Free day in Praia da Pipa to relax on the beach

DAY 14

depart Brazil

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.

Guide prices for 'Northeast Discovery'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price 2 people sharing
Guide price 2 people sharing £call
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 'Northeast Discovery'

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.


Seasonal information for 'Northeast Discovery'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Salvador 30°C rainfall 76mm
2 Salvador 30°C rainfall 76mm
3 Lencois 30°C rainfall 131mm
4 Lencois 30°C rainfall 131mm
5 Lencois 30°C rainfall 131mm
6 Salvador 30°C rainfall 76mm
7 Sao Luis 30°C rainfall 198mm
8 Lencois Maranhenses 32°C rainfall 156mm
8 Lencois Maranhenses 32°C rainfall 156mm
10 Sao Luis 30°C rainfall 198mm
11 Praia da Pipa 32°C rainfall 64mm
12 Praia da Pipa 32°C rainfall 64mm
13 Praia da Pipa 32°C rainfall 64mm

Typical weather for January


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

Hotels for 'Northeast Discovery'