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Rio, Pantanal, Salvador, Trancoso & Sao Paulo

Itinerary Overview

  • 15 nights in luxury accommodations in Rio de Janeiro, Pantanal, Salvador, Trancoso and São Paulo.
  • English-speaking private guide & driver for touring and transfers.
  • Advance itinerary customization and restaurant reservations, as well as 24/7 in-country support.

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Day 1

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro!

After clearing Customs and Immigration, meet your guide just outside baggage claim (holding a sign with your name on it) for your private transfer to your accommodations at Hotel Emiliano.

Rio de Janeiro the previous capital of Brazil, is one of the most-visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere. It is known for its picturesque landscapes of mountains and seaside, as well the famous attractions like Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, and the neighborhoods of Ipanema and Copacabana. Rio de Janeiro lives up to its nickname of the “Cidade Maravilhosa” or “The Marvelous City.”

Day 2

Exploration of Rio

Today you’ll spend the day with your guide exploring various fascinating aspects of Rio de Janeiro. Beginning with a morning visit to one of Rio’s many local food markets that feature exotic fruits and vegetables that are used in local cuisine and are important staples of Brazilian dishes. Don’t be shy to ask for a sample or two of a fruit or vegetable that you haven’t seen before!

After your market visit, you’ll visit the world-renowned statue of Christ the Redeemer. Located atop Corcovado hill, this 122-feet tall concrete statue simultaneously welcomes new visitors with open arms and blesses the entire city of Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy the panoramic, almost aerial, view of the city as well as its surrounding neighborhoods like Copacabana and Ipanema and the landscapes of the lush blue waters, sandy beaches, and high mountains that surround Rio. The beautiful blend of surf-washed beaches, steep peaks, verdant forests and sophisticated metropolis is one you’ll find hard to forget.

The final stop of the day will be at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon where you will bike the 5 mile loop around the lagoon enjoying the amazing views of the surrounding mountains before breaking for some refreshing coconut water on Ipanema Beach. Afternoon & evening at leisure.

Day 3

Further Exploration of Rio

This morning after breakfast, you’ll head out with your guide for a trip to the Botanical Garden in Rio, the perfect destination for nature lovers. Founded in 1808 by King John VI of Portugal, the gardens were originally intended for the acclimatization of spices imported from the West Indies. Today it is home to more than 7,000 species of tropical and subtropical plants and trees, along with collections of bromeliads, orchids, carnivorous plants and cacti, and was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1992. Keep your eyes open for the many species of birds and monkeys that also reside here as you meander through the grounds.

After lunch, you’ll visit the uniquely shaped Sugar Loaf Mountain, whose name comes from the cone-like molds that were once used in the production of sugar in the 16th century. Sugar Loaf Mountain is one of Brazil’s most famous tourist attractions. Aboard the cable car to the top, you’ll be given a unique view of the mountain and the city behind you through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the car.

Day 4

Beach Hopping in Rio

Today with your guide you’ll, travel along a narrow and scenic road to reach the beautiful remote beaches of Prainha and Grumari. Prainha, which means “little beach” in Portuguese, is a smaller beach but with big waves and fine, white sand. Watch the surfers and enjoy a cold beverage and a bite to eat at the open air restaurant and then continue on to Grumari, which is a longer beach surrounded by a lush natural preserve. This relatively unknown beach is the perfect spot for relaxing in the sun or snacking on some freshly caught seafood in an upscale restaurant with superb views of the sea (Thursday-Sunday only for restaurant availability.)

You will stop at Barra de Guaratiba where you will have time for a stand up paddle class in the mangroves of Restinga da Marambaia, a huge natural reserve that is owned and run by the Brazilian military. This activity has no age limit and is suitable for guests from beginner to advanced (younger children may ride on the instructor’s board.) After the lesson, you will be ready to paddle on your own and explore the beauty of this unspoiled reserve.

On the way back into the city, you’ll have a guided visit of the Casa do Pontal Museum which offers unique depictions of Brazilian folk culture through mediums such as wood carvings, masks, and embroidery.

Day 5

Journey to Pantanal

Meet your guide and driver for your private transfer to the airport for your journey to Pantanal.

Your guide will meet you at the Campo Grande airport to take you to the private charter hangar, to board your private two-engine plane to the Caiman Lodge.

For those wishing to transfer by car instead, we can set up a private vehicle transfer for you from Campo Grande airport to Caiman Lodge. This journey takes approximately 3 1/2 hours.

Caimon Lodge is a 54,000 square mile nature reserve in the southern Pantanal, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. This swampy area is home to an immense amount of flora and fauna ranging from birds, fish, reptiles and mammals. Most notable are the endangered jaguars, marsh deer, giant otters and jabirus storks. Getting around this damp terrain is best by horseback which gives the traveler an even closer connection to their surroundings. Each unique season here is defined by the water cycle, and offers visitors its own highlights and unique experiences.

Day 6

Exploration of Pantanal

The day is yours to enjoy the amenities offered to you by Caiman Lodge. Suggested options are as follows:

  • Hiking trails in the woods
  • Caiman tour (a walk through the surroundings of the main area of the ranch)
  • Photographic safari (on specially adapted vehicle)
  • Bird Watching
  • Jaguar lecture
  • Canoe trip (in the bays of the ranch)
  • Night drives

Day 7

A Day with Jaguars

Today you’ll spend the day with the Jaguar Habituation Team while they go out in search of the mysterious jaguar. As the jaguars are nocturnal, you’ll spend part of the day looking for clues and tracking the jaguars so you can find out where they’ll be once they start becoming active.

There’s a myriad of different tools and clues available to you and the team such as previously set camera traps, tracks on the ground, data from satellites, or even traces of the jaguar’s most recent prey left behind from the previous night. Each clue will hopefully take you one step closer to finding the jaguar as you work with expert African-trained trackers to narrow down its location. Once the location is determined you’ll head back out to the area after dinner to see the jaguars awake and in their natural habitat.

Day 8

Further Exploration of Pantanal

The day is yours to enjoy the amenities offered to you by Caiman Lodge.

There are a host of activities included in your stay, as well as a number of optional activities your Almaz Journeys Travel Planner can discuss with you.

Day 9

Journey to Salvador

Your guide will meet you at Caiman Lodge to take you to the private charter hangar to board your private two engine plane back to the Campo Grande airport, for your flight onward to Salvador.

For those wishing to transfer by car instead, we can set up a private transfer for you from Caiman Lodge back to the Campo Grande airport. This journey takes approximately 3 1/2 hours.

Upon arrival in Salvador, meet your guide just outside baggage claim (holding a sign with your name on it) for your private transfer to your hotel.

Considered an epicenter of Afro-Brazilian culture, Salvador was once a a large hub for the slave trade which heavily influenced Brazil’s culture and language. Now it boasts vibrant arts, music, dance and cuisine that are all heavily influenced by its African roots. The city itself has impressive Baroque architecture while its outskirts have some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil like Praia do Forte and Costa do Sauipe.

Day 10

Exploration of Salvador

This morning your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby to take you to the studio of a famous Brazilian percussionist where you’ll learn the rhythms of Bahia. Steeped strongly in African tradition, Bahia is said to be the percussive heart of Brazil.

Its prominence in Salvador has led to many groups of percussionists forming in the city, like the world famous group Olodum. Comprised exclusively of men, Olodum is the most famous of all the Bahian percussion groups, having performed in 35 countries around the world and annually at Carnaval. Groups like Oludum are important parts in the fight against anti-Black prejudice and discrimination by preserving and promoting the centrality of African influences in Brazilian culture.

After your percussion lesson, you’ll meet with your guide for your walking tour of Salvador, starting in the Upper City. Stopping first at the Municipal Square, you’ll get to see a panoramic view of the lower portion of Salvador in the morning light. Within this square is a black-and-white photography gallery filled with prints from Brazilian photographer Pierre Verger. After some time to view his artwork, you’ll head to the Afro Brazilian Museum where the tour will shift focus to the African influences and their origins that play a key role in today’s culture of Salvador.

Once you leave the Municipal Square, you’ll make several other stops throughout your tour including a local record shop to hear famous Brazilian music, the colorful Pelourinho Square wherein resides the Museum of Bahian Cuisine, and a percussion instrument store where you can learn the basics of local percussive sounds and playstyles.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant featuring Bahian cuisine. (Cost of lunch not included.)

After lunch, you’ll visit the São Joaquim market where you can feel like a local and feast your eyes upon the ingredients that likely played a role in the making of your lunch. You’ll continue on to the Solar do Unhão where you’ll visit the Bahian Modern Art Museum. Once a manor house and a sugar mill, it now houses a collection of drawings, sculptures, paintings and more from Brazilian artists throughout 8 exhibition rooms.

To cap off your tour of the city, you’ll visit the Carlos Costa Museum (not open on Tuesday) which features a private collection of antique household items like silverware and furniture, as well as antique jewelry and crystals.

Day 11

Journey to Trancoso

Meet your guide and driver for your private transfer to the airport for your flight to Porto Seguro. There, your guide will meet you just outside baggage claim (holding a sign with your name on it) for your private transfer to Trancoso.

For a more relaxing and tropical feel, the town of Trancoso is perfectly situated by gorgeous beaches, rivers and cliffs. The abundance of green spaces and the colorful houses give a welcoming vibe to any visitor. Trancoso is also hot spot for many wealthy Brazilians who like to come here for a beach getaway and is perfect for those wanting a tranquil, sunny adventure.

Here you’ll stay at Uxua Casa, a collection of houses on a private garden steps from the main square of the village, the Quadrado, and just 7-10 minutes walk to the beach.

Day 12

Culture & Capoeira

Morning at leisure to enjoy breakfast, head to the beach, or wander around the Quadrado.

This afternoon, you’ll get a chance to try out some basic movements of Brazil’s most famous martial art, capoeira.

You’ll learn not only the history of this form of martial arts, which came from the enslaved Africans brought to Brazil by the Portuguese, and try your hands (and feet) in basic movements and traditional instruments used in this art. This is truly an art and requires incredible skill, and a fascinating aspect of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Day 13

Beautiful Beaches

This morning your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to start your journey to the Coqueiros beach where you will board a speed boat to follow the beaches of Itapororoca Itaquena, Jacumã, Outeiro das Brisas, Caraivas and finally Corumbau. Your day will consist of bright white sands and crystal clear waters that truly make this area of Bahia special.

On the way back to port, you will stop in Espelho beach which is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. There, you will have the option of having lunch at the famous Silvinha restaurant (cost not included.)

Day 14

Journey to São Paulo

Meet your guide and driver for your private transfer to the airport for your flight to São Paulo, where you’ll overnight before returning to the U.S.  Your guide & driver will welcome you just outside baggage claim (holding a sign with your name on it) for your private transfer to your hotel.

São Paulo is an epicenter of everything that city lovers are looking for – culinary delights, luxury and leisure, world class dining and an exciting nightlife. Considered a melting pot of cultures, this incredibly diverse city is the largest metropolis in South America and one of the most important cultural and economic centers of Latin America.

Day 15

Exploration of São Paulo

Today you’ll tour around São Paulo with your driver and guide. Notable visits today are the traditional Japanese neighborhood of Liberdade (Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan!), the recently revitalized area around the historic downtown square, Praça da Sé, Ibirapuera Park, the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), or the street art centered around Beco do Batman – and any sites that catch your eye during your full-day tour.

Day 16

Until next time!

Meet your guide and driver for your private transfer to the airport for your journey home.

Private Journey PricingPer Person

Pricing Level
From Price Per Person
2 Guests Traveling -

$14000

4 Guests Traveling -

$12000

Included

  • 4 nights in Rio de Janeiro: Deluxe room at Hotel Emiliano.
  • 4 nights in Pantanal: Suite at Caiman Ecological Refuge
  • 2 nights in Salvador: Deluxe room at Villa Bahia
  • 3 nights in Trancoso: Suite at Casa Uxua
  • 2 nights in São Paulo: Deluxe room at Fasano.
  • Breakfast daily.
  • Lunch on days 6-8.
  • Dinner on days 5-8.
  • Private arrival and departure transfers (assumes all guests on same flights.) English-speaking guide included when specified in itinerary.
  • Private, local English-speaking guides for all activities as described in the program.
  • Cost of entrance for all sights and experiences specifically included in your program.
  • 24/7 local emergency contact during your journey.
  • Full-service advance tailoring of your itinerary and assistance with restaurant reservations.

Not Included

  • Air travel.
  • Lunches, dinners and alcoholic beverages unless otherwise specified in your program.
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel porters, etc. unless otherwise specified in your program.
  • Travel or medical evacuation insurance.
  • Any other items or services not specifically included in your itinerary.

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