15 days from £4075pp plus international flights.
From the lively beaches and sights of Rio, to the gorgeous scenery of the Costa Verde, the colonial architecture of Paraty to the photogenic Ilha do Mel, this holiday is brimfull of contrasting highlights that give you an insight into some of the facets of this fascinating country.
You begin in Rio, finding your bearings in this exciting city on a full day guided tour taking in Corcovado, the waterfalls and forests of Tijuca National Park and a cable car ascent of Sugarloaf mountain. The next day has been left free so you can soak up more of the vibrant atmosphere. Your next destination is the coastal town of Paraty, where a cookery demonstration is a good introduction to the cuisine of Brazil. There's time to stroll along the cobblestone streets and admire the attractive mansions that make this such an atmospheric town. More history is on show in Morretes, a town founded by Jesuits in the early 18th century, surrounded by rainforest and reached by a scenic train ride on one of the country's oldest railways.
You have an opportunity to stretch your legs on a 3-day trek in the Joatinga Reserve on the Costa Verde. Walking through swathes of Atlantic forest, lunching on the beach while enjoying ocean views, swimming in deserted bays and staying in specially built houses in local villages, this is a wonderful way to unwind. What's more you get to meet local fishermen and farmers and learn about their day to day lives, and are treated to tasty home-cooked dinners. The trek ends at the fjord-like Saco do Mamangua, where you stay in a gorgeous lodge with colourful suites overlooking the water.
Your final destination is the evocatively named Ilha do Mel, Honey Island. It's a beautiful place with over 23 kilometres of beaches, no motor vehicles, an historic fortress and lighthouse atop a hill. You have 2 full days to go swimming, surfing and walking, to savour meals at beachside cafes and restaurants and enjoy the gentle pace of island life, the perfect way to round off your holiday.
Note: The minimum age for the Joatinga trek is 16 years
Your flight lands in Rio de Janeiro where you are met by a local representative and welcomed to Brazil. You are transferred to your city hotel. Your time is your own for the remainder of the day, allowing you to rest after the flight and look forward to the next two weeks in Brazil. The hotel has a lovely roof terrace with a pool overlooking Copacabana Beach, just the place to rest after your journey.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before setting out to explore the city. Rio is one of the most famous cities in the world and there's so much to see and do that it can be hard to know where to begin. That's why we've arranged a tour today, led by a guide who knows the city well. You visit the major sites including the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado mountain, Sugar Loaf mountain with its superb views, the cathedral, the colourful Escadaria Selaron and the fashionable Santa Teresa district. It makes an excellent introduction to this lively and cosmopolitan city. Breakfast
Choose how to spend your second day in Rio. If you're feeling energetic you could hike up the Morro da Urca trail near Sugar Loaf Mountain, for panoramic views, and then ride the cable car down to sea level, or you could take to the saddle and explore by bike. Museums, botanical gardens, shops and beaches are among the many attractions, plus numerous cafes and restaurants when you want a break from sightseeing. Breakfast
After breakfast you will be driven to Paraty. This takes you along the first part of the famous Costa Verde, or green coast, named for its lush Atlantic forest. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you pass rocky coves and sandy beaches including Angra Dos Reis. On arrival at your hotel you have the rest of the afternoon to relax. In the early evening you join the chef for a demonstration of traditional Brazilian cuisine, learning about the different culinary influences that make up the dishes, and picking up some valuable tips. Breakfast
The 3 day coastal trek begins today. You are driven to the village of Laranjeiras where you follow your bilingual guide on a walk through forest alive with birdsong. Lunch is eaten by the beach and there's time for some paddling or swimming before resuming the trek which leads to the fishing village of Ponte Negra and your village house. Tonight you are treated to some tasty home cooking for dinner. Total walking time is between 3 and 4 hours, so this is a not a tiring day, rather a gentle introduction to the area with plenty of time to enjoy the views and take photographs. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Today you are a guest of the locals in Ponte Negra, who are keen to embrace tourism to protect the future of their village and way of life. If weather conditions permit you join a fishing boat crew as they take to the seas. Back on dry land you spend time at a cassava plantation to learn about flour production, hike to a waterfall and, time permitting, visit the village school to meet the children and their teacher. Depending on the precise itinerary you may be walking for about 4 hours today. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Stretch your legs this morning with an uphill hike through the forest, good aerobic exercise and a chance to work off your breakfast. The going becomes easier after the ascent and there should be a chance to stop off at a cove for a refreshing swim. Lunch is at Martim da Sa, a beach popular with surfers, after which you head inland into the Joatinga Ecological Reserve and cross to the other side of the peninsula, arriving at Pousa da Cajaiba. From here you travel by boat to the lovely Refugio de Mamangua, set on the banks of a tropical fjord, your home for the next 2 nights. The rest of the day is free, you can laze in a hammock, explore by canoe or walk in the forest. Total walking time is between 6 and 8 hours today. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
You have a full day to enjoy the superb scenery of Saco de Mamangua. The water is ideal for swimming and snorkelling, and the lodge supplies canoes so you can go exploring in the fjord. On dry land you can hike up to Sugar Loaf Peak for wonderful panoramic views. Breakfast and dinner are included at the refugio, and there are cafes you can reach on foot or by canoe for lunch. Breakfast, dinner
You leave the Refugio do Mamangua and are transferred the short distance to Paraty, and your pousada in the central historic district. The remainder of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Take it easy relaxing by the outdoor pool, enjoy a massage or sauna, and browse through books in the impressive library. Paraty is a lovely coastal town with elegant colonial mansions, churches and an attractive waterfront. You can also spend time on the beach, enjoy watersports and take a boat trip in the bay. Breakfast
Having breakfasted you are driven back to Rio, a journey of just over 4 hours, where you catch a plane down to Curitiba, capital of the southern state of Parana. The flight takes about 1 hour 40 minutes and you are met on arrival and driven to your hotel. Breakfast
Time for a different mode of transport. So far you have travelled by car, plane and on foot and today you take the train, as you board the Serra Verde Express on its 110 kilometre route from Curitiba to Morretes. The railway, constructed in 1885, travels through Atlantic rainforest, offering views of dramatic canyons and the ocean, descending into ever more lush vegetation. The ride takes about 3 hours. You are met at the station and taken to a local restaurant for lunch, and then have a guided walking tour of Morretes including the pretty main street, Rua das Flores, before being taken to your overnight hotel. Breakfast, lunch
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and join your guide for the drive to Pontal do Sul, which takes around an hour and a quarter. From here you board the boat for the 30 minute crossing to Ilha do Mel, island of honey. This island is an enchanting car-free zone, with a protected ecological reserve in the north and 3 small villages in the south and strict limits on the number of tourists allowed. Relax and settle in to island life. You are here for the next 3 nights. Breakfast
Free time on Ilha do Mel. The Fortaleza Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres is one of the island's most impressive sights, built in the 18th century to defend vital trading routes against the Spanish and rogue buccaneers. Note the historic English and Portuguese cannons, and once inside you can see rooms that housed prisoners, as well as the commander's quarters. The fort can be reached on foot or by bike. Another attraction is the Encantadas Cave, which can be entered at low tide and is the source of legends concerning mermaids that lured men to the cave never to return. Of course you are welcome to opt for an easy day on the beach, checking out the cafes at lunchtime. Breakfast
Another day at leisure on Ilha do Mel. This is a popular surfing destination and you might want to join in and enjoy some surfing thrills, and hopefully not too many spills! You can follow trails in the forest, walk to the lighthouse and enjoy fresh seafood at beach bars. Alternatively, take a boat tour to see different parts of the island and do some dolphin watching. Breakfast
Enjoy breakfast by the shore and then prepare for the journey back to the mainland. The boat takes just half an hour to cross to Pontal do Sul, from where you are driven the 2 hours to Curitiba where this holiday ends. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £4075 (ex. international flights)
Accommodation on a twin share basis, private transfers throughout, full day guided tour in Rio de Janeiro, cookery demonstration in Paraty, English speaking trekking guide for the 3-day trek, boat to carry the main luggage during the trek, boat ride from Pouso do Cajaiba to Saco de Mamangua, flight from Rio to Curitiba, Serra Verde Express train from Curitiba to Morretes, local guide in Morretes, return boat transfer from Pontal do Sul to Ilha do Mel, flight from Rio to Curitiba, meals shown as included.
International flights, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance, meals not shown as included, drinks, optional excursions, tips, personal expenses
Getting there: This holiday starts in Rio de Janeiro and ends in Curitiba, from where you can connect to other regions of Brazil to continue your holiday, or fly back to Rio or Sao Paulo and thence back to the UK. International flights from the UK start from around £750 per person, depending on season and availability
The Costa Verde is lapped by clear ocean waters, ideal for watersports and sun lovers. Ilha Grande has superb walking trails, breath-taking scenery and picture postcard beaches.
A small guesthouse within walking distance of town and set in pretty gardens with a pool.
Onwer run pousada offering warm hospitality and tasty homemade food in a beachfront setting.
Simple village houses along the Joatinga Reserve trekking trail on the Costa Verde
A modern boutique hotel with a choice of rooms and a well regarded restaurant in the centre of Curitiba.
Porto Bay Rio Internacional is a modern hotel located on Avenida Atlantica on Rio's Copocabana Beach.
Perfectly placed for exploring Paraty and the Costa Verde, this hotel has comfy rooms, a pool, spa, restaurant and library.
A simple, and charming lodge on the banks of the Saco do Mamangua, with water and land based activities
5/5 from 51 reviews
Find the best time to visit Brazil
Time: GMT -3 hours
Flight time: Most flights go to Sao Paulo but some airlines have direct flights to Rio de Janeiro, and to North-eastern Brazil. British Airways and TAM have direct flights from London and many European carriers also offer flights to Brazil.
Language: Portuguese is the official language. Spanish and English are understood quite widely.
Visas: Not required for British nationals.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if you are coming from an infected area. Malaria prophylactics are recommended in the rainforest.