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Signature Brazil: Brazil at a glance

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This highlights holiday aims to show off the country at its best - Rio de Janeiro, a sensual city full of fun; Iguazú Falls, among the world’s most impressive cataracts; the wildlife jungles of the Amazon and Salvador, the pulsating African heart of the country.

Each region of Brazil has its own traditions, arts and music, its own culinary specialities and its own natural wonders. The varied landscapes and palm-shaded beaches are gorgeous, while the multifarious cultural influences of Brazil's indigenous population, migrants from Europe, Portugal's African colonies, Japan and the Lebanon, are everywhere to be seen on this holiday to the absolute top sights. 

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro. Transfer to hotel, rest of the day at leisure.

Day 2

Guided excursion to Corcovado mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue.

Day 3

Guided excursion to Sugar Loaf mountain.

Day 4

Fly to Foz do Iguaçu. Guided visit to the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls.

Day 5

Full day guided exploration of the Argentine side of Iguazú Falls.

Day 6

Fly to Manaus, boat/drive to jungle lodge.

Days 7-8

Guided Amazon jungle excursions.

Day 9

Fly to Salvador da Bahia.

Day 10

Guided walking tour of historic Pelourinho district.

Day 11

Visit colonial river port Cachoeira.

Day 12

Transfer to Salvador airport.

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What our experts say

As our signature holiday to Brazil, we crafted this itinerary to encompass all of the country’s classic highlights in under two weeks. From the vibrant and buzzing city of Rio to the thundering magnificence of Iguazú Falls and a boat trip through the Amazon, this holiday has all you would want from a first-time trip to Brazil. There is so much to see in Brazil but as you are flying out of Salvador you will feel as though you’ve experienced much of what this vast country has to offer.

Chris

Chris Rendell-Dunn

Travel Consultants

Places visited on this holiday

Signature Brazil: Brazil at a glance

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Rio de Janeiro
Corcovado Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Of the world’s great iconic cities, Rio is the most captivating. Romantic and laid back but oozing energy and optimism, it needs a few days to explore and time to sit back and share the outdoor life of its welcoming inhabitants.

With streets, beaches and parks spruced up for the World Cup and Olympic Games, now is the best time to go. The busy colonial centre is transformed, with literary cafés spilling out on to car-free lanes, the National Theatre all a-glitter, and boutique hotels nestle in arty Santa Teresa.

The lagoon behind Ipanema beach is circled by a pretty path and cycle route and the Botanical Gardens have undergone a luscious makeover. Vibrant street art, beach football, spontaneous musical events and cool bars all add to a joyous experience for visitors.
What's the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro?

Rio is an all-year destination, at its hottest Jan-Mar (humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40°C during the day). It can be cool and drizzly Jul-Aug but the sun is never far away. Late Dec-Feb (and  to a lesser extent Jul) are local holiday times and can be very busy.

How do I get local currency in Rio de Janeiro?

Brazilian Real.

Notes can be withdrawn from the ATMs at the airport and in town. Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC accept UK credit or debit cards. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm. Currency also obtainable in banks and money exchanges.

What's the time difference between Rio de Janeiro and UK?

GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from Oct- end Feb (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.

What places combine well with Rio de Janeiro?

Beach time in Búzios (136 km by road) or Ilha Grande on the Costa Verde (136 km); Paratí, quaint and arty colonial port surrounded by rainforested hills (236 km); Petropolis, former summer seat of the Emperor, in the tropical mountains behind Rio, (68 km, 1.5 hours by road);  Ouro Preto, exquisite colonial city in the mountains of Minas Gerais (280 km); Iguazú Falls (2 hours approx by air); Salvador da Bahía in the northeast (2 hours by air).

What's the flight time between Rio de Janeiro and UK?

Average flight time to Rio is 11 hours. Two airlines offer direct flights. There are flights with European connections to many other major cities.

What are the festivals, cultural and sport events in Rio de Janeiro?

Reveillon: New Year’s Eve, 2 million white-clad Cariocas descend on Copacabana beach to celebrate the Festa de Iemanjá, launching candlelit boats on the Ocean. Fireworks and music accompany the fun. 

Carnival: 5 days in Feb/Mar, variable. Apart from the world famous parades in the purpose-built sambadrome there are street processions, live bands, costume balls, over-indulgence and general frivolity.

Recent events: Football World Cup: 12 Jun-13 Jul 2014. Cities all over Brazil hosted games but the Maracanã in Rio was refurbished for the occasion and leaves the legacy of a spruced up stadium where visitors can enjoy regular games, usually on Sunday afternoons. 

Olympic Games:  5 - 21 Aug 2016. Rio was given a face-lift for the event, now there is greater security, there are repaved promenades, streamlined transport links, new restaurants and open air cafés and even (patchy) Wifi on Copacabana beach.
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Iguazu Falls
Iguazu falls

Straddling the border between southern Brazil and northeast Argentina, The Iguazú Falls (spelt  Iguaçú in Brazil) are usually rated number one of the big three waterfalls, the others being Niagara and Victoria. They are often considered to be Latin America’s most awe-inspiring natural sight and a must-see for anyone visiting the highlights of the continent.

The 275 separate cascades form a curtain of foaming water which crashes through tangled sub-tropical jungle over a vast granite amphitheatre, protected by national park status. Both countries offer scenic walkways with breath-taking scenery around every corner and easily observed wildlife. From the Brazilian side you’ll get a panoramic view of the 3km cliff edge, on the Argentine side there is a series of walkways leading you above, below and even behind the water.

When's the best time to go to Iguazu Falls?

Iguazú Falls is a year-round destination, but water levels and weather conditions vary with the rainy (Dec-Feb) and dry (Jun-Jul) seasons. The water supply to the falls also varies according to the local control of the dams upstream. It can be busy with tourists in local holiday seasons, for example in Feb and at Easter.

What's the official language in Iguazu Falls?

Brazilian Portuguese; Argentinean Spanish.

How do i get to Iguazu Falls?

There are direct flights connecting Iguazú Falls to Buenos Aires (2 hours), Rio de Janeiro (2 hours), Lima, São Paulo, and Salta in northern Argentina.

What's the official currency at Iguazu Falls?

Brazilian Real.

Brazil: notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in Foz do Iguazú Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC accept UK credit or debit cards. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.

Argentina: there are a couple of ATMs in Puerto Iguazú where the banks are only open in the mornings.

What's the time difference between GMT and Iguazu falls?

GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from October to the end of February (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.

What countries combine well with Iguazu Falls?

Argentina: Buenos Aires - there are direct daily 2 hour flights from Puerto Iguazú; Salta in the northwest Andes: daily flights take 1 hour 50mins.
Brazil: Rio de Janeiro - There are daily flights from Foz do Iguaçú; Southern Brazil: there are flights from Foz do Iguaçu to Curitiba with connections; The Pantanal or the Amazon: there are daily flights to Campo Grande or Manaus with connections in São Paulo.
Peru: there are daily flights from Foz do Iguaçú to Lima, 4.5 hours.

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The Brazilian Amazon
Brazilian Amazon

The Amazon basin: romantic, exotic, huge, and vital to Man’s survival. The Brazilian state of Amazonas is where the river really comes into its own. The black acidic waters of the Rio Negro merge with the sludgy brown waters of the Solimões at the giant city of Manaus, 1,000km from the sea, and form a waterway 10km wide. This vast wilderness with its secretive wildlife and undiscovered indigenous tribes also supports many human communities on its fertile banks, farmers, fishermen, tradesmen; old wooden riverboats still provide the only transport, although things are changing fast, with new bridges and roads opening up previously isolated areas.

You can't really ignore the behemoth which is Manaus, nor should you. It is the quintessential Amazonian riverport, once scruffy and, to be honest, dangerous; but now, using new found economic success, undergoing restoration to something like the elegance and grace of the era of the rubber boom.  Explore the refurbished markets, effervescent docks and  the newly pedestrianised central square v brims with cafés, galleries and boutiques.

When's the best time to visit Brazilian Amazon?

Amazonas is a year round destination with temperatures ranging from 25-40°C. Most rain falls Mar-May but it rains all the year round. When you go has more to do with the height of the water level in the river than the weather. At the maximum height (Jun), the river waters are 14-17m higher than at the lowest. The river floods the surrounding forest and you can navigate all these new creeks and lakes by canoe. When the river is high you can reach your lodge by boat more quickly. In the low water season the many trails through the forest are walk-able.

What;s the official language of Brazilian Amazon?

Brazilian Portuguese, a more languid and musical version of Portugal’s mother tongue; indigenous tribes’ languages.

How do I get local currency in Brazilian Amazon?

Brazilian Real. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in Manaus but the amount you can withdraw may be lower than at home. There are also money exchanges where you can exchange cash.

What's the time difference between Brazilian Amazon and UK?

GMT -4 hours. There is daylight saving in Brazil Oct- end Feb (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour but frequently Amazonas sets its own agenda.

What places combine well with Brazilian Amazon?

The Pantanal, Brazil’s other wildlife-spotting and nature wilderness (flights via São Paulo); region the waterfalls at Iguazú (most flights via São Paulo).

How do I get to Brazilian Amazon?

Regular flights from Rio and São Paulo (each about 4 hours) to Manaus.

What are the festivals, cultural and sport events in Brazilian Amazon?
Carnival: Manaus; 5 days in Feb/Mar, variable. Parades in the purpose-built sambadrome, modelled on Rio’s.
Festival do Amazonas: Manaus, Jun, with events and exhibitions of aspects of the region’s cultural life.
Festival de Opera, Manaus Opera House, annually Apr-May. The theatre also has other musical and theatrical events throughout the year.
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Salvador, Lencois and the beaches of Bahia
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In ocean-side Salvador, the capital of Bahia, African influence dominates the culture and way of life. The multi-coloured Portuguese colonial heart of Brazil’s most exotic city throbs with exotic drum and dance. A short drive from the city there’s a wide range of beach hotels.

Further beyond the city limits, Bahia's seemingly infinite tropical coast has resorts to suit everyone, from the young and trendy to sophisticated luxury and barefoot paradises.  Lively beach towns such as Praia do Forte and Morro de São Paulo have attractive palm-lined beaches while upmarket Trancoso has fine boutique hotels and a gorgeous village square. Meanwhile, Boipeba island, the Marau peninsula and the remote village of Caraiva remain off the beaten track and perfect for those seeking unspoilt Brazil.

Inland from Salvador, in former plantation country (the Recôncavo), there are charming, unspoilt backwater towns and ports. Over 300km inland from the coast is the forested Chapada Diamantina, studded with table-top mountains and run through with crystalline rivers and waterfalls: at its heart is the laid-back little town of Lençóis, an excellent base for visits and hikes in the area.

When's the best time to visit Salvador, Lencois and the beaches of Bahia?

Salvador and the northeastern beaches are all-year destinations, hot and humid with most rain falling from Mar to Jul. The Chapada Diamantina is also hot (27-32°C) all year round with most rain Nov to Mar. Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times, and will be busy in Salvador and on the beaches.

What is the official language of Salvador, Lencois and the beaches of Bahia?

Brazilian Portuguese, a more languid and musical version of Portugal’s mother tongue.

What's the local currency in Salvador, Lencois and the beaches of Bahia?

Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs of Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC using a credit or debit card. There are international ATMs in the Pelourinho, the beach at Barra and at the airport. There are ATMs in Lençóis. Limits may be lower than your home bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.

What's the time difference between Salvador, Lencois, the beaches of Bahia and UK?

UTC -3 hours. The daylight saving from Oct to the end of Feb (approx) was discontinued in 2019. 

What places combine well with Salvador, Lencois and the beaches of Bahia?

You can travel direct from Lençóis to the popular beaches such as Praia do Forte. Recife and Olinda (675 km, are 1 hour away by air). The up-and-coming, chic beach resort at Trancoso, is close to the port of Porto Seguro (1 hour 10mins flight south from Salvador).

How do I get to Salvador, Lencois and the beaches of Bahia?

There are flights from UK to Salvador with a change of ‘plane in Portugal. You can also get to Salvador with a change of ‘plane in the USA. Average flight time is 12 hours 40mins. It’s a 2 hour flight from Rio de Janeiro. Lençóis is a 7 hr drive from Salvador, or a 1hr flight.

What are the cultural and sporting events in Salvador and Lencois?

Carnival (Feb-Mar, variable): The second largest in Brazil, with street processions, live bands playing Bahian pop music (axé and pagode), costume balls, over-indulgence and general frivolity.

Festa de Iemanjá: 2 Feb annually, Praia Rio Vermelho just outside Salvador. The biggest festival of candomblé (mix of African religious beliefs and Catholicism) with boat processions and live music.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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Signature Brazil: Brazil at a glance

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