Private Journeys

Signature Brazil: Brazil at a glance

12 days from £3,424pp

Brazil / Iguazu Falls / The Amazon

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

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

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, the most romantic, intriguing and beautiful city on the continent. However, as you’ll see on the drive into town it’s not uniformly beguiling: Brazil’s economic indicators have shown massive growth recently but the gulf between the rich and the poor is the greatest of all Latin American countries. Sumptuous apartments overlook the sparkling bays against the backdrop of half-built slum dwellings, favelas, which cling precariously to the hillsides. 

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Day 2

Guided excursion to Corcovado mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue.

There is probably no better place to appreciate Rio's magnificent cityscape, bays and beaches than from atop the 710m high jungle clad Corcovado mountain, part of the urban Tijuca national park. The ascent is in itself memorable: the rack railway which goes almost to the summit has been here since the late 1800s, although since refurbished. Nowadays, an electric-powered cog-wheel train climbs steeply through the lush Tijuca rainforest, with its abundant flowers and fruit trees, to the steps (or elevators) below the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer.

At 30m high, the statue was erected in the early 1930s, has since become part of Brazil's cultural identity and been declared one of the new Wonders of the World. On clear and sunny days, Corcovado offers stunning views of the city of Rio, including the instantly recognisable Sugar Loaf mountain, Niteroi bridge, and the famous beaches. There's plenty of time to take pictures but no amount of time is enough to totally take it all in. After exploring the viewpoints you'll take the railway back down to the base before returning to your hotel.

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Day 3

Guided excursion to Sugar Loaf mountain.

You will be collected from your hotel for a guided excursion to Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf mountain). Take the cable-car up the twin domed granite rocks which protrude from the ocean. This is especially magical at sunset when the twinkling lights of the city are coming on and you can enjoy the magnificent views back over Copacabana beach, Botafogo Bay and into the lush mountains beyond.

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Day 4

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

It's a 2hr flight to Foz do Iguaçú on the border with Argentina and Paraguay. You'll be escorted to the Brazilian side of the Iguazú Falls which straddle the frontier protected in a subtropical national park. Here is a broad panoramic view of these colossal falls, and there are some excellent opportunities to photograph the full sweep of the water.

The Iguazú Falls constitute one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world. A total of 275 falls thunder over a 60m high rust-coloured cliff surrounded by dense tropical forest. The U-shaped Devil’s Throat is the most dramatic sight, here the frothing water of the Iguazú river crashes over a 1.5km-wide precipice and columns of vapour are thrown skyward. Elsewhere the river flows decorously through the rainforest breaking up into dozens of smaller cascades. You can usually spot exotic birds perched in the foliage above the tumultuous waters. 

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Day 5

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

Private guided tour of the Argentine side of the falls. A little natural gas-powered train transfers you to Cataratas Station where the Upper Walk begins. This sequence of causeways and passarelles links dozens of tiny basalt islands at the top of the sheer rock face, and the walkways cross the myriad of streams as they cascade over the lip of the precipice. The train then continues to a kilometre-long walkway leading across the river to the thunderous Garganta del Diablo, the Devil’s Throat. From this spectacular vantage point you can feel the incredible power of the water as it plummets into the vortex below.

There is an optional boat trip out to the base of the falls; it’s an exhilarating ride that takes you within touching distance of these thunderous cascades and your clothes and hair are soaked with the spray; it is a truly invigorating experience.

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Day 6

Fly to Manaus, boat/drive to jungle lodge.

Transfer to the airport and fly north across almost the length of the country to Manaus, deep in the Amazon rainforest. The huge, dynamic city sits on the banks of the river where the tea-black waters of the Rio Negro make confluence with the brown, muddy waters of River Solimões to form the Amazon river proper. 

It’s 1,000km from the sea, but is one of Brazil’s foremost ports, importing goods required for a growing metropolis (currently 2.5 million inhabitants) and exporting goods manufactured in the tax free zone. It is weird to see a clutch of skyscrapers penetrating the blanket of tropical forest. 


Travel by road and boat to your lodge, 30km from the city. It’s not an arduous journey, but the length of time it takes depends on the season. Brazilian jungle lodges are comfortable, ell equipped and they are eco-friendly, constructed to blend in with the natural environment. The food is fresh and scrumptious, and there is plenty of it, and you can relax in the bar area over a caipirinha cocktail and listen to the chorus of nocturnal birds and frogs.

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Days 7-8

Guided Amazon jungle excursions.

You’ll be invited to take part in a number of excursions both during the day and after dark. There are jungle walks following easy trails and you can take to the water in canoes or motor launches, on the lookout for wildlife expertly identified by your specialist guides. You’ll go piranha fishing and nocturnal caiman spotting by torchlight. You’ll learn about the lifestyle of the indigenous people and visit one of their communities: if the water is low and this is impossible by boat, they will come to you! 

In the evenings you can enjoy the facilities of the bar to sit and discuss your experiences over a drink.You spend a total of three nights at the lodge, so there is plenty of time to enjoy different experiences and maybe spot monkeys, sloths, parrots, toucans, alligators, tarantula spiders, giant ants and much more. The number of plant and flower species is mindboggling too: you’ll be told about their traditional medicinal properties.

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Day 9

Fly to Salvador da Bahia.

Transfer back to Manaus and fly to Salvador, Bahia on the northeast coast. Transfer to your hotel.

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Day 10

Guided walking tour of historic Pelourinho district.

The city of Salvador is the most exotic in the country, where the influence of Portuguese colonial architecture and culture blends with the African traditions imported by the slaves brought in to work on the plantations. The compact historic core has recently been renovated and is crammed full of colourful colonial mansions, churches and museums, all clustered around a large open space known as the pelourinho, which is the heart of the city.  

You’ll have a private guided walking tour of this quarter, best discovered on foot. The area is enlivened with bars, shops and restaurants, and you can expect spontaneous eruptions of music at every turn. The local cuisine is very much a product of the region and its cultural mélange: you can try out any number of dishes at the many eateries in town.

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Day 11

Visit colonial river port Cachoeira.

Enjoy a guided day trip out of Salvador and head to the colonial town of Cachoeira. The countryside en route is a mix of sugar cane and tobacco plantations, peaceful colonial towns and busy country markets. Cachoeira, a national historic monument that in its heyday was a thriving river port, is now a sleepy and unpretentious place full of atmospheric, crumbling colonial buildings. Enjoy a lunch at the beautiful seventeenth century ex-Convento do Carmo, before further exploring the town on foot to the local market and other main sites.

Day 12

Transfer to Salvador airport.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • JimAshworth
    Jim Ashworth - Travel Consultant

    Jim first caught the Latin American travel bug in 2001 when he decided at the last minute to join a friend travelling around Central America – he hasn't looked back since.

Meet the team