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Value Brazil: The emerald coast

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The area around Rio de Janeiro, itself one of the most glamorous and colourful cities in the world, hosts some of the most exotic beaches, fringed by jungle vegetation, and some of the prettiest historic towns and villages, situated on tranquil bays peppered with tiny islands. This short holiday, with time spent on sun-drenched beaches but also beyond, begins in Rio on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, before heading down the coast to the historic colonial port of Paraty where you hop on a traditional schooner for a trip round the bay with a cocktail in your hand and a bit of swimming. Take a ferry to Ilha Grande, a vehicle-free, forest-cloaked island, once a backpacker’s secret but now studded with pretty barefoot pousadas (guest houses).

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

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

Day 2

Jeep tour up Corcovado Mountain and to the arty Santa Teresa district.

Day 3

Drive along the Emerald Coast to Paraty.

Day 4

Half day schooner cruise to nearby islands and beaches.

Days 5-7

Travel by road and boat to the tropical island Ilha Grande. At leisure on the beach, mountain trails or swimming calm waters.

Day 8

Return by ferry and road to Rio de Janeiro.

Day 9

Transfer to airport for international flight home.

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What our experts say

One of our most affordable trips to Brazil, we have created this holiday so that you can see the highlights of this beautiful country without breaking the bank. Perfect for those with a limited amount of time, you’ll see many of different facets of Brazil in a short period of time. From the colonial architecture of Paraty to the barefoot luxury of Ilha Grande, this holiday will give you a taste of this vast country, making it ideal for first-timers – but believe me, you’ll be itching to come back!

Caroline Maber

Caroline Maber

Travel Consultants

Places visited on this holiday

Value Brazil: The emerald coast

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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.

Football World Cup: 12 Jun-13 Jul 2014. Cities all over Brazil are hosting games but the Maracanã in Rio has been refurbished for the occasion and will leave the legacy of a spruced up stadium where visitors can enjoy regular games, usually on Sunday afternoons. 

Olympic Games:  5 - 21 Aug 2016. Rio is being given a face-lift for the event, if you visit before the games you’ll benefit from greater security, repaved promenades, streamlined transport links (they hope!), brand new restaurants and open air cafés and even Wifi on Copacabana beach.
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Paraty, Ilha Grande and Costa Verde
Parati
Head southwest out of Rio along the exquisite winding coast road, with waves of steep mountains cloaked in dense mata Atlântica rainforest tumbling to tiny sandy bays. These harbour fishing ports and leisure resorts including the conserved colonial masterpiece at Paraty, seemingly paused in time centuries ago. The jade-green ocean is peppered with islands, one of the largest being unspoilt Ilha Grande, ringed by sugary beaches and with a choice of laid back pousadas and hiking trails. Swimming everywhere is a delight in a natural aquarium of tropical fish.
When to go

The verdant mountains can attract rain at any time but sunny days are frequent. The best weather is Mar – May, a quiet season except over Easter. The local holiday season Dec - Feb and Jul, weekends and public holidays can be very busy.

Language

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

Getting local currency

Brazilian Real. Notes can be withdrawn from the ATMs of Bradesco in Ave. Roberto Silveira just outside Paratí’s historic centre using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.

Time difference

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

Combines with

Ilha Grande with Paraty, 100 km or 1.5 hours further down the coast; Rio de Janeiro (136 km by road from Ilha Grande, 236 km from Paraty).

Getting there

To Ilha Grande: 3 hours by road and 1.5 hours by ferry from Rio de Janeiro; to Paraty 4-5 hours by road from Rio (6-7 hours with shared transport), a bit longer from São Paulo.

Key events
Carnival: 5 days in Feb/Mar variable.
Easter: Religious parades and folk singing in Paratí.
Paraty International Literary festival: International book festival with world-renowned authors, Jul annually.

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

Tailor-made holiday

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

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Brazil Emerald Coast tour

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