Brazil

Highlights of Southern Brazil

This is the ideal two-week tour encompassing many of the highlights of the country. Starting in the famed city of Rio you will travel down the Emerald coast to the colonial town of Paraty to enjoy rainforest walks, hidden fjords and beaches. Head inland to explore the Pantanal on foot, by boat or horseback, searching for anacondas, crocodiles and jaguar. Then enjoy some adrenaline activities at the eco-tourism centre of Bonito before ending with a splash at the jaw-dropping Iguazu Falls.

You will be escorted by English-speaking guides throughout.

Highlights

  Take the train up Corcovado
  Rainforest hike to Mamangua Peak
  Cruise to secret beaches & fjords
  Pantanal spotlight night safari
  Float along the emerald Rio da Prata
Take on the mighty Iguazu Falls
Try a Brazilian cookery class

15 days from £3,000 pp

Plus international flights from £585

A two-week holiday in Brazil for a family of four usually costs from £12,000 plus flights, depending on type of accommodation.

View pricing guide

Highlights of Southern Brazil day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 Rio
Welcome to one of the world’s most exotic cities! When you arrive into Rio you will be met by a Stubborn Mule representative and transferred to your hotel near the famous Copacabana Beach.  All around you are iconic Rio landmarks. These include Sugar Loaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue and Ipanema Beach. You’ll also see the fun-loving cariocas, or locals, out enjoying the sunshine and infectious bossa nova beat.


Day 2 Rio
Starting with the city’s most famous landmark, you take an electric train up through the rainforest to the foot of the giant Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue. This lies at the summit of Corcovado mountain. From here there are astounding views out over Guanabaro bay, packed full of people enjoying their water sports.

Next, hop on a bike and enjoy a city tour with a difference – Rio on two-wheels. Your route takes you along the beach and through pretty neighbourhoods, finishing at the foot of the Morro da Urca trail. This leads you partway up Sugar Loaf Mountain. After 30 minutes you can then hop on the cable car and whip up to the summit to enjoy a spectacular sunset, caipirinha cocktail in hand!


Day 3 Rio
Rio is surrounded on all sides by nature and the jungle. Today you discover part of the largest urban forest in the world – the National Park of Tijuca. After driving to the beginning of the trail you take a short hike to the top of Pedra Bonita peak (693m). This offers impressive views over the city.

You then descend, accompanied by the noise of howler monkeys, to Barra da Tijuca district. Here you find sleepy lagoons, mangroves and swamps. Take a boat ride between the islands and narrow channels and keep your eyes peeled for capybara and broad-snouted caiman.

The rest of the day is free to enjoy the beach or perhaps go paddle boarding, surfing or even hang-gliding. This evening, chomp on a churros (local doughnut), enjoy supper at a traditional churrascaria (barbeque restaurant) and just try to stop humming ‘The Girl from Ipanema’…


Day 4 Paraty
Head south along the famous Emerald Coast to the charming colonial town of Paraty. This is replete with cobbled streets, pastel-coloured houses and horse and cart transport.

Located between mountains and sea, Paraty’s pedestrianised historical centre is protected by UNESCO. It consists of preserved mansions, ancient churches and streets that were paved by slaves.

This evening enjoy a cookery demonstration where you can participate in the preparation of dinner. Brazilian cuisine is at a crossroads of cultures, its roots reflecting the combination of native Indian, Portuguese and African influences. Your chef will inspire your culinary senses, while telling stories about each of these traditions.


Day 5 Emerald Coast
You are in for a real treat today with a visit to the nearby Juatinga Peninsula Eco-reserve. This is home to Brazil’s only tropical fjord, the Saco do Mamanguá, and the landscape is verdant and gorgeous. You will take a boat excursion through this tropical paradise and hike up Mamangua Sugarloaf Peak. The views from the top are spectacular. Stop in a beachside restaurant for lunch and enjoy an ocean dip before returning to your hotel.


Day 6 Ponta Negra
There are two choices today. One option is to hike to Ponta Negra beach, accessible only by boat or on foot. The route is stunning, passing through Atlantic forest full of wildlife and colourful bromeliads. As you emerge out onto Ponta Negra beach there is a breathtaking scene of fine white sand and transparent waters. Enjoy a delicious meal of freshly caught and baked fish in the beach restaurant before taking a swim.

Alternatively, if you have had enough walking, take a jeep tour. This takes you into the rainforest to discover the numerous waterfalls in the area. These are in wild and beautiful locations and offer wonderful swimming opportunities. Dive in, jump in, tarzan-style rope-swing in or slide in, down huge rocks.

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Days 7-9 Pantanal
Time to leave the coast and head inland. Transfer to Sao Paolo and fly to Campo Grande. This is the base for the famous southern Pantanal, a huge wetland reserve. It is home to some 650 species of birds, 230 varieties of fish and many other exotic wildlife including the elusive jaguar.

Your traditional riverside lodge is replete with hammocks, anteaters roaming the grounds and a live macaw wake up call. From here you can head out on horseback or take to the river on a wildlife cruise. You can also try your hand at piranha fishing (don’t worry, they’re vegetarian – allegedly) or enjoy a wagon ride to a local cattle ranch.

A forest walk may bring encounters with capybara, jabiru stork, giant otter, toucan and blue macaw. And you will never forget the glint of a caiman’s eye reflecting back at you on a torchlight night safari….sweet dreams.


Day 10 Bonito
Just when you thought you had experienced everything Brazilian nature had to offer, you transfer to Bonito. En route you will visit the stunning Boca da Onca waterfalls. Here you start with a 4km trail through preserved forest, passing 12 beautiful crystal clear waterfalls. These include the region’s highest, Boca da Onca, at 156m high. Any daredevils out there can try a thrilling abseil descent down a vertical 90m wall.

The scenery is lovely, surrounded by lush greenery, colourful (and noisy) birds and a variety of other wildlife. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional lunch cooked on a wood stove. Freshen up with a dip in one of the natural pools (in the company of the local fish) before heading on to Bonito.


Day 11 Bonito
Bonito, meaning ‘beautiful’, is known as the eco-capital of Brazil. It is famous for its animal diversity and ecotourism activities. Surrounded by lush forests with hundreds of waterfalls, over eighty caves and the clearest blue rivers, this is a nature lover’s paradise.

This morning you will visit Gruta do Lago Azul (the Cave of the Blue Lake) where you take a trail down staircases made with limestone rocks. On your way, pass mind-boggling stalactites, stalagmites, travertines and several other weird and wonderful rock formations. Geography students will be in heaven.

Emerge into the open air and head to Estancia Mimosa, recipient for countless environmental awards. Here you can follow an interpretive trail through the forest, including sections in a rowing boat. There are also many stops where you can bathe in waterfalls, natural pools and swim into small caves. From suspended walkways you can see the dramatic gorges and hills of the Serra da Bodoquena National Park.


Day 12 Bonito
An exciting day today, for an incredible water floatation ride down the Rio Prata. This starts with a guided walk past giant mahogany trees where capuchin monkeys hang out. Emerge at the riverside before suiting up and submerging yourself in the unbelievably transparent waters. Gently bobbing down a river in Brazil surrounded by pristine nature has to be good for the soul. The activity is suitable for children aged 3+ and you will spend several hours immersed in the crystal clear waters, surrounded by colourful fish.

After this you dry off and head to the Buraco das Araras. This is the largest sinkhole in Latin America, 500m wide and 100m deep. It is home to hundreds of bright red macaws and the racket at feeding time will make any parent feel right at home….


Day 13 Iguazu Falls
This morning, transfer back to Campo Grande and fly to Foz do Iguacu. This is the gateway to the world’s most impressive waterfalls. Think Niagara?  Think again… The Iguazu Falls are nothing less than a ‘New Wonder of Nature’. They are a series of 275 waterfalls, reaching up to 90m high, and are shared by Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. A visit to both the Argentine side (another stamp in the passport!) as well as the Brazilian, is an absolute must. All ages will be wowed by their strength and dramatic setting.


Day 14 Iguazu Falls
Today you will visit the Argentine side of the falls. Hike along a 1,700m stretch of walkways that run along the falls through humid subtropical forest filled with wildlife. Along the way there are spectacular views of the massive deluge of water. You will end at the most dramatic part of the falls, the Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat. From here you hop into a ‘safari boat’ and get up close to the base of the falls themselves. This is heart-stopping stuff as the captain plays with your nerves running the rapids, whirlpools and currents. Hint – you WILL get wet.


Day 15 Iguazu Falls
After breakfast, experience the falls from the Brazilian side, with more incredible scenic walkways, more fantastic wildlife and more getting wet! There are multiple viewpoints and you are surrounded throughout by the natural world. Coati racoons and capybaras are everywhere (watch out for your snacks), colourful butterflies flit overhead and toucans, macaws and parrots screech greetings. Fig trees, giant bromeliads and vibrant orchids add to the scene.

You finish your day at the Bird Park, enjoying the ‘Backstage Experience’. The Bird Park is an internationally recognised rescue and conservation centre, located in the middle of rich Atlantic Rainforest. You will learn about their conservation and rescue programmes and will enjoy a hands-on experience, helping to feed the toucans and other species.


Day 16 Depart
Time to bid farewell to caiman, capybaras and caipirinhas and head home.

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