Rio, Amazon & Salvador

This two-week trip explores further into Brazil flying deep into the country to the Amazon then out to the northeast coast at Bahia. City culture is enjoyed in Rio before heading to Manaus and the more natural delights of the Amazon jungle to learn about the rainforest and native culture.

The intriguing Afro-Brazilian heritage is explored in the colourful colonial town of Salvador and the trip ends on the blissful beaches of Imbassai where you can spot whales or turtles, go kayaking or just simply enjoy an ice-cold caipirinha cocktail from your beachside bungalow. Due to the length and number of internal flights plus the fact that the Brazilian Amazon near Manaus is malarial (so you will need to take malaria tablets) we would suggest this itinerary is more suited to families with older children.

You will be escorted by English-speaking guides throughout.


  Hike up Sugarloaf Mountain
  Spot caiman in Rio’s mangroves
  See the ‘meeting of the waters’
  Sleep in an Amazon hammock
  Go piranha fishing
Try traditional Bahian cuisine
Surf, paddle-board or kayak

15 days from £2,875 pp

Plus international flights from £900

A two-week holiday in Brazil for a family of four usually costs from £11,500 plus flights, depending on type of accommodation.

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Rio, Amazon & Salvador day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 Rio
Welcome to Rio – also known as the Marvellous City! When you arrive you will be met by a Stubborn Mule representative and transferred to your hotel near the famous Copacabana Beach.  The kids will just want to head to Ipanema and try out some beach volleyball skills.

Parents will just drink in the iconic Rio landmarks of Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue as well as the local cachaça liquor. Watch the locals samba their way into the sunset – yes, you have arrived in Brazil!

Days 2-3 Rio
Starting with the city’s most distinctive location, take an electric train up through the rainforest to the foot of the giant Christ the Redeemer statue at the summit of Corcovado mountain. From here the views out over Guanabaro bay, packed full of people enjoying their water sports, are astounding. Watch the cable car wing its way to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain – your next stop.  But why take the easy route? Head to the Urca neighbourhood where you can take the lovely (and most importantly, gentle) Morro da Urca trail which takes you partway up. After 30 minutes you can then hop on the cable car up to the summit to enjoy spectacular views. Teens will think it is one of the best selfie locations ever.

Enjoy free time in this magical city – try your hand (or feet) at paddle boarding at Copacabana or go further with a family surf lesson. Learn to samba like a local (well, nearly) then watch how the pros do it at the Rio Scenarium. Check out some of the night markets and the famous Sunday Brazilian artisan and handicraft market of Ipanema. Dine on seriously great kebabs at Churrascaria Fogo de Chão then enjoy a sweet pastry or waffle for dessert at the Confectionery Cafe in Copacabana Fortress. That song by Barry Manilow is never far away – (Barry who? the children will probably ask).

Day 4 Rio
Rio, for a major city, has many natural surprises and is surrounded by nature and jungle. Today you experience the National Park of Tijuca, the largest urban forest in the world and home to the most wonderful biodiversity. Hike to the summit of Pedro Bonito peak where the views are astonishing – from the massive Pedra da Gavea Mountain and the endless Atlantic Ocean to the Favela of Rocinha. Descend through the rainforest to the screeching call of howler monkeys to Barra da Tijuca district with its lagoons, mangroves and swamps.  Cruise between the islands and narrow channels where there is a good chance of spotting capybara and broad-snouted caiman. It is a great experience to see them in their natural habitat so close to a big city.

There will be time to view the colourful Lapa steps at sunset and enjoy one last caipirinha cocktail before moving on to a complete contrast – the Amazon rainforest!

Day 5 Manaus
Today fly deep into the Amazon, to possibly the most bizarre city in the world, Manaus. After four hours of flying from the ultimate urban location over the dense green undergrowth of the jungle, suddenly the city of Manaus comes into view – replete with ornate classical opera house.

Manaus is the base for visiting the largest rainforest in the world – and Brazil lords it over neighbouring countries by possessing the majority of it. Home to infamous anacondas, crocodiles, rarely seen human tribes, unbelievable bromeliads, orchids, vines and towering trees, the Amazon simply has to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Following a necessary night in Manaus you head out to this natural paradise.

Days 6-9 Amazon Jungle
After an exciting riverboat transfer during which you will be wildlife spotting all the way, you arrive at your jungle lodge. Head out on motorised canoes to explore the area – the animal spotting competitiveness begins! At dinner why not try some food from the surrounding forest such as Cupuaçu fruit and Jambu fish tips?  This evening return to the canoes to watch the nightlife (try to work out which animal’s eyes are glinting back in your torchlight). Fall asleep to the (unbelievably loud) sounds of the forest.

The next day embark on a jungle trek led by a specialised guide and take a fishing trip to learn about the famous piranhas. Sailing back to the lodge you will watch a spectacular sunset.

The following morning enjoy a sunrise trip in small rowing canoes to check out the colourful bird life and also the legendary pink dolphins (a Stubborn Mule Badge if you spot one…). You will then visit a native family to learn about the medicinal value of the flora and local customs – a really fascinating insight that the children will not forget. And football is still the universal language – you can even find space in the jungle… This evening is possibly the most memorable of the entire trip – depart for an overnight stay in the jungle. On the way, your guide will teach you how to survive – to find water, food, use plants for first aid… Tonight you swing yourself to sleep on a hammock (off the ground so no creepy crawlies can get you…)

On your last day head out on boats through the flooded forest and small creeks. Perhaps try your hand (no pun intended) at some piranha fishing. Then back to the city and a further night in Manaus.

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Days 10-11 Salvador
From jungle to coast and a completely different culture – Salvador de Bahia. Think the Caribbean, fantastic culture, mouth-watering food and intoxicating music plus picture perfect tropical beaches.

Salvador is the historic centre of the African-Brazilian civilisation. The centre (Pelourinho) is known for its Portuguese colonial architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is divided between the Lower and Higher sections and to travel between the two on the ‘Lacerda Elevator’ is an experience in itself. But the musical vibe and exuberant local life is what makes Salvador such a joy to spend time in.

Everywhere there is an abundance of live entertainment (think Buena Vista, Brazilian-style). And the cuisine is utterly fabulous. The most famous dish is the Acarajé made from peeled beans deep-fried and stuffed with tomatoes, fried shrimps and homemade hot pepper sauce. Honestly, the kids will love it (just don’t tell them what’s in it). Anywhere that makes stewed okra tasty and serves ‘bobo’ as a speciality gets our vote.

Days 12-14 Imbassai
The coast of Bahia state is packed with phenomenally idyllic beaches. We recommend Imbassai, near the more famous and much busier Praia do Forte. Known as ‘the place where the river meets the ocean’ Imbassai offers a great mix of daytime beach activities and low key, small town fun in the evenings.

From your beachside thatched cabana, you can spot turtles hatching from October to March or humpback whales from July to October. There are clear waters, soft sand, exotic birds swooping between the coconut palms and the option to swim in the calm waters of the river or surf in the sea. Beachside restaurants offer mouth-watering local cuisine such as the famous bobo de camarao (shrimp in creamy yuka sauce). Horse-riding, hiking or just hammock-slumping can all be enjoyed during your R&R time at the beach.

Day 15 Depart
Farewell to the Atlantic surf, sun and smiling faces of the locals. Back to the airport at Salvador (1.5hr) and homeward bound (usually via Rio or Sao Paolo).

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Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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