With such a giant of a country, it’s difficult to know where to start – Brazil has such a wealth and diversity of experiences that it’s impossible to include them all in one trip. We’ve designed this tour to encompass some of its best, from those you’ve undoubtedly heard of, to those that are a little more ‘unusual’.
We start in the jungle city of Manaus, gateway to the mighty Amazon, and from here travel to our remote floating lodge in the Mamiraua Reserve – the largest protected area in Brazil. With three full days here, we spend our time exploring the rivers, lakes and forests, home to monkeys, sloth, dolphins and numerous other species. We’ll also visit a local community to see how they maintain their traditions and culture in the world’s greatest rainforest.
From here we fly to the coastal city of Salvador, a centre for the country’s Afro-Brazilian population and home to some fascinating customs. We delve into the indigenous religion of candomble – a mixture of traditional African and European beliefs – see how the martial art of capoeira is practiced, and explore the city’s colonial centre.
We then continue into the sublime landscapes of the Chapada Diamantina, a vast region of table top mountains, gaping canyons and gushing waterfalls. We explore the landscape on foot and by vehicle, visiting caves with azure blue pools, stalactites and stalagmites, enjoying spectacular views, and learning about the local cuisine.
Moving on, the towns and cities of Minas Gerais are home to some of the most exquisite colonial architecture on the continent. Cobbled streets, pastel coloured houses and elegant old churches take us back a couple of centuries as we explore Ouro Preto – perhaps the jewel in the crown here – and the smaller town of Mariana, just as charming but with far fewer visitors.
Finally we end up in Rio de Janeiro, as no visit to Brazil would be complete without it. We take in the classic sights of Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain, of course, and also spend time in the favelas, meeting local people and hearing their stories of life here. Rio has some legendary nightlife as well, and we head out to sample some of the excellent music to be found here.
From some of the planet’s most enigmatic wildlife, to rich cultural traditions, beautiful cities and awe-inspiring landscapes, this is a marvelous introduction to the wonders that this vast country has to offer.