They will also give a casual workshop on how to improve your photographic skills and an introduction to all the delicious cuisine you will enjoy on the journey ahead from super fresh sizzling street food to gourmet meals. The tour starts in Rio de Janeiro to see the famous Christ The Redeemer Statue as well as exploring the lesser known areas of the city. Enjoy an exclusive private Caipirinha making lesson with one of Rio’s top barmen on top of Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Break up the journey with a couple of days in the bohemian town of Trancoso, a former fishing village on Brazil's Bahia coast with spectacular beaches. Staying just off the “Quadrado”, a large, rectangular village green surrounded by brightly coloured houses with the all-white 16th century São João Batista church at one end overlooking the beach and sea, you will enjoy a two day traditional Bahia festival with dancing, Sumba, singing and eating.
We continue to Salvador, the capital of Brazil’s north-eastern state of Bahia, known for its Portuguese colonial architecture, Afro-Brazilian culture and tropical coastline. Split into two levels, it is connected by lifts and a network of steep back streets which lead up to the Pelourinho (a UNESCO World Heritage Site); Salvador is home to some of the best-preserved colonial architecture in the Americas. Explore the beautiful Renaissance buildings, the vibrant Bahian markets and enjoy a home cooked meal in a private house to show you the highlights of Afro-Brazilian cuisine including the famous Moqueca.
The tour ends in Paraty, a small 17th century colonial port on a stunning stretch of jungle-clad coastline equidistant between Rio and Sao Paulo. It was once Brazil’s main port for sugar export under Portuguese colonial rule until the late 1800s, when the inner road was opened, and Paraty was left forgotten and frozen in time. Walk around the stunning 17th century buildings in the town centre where cars are strictly forbidden and enjoy a day trip on a private schooner to explore the areas many beaches, secluded bays and islands.
London / Rio de Janeiro
Depart London Heathrow on a morning British Airways flight to Rio de Janeiro arriving in the evening. Transfer on arrival to the Santa Teresa Hotel where three nights are spent. A restored ranch, the Santa Teresa is located at the heart of the historic Santa Teresa District. Dinner under own arrangements.
Rio de Janeiro
Morning city tour of downtown Rio de Janeiro including the Praco XV Square, the 18th century Imperial Palace and the old Cathedral. Return to Santa Teresa for a private Cachaça tasting.
Lunch at a local restaurant in the fashionable Santa Teresa district. Visit the Arches Aqueduct (Aqueduto da Carioca), an impressive example of colonial architecture built in the middle of the 18th century to bring fresh water from the Carioca River to the population of the city. Continue to the new modernist Cathedral and the famous Selaron Steps, created by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it was “my tribute to the Brazilian people”. Visit the Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura before having afternoon tea at a popular 1920s style café.
Sunset visit to the world famous ‘Pão de Açúcar’, (Sugar Loaf Mountain), which has become an iconic symbol of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Exclusive evening caipirinha-making lesson with one of Rio’s top barmen in a private area up Sugar Loaf with a 360 degree view of the city. Return to the hotel for dinner.
Early morning visit to the Largo do Boticario Square. Continue to see the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, with its open arms blessing the whole city of Rio de Janeiro. Built in 1931 with donations by the Catholic Church, it is positioned on top of the 710 meter-high Corcovado (hunchback) Hill.
Lunch under own arrangements. Visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens, one of the oldest in the world and a showcase of diverse Brazilian and foreign flora. Return to the hotel via the Vista Chinesa viewpoint. Dinner under own arrangements.
Rio de Janeiro / Salvador de Bahia
Transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Salvador de Bahia, the capital of Bahia state, overlooking the vast Todos Santos Bay (Bay of Saints).
Lunch under own arrangements. Transfer to the Villa Bahia Hotel where three nights are spent. Located in the in the heart of Salvador’s historical centre next to the famous Church of San Francisco, the hotel has been individually decorated with a blend of colonial and African-Bahian influences. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.
Salvador de Bahia
Visit the art deco Elevador Lacerda which connects the city, the church of São Francisco with its exquisite gold-leafed Baroque interior and the the Pelourinho square (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is home to some of the best-preserved colonial architecture in the Americas. See the Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos, built by a brotherhood of African slaves in the 18th century, and the Jorge Amado Foundation, dedicated to one of Brazil’s most famous writers.
Lunch under own arrangements. Explore the lower city which offers another perspective of the sprawling city, taking us to the quiet waters of the Itapagipe Peninsula where life moves at a slower pace than the bustling upper city. Fishermen fish from dug out canoes, locals collect shellfish at low tide, schooners lie at anchor, all protected by the famous Nossa Senhor do Bonfim Basilica; one of the most important churches of pilgrimage in Brazil. End the day with sundowners as you enjoy the spectacular view from the Farol da Barra lighthouse. Return to the hotel for dinner.
Morning tour of the bustling fruit and vegetable markets to see the ingredients used in the preparation of Bahian cuisine. Street food is extremely popular in Salvador, sold by local women in traditional costumes from colourful trays; the falafel-like acarajé being the favourite for Bahians. This same delicacy is sold on city streets throughout West Africa alongside other savouries such as abará, and vatapá, and, of course, the famous malagueta pimenta hot sauce.
Lunch under own arrangements. Visit one of the cities favelas as, like most Brazilian cities, Salvador continues to grow in an uncontrolled fashion. This evening you will have a home cooked African inspired meal cooked for you in a private house to show you the highlights of Afro-Brazilian cuisine including the famous Moqueca.
Salvador de Bahia / Trancoso
Transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Porto Seguro. Transfer to Trancoso, a bohemian fishing village on the coast of Southern Bahia which came to fame as being on the hippy trail in the ‘70’s and is now a haven for high-society Brazilians. Check-in to the charming Carim Santo Hotel where three nights are spent in bungalows located in pretty tropical gardens.
The hotel is situated next to the “Quadrado” (the Square), the heart of the town, which is surrounded by brightly coloured houses. Protected by UNESCO, no cars are allowed and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can sit and watch the world go by. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning spent enjoying the traditional festival dedicated to Iemanjá, the goddess of the sea, adored not only by traditional fishermen for whom she acts as a guardian angel, but also by the town women of Trancoso who view her as a sympathetic feminine figure and protector. Traditionally devotees dress in white and lead celebrations in her honour in the quadrodo before heading down to the beach and making traditional offerings of flowers to the sea chanting and singing to the rhythm of traditional drumbeats.
There will be a special traditional moqueca lunch served down at the seafront. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the beach and village. Dinner under own arrangements.
Enjoy the second day of the traditional festivities with the festival of São Brás, dedicated to the patron saint of Trancoso and also of the throat. A bishop and a doctor, São Brás earned his saintly status for saving a boy from choking on a fishbone and is commemorated annually with a festival of dancing, singing, samba, eating and the erection of a large, painted pole in the quadrado which represents the connection between heaven and earth.
Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon to relax. Dinner at the hotel.
Trancoso / Sao Paulo / Paraty
Transfer to Porto Seguro for a domestic flight to Sao Paulo.
Lunch under own arrangements. Transfer to Paraty and check-in to the Pousada Literaria, a colonial mansion in historic downtown Paraty, where three nights are spent. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning walking tour of Paraty, a small 17th century colonial port on a stunning stretch of jungle coastline. Explore many of the impressive 17th century colonial churches including the Igreja Santa Rita and its Sacred Art Museum as well as the Casa da Cultura.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Drive out through the Atlantic Forest to the beautiful Cachoeira de Toboga Waterfall where there is a calm pool to swim in. Return to the hotel. Dinner under own arrangements.
Day-trip on a private schooner exploring the many beaches, secluded bays and islands in the region including the Saco de Mamangua; the only tropical fjord in Brazil.
Lunch at a local restaurant in one of the bays. Return to the hotel for a farewell dinner.
Paraty / Rio de Janeiro
Morning at leisure.
Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon transfer to Rio de Janeiro for an overnight flight to London.