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An unbeatable in-depth exploration of this huge and varied country. Feel the samba beats in Rio and the pounding spray of the Iguazu Falls. From the coast to the deep green Amazon and biodiverse Pantanal, Brazil is full of contrasts that deserve to be visited properly.
Explore Tour Leader
8 nights comfortable hotel
5 nights comfortable lodge
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia and one of Brazil's most historic cities. Its roots stem back to 1501 when the navigator Amerigo Vespucci first sailed into its bay. Initially considered to be the nation's capital due to the natural protection of the cliffs rearing from the sea, its bay was one of the finest anchorages on the eastern shores of the New World.
Due to the number of evening flights into Salvador, your Leader plans to do the welcome meeting on the morning of day two, and will leave a message in reception with details on timings and everything else that you'll need for the day. For those of you who have already arrived in the morning, our Leader will be in reception at 6pm if you would like to go out for an evening meal.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Salvador at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Salvador-Deputado Luis Eduardo Magalhaes International Airport (airport code: SSA), approximately a one hour drive from our hotel.
Pousada da Mangueira (or similar)
This morning we have a guided orientation tour of the city. The Pelourinho area is considered to be the most important collection of 17th-18th century architecture in the whole of the Americas. The area is a jumble of centuries old churches, narrow cobbled streets and spacious plazas bordered by once elegant but now gently decaying mansions. The natural setting is magnificent overlooking the Todos os Santos Bay. What immediately strikes the traveller is that despite its Portuguese architecture, the spirit, cuisine, culture and people are predominantly African. The area's riches were originally based on sugar cane and tobacco, with the majority of the workforce coming from the west coast of Africa - for over 300 years Salvador was the centre of a thriving slave trade. The modern day population is mostly of African descent - this can be heard in the rhythms of the music and in the dance, the cuisine and Candomble, a mixture of African and Christian deities and rites.
This afternoon is left free for personal exploration of the area or to relax on the beach. If you'd like to stay active, there are easy cycling excursions available in the city - these guided cycle trips take in either the shorelines of the lower city and its landmarks or the Barra district, home to Brazil's largest street festivities during Carnival time, and leading to some of the most beautiful beaches on Salvador's long coastline. The flat areas around the city are perfect for cycling.
We have a free morning to spend in beautiful Salvador before our indirect flight to the airport today. Our destination is the city of Manaus, set in the heart of the Amazon basin on the banks of the Negro river. The bustle of an urban community seems almost other-worldly in the midst of vast tracts of jungle stretching in all directions. Once rich and fashionable, the capital Amazonas is now quickly expanding as a free trade zone. When we arrive, we will transfer to our accommodation, arriving late in the evening.
Flight times are subject to change. While we'll usually have a free morning in Salvador and a late arrival into Manaus, the schedule may change to a morning flight, arriving earlier to the Amazon.
Hotel Saint Paul (or similar)
This morning, we drive to the port where we board our boat and cross the Amazon, seeing the 'Meeting of the Waters' phenomenon en route - the point at which the black Rio Negro and the brown Solimoes come together and continue towards the coast under the name of the Amazon. The rivers run separately for several miles, creating an usual two-toned effect as the river runs. We take another short private bus journey, and a final speedboat trip up the Parana do Mamora as we journey through the rainforest to our remote Amazon lodge. This amazing place is one of the best ways to experience the rainforest - right on the banks of the Rio Juma, and surrounded by lush forest.
Our excursions here will be flexible depending on the weather and various other factors, but on arrival we may take the opportunity to go out by canoe or take a night tour to spot the eye shine from caiman along the river.
Amazon Eco Lodge (or similar)
There are a whole host of activities on offer here, to make the most of our time in the heart of Brazil's Amazon region. We may visit the local Caboclo community; these forest villagers are descended from the mixing of indigenous populations and white adventurers, such as rubber tappers or prospectors. We can fish for piranha in the river (surprisingly tasty!) or take nature walks into the jungle, accompanied by a local guide. At night, we'll spot caiman by torchlight, seeing their beady eyes float as red pinpricks in the darkness. Our stay here is dedicated to discovering this incredible region, giving us an appreciation for the precariously balanced ecosystem and the efforts being made to protect it.
It's a long travel day as we depart the Amazon, and the first half will be part of the adventure as we travel by launch along the Rivers Juma and Macarico, to Careiro Village. From there we return to Manaus by bus, and then boat across the Amazon River. We'll head straight to the airport on arrival, and board our indirect plane to Cuiaba. We will arrive to Cuiaba late today, and go straight to the hotel, ready for our drive into the Pantanal tomorrow.
Mato Grosso Palace (or similar)
Driving from Cuiaba to the Pantanal Wildlife Reserve along the Transpantaneira road we have our first encounters with wildlife at the waterholes. We have two full days to explore this paradise for birds and wildlife. There are over 600 bird species including waders, toucan, heron, stork, duck and coot and 350 varieties of fish, including the piranha. Animals include deer, armadillo, tapir, boar, the unusual capivara and thousands of Jacare caiman (alligator). Few visitors discover the remote Pantanal, so there is little infrastructure for tourists. Our lodge is located by a river and has a pool to relax beside - a wonderful combination of relaxation and a chance to see the most readily accessible and prolific wildlife in Latin America. Lie in your hammock and appreciate the evening birdsong.
Pousada Piuval (or similar)
Much like in the Amazon, our time here in the Pantanal is flexible and we have two full days to explore. We may head out on foot, in small boats, on horseback, or by jeep safari to explore the area around our lodge. Boat trips in the Pantanal take place only during the high water period; typically November to April.
Early morning and dusk is the best time for wildlife spotting, and we split large groups into two for better viewing opportunities. We will also have the opportunity to do some piranha fishing in the evening.
Today we continue exploring Pantanal Wildlife Reserve on foot, by 4x4 or by boat, with plenty of opportunities to spot the incredible wealth of wildlife on offer. Again, our day will be flexible depending on the season, the weather and the wildlife patterns - no two days in the Pantanal are the same!
For those who wish there is one full day option (not included) for you to spend the day searching for the Pantanal's elusive jaguar. In recent years the Pantanal has emerged as one of the best places to spot jaguars in the wild - although daily sightings cannot be guaranteed as these vary according to the temperature, rainfall and seasonal water changes. The excursion leaves our lodge at around 5.30am, returning at approximately 7pm, giving around 7-8 hours of boat time to spot these beautiful creatures. You'll spend most of the day sailing on the Rio Claro, as jaguars are more easily spotted from the banks with the help of the eagle eyes of the boat captains.
This morning we return to Cuiaba by road for an indirect afternoon flight to Iguazu. The connections can be long and it may take around 10 hours to arrive into Iguazu (although schedules vary). We will experience the vastness of the Amazonian plains below, as the flight takes up the majority of the day, building anticipation for our visit to the falls tomorrow. Set amidst the lush landscapes of the Parque Nacional do Iguazú Reserve, the falls are one of nature's true masterpieces, a spectacular cascade of some 275 interconnecting falls that hurtle over high cliffs into a marvellous curved amphitheatre- a breathtaking sight that extends 3km across the Rio Iguazu.
Hotel Rafain Centro (or similar)
Today we visit the falls on the Brazilian side. Set in a national park, the Iguacu River hurtles over high cliffs into a marvellous curved amphitheatre several miles wide - a breathtaking sight. The noise is tremendous and huge clouds of mist are churned up by the cascade. The surrounding spray-soaked forest is alive with brightly plumaged toucans, parrots, hummingbirds and colourful butterflies. From here it may be possible to arrange a visit to the Argentinian side of the falls to get a close up of the fitfully churning 'Devil's Throat' by navigating a series of catwalks.
Leaving the Iguazu area, we fly to Rio de Janeiro. Very few direct flight options exist, but we will try and take one if possible. The spectacular setting of Rio is hard to beat. With 120 miles of marvelous beaches and a mountain backdrop it really is a tropical paradise. Flight time permitting this afternoon is free to relax - visit the Botanical Gardens existing in the city for more than 200 years, visit the historic centre and see the enormous stained glass windows of the Metropolitan Cathedral, or sip a caipirinha overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This evening you could finish off your Brazilian experience with an optional samba show, or sample the sounds and rhythms of the city in the nightlife district of Lapa.
Hotel Copa Sul (or similar)
A busy day lies ahead of us. In the morning, you have the option to visit the towering summit of Corcovado topped by the immense statue of Christ the Redeemer or relax on the beaches before our afternoon city tour. After lunch our local guide will take us to the bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, with its winding streets, famous street cars and colourful buildings, whose hilltop setting gives us an excellent view out to the Guanabara Bay coastline. We'll do a walking tour of the neighbourhood, which is home to many of Rio's artists, musicians and poets, and is undoubtedly the most picturesque area in the city. Revealing many of the area's highlights, we'll walk through the colourful, tile-lined stairway that leads to the studio of Jorge Selaron, as well as the cultural centre of Parque das Ruinas, which overlooks the bay.
After our visit we will take a cable car up to the huge Sugar Loaf Mountain from where the late afternoon views of Rio are breathtaking.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Rio.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Rio at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Rio de Janeiro International Airport (airport code: GIG), which is approximately a one hour drive from our hotel.
Due to its enormous size, Brazil has many different climatic zones which vary year round. There is no ‘best time’ to visit Brazil, but at different times of year your experience will vary. Temperatures rarely dip below 20° C, with Iguazu, Rio and Salvador dropping down there during the winter months of June to August. Evenings around the coast are cooler during this period but the sea is still warm and fresh, and the air is less humid. In Paraty, Belem, the Pantanal and the Amazon temperatures tend to hover around 30° C year round.
January to March is mid-summer across Brazil, but warm days on the coast are matched by the rainy season in the Amazon and the Pantanal. Parts of the Pantanal become flooded and it can be a very lively time to visit. The main characteristics of this season are the beautiful water landscapes and the prevalence of many water birds. Conversely, the dry season (July to October) in the Pantanal is a better time to observe larger wildlife such as the coati or giant anteater.
In the vast central area of the Amazon, the climate is tropical, with warm to hot temperatures year round, and a rainy season as detailed above.
2 Pin Round
Predominantly Roman Catholic.
Salvador - Cycling tour US$90 (min 3 pers) Manaus - Opera House US$ 5 Pantanal - Full day Jaguar search including lunch - US$424 (2 pers); US$361 (3 pers); US$270 (4 pers); US$ 216 (5 pers) - seasonal Jun-Nov Iguazu - Visit the Argentinian falls US$ 60 (min 4)plus entrance US$24; Bird park US$ 30 (min 4 pers); Boat trip on the Argentina side US$100; on Brazilian side US$100 Rio De Janeiro - Visit Corcovado US$ 80 (min 4) ; Botanical Gardens US$ 13 (entrance fee only): Football match US$ 77-121, Samba show US$ 94 (min 4). Brasilia - city tour (only if flight schedule allows) US$43 (min 4).
Pack for hot conditions but bear in mind that several different climatic zones will be experienced. For Brazil lightweight clothing is necessary for mostly warm and humid daytime conditions, though evenings can be cooler. Lightweight raingear is essential. For early morning boat trips a fleece/windproof is recommended. Bring lightweight long sleeved tops and long trousers in neutral colours to protect from the sun and insects.
Comfortable shoes, trainers and sandals.
One main piece of luggage and a daypack. An overnight bag is needed for the Amazon visit - your main bags should be lockable, this can be left behind at the Manaus hotel. Remember, you are expected to carry your own luggage - so don't overload yourself.
We advise taking a water bottle for day to day use, as well as insect repellent, sunscreen and a torch.
Bus, Boat, Flight, Public Bus
On this trip we use a mixture of comfortable hotels and remote lodges, all wonderfully located and in keeping with the variety of cities and scenic areas that you'll be staying in. Our lodge in the Amazon jungle is a floating jungle hotel right on the river, and only accessible by boat. It's a fantastic experience, but worth noting that it is a small lodge of 16 rooms that all differ in size. With larger groups where we are booking out almost all rooms, a variety of room sizes will be used; therefore some group members may have smaller rooms than others.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Brazil: Visas are not required for UK citizens. They are, however, required for Canadian, Australian and US citizens. Citizens from Canada, Australia and the US can now get their visa for Brazil online. Applications can be done here -http://www.vfsglobal.com/brazil-evisa/ You should also check if you need a visa for Argentina, though this is only necessary if you wish to visit the Argentinean side of the Iguazu falls. Argentinian visas are not required for UK, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. USA: If your flights pass through the USA, even if only in transit, you will require either a visa or an ESTA (an e-visa). Please read on for more information. Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can apply for an ESTA under certain conditions. This applies if you enter the country by sea or by air, and this must be done online via https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov, no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. You must have a biometric passport to apply for an ESTA. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. You should also be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Cuba since the 12th of January 2021, you will not be eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. Your ESTA application will ask for Point of Contact information. Please note that if you're only transiting through the USA then this is not required. If you're visiting or staying in the USA on an Explore trip, then our USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. Entry requirements for the USA can change regularly, therefore, please ensure you have the most up to date information before you travel by checking the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. There is currently an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Brazil. Yellow fever is recommended for those travelling to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Bahia, Iguazu falls and inland cities such as Brasilia.Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.