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Fernando de Noronha's beautiful beaches

From Brazil to Africa

Example 17 Day Cruise aboard L'Austral
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Start your adventure in Rio de Janeiro, the colorful and contrasted “cidade maravilhosa”, with its incomparable bay dominated by the Corcovado. The program continues with the discovery of two other essential and charming cities in Brazil, Salvador de Bahia and Recife, before you reach the Fernando de Noronha Islands off the Brazilian coast, a natural paradise that is home to thousands of birds and rich underwater wildlife in its turquoise waters. L’Austral then crosses the Atlantic as far as the Bijagos Islands for 3 days of expedition. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, these sparsely-inhabited islands are only accessible to a few privileged travelers. Discover a variety of landscapes and meet villagers with unique culture. This fantastic trip concludes in Dakar, the bustling capital of Senegal.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Embark
Day 2 : Paraty
Days 3-4 : At Sea
Day 5 : Salvador de Bahia
Day 6 : At Sea
Day 7 : Recife
Day 8 : At Sea
Day 9 : Fernando de Noronha
Days 10-13 : At Sea
Day 14 : Maio Island | Formosa Island, Bijagos
Days 15-16 : Caravela Island, Bijagos
Day 17 : Dakar | Disembark

Highlights

  • Visit UNESCO sites such as Rio de Janeiro & Fernando de Noronha Islands
  • Discover traditional villages in the Bijagos
  • Tour the center of Recife and enjoy its elegant architecture
  • Attend presentations by knowledgeable guides and naturalists on board

Ship

L'Austral

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro A local boat on the beaches of Paraty Charming houses in Paraty Fernando de Noronha's beautiful beaches A view of Dakar from the sea

Day 1 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Embark

Famed for its colorful Carnival and host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazil's former capital is dubbed the City of Marvels by locals. You can't help being astounded by the panorama that opens up to you from the summit of Corcovado, the rocky peak where the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer has stood for nearly a century. In downtown Rio historic monuments such as the National Museum of Fine Arts sit side-by-side with modernistic buildings such as the cathedral of São Sebastião. On the seafront, Atlântica Avenue runs alongside Copacabana Beach; enjoy a bird's-eye view from the cable car ride to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Day 2 Paraty

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
To the South of Rio, discover the charming village of Paraty. Bathed in the emerald waters of the Ilha Grande Bay, surrounded by verdant hills and islets, it is one of the jewels of Brazil’s Costa Verde. Here, time seems to have stopped in the time of the conquistadors and their gold-laden galleons. Fall in love with the splendor of Paraty’s heritage — its maze of paved streets, the historic beauty of its colonial houses, its baroque churches. Above all, be enchanted by its lively terraces where locals and visitors enjoy grilled fish accompanied by glasses of cachaça. It is, quite simply, a little taste of paradise on Earth!

Optional Excursions:

Waterfalls by 4WD - length: 4h. Discover the peaceful splendor of nature as you tour the Serra da Bocaina and view the cascading waterfalls and luxuriant green landscape of this lasting Atlantic Forest. Travel by four-wheel-drive vehicle to Serra da Bocaina National Park, known for its waterfalls, cachaça distillery, and the famous Gold Trail. Half an hour from the pier, your first stop is at the Pedra Branca Waterfall, one of highest falls in the region and excellent for swimming. Enjoy approximately 30 minutes of free time for swimming. Continue to the Gold Trail area, which features an interpretive area with an interesting exhibit of pictures depicting the history of gold extraction in the area. Stop at the Tobogã's waterfall, a pleasant waterfall that seems made for lovely photos. After your swim, re-join your vehicle for a drive to the Engenho D’Ouro Cachaça Distillery, a privately-owned distillery that produces cachaça, a typical Brazilian rum made out of sugar cane. During your visit, you have the opportunity to taste a variety of cachaça and observe the artesian process that is used to produce the rum.

Scenic Schooner Cruising - length: 4h. Paraty is surrounded by lush rain forest vegetation. It is an unforgettable place with its crystalline water, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. A terrific way to explore the region is by boat, allowing you to visit the beautiful beaches nearby. Leaving the pier, travel by schooner to some of the local places that are perennial favourites. Your guide explains local lore and history. Stop at Vermelha Beach, Comprida Island (considered a natural aquarium), Lula Beach or Jurumirim’s Beach, depending on weather and sea conditions of the day.  

Paraty on Foot - length: 2h. Paraty is a colonial town with original 18th-century architecture and style. It represents one of the world’s most important examples of colonial architecture. Explore this charming town with your guide on foot, strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets. Appreciate the decorated walls of the old houses, and the history imparted by your guide. Visit important landmarks such as churches, museum, the Culture Centre and old houses, as well as a variety of artist workshops and galleries. Before returning to the pier, enjoy a cachaça refreshment.

Day 3-4 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

Day 5 Salvador de Bahia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of Brazil's oldest cities, Salvador de Bahia stands at the entrance to Bahia de Todos os Santos on the country's northeast coast. A profusion of pastel-colored houses adorns this old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The historic Pelourinho quarter is home to sumptuous churches such as São Francisco and richly decorated palaces such as Rio Branco. Make sure you sample local gourmet specialities like those melt-in-the-mouth coconut sweets, Bahia cocadas.

Optional Excursions: 

Historical Salvador - length: 4h. This visit of the most spectacular historical points of Salvador takes place mostly in the Pelourinho. A true immersion in the heart of the history of this country, this visit is not to be missed. From the pier, embark your coach for the 30-minute-drive to the Farol da Barra (Barra Lighthouse) which offers a panoramic view of the entrance to Baía de Todos os Santos. Arriving in the historical Pelourinho district, stop at Tomé de Souza's square. From the lookout you can observe the lower city and port, the Mercado Modelo and the Lacerda Elevator. Visit the Basílica Cathedral, erected on the site of an ancient 16th-century chapel. Visit the São Francisco de Assis Church (1713), considered the best example of Portuguese baroque style and the most magnificent in Brazil. Continue discovering the mysteries of the historic center, walking on the sloping streets. The colored buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries form an architectural group unique to the Americas, classified as World Monument by UNESCO.

Salvador Highlights - length: 8h30m. From the pier, embark your coach for the 30-minute drive to the Farol da Barra (Barra Lighthouse). This viewpoint offers a panoramic view of the entrance to Baía de Todos os Santos. From this point the rest of the visit is on foot to reach Terreiro de Jesus square, surrounded by houses with colonial façades. Visit the Basílica Cathedral, erected on the site of an ancient 16th-century chapel. Visit the São Francisco de Assis Church (1713), considered the best example of Portuguese baroque style and the most magnificent in Brazil. Continue discovering the mysteries of the historic center, walking on the sloping streets. The colored buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries form an architectural group unique to the Americas, classified as World Monument by UNESCO. A local lunch is served at a charming restaurant. In the afternoon, explore the lower part of the city, including the quiet waters of Itapagipe Bay where the first holiday residences were built.

Day 6 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 7 Recife

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Founded in the 16th century, the city of Recife on Brazil's northeast coast is a vibrant mix of old and new. Stroll around the historic center to discover elegant pastel-colored mansions, the Baroque cathedral of São Pedro, and the azulejos frescoes in the church of São António, not far from the neoclassical theater of Santa Isabel. On the waterfront, the long beaches of Pina and Boa Viagem beckon with emerald water and fine sand under shady coconut palms, while modern business blocks rear skyward to form a striking backdrop.

Optional Excursions: 

Fascinating Olinda - length: 4h. Welcomed by your guide off the ship, leave by bus for Olinda, which is 7 km north of Recife. Founded in 1537, Olinda is one of Brazil's colonial gems. The steep, unevenly cobbled streets, the immaculate colorful colonial houses, the sobrados with wrought-iron balconies, and austere convents flanked by richly decorated Baroque churches earned it UNESCO World Heritage site status in 1982. The bus leaves you at the entrance to this historic town and you take a mini-van to explore this magnificent site, as buses are not allowed within the historic center. The first stop is the Sé Cathedral from where you have a fabulous view. Then cross Olinda, passing in front of the Church of the Miséricorde and the former slave market. Then you have some free time to enjoy shopping before going to São Bento Monastery, a Baroque masterpiece. Finally, return to the port back to your ship.

Discovering Recife & Olinda - length: 9h. From the pier, board your coach for a journey of discovery, beginning in Recife’s historic districts of Recife Antigo, São António and São José. When the Dutch invaded the area in 1630, they razed the Portuguese capital of Olinda to the ground, and built Recife on mangrove swamps and islands nearby. Within 30 years they had created a series of embankments, bridges, canals, and the infrastructure and sanitation required by a thriving city. In 1657, the Portuguese regained possession of the region and embellished treasures such as the Capela Dourada (Golden Chapel), the Teatro Santa Isabel, São Francisco church, Pátio São Pedro, etc. There is a photo-stop at Republic Square and another at the Casa da Cultura, a former prison now transformed into an arts and crafts center. Then the tour continues southwards, for lunch in the Parraxaxá restaurant with a buffet of regional specialities.

After lunch, there is a small detour to admire the magnificent beach at Boa Viagem before you arrive in Olinda, the city of eight hills. Founded in 1537, Olinda is one of Brazil’s colonial gems. The steep unevenly cobbled streets, the immaculate and colorful colonial houses, the sobrados with wrought-iron balconies, and austere convents flanked by richly decorated Baroque churches earned it UNESCO World Heritage site status in 1982. The coach leaves you at the entrance to the town and you take a mini-van to explore this magnificent site, as buses are not allowed within. First stop is the Sé Cathedral from where you have a fabulous view. Then cross Olinda, passing in front of the Church of the Miséricorde and former slave market to reach São Bento Monastery, a Baroque masterpiece. Finally, return to the port late afternoon.

Day 8 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 9 Fernando de Noronha

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The main island in the archipelago of the same name, Fernando de Noronha lies off Brazil's northeast coast. Its pristine natural environment has given it UNESCO World Natural Heritage status. In Dolphin's Bay, spinner dolphins cavort in pristine waters against a backdrop of luxuriant green hills. You might also see whale sharks and hawksbill turtles. Just next to the port of Santo Antonio, see petrels and albatrosses cruising over deserted beaches. For an insight into the island's culture, visit Vila dos Remédios, a seaside village featuring many historic buildings.

Day 10-13 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners

Day 14 Maio Island | Formosa Island, Bijagos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Some 20 kilometers off the coast of West Africa, the Bissau-Guinean archipelago of Bissagos is famous for its abundant biodiversity. The richness of its marine animal and plant life afforded it the status of Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Of the 88 islets and islands in the archipelago, only 23 are inhabited. At Maio, still called Chediã, you can meet the Bissagos people and get to know their ancestral ways and customs. In this region, cut off from the rest of the world and secluded from Western influences, discover how locals really live.

Throughout its unspoiled, wild landscapes, the Bissagos archipelago is an area of extraordinary biodiversity, remarkably well protected by local communities. This constellation of islands, bathed by the Atlantic, is home to extremely varied flora and fauna. On Formosa, an island within the protected marine park, you can observe the residents of its crystalline waters and coastal mangroves. Your stopover in Formosa also introduces you to the Bissagos peoples and their ancestral way of life, in perfect harmony with nature.

Day 15-16 Caravela Island, Bijagos

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Off the west African coast of Guinea-Bissau, the Bissagos archipelago rolls out its 88 islands and islets of black rock and white sand in the heart of the Atlantic. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1996, this string of islets has exceptionally rich land and sea fauna. In the heart of luxuriant nature, enjoy Caravela Island's wild charm and its Bijago inhabitants, fascinating men and women who have adapted to and melted in with their natural environment.

Day 17 Dakar | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
On the tip of the African continent, the buzzing capital of Senegal stretches along the narrow peninsula of Cape Verde. You may be overwhelmed by its sheer size, but Dakar wins you over with its richly diverse districts, appealing cultural scene, and rich natural surroundings. In the historic center, enjoy the pell-mell of colors and tasty delights in Kermel market. A visit to the island of Gorée is deeply moving; for several hundred years this island was the largest slave trading center on the African coast. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you are looking for pristine, unspoiled nature, the wildlife in the heart of Madeleine Islands' National Park does not disappoint.

L'Austral

Per person starting at
$7,090
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
8 cabins, 226 sq ft, located on Le Champollion Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area and private bath.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq ft with private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
3 suites, 290 sq ft with 54 sq ft private balcony, located on the Le France Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, desk, minibar, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 6
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Owner's Suite
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Owners Suite
484 sq ft with 97 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living, dining areas, private bath with large tub and shower, minibar, 2 flat screen TVs, DVD, CD, and IPOD, Video on demand, Satellite phone

Notes

Please note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.

Children welcome:
- Flexible, or connecting staterooms
- Baby-sitting service on request
- Children's menus, fun tea parties, games, piano lessons and a host of other activities
- Special kids' rates

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • All meals while on board the ship 
  • Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • Evening entertainment and events
  • 24h room service (special selection)
  • English-speaking lecturer 
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
  • Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
  • Park entry fees into protected areas
  • Complimentary boot rental on select cruises
Cruise fares do not include:
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned 
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions mentioned
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Luggage handling
  • Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides and drivers
  • Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned
  • Laundry services, hair salon and à la carte Spa treatments
  • Personal expenses, on board medical consultations and drug prescriptions
  • Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)

Included

  • 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
Change & customize to make it yours.
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Liz B

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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