Explore Brazil's Green Coast ("Costa Verde") and the lush rainforest, mountains, white beaches, and remote islands that are south of Rio de Janeiro. This 10-day Brazil tour can be customized and begins with a visit to vibrant Rio de Janeiro. Spend 3 nights and see Rio's famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches and climb famous summits for views from Corcovado Mountain's Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain. Continue south to colonial Paraty with its white-washed buildings, cobblestone streets, and rich history. Hop on the ferry from the mainland to Ilha Grande, a protected island reserve and some of Brazil's most spectacular beaches. Hike to Lopes Mendes Beach and explore the island's trails by bike or on foot (Ilha Grande is car-less), snorkel, kayak, or simply relax on the beach as you end your Brazil trip.
Visit Rio de Janeiro's most popular attraction, Christ the Redeemer
Explore the narrow streets and colonial churches of Paraty
Hike to Lopes Mendes Beach, a pristine white sand beach
Kayak along the coast and discover Ilha Grande's 106 beaches
Meet your guide at the hotel for a half-day visit to Rio de Janeiro’s most popular attraction – the 125 foot statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain that stands over Rio de Janeiro. Begin the ascent of the mountain in a cogwheel train through the lush Tijuca Forest, a national park and the world's largest urban forest. Arrive to the base of the statue where you can truly appreciate the size of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The views from the observation platforms are spectacular and provide insight of how the city of Rio has grown around and up the seemingly inhospitable natural rock features along the coast. Rio spreads out below you, revealing Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches, the famous Maracana Stadium, and the luxurious Botafoga Bay. And it is impossible to ignore the favelas, Rio's hillside communities.
Return by train and explore the coast with your guide as you drive along Sao Conrado, Ipanema & Copacabana Beaches. Your afternoon is free to relax on the beach, shop in Copacabana's boutiques, or enjoy caipirinha, Brazil's national drink, at a beachfront cafe. Additional activities such as boat or helicopter tours, a visit to a favela, samba lessons, or a trip to the coastal hotspot of Buzios can be arranged.
Sugarloaf Mountain got its name from Portuguese sailors who felt the granite monolith's resembled a traditional block of sugar. Today's tour gives a different perspective of Rio, you and your guide take the cable cars that climbs to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. From the peak, the entire cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), coastline, and Atlantic Ocean spread out below you. Descend by cable car and do a driving tour of Rio de Janeiro's city center to see the famous Sambadrome, the Teatro Municipal, and the modern-styled Cathedral. Please note that this half-day excursion can be arranged on anyday and is a good option in the evenings to enjoy the sunset over Copacabana Beach. The remainder of your day is free to relax, take in the sights of Rio's beaches, or take an optional excursion during this custom Brazil tour.
After breakfast, transfer by private vehicle for four hours along the picturesque Costa Verde to the charming colonial town of Paraty. Your transfer takes you to your hotel, home for the next three nights, where your guide meets you. Embark on a two-hour afternoon walking tour through historic downtown Paraty. Throughout the tour, wind through narrow streets as you visit culturally and architecturally significant colonial churches and homes. Paraty was founded in the 17th century as an important port and strategic gateway to the gold mines of interior Brazil. This small town developed a rich legacy (literally) as the final stopping point for the renowned treasures of Minas Gerais before they were shipped back to the Iberian Peninsula. Have dinner on your own and spend the evening getting acquainted with the city, known for its historic, well-preserved center and romantic atmosphere.
The next two days are free to visit Paraty, relax, or get out and explore the coast and trails. Additional excursions can be arranged in advance or locally through your guide or at the hotel. Raft the Mambucaba River (Class II-III) that crosses the lush and mountainous Serra da Bocaina National Park. Sea kayak or canoe on either Paraty Bay or Brazil's only fjord, Saco de Mamangua. Take a motorboat cruise of Paraty Bay to spend the day on calm, emerald waters and visit the fjord. Hike on the historic Gold Trail in the protected Serra da Bocaina National Park area and become acquainted with Brazil's native Atlantic forest ecosystem. You can also hike to the park's waterfalls (bring a bathing suit for a swim) and visit a cachaca (a Brazilian spirit) distillery. Visit nearby beaches and relax seaside and enjoy pristine, secluded white sand beaches. Paraty has so many options, and your experience can be customized.
Continue your Brazil tour to Ilha Grande. A private vehicle takes you from Paraty to the coastal town of Angra dos Reis; enjoy the views along the coast (1.5 hour drive). A boat then takes you to Vila de Abraao, Ilha Grande's largest town (1 hour boat cruise). Check in at Pousada Naturalia and spend the evening exploring the area on foot. Ilha Grande boasts zero cars or trucks on the island, and a majority of the island and its coast is a protected reserve with hiking trails and boat taxis connecting the various sites and beaches.
Join your guide for a two-hour hike to Lopes Mendes beach, one of the most pristine white sand beaches of Brazil, stretching 3km and lined with palm and almond trees. Meander through the lush rainforest, home to abundant birdlife, until the white sand, hidden beach appears ahead of you. Enjoy lunch and free time to explore, swim, and visit the historic chapel. Walk to Praia do Mangues (Mangrove Beach), and return to Vila de Abraao by boat and cruise the coastline. Total hiking distance is approximately six miles (10 km), and the route can be adjusted based on travelers' preferences.
Enjoy a free day on Ilha Grande. This magnificent island features 81 miles (130 km) of coastline and has an abundance of stunning lagoons and rugged coastline. Relax on the beach or participate in optional activities. Opt for a boat ride around the island, snorkel in the secluded grotto of Lagoa Azul or along a tropical reef, or explore the island's old prison (beautiful remote islands were seen as good locations for prisons). Participate in one of the multiple hiking tours to view the island from different perspectives, paddle along in a kayak to discover its 106 beaches, or try your luck at surfing along the coast. Whatever you choose, Ilha Grande delights you with its natural beauty and secluded location. Your pousada can assist you to arrange day excursions, or we can help arrange these in advance to truly customize a trip for you.
Day 10: Depart Ilha Grande
Spend the morning in Vila de Abraao before transferring by boat and then private transfer back to Rio de Janeiro for your departure to your next destination.
This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).