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Brazil Nature & History

Take a tour of Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Maravilhosa, followed by a trip to Minas Gerais, Brazilian El Dorado, to discover the history of the gold and diamond rush that shook this historically rich state, larger than France. Finally, enjoy some time in the wild to finish your trip in style, floating on one of the largest rivers in the world at the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. This tour is a perfect combination of both Brazilian history and nature. Trip recommended by one of our tour organizers, Ivanilde.

Map

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Rio De Janeiro - Historical Center - Rio De Janeiro - Copacabana
  • Day 2: Rio De Janeiro - Tijuca Forest - Corcovado - Rio De Janeiro - Copacabana
  • Day 3: Rio De Janeiro - Favelas - Sugarloaf Mountain - Rio De Janeiro - Copacabana
  • Day 4: Rio De Janeiro - Tiradentes
  • Day 5: Tiradentes - Ouro Preto
  • Day 6: Ouro Preto
  • Day 7: Ouro Preto - Belo Horizonte
  • Day 8: Belo Horizonte - Tefé - Uacari Lodge
  • Day 9: Uacari Lodge
  • Day 10: Uacari Lodge
  • Day 11: Uacari Lodge
  • Day 12: Uacari Lodge - Tefé

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: Rio De Janeiro - Historical Center - Rio De Janeiro - Copacabana

Airport pick up (time and flight number to be confirmed) and transfer to the hotel.

At 02:00pm you will meet your English-speaking guide for a private visit of Rio’s city center, from a colossal avenue framed by imposing glass buildings to quaint, small streets and their little affordable shops. Many styles, one spirit, is the best definition to describe the architectural cocktail of the center, where past and modernism coexist in harmony.

Among the possible visits (to be coordinated with the guide depending on opening times, your preferences, or eventual manifestations organized that day): Imperial Municipal (replicate of the Opera Garnier in France), foundation Banco do Brasil, casa da França (old custom house), national History museum, largo da Carioca, convento Santo Antônio, metropolitan cathedral, plaza Tiradentes...

Return to the hotel at 05:00pm.

Note: For the visit of the center, avoid Sundays, Mondays and bank holidays.
Night at the Royal Rio hotel (breakfast included). Standard room.
Included : english speaking guide, reception with english-speaking guide, entrance fees, room & breakfast

Day 2: Rio De Janeiro - Tijuca Forest - Corcovado - Rio De Janeiro - Copacabana

Your English-speaking guide will meet you at the hotel at 09:00am. Transfer to the Tijuca national park. Located in the middle of Rio, this green oasis of 3,200 acres is the largest urban forest in the world where you will have the best options to hike "around" and "inside" Rio. You will pass through the "vista chinesa" and the "mesa do Imperador", both offering a fantastic panoramic viewpoint over the city.

It takes 2 and a half hour to walk to the summit of the pico da Tijuca, the highest point at 1,021 meters above sea level. Relax on the summit, and enjoy the superb view over Rio spreading below feet.

In the afternoon, climb up the Corcovado (700 m el.) a worldly known symbol of Rio. At the summit take the time to appreciate the unique and wonderful panoramic view of the cidade maravilhosa in front of you.

Return at 05:00pm at the hotel.
Night at the Royal Rio hotel (breakfast included). Standard room.
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, entrance fees, room & breakfast

Day 3: Rio De Janeiro - Favelas - Sugarloaf Mountain - Rio De Janeiro - Copacabana

Leave the hotel with your English speaking guide for an exhaustive visit of Rio to see the favelas, neighborhoods resulting from the chaotic expansion that Rio lived through in the 20th Century. No voyeurism, we are welcome in the favelas where inhabitants want to make sure that their neighborhoods aren't reduced to clichés such as drug trafficking or dangerous life.

Here, children go to school, people go to work and have fun, just as anywhere else. The most extraordinary thing about favelas is how close they are from the fancy neighborhoods. You will visit the favela of Santa Marta in the Botafogo neighborhood with your English speaking guide as well as a local who lives in the favela.

In the afternoon, you will go to the cable car to go up the Sugarloaf Mountain (400 m a.s.l.), one of the main symbols of Rio, marking the beginning of the Guanabara Bay.

Return at 5:00pm at the hotel.
Night at the Royal Rio hotel (breakfast included). Standard room.
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, entrance fees, room & breakfast

Day 4: Rio De Janeiro - Tiradentes

Departure from Rio at 08:30am with your English-speaking guide in a private vehicle. To get to the little colonial town of Tiradentes, you will travel 330 km through a continental decor of rolling hills full of history (about 3-hour drive).

Visit. This town is certainly the most romantic visit among all the colonial towns of the Minas Gerais. The easiest way to feel it is to let yourselves drifting freely through the narrow and steep streets, from a small shop to a church, from a church to a garden, in a baroque decor. The atmosphere is tropical due to the thick vegetation of the fertile Mata around the village at the foot of the cliffs of the Serra de S̃ao José. The church "Matriz" de Santo Antônio de Tiradentes is one of the most beautiful pieces of Brazilian baroque art.

Night at the pousada Villa Allegra (breaksfast included).
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 5: Tiradentes - Ouro Preto

The morning will be dedicated to the second part of your visit of Tiradentes, a colonial town now converted in a bohemian city where many artists and artisans have decided to live, attracted by the architectural elegance of the buildings (houses, patios, fountains, churches) and the pleasant life of this quiet village.

After lunch, you will drive towards the village of Congonhas, where you will stop to discover the statues of the twelve prophets, considered as the masterpiece of the sculptor Antônio Francisco Lisboa, also called the Aleijadinho ("the crippled") because of the acute polyarthritis he was suffering from. These pieces ornament the forecourt of the Basilica of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, and dominate over an esplanade with the six chapels dos Passos, containing some scenes of the Passion of the Christ sculpted in cypress wood at real size.

In the afternoon, you will arrive at Ouro Preto (about 100 km away). With steep paved streets, old stone houses, over-ornate and excessively baroque churches, the town of Ouro Preto, founded in the early 18th century, keeps the greatest ensemble of Brazilian colonial art. The monuments, the pieces exhibited, the numerous details make it the archetypal cultural visit of Brazil, also because of its tragic history and of its splendor. You can admire, among others, pieces from the creating genius of the time, the painters Manoel da Costa Athaíde and Aleijadinho, who, like in Congonhas, left his signature. Among the visits: the church of Saint François of Assis, the church of Our Lady of the Pilar, the School of mines museum, the Oratory museum.

Note: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can travel with the little steam train named "Maria Fumaça" to feel a bygone era of travelling between Tiradentes and São João del Rei in an early 20th Century atmosphere. The train leaves Tiradentes at 13:00am and reaches São João del Rei 30 minutes later. The train museum located in the São João del Rei train station retraces the world’s train history. The first Baldwin engine used during the inauguration trip of the "Estrada de Ferro Oeste e Minas" in August 1881 is exhibited there.

Night at the Pouso do Chico Rei (breakfast included).
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 6: Ouro Preto

In the morning, a short trip (6km) will take you to the mine of Passagem, halfway on the sinuous road between Ouro Preto and Mariana. Visit of this gigantic old gold mine, preserved nowadays like a testimony of the gold rush which made the area busy during the 18th century. A little cart will take you to a few hundred meters below the ground in the large caverns dug by slaves a few centuries ago.

Nearby, you can also visit an open pit Imperial Topaz mine where dozens of Brazilians are still trying, with hope as their only motivation. You will drive a few more kilometers to reach Mariana. First town established in the Minas Gerais area by the Portuguese after the discovery of the gold and diamond deposits, Mariana, unchanged since the conquistadors, is surrounded with mountains. Mariana will instantly charm you with its particular character, the paved streets, the churches and the peacefulness of its inhabitants.

Town visit: Arquidiocesano museum, churches of Do Carmo and of São Francisco and Cathedral da Sé where you can admire a German organ Arp Schnitger (Hamburg) from 1701. Offered in 1753 by the king of Portugal Dom José 1er for the creation of the diocese of Mariana, it constitutes the only existing model nowadays outside Europe. It is still in use twice a week, during baroque music concerts organized on Fridays at 11:00am and on Sundays at noon.

Return to Ouro Preto, around midday, to finish your visit of town.

Night at the Pouso do Chico Rei (breakfast included).
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 7: Ouro Preto - Belo Horizonte

In the morning, you will finish the visit of Ouro Preto. After lunch (not included), you will get back on the road to Belo Horizonte (160 km - 2 1/2 hrs).

Night at the hotel Belo Horizonte Plaza (breaksfast included).
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 8: Belo Horizonte - Tefé - Uacari Lodge

Departure by private transport for your airport transfer, 3 hours prior to departure. Flight from Belo Horizonte (arrival airport, flight time and number to be confirmed).

After reception at the airport, transfer with a motorised boat (02:00pm) to the Mamiraua ecological reserve. This reserve was created in 1990 and shelters over 400 different species of birds, and another 45 different species of mammals. During the boat trip (1h30) you will be very likely to see some specimens of the local flora.

The lodge is built on the water, you will be received with a welcoming drink followed with quick instructions (meal times, water and energy management, swimming instructions...). You will then get comfortable in your room. Free time for the rest of the day.

Night at the lodge.

Note: If arrival at Tefe is delayed, you will spend the night in Tefé for no extra costs as the supplementary services are taken of by the Uacari lodge.
Included : departure transfer with english speaking guide, room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), transfer arrival

Day 9: Uacari Lodge


After breakfast start a first canoe tour with you english/portuguese speaking guide, on the rivers and lakes around.
Return to the lodge for lunch, followed wit a traditional "siesta". The most actives can watch a video-projection about the projects being developed in the reserve, or can go fishing for piranhas.

When the sun will be less strong, you will board a motor-boat towards Araçazinho, a superb lake where you will have the chance to admire the ballet of the bird colonies returning to their nests after sunset.

Return to the lodge at night time, where the only light of your headlight will allow you to observe the night-life.
Night at lodge.

Note: During the rainy season (May to July), the excursions around the lodge will be by canoes. The rest of the year, they are by foot along the tracks (about 3 kms).
Included : room & breakfast, lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), local english-speaking guide

Day 10: Uacari Lodge


Start at sunrise with your local guide. Hike along the trails in the forest around the lodge. You will walk slowly and silently listening to the sounds of the awakening forest. Return to the lodge at the end of the morning.

When the sun fall down, you will start walking again to the Lake Mamirua, searching for "botos", river dolphins, characterized by their pink skin and their long faces.

In the dark you will hear thousands of rustles coming from the animals reaching the borders of the lake to drink. Return to the lodge for dinner.
After dinner the guides usually like to hang around with the visitors for some light conversations.

Night at lodge.
Included : room & breakfast, lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), local english-speaking guide

Day 11: Uacari Lodge


Short hike around the loge in the morning.

After lunch, you will visit the local communities participating in the conservation and the promotions of the reserve. Descendants from native Indians and migrants from the northeast region who came to find fortune during the rubber boom, the inhabitants of the area now live with fishing and subsistence farming (manioc, vegetables). You may be invited to assist and/ or participate in the making of local crafting. Return to the lodge to see the sunset.

Night at lodge.

Optional: extra day (s) at Uacari Lodge.
Included : room & breakfast, lunch (no drinks), dinner (no drinks), local english-speaking guide

Day 12: Uacari Lodge - Tefé


A last activity is scheduled in the morning. At 10:30am, transfer to the Tefé river port. After lunch, transfer to the airport.
Included : lunch (no drinks), breakfast buffet , transfer departure, local english-speaking guide

Hotel Royal Rio   Rio De Janeiro

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Pousada Villa Allegra   Tiradentes

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Pouso do Chico Rei   Ouro Preto

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Hotel Belo Horizonte Plaza   Belo Horizonte

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Uacari Lodge - 5 days / 4 nights   Tefé

Included : room & breakfast, dinner (no drinks), transfer arrival

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