Company : Oasis Overland
Activities: Adventure Holidays / Overland Tours / Tours
Duration: 6 weeks to 6 weeks
Approx Costs: 1000 to 1500 £ Pound (UK)
Journey north from Rio, exploring some of the most stunning beaches of Brazil.
Journey north from Rio, exploring some of the most stunning beaches of Brazil.
Take in the history of Porto Seguro and Salvador before heading in to the interior and travelling through the dense rainforest, keeping an eye open for a Jaguar! Add in some adrenaline activities, world renowned Brazilian nightlife and an expedition down the mighty Amazon River and you have a mix of the best Brazil has to offer!
Days 1 to 5
We leave the stunning views of Rio and the carnival vibe behind and head north to the mountain retreat of Teresopolis. The road winds up the hillside through jungle, with dramatic peaks towering overhead. We have a free day where we can visit the Parque Nacional Da Serra Dos Argaos and walk trails to waterfalls, with stunning views of obscurely shaped mountain tops.
Continuing north we make a short stop in Congonhas to see 12 lifelike Old Testament figures sculpted from soapstone, which stand proudly outside the Basilica do Bom Jesus de Matosinhos. Our journey takes us to quite possibly the most significant and beautiful colonial town of the area, Ouro Preto. Even vehicles are not able to navigate the narrow and winding cobbled streets. The biggest attraction is the Minas de Passagem (Gold Mine) - antique cable cars take you underground in to the mine which was originally opened in 1719.
Days 6 to 12
We explore the coastline, home of some of Brazil's best and least known beaches and far less populated with tourists than the resorts of Recife and Rio. We will either stay in locally owned Pousadas (guesthouses) or camp under the stars, as we pass through Linhares to Itaunas. Time can be spent exploring this sleepy fishing village or wandering the dune trails and relaxing on the beach. If we are lucky, in Parque Estadual de Itaunas, we may catch the end of the Sea Turtle hatching season.
Caravelas is our next destination, on the mangrove lined Rio Caravelas. We have the option to take a day trip to the nearby reefs in Parque Nacional Marinho de Abrolhos, where there is the chance to swim with sea turtles. Alternatively the day can be spent on the beach or wandering along the riverfront.
Days 13 to 19
Venturing further north, we pass by some of the more remote beaches, where we may either camp or stay in local Pousadas. If time allows, we may also stop off in Parque Nacional Monte Pascoal which is controlled by the local Pataxo (pa-ta-sho) Indians. Here we can walk the trails to try to spot the endangered spider monkey, sloths, porcupines, capybara, deer, elusive jaguar and numerous species of bird.
Porto Seguro is our next stop and is the region where Portuguese sailors first landed in the New World over 500 years ago, and where you can still see relics from those early settlement days. A steep climb up to Cidade Historica will be rewarded with sweeping views, colourful old buildings and museums. Porto Seguro is also known for its nightlife and 'beach action!'
We then take the ferry across Brazil's largest bay, Baia de Todos os Santos, and arrive in the Afro-Brazilian city of Salvador. Around 40% of all African slaves transported to the new world, came to Salvador and this has left a very particular vibe - tropical, soulful and intoxicating, that is unique to this corner of Brazil. The centre is separated by a steep bluff, in to the Cidade Alta (Upper City) and Baixa (Lower City) and access is gained in the beautifully restored art-deco elevator - Elevado Lacerda. We have a few days to wander and take in the music, cuisine and religion of the region. You can also stop off in the Praca da Se and watch locals practicing the dance fighting known as Capoeira.
Days 20 to 25
Heading west, we come to the quaint town of Lencois. With its cobbled streets and brightly painted 19th Century buildings, it's the prettiest of the old diamond mining towns. The mighty Fumaca waterfalls, various caves and idyllic rivers and panoramic plateaus set the stage for some fantastic adventures. Or maybe just wander the streets, grab a coffee, take in the local life and enjoy some of the excellent cuisine.
After a night quite possibly spent under the stars, we continue into the interior where roads start to become more arduous, and we make a stop in Navidade, in the green and wooded valley of Serra Geral. More cobbled streets and prettily painted, tile roofed 18th and 19th Century houses await and we have a day to explore the town and possibly relax in nearby small waterfalls and refreshing natural bathing pools.
Days 26 to 29
Following highway north we reach the confusing layout of Palmas. The Tocantins state capital was only constructed in 1989 and has a sort of 'planned weirdness' about its streets. We move on to the cozy town of Taquarucu, some 30kms South East of Palmas, where we spend the next few days.
The local tourism boards have worked together to try to create Taquarucu as an eco tourism mecca. In the area there are some 80 waterfalls, caves and pools, which we'll have time to explore. For those that want to go wildlife spotting, several optional tours are available to the nearby parks of Estadual do Jalapao and Ilha do Bananal. In the latter, there is a good chance to see dolphins, caiman, giant river turtles and lots of bird life. Although difficult and unpredictable, we may also catch a glimpse of a Tapir or Jaguar!
Days 30 to 34
Now starts the long drive to Belem through the rainforest and we are mindful of the engineering achievements that were overcome in the 60's in the unforgiving Amazon in creating this road. After 2 nights camping either next to remote jungle Postos (service stations) or in the wilds with no facilities, we arrive in Belem.
Depending on the departure of our riverboat trip to Manaus, we aim to spend a couple of days here, which has remained an active port, shipping out some 800,000 tons of cargo every year! No trip to Belem is complete without taking a stroll around the Estacao das Docas area where you can pop in to arty shops, walk down the waterfront promenade or take lunch with great views of Belem's port town roots. Teatro da Paz is also one of the finest buildings in the city and guided tours are available.
Days 35 to 41 - Riverboat to Manaus.
Please note that riverboats run to no particular schedule, are subject to delays, and generally sail when full. We therefore may have more or less time in either Belem or Manaus.
Rivers are roads in Amazonia and we board our riverboat early to grab a spot to hang our hammocks (you will need to purchase a hammock enroute). A crowded deck with hammocks hanging from every post and rail will be our home for the next few days as we cruise up the Amazon River. In places we won't even be able to see either bank, the river is so wide! Life will be very basic with shared facilities and simple food, quite often consisting of beans and rice! We'll have plenty of time to practice our Portuguese and get to know the locals over a few beers on the upper deck while watching the forest drift by. Soon after we pass the meeting of the waters, where the black Rio Negro joins the Amazon River, our 1500km boat journey comes to an end in Manaus.
Celebrate the end of our epic boat journey by visiting the restaurants, shops and sights in Manaus, including the Teatro Amazonas (Opera House) and the local fish market. For those with a bit more time, there is the opportunity to embark on an optional Amazon Jungle Trip in the hope of spotting dolphins, macaws, sloth, caiman or the harder to spot manatee, anaconda or jaguar. Please allow an extra few days after your trip ends if you would like to join the optional Amazon Jungle Trip.
Please note that our itineraries are not set in stone and can be subject to change.
Trip Price From: £1195.00 + Local Payment: US$920.00
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