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No roads, no frills, just beautiful hiking punctuated by cooling swims in mighty mesas, forests and savannah of the Chapada Diamantina. Add in Boipeba's car-less tranquillity, the pulsing Afro-beats of Salvador and the 'Marvellous' city of Rio, and you have a recipe for a truly diverse and remarkable Brazilian journey
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Fly to Salvador in the northeast of Brazil today, the capital of the Bahia state. Please note that international flights for this holiday are quoted separately. On arrival you are collected by your guide who takes you to your charming hotel in a colonial area just away from the main centre of Pelourinho.
Explore the sights – and especially the sounds – of Salvador, where the blend of African and Latin influence is at its strongest. While you can expect to see some of the key sights, the day is designed to be flexible and tailored to your interests, so do take the time to discuss the plan with your guide.
Having got your bearings with your guide, you have another day to explore Salvador. Perhaps take a cruise out on a schooner to explore the pretty islands in the bay, or delve further into Salvador's African heritage. Bahian cuisine and the candomble religion are two of the aspects well worth discovering.
Transfer to the bus station early this morning for the journey of around 7 hours to the sleepy town of Lençois on the edge of the beautiful Chapada Diamantina National Park. We recommend the (extremely comfortable) bus here as flights are rather sporadic and unreliable, travelling by road also allows you a greater sense of journey as you travel through increasingly remote populations. On arrival in Lençois, your guide meets you to walk you to your hotel in the heart of the pretty colonial town and run through the next few days' plans.
Start walking in your small group across the Chapada Diamantina National Park today. You leave any excess bags in Lençois to travel as light as possible, you will need to carry your clothes for these few days along with your daily picnic and drinking water. Today promises stunning views across the hilltops, beautiful waterfalls and inviting pools. There are no communities, let alone hotels, in these parts, but instead you stay in very welcoming isolated homesteads with your fellow guests.
It's a longer hike today at 20km, though the going is a little easier, and of course the scenery is spectacular. Set off across the grasslands with views of mountains all around. This afternoon you get your first glimpse of the beautiful Cachoeirão Valley framed by rocks on either side, before a cooling dip under a waterfall.
Today you will be left in little doubt as to why many consider the Pati Valley to be the most beautiful hike in Brazil. The climb is marked by rocky and often muddy terrain, but mainly shaded - and the view from the top is superb. On a clear night the unpolluted view of the stars is breathtaking, especially seeing the cloudlike band of the Milky Way.
Hike up and out of the Pati Valley before you dive into the crystal blue waters of Poço Azul. With the sun shining through a hole in the roof of the cave, you'll see the water below shining bright blue, a truly beautiful sight. Swim gently through the incredibly clear water. Return to Lençois for a relaxed last night in the Chapada Diamantina.
Travel to the lovely tropical island of Boipeba, where you can relax at your pousada, set up on the bluff with glorious views of the sea. This small island is car-free, making it a fantastically relaxed place where you can be as active – or inactive – as you please.
There is a selection of activities you can enjoy on the island such as sea kayaking, boat trips, walks and snorkeling but you can set your own pace if you prefer. Aside from enjoying a hammock at your accommodation, you can walk along the pristine beaches stopping for a swim whenever you like.
Another day to relax or explore. Inland, the island offers a great hike to a remote fishing village and completely isolated tropical beach. Equally, after your Pati hike, you might prefer simply to let 'island time' envelop you!
A final day on Boipeba to soak up the sun, take a dip in the sea, or explore some more of this restful island. One lovely option is to take a short boat ride to a shallow natural pool in the sea where you can snorkel and easily spot a dozen different fish. The island is still very much a fishing community so you can watch the locals catch fish by dragging nets along the shallow waters.
The speedboat takes you back to the mainland this morning, where your driver meets you for the 4-hour journey by road and ferry back up to Salvador. From here you fly down to the 'Marvellous City' of Rio je Janeiro. Your guide will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel in Santa Teresa, a more peaceful, and characterful, area than the high rise hotels down on the beaches.
Spend the day with your guide discovering Rio's beauty. Start with the train up Corcovado Mountain for a walk in the Tijuca forest, on the slopes beneath the statue of Christ which sits on top of the mountain. One of the most special views in all of South America awaits at the top. This afternoon, ride the cable cars up to the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain to take in the views of the many bays bathed in the late sunshine.
Time to leave Brazil behind and return home today. Most flights to Europe will depart in the evening, so you should have time for some final exploration or shopping. You can find more details about this trip below and we'd love to discuss a tailormade version of the holiday if you'd like to get in touch.
There is plenty of activity on this holiday, if you want it. The hiking in the Chapada Diamantina National Park is with a private guide so you can set the pace to best suit you. Saying that, you will get the most out of this trip if you enjoy hill walking. The landscapes are incredibly dramatic, the paths good and the cooling waterfalls and pools a just reward for any exertions.
Though most walks are relatively gentle, there are some instances where you will need to scramble for short distances to get up onto the top of hills or waterfalls. The heat in this part of the country can be fairly dramatic, into the low 30s, but we time walks to avoid the hottest times of day, and there’s always a swim in a natural pool to cool you off.
On the island of Boipeba there is no need to be active at all though most people enjoy walking across the island and around the long, empty, sand beaches. If you are minded to, you can ride horses inland or kayak around the coast. In any case, this part of the trip is designed to let you relax and explore rather than set you off adventuring.
There is a detailed 'suggested' itinerary for this trip, please get in touch and we can email that to you. However, we don’t just sell holidays, we make them. To do this properly we want to understand the things you care about and the things you don’t need. We would love to prepare a personalised proposal for you to consider so why not call us on 01273 676 712 and we can get started?
Departs any day of the year, to suit you. Temperatures in the Chapada are fairly stable through the year, averaging 23c except June through September when temperatures can drop to the mid-teens. March to October are the driest times of year, November through February can be wetter but the landscape can be more beautiful with greater flow of water through the rivers and falls. It's cool at night.
Bahia is basically tropical so you can expect warm conditions year round. March is the warmest month at an average high of 30c. July is the coolest at 26c. In Salvador it rains a good deal, May is wettest with 33cm on average, January the driest with 11cm.
As described, this holiday includes all accommodation, internal flights, transfers, small group guiding in the Chapada Diamantina and private guiding in Rio and Salvador as listed on our detailed itinerary. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.
Flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best flight routing is into Salvador and out of Rio.
For your three nights in rural homestays, conditions are basic: beds in compacted earth floored rooms, meals taken outside on rough wooden tables. To be honest, anything more sophisticated just wouldn’t seem right in this wonderfully isolated valley. What matters is the setting, the warmth of the welcome and the fact that your hosts have solar powered fridges to keep the beers ice-cold.
Elsewhere on this trip you stay in some beautiful small hotels and pousadas, ending with a real higlight in Rio. As with all of our trips, we make sure that character, location and service are to notch. We really don’t like to use faceless international chain hotels.
Travelling inland to the Chapada Diamantina and the Pati Valley, you are inthe depths of rural Brazil. Muleteers and farmers living simply in incredibly dramatic surroundings. Your presence here brings both economic benefit and the ability to share traditional ways of life that gets easily lost in the shuffle between the big cities and Brazil's beach culture. Introducing you to farmstead owners is one of the great joys of this trip.
Boipiba is a place to wander and explore at your own pace, watch the fishermen haul in their nets, sit out eating fish on the beach or stroll through the village. In Brazil it always seems to be easy to communicate with people, even without speaking Portuguese.