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Track wild jaguars in the Pantanal, watch the sunrise in the company of monkeys in the Southern Amazon and snorkel off idyllic islands on the Costa Verde. This two-week Brazil holiday pairs two of the country's most respected wildlife lodges with the beaches of Paraty and the iconic sights of Rio de Janeiro.
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Arrive in Brazil. Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Connect onto another flight to the southern Pantanal, where you transfer over the savannah to your lodge at the heart of a huge wildlife sanctuary. Relax this afternoon after your long journey.
Set off to explore your surrounds today with a series of game drives in open vehicles, or walks through specific areas of the forest. Your days at your lodge are led by your on site local guides and resident biologists. The Pantanal is one of the world’s foremost bird watching destinations but in terms of non-flying friends, there are marsh deer, giant anteaters, monkeys, any number of caiman, peccaries, capybara, armadillo, ocelot, jaguar and even the very occasional puma.
Spend today in the company of the Onçafari research team as you head out to track the beautiful jaguar. This will include a night drive, probably your best chance to see the cats in the wild. Please note that today’s activity is optional, if you are not specifically interested in jaguars then you would join the normal day’s activities with your local guides.
Since you have a late flight to the north, this morning is yours to further explore the estate. Given the focus on wildlife up to this point, today might be given over to the cowboys. Return to Campo Grande airport for your evening flight up to the distant town of Cuiabá where you spend a short night.
After your late night, there is a bit of a lie-in this morning before your relatively short flight to the small town of Alta Floresta, gateway to the southern Amazon. You should be treated to a display of wildlife as you travel upriver, monkeys play in the trees, giant river otters nest on the banks and birds are everywhere. Though, as ever in the Amazon, wildlife is hard to spot, you are well looked after by your expert naturalist guides who always seem to have bionic eyesight. Settle in this evening to your very comfortable lodge with a first rate buffet dinner and afterwards the chance to watch the stars from around the open fire.
Your lodge has viewing tower that rise over the forest canopy, so set out to climb these this morning. Up at the top the views are expansive and should show off the rainforest at its very best, with mist lifting up from the seemingly endless waves of trees reaching to the very farthest horizon. Head out on a guided wildlife trail later before enjoying a dip in the river, the floating deck is a lovely place to read in the shade whilst cooling off with an occasional dip in the dark river waters. Though it takes a little getting used to, swimming in the river is a wonderfully refreshing treat.
Your lodge has a network of trails through the forest, many of which start and end at the lodge itself and these are all ones you may take in the days you are staying here. A boat ride away, you have trails reaching higher ground. These are fascinating for the views as well as for the changing ecosystems you can see - notably they are places where you find a lot of frogs. After lunch and time to relax back at the lodge, you might like to take a canoe ride downstream.
After another sunrise over the canopy and breakfast, leave the lodge to fly to Rio de Janeiro. It can be a slightly bitty journey with short connections but the airports involved are tiny, and Brazilian domestic airlines are remarkably efficient so it works well. You will be arriving in Rio late tonight. Your transfer guide will be there to meet you and help get you to your hotel quickly and painlessly.
Spend this morning relaxing before your private city tour this afternoon. Immerse yourself in Rio slowly as you wake up in what is arguably the world’s most beautiful city. This afternoon you have a private city tour to show you the best of Rio, from the cobbled colonial streets of Santa Teresa to the magnificent Christ the Redeemer statue which sits within the world’s largest urban nature reserve.
Take more time this morning to enjoy Rio before you journey to Paraty. The drive takes you though beautiful, though sadly endangered, Atlantic rainforest. The region around Paraty is almost entirely protected so the forest is happily verdant and intact as you reach this prettiest of colonial towns in the late afternoon.
For such a tiny town, Paraty certainly punches above its weight in Brazilian history. Originally little more than an encampment on the bay to send out gold from, the town grew with the planting of sugar cane to produce cachaça - Brazilian rum. However, the real money came to Paraty with the coffee boom. It was during this later period that most of the colonial buildings you see today were built. Stroll and relax this afternoon.
Set off by private boat into the bay of Paraty to swim and snorkel off its most beautiful beaches. Paraty is all about its bay, to this day, the water seeps into the cobbled streets of the old town at high tide. However, with two rivers emptying into the bay the waters here are a bit dirty. As soon as you set sail into the bay proper, the colour of the water transforms to a beautiful, clear green. The bay of Paraty isn’t a bay as such, rather a series of small islands and tiny bays, inlets and peninsulas which create all sorts of delightful hidden beaches with calm waters for you to swim and snorkel.
Depending on flight schedules, you might have time for a final dip or walk around the bay before your transfer to São Paolo airport. If this quick summary has whetted your appetite for a tailor-made trip to Brazil, we'd love to talk to you about tailoring something that is just right for you. See below for various ways to get in touch or request a full PDF itinerary for more details of this trip.
If you like your macaws blue, your trees green and your beaches golden then this is the trip for you. If adventure is your thing, then you’ll find that the Costa Verde makes for a great playground. If you just want a cross-section of the best of Brazil, then this trip delivers that. Hopefully you fall into one of these categories.
This is not a particularly active trip physically, though you are on the go for most of the time. Both the Pantanal and Amazon are characterised by early morning activities, such as game drives or boat rides. You tend to have some free time in the middle of the day before more activities later in the day and into the evening. In Paraty we include a boat trip out to beaches with snorkelling and an easy walk along the gold trail. In summary, nothing overly active.
Give us two weeks for a first time visit to Brazil and it would look something like this. Give us three weeks and we can get you up to Bahia for some fantastic walking too. Ultimately though, we will make this trip personal to you. That means getting to know a bit about what you like, or don’t like, to do on your travels, what your priorities or special requirements are and when you are thinking about travelling. Sharing some of that with us below is a great starting point to have that conversation, by email or by phone, whichever suits you best.
Departs on a date to suit you, from April through October.
The price is per person based on two people sharing and includes:
First-class accommodation with breakfast and some lunches and dinners
All internal flights
Private airport transfers
Shared guided wildlife excursions in the Pantanal and Amazon
Private guided walking tour and boat trip in Paraty
Private guided tour in Rio
Brazil Holiday Guide with personal recommendations
Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout
International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best routing is into and out of São Paulo (GRU).
The focus of this trip is on the experiences you have rather than the thread-count of your sheets. Caiman Lodge is much admired for its cutting edge conservation work. The accommodation is comfortable, clean and small scale, with a very high staff/guest ratio, but don't expect fancy.
In the Amazon, you are staying in one of the most luxurious of rainforest lodges in Brazil. Though there is no air conditioning, the fans and open sided structures allow for air flow through the rooms. Rooms are set out in and around the grounds a couple of minutes’ walk from the main lodge building. Electricity in the main building is on from early until 10pm. Rooms are powered by solar so you effectively have low voltage power 24 hours a day.
In Paraty, you stay in a very traditional building on the edge of the old colonial centre, near the seafront. Rooms are very comfortable, with both air conditioning and fans
For more details, please get in touch to request a detailed PDF itinerary.
In the Amazon and the Pantanal you stay in Private Reserve of Natural Patrimonies - an area of land voluntarily and perpetually given over to nature preservation and recognised by the government. Both were created through the vision of dedicated conservationists.
The Pantanal is very much about the interaction of humans and wildlife, where the wildlife is amply covered by game drives and experiences, the surprising aspect is perhaps the cowboy culture. People who come here from Rio or Sao Paolo are genuinely amazed to see people living such traditional lives out here. To watch a cowboy herding the cattle or a child lasso a cow is amazing.
In the Amazon, most visitors land in the city of Manaus, a city of 2 million people and the seventh most populated in Brazil. This has a dramatic impact on the biodiversity found within the radius of the city lights, in which most of the lodges are placed. It also corrupts the experience of leaving behind a major city and flying into the absolute wilds of the Amazon. Instead, fly to the small municipality of Alta Floresta, with a combined population of 50,000, and stay at the riverside Cristalino Lodge. This eco-lodge protects an area of over 11,000 hectares and around 1,800 different bird species have been recorded in and around the lodge, a third of all those found in Brazil.