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Essential Brazil

Rio, Pantanal and Paraty | View photos »

From the wildlife packed waterways of the Pantanal to the dramatic hills of Rio and the beaches of beautiful Paraty bay, this tailor made holiday is perfect for adventurous families or groups of friends.

14 day trip described, guide price £3,660pp i

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"Second to none"

"Second to none"

I am sure we will be back to Pura again. The organisation and attention to detail is second to none – shame you don’t cover world wide destinations or I would be back for every holiday! Barbara R & family

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Sample itinerary

Travel to Brazil

Fly to Brazil today. Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Your guide will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel. Depending on whether you’ve travelled on a daytime or overnight flight, you may have some time for some initial exploration today. You might like to stroll through the charming old cobbled streets of the Santa Teresa neighbourhood, complete with its slightly rickety tram network.

Guided tour of Rio

Take time to wake up slowly today before your guide comes to introduce you to the marvelous city of Rio. Really what makes Rio special is the setting – it is a city spread across bays and valleys, and wedged between forested hills and sandy beaches. Today’s tour will be almost entirely outside. Start high above the city centre with the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain. Take the cable car up to the top of the hill to take in the views of the many bays.

Independent exploration

Take another day to explore Rio under your own steam. While Copacabana probably warrants a fairly brief look, Ipanema really is the nicest area of the city for shopping and restaurants. Each day there is an art and handicraft market in the central square. You will probably also want to stroll along the beach to watch the world. Ipanema beach is divided into informal sections numbered according to their lifeguard station or posto.

Into the Pantanal wetlands

The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland. It covers an area of around 195,000 square kilometers, about half the size of France. It is a vast alluvial plain—or flood plain. The Pantanal is home to approximately 3,500 different plant species, 1000 bird species, 400 fish, 300 mammals and 500 reptiles. Put simply, the Pantanal offers the highest concentration of wildlife and fauna in the Americas and is one of the best wildlife destinations on the planet.

Guided wildlife excursions

Choose from a range of activities today as your guide talks you through the options. Basically you can choose to do as much or as little as you want to and plan the day to suit depending on how you feel. Excursions and activities are included. You may want to see some of the land animals today and set off on a jeep safari. Most of the wildlife in the Pantanal is actually easy to see and observe as, unlike the Amazon, the animals can’t really hide behind trees.

Guided wildlife excursions

There are lots of ways to explore the Pantanal and a guided hike is a good option. It is also possible to visit a different part of the Pantanal (usually by boat) where you can observe different species of birds. This is a full day excursion.

Guided wildlife exploration

You have a final day spent out and about seeking the wildlife of the Pantanal. Less visited than the more famous Amazon, these wetlands are a more reliable source of wildlife encounters and sightings. In these drier summer months, the lack of water means the mammals in particular are more likely to be exposed as they seek out water sources.

Travel to Sao Paolo

Depending on flight schedules, you should have time for a final bit of wildlife spotting before you transfer from the lodge back to the airport. Fly down to Sao Paulo this afternoon, where you stay overnight at the very comfortable airport hotel, prior to your road transfer to Paraty tomorrow.

Settle in to your beach house

Transfer by comfortable bus this morning the four hours or so along the coast to Paraty. Arriving in Paraty, your guide will meet you and then take a 10-15 minute boat journey from Paraty harbour to the house on the water's edge where you spend the next few days. The house is surrounded by pristine beaches, uninterrupted swathes of rainforest and traditional fishing communities. There are no roads or cars to disturb the views, just forest paths and passing fishing boats.

Enjoy the waters of Paraty Bay

Kingfishers and herons enjoy the advantage from the tree shading the terrace, hummingbirds flit between flowers and right in front are shoals of colourful fish, turtles and dolphins can be seen. The house, built in 2010, has a modern, clean touch and catches the best of the sea views. Paraty is only 10–15 mins away, and in the other direction are the region’s most beautiful beaches. There are three double (or twin) en suite rooms that face the sea.

Swim from the front steps

You can swim from the house. The water is lovely and warm and often crystal clear. There are a lot of fish amongst the rocks right in front of the house, and if you are lucky you will also see starfish and even turtles and dolphins. There are two sets of snorkelling equipment in the house but if you love swimming/snorkelling we recommend you bring your own. The house is also wonderful for relaxing on the deck reading in a hammock.

Kayak in the bay or walk to beaches

The kayaks (two doubles including large / medium life jackets) are great fun, another way to explore. There is a small path at the back of the house that a few locals use. You can walk to Praia do Baré - an excellent swimming beach for children in five minutes, the lovely Praia Vermelha is about a 40 minute walk.

Hike to the hill tops or just relax

Keep on exploring as you make the most of your last day here in your own slice of paradise.

Travel back home

Return to Paraty this morning before your afternoon transfer back to the airport and your overnight flight home. Normally, flights are from Sao Paolo. Again, please note that international flights are quoted separately for this trip.

About this trip

Summary

From the wildlife packed waterways of the Pantanal to the dramatic hills of Rio and the beaches of beautiful Paraty bay, this tailor made holiday is perfect for adventurous families or groups of friends.

How adventurous?

Activity
1 2 3 4 5
Comfort
1 2 3 4 5
Culture
1 2 3 4 5

Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Level of activity

This holiday has been made to highlight the fantastic wildlife of the Pantanal and the glorious coastal landscapes of Paraty. Although there is plenty to do in each place, there is no compulsion to be particularly active at any stage of this trip.

In Rio de Janeiro we try to make sure that you get out to see the city on foot, as far is possible. Rio is a place which is really all about the outdoors – the views, the sights and sounds of a great city.

The Pantanal is also a very warm place, generally hot during the day and very warm at night. Exploration is by boat much of the time but also by foot and vehicle at other times. The place is very, very much about the stunning wildlife and not about being super-active. Paraty is a place where you can really choose to do as much or as little as you like. There are sea kayaks at your house, as well as snorkelling gear – the house is built right over the water so it’s not hard to get out there. You can also hike into the natural park to some beautifully remote beaches.

Crossing the bay to the town of Paraty you can find a wider array of activities on offer, mountain biking, sailing, diving, etc.

The Pantanal is hot all year really, into the 30c range during the day though cooler at night. The region is at its best in the dry season which runs from April through to October. From November through March first the heat gets unbearable, then the rains come in Biblical volumes and the mosquitoes come out to play. In short, not a great time to visit.

Paraty is a year round destination with water temperatures ranging between 23 to 28c, not dissimilar to the air temperatures. From April through June, the weather tends to be at its driest, not too hot and clear skies leading to cool evenings. A little later on, July through August, it is winter. Temperatures during the day are in the low to mid-20s. Again, nights are usually cool. It is also a relatively dry time of the year. From September to through November it’s a mild season, where there are few people, warm weather, not too hot, some rain possible as always in the tropics.

Level of culture

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil generally, is an extraordinary cultural phenomenon. A blend of Latin American, European and African which looks mighty odd on paper but somehow produces the most vibrant of all Latin cultures. From the food to the music to the art, literature, dance, football, the very atmosphere of the place buzzes. Brazil is irresistible – a place to simply lift up your feet and let yourself be carried along with the flow.

The Pantanal wetlands are generally thought to be a better wildlife destination than the Amazon – not least because the animals can’t hide away from you. What makes it seem somewhat odd is that it is actually a region of vast fazendas, cattle farms. The people are therefore ranchers who have turned their farms, or parts of their farms, into wildlife reserves. This is done with varying degrees of success. For this reason, we have very carefully chosen our lodge to be small, family run and in a great location. Because the family still do most of the key tasks in the lodge, you get a far, far greater sense of place than in other parts of the Pantanal.

Paraty is a beautiful, colonial town on the waterfront of the southeastern coast of Brazil, south of Rio. The centre of the town is a national monument and a great place to explore on foot. Because it’s such a small place, Paraty is somewhere you can wander out and let yourself discover – be that a restaurant an art gallery or a musical event. In Brazil it always seems to be easy to communicate with people, even if you do not speak Portuguese.

Practicalities

We do have a detailed itinerary for this trip as set out above, if you would like to see that, please get in touch and we can email it over.

Ultimately though, this is a tailor made trip so we would love to have time to talk to you in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you.

In the form set out above, this holiday includes internal flights and transfers, all accommodation, all meals in the Pantanal as well as guided excursions and activities. In Paraty, your house includes daily maid service who prepares breakfasts and lunches for you though food is bought or at least paid for, directly. 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 routings are to fly into Rio de Janeiro (airport code: GIG) and out of Sao Paolo (airport code: GRU).

Departs

Departs on a date to suit you, from April through October.

Next steps...

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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