Combine Rio Carnival with a trip of a lifetime up to the north of Brazil and through French Guiana, Surname and Guyana.
There is a bit of everything on this journey but the highlights are visiting some of the areas that are rarely travelled to by other tourists and experience great beaches, pristine jungle and unique wildlife.
This is a great option for a trip of a lifetime in South America.
Border information: if you are joining in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely exit Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.
The first day of Rio Carnival is free time as everyone will be arriving at various times throughout the day to start the package. Our hotel check-in is from midday, and Dragoman staff will be on hand to give you assistance.
There will be a joining meeting in the afternoon - please check the notice board in the lobby/reception area for the exact times for your meeting.
In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a great hotel in the Flamengo district, close to the beach and the metro station.
This morning we will go on an introductory walking tour with our local guide to get to know the local area and orientate ourselves. We will then head to one of the local 'blocos' (street parades) with the guide, who will show us the ropes!
In the afternoon there's the option to go for a guided visit to the Morrinho Project, a favela community project supported by Dragoman. If you have opted for this tour you will be picked up at the hotel by an English speaking guide and travel to and from the project by air conditioned minibus.
Early this morning we have the option to head to Corcovado and its world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer for a half-day guided tour. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the most iconic sights of Rio de Janeiro, and if the weather is clear there is also a fantastic view over the rest of the city including Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). If you have opted for this tour you will be picked up at the hotel by an English speaking guide and travel in an air conditioned bus. We normally charter a private tram to the top of Corcovado mountain which means that we are the first ones to arrive and have the statue to ourselves for a short time - a fantastic privilege at any time of year but particularly during the busy carnival time. We will aim for the same arrangements this year but please note that there is no guarantee that we will be able to secure a private tram.
In the evening it's time for the main event of the week - the parade in the Sambadrome. The top samba schools parade their fantastic floats and costumes and the party goes on well into the early hours of Monday morning. You'll be situated in sector 13, the most lively of the sectors where local Cariocas are supporting their favourite Samba schools by singing and dancing. The sector is at the very end of the runway and you have the chance of collecting parts of the costumes as some dancers will throw them up in to the stand. You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included), accompanied by English speaking guides who will also be with you inside the Sambadrome. As people wish to leave at different times, there will be pre-determined times when you will be able to go back to the hotel with a guide.
Please note that sector 13 is set back a bit from the actual runway so does not offer the best close up views of the parade - if you should wish, there is the option to upgrade to sector 11 for a much closer view of the parade, which is highly recommended if you're interested in photography and would like the best pictures of the costumes and floats. The same guide and travel arrangements as for sector 13 will apply.
This morning is free for you to recover from last night in the Sambadrome! It's a great chance to hit the beach, explore the city or simply have a lie in.
In the afternoon we have the chance to go on an optional guided visit to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), rising almost 400 metres above the harbour. If you have opted for this tour you will be picked up at the hotel by an English speaking guide and travel in an air conditioned bus. We will take the cable car up to the top, from where there's a chance of seeing the wonderful vistas over the city and Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. If the weather is clear you will also be able to see Christ the Redeemer looking down at the city from the top of Corcovado mountain.
In the evening we have the chance to re-visit the Sambadrome to see the last 6 of the elite Samba schools parading. The seats tonight are in Sector 5, situated at the start of the runway and offering close up views of the parade. You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included) with an English speaking guide.
There is also the option to don a costume and take part in the parade itself, dancing your way down the Sambadrome runway - a once in a lifetime experience! You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included) with an English speaking guide who will also accompany you during the parade.
Today is another free day to explore Rio de Janeiro further, and perhaps to find one of the blocos (street parades) that take place during the Carnival and continue the party.
In the evening we have the chance to put on our most outrageous outfits and head to the Gay Ball! The ticket to the Gay Ball includes the entrance, open bar and assorted finger food.
Welcome to Rio de Janeiro! Today there will be a group meeting day at 18:00hrs, please meet in the hotel reception.
The rest of the day is yours to enjoy Rio. If you would like to book additional nights of accommodation to really explore the city, please contact your Sales agent.
Border information: If you are arriving in Rio, enter Brazil at Rio Galeão International Airport International (IATA code: GIG) Airport.
In Rio we will stay in a comfortable hotel
Today we will drive to the beautiful old colonial mining town of Ouro Preto.
Along the way we will stop at Petropolis, the cool hill-side hideaway for local Cariocas escaping the heat of Rio. We will have 2 hours to explore the Museu Imperial, the former Imperial Palace, wander the town or visit the Palacio de Cristal, the site where the last slaves of Petropolis were released.
Approximate Drive Time: 450km / 8hrs
In Ouro Preto we stay at a comfortable hostel
Today we will enjoy a half day guided tour of Ouro Preto, well known for its colonial architecture and the first Brazilian town to be considered a UNESCO world heritage site. In the afternoon enjoy some free time to explore the town, visit the museum or some of the stunning baroque churches. There are some fantastic cafes and restaurants in Ouro Preto. Don't forget your camera today, Ouro Preto one of the most picturesque towns on our itinerary!
We will stay at a local hostel.
We have a full day drive through the Brazilian countryside. We will find a nice spot and camp for the night near Tres Marias.
Approximate driving Time - 400km / 8hrs
Today we arrive in the futuristic capital of Brasilia. In the morning we will enjoy a guided tour of this fascinating city, which was designed and built to be the Brazilian Government's headquarters in 1960. The city is designed to resemble a plane, and is a UNESCO heritage site, housing some incredible, futuristic style Cathedrals and Monuments.
Approximate driving time - 550km / 10hrs
In Brasilia we will camp in a campsite on the edge of town
After our morning tour of the city, we will drive to the chilled out town of Alto Paraiso, which will be our base for exploring the Chapada dos Veadeiros. Alto Paraiso is crossed by Parallel 14 (in the same way as Machu Picchu) and is at the centre of some fantastic stories of space ships and aliens!
Drive time approx 3hrs, 150km
We will camp in a well equipped camp site.
We have two full days to explore the National Park. The Chapada dos Veadieros is one of Brazil's hidden gems, one of the oldest and most beautiful tropical ecosystems in South America and home to incredible waterfalls, rock formations, caves and grottoes.
This morning we will have an included visit to the Vale da Lua or the Valley of the Moon, so called due to the rock formations giving it an appearance similar to the moon.
This area is perfect for hiking, horse and bike riding and of course swimming in natural pools and soaking up the parks atmosphere. It is said that due to the high amount of quartz in the ground, that this Chapada is glows from space!
Over the next two days we will travel overland across the central Brazilian countryside, towards the town of Lencois and the stunning Chapada Diamantina, bush camping en route.
On Day 9 we will aim to travel approximately 500km / 9hrs and find a nice bush camp along the way.
On Day 10 we will aim to travel 400km / 8hrs, we stay in an eco-tourism campsite in the laid back town of Lencois.
The Chapada Diamantina could be one of the most striking national parks in South America and Lencois is the perfect base for our adventures. Here we have the opportunity to hike, ride, kayak, relax by awesome waterfalls, take a dip in the rivers and explore intriguing cave systems.
We will camp in Lencois for two nights.
We head to the coast today, to the beautiful beach town of Itacare, with it's stunning Atlantic rainforest, laid back eco-friendly cafes and bars, and the opportunity to surf, relax and explore.
Approximate Driving Time - 515km / 9hrs
Tonight we will camp in a Campsite with facilities
Today we have a free day to explore the area, enjoy the beach, take part in some of the many adventure activities available here, or visit the stunning Peninsula de Marau, stopping off at Praia Taipus de Fora and Lagoa Azul.
We will camp this evening at a campsite with facilities.
Today we drive to the beautiful town of
We stay just by the old centre of Pelourinho in a lovely hotel.
Approximate driving time - 250km / 7hrs
Free time to explore the energetic and vibrant city of Salvador, known around the world for its Carnaval festivities. Salvador is home to over 300 churches, the historic centre is recognised by UNESCO and full of interesting architecture, brightly coloured buildings and cobblestone streets. It's an excellent place to witness the African culture in music and dance and enjoy some delicious street food.
Welcome to Salvador! Today there is an important group meeting at 18:00hrs, please meet at the Hotel reception. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy Salvador.
Border information: If you are starting in Salvador, enter Brazil at Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport (IATA code: SSA)
In Salvador we stay in a comfortable hotel
Today we head north up the coast of Bahia, into the state of Sergipe. Along the way we will make a stop at the Projeto Tamar - a research station involved in the protection of Brazil's fives species of turtle, which spans 1000km and 9 of Brazil's states. The best time to visit is September to March when the spawning occurs.
Afterwards we will continue our journey north to Aracaju, where we can chill out in one of the town's seafront eateries, listen to some traditional forro music and enjoy the fresh crabs that the town is known for.
Approximate Driving time - 332km / 7hrs
We will spend the night in a local Pousada
We have a full day drive to the stunning colonial gem of Olinda, considered one of Brazil’s most important historic sites.
Approximate Driving Time - 540km / 9hrs
We will spend the next two nights in a local Pousada
Explore the beautiful town of Olinda, once known as 'small Lisbon' and the richest town in Brazil. Enjoy wandering the cobblestone streets, check out some of the exquisite churches and definitely make time for lunch at Alto de Se to enjoy the views!
Today we have a drive day to the seaside town of Canoa Quebrada.
In Canoa Quebrada we will stay in a local Pousada
Approximate Driving Time – 629km / 10hrs
Huge pinkish sand dunes dominate the area of Canoa Quebrada, it's a fantastic spot to kick back and relax after a week of overlanding, or for the more energetic; try your hand at kite surfing, take an evening horseback ride along the beach, head out on a beach buggy. There's a laid back small town to explore too.
We will stay in a local pousada
An all day drive brings us to the laid back beach town of Jericoacoara, or 'Jeri' as it's affectionately known. Access to Jericoacoara is only by 4x4 through unpaved tracks through the dunes, making it a wonderfully hard to reach place.
Approximate Drive time - 440km / 8hrs
Jericoacoara is a magical place to spend some time; wander the sandy lanes, enjoy the sunset with a caipirinha on the dunes whilst the locals practise their Capoeira, head out on a quad bike adventure to remote lagoons where you can take a dip, laze in a hammock and enjoy a seafood lunch. Jeri is also one of the prime spots for surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing!
We will stay in a local Pousada
Today we drive to the town of Parnaiba, the gateway to the Parnaiba delta and the Lencois Maranhenses National Park.
We will stay the night in a local pousada.
Approximate Drive Time - 250km / 3hrs
Today our adventure into the Lencois Maranhenses National Park begins; we head out in 4WD to the port (Porto dos Tatus), where we will take a speed boat to Tatoia, stopping off at some dunes and islands of the famous Parnaiba Delta. Seen from the sky, the meeting point of the Rio Parnaiba and the Atlantic Ocean looks like a giant puzzle, made up of 85 tiny islands.
After visiting Tutoia we will spend the night in Atins in a small pousada on a sand bank.
Today we will head out in motor boats through the Preguica River, to the protected area of Pequeneos Lencois, along the way, we will visit a small fishing village, take a short walk to the lighthouse to enjoy views of the dunes and the Preguicas River.
We will spend the night in a Pousada in Barreirinhas.
This morning we will head out in 4WD into the lagoons, enjoy a swim and explore the dunes before heading back to the Truck and continuing our journey to the beautiful UNESCO town of
We stay in a local guesthouse.
Approximate Driving Time - 250km / 4 hrs
Today we can enjoy the UNESCO world heritage site of Sao Luis, the only city of Brazil to be founded by the French. The city is full is interesting museums and the historic centre houses beautiful, pastel coloured colonial mansions. You can take a boat trip to the more laid back town of Alcantara, you may spot the Scarlet Guara birds on your way.
We will stay in a local Guesthouse.
Our final drive day brings us to Belem where the mighty Amazon River meets the Atlantic.
We stay in a local hotel.
Approximate Driving time: 574km / 11hrs (including a ferry journey)
Today is yours to enjoy the port town of Belem, one of the first Portuguese settlements. Explore the historic centre which houses various museums and cathedrals and be sure to visit the Ver-o-Paso Market, considered the largest in South America, with its stalls scattered with Amazonian fish, baskets of Acai, herbs and crafts.
Welcome to French Guiana!, today there is an important meeting at 18:00, please meet in the hotel reception. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy Cayenne.
Border Information - If joining the trip at Cayenne, you will fly into Cayenne Félix Eboué International Airport (IATA code: CAY)
In Cayenne we stay in a comfortable hotel.
Today we will enjoy a half day walking tour around Cayenne. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy, perhaps even take a Kayaking trip to the Ilets du pont. Depending on departure days we may choose to visit the Space station at Kourou ths morning.
Today we will head out to the town of Kourou; the site of the European Space station and the starting point for boat trips around the former penal colony on Devil’s Island, one of the infamous Iles du Salut, off the coast of French Guiana. The ordeal of Frenchman Henri Charriere, who spent 12 years here, would later inspire the book Papillon.
We will camp this evening in the surrounding area.
100km / 2hrs
Today we will visit the European Space Centre near Kourou, en route to the town of Saint Laurent du Maroni.
Approximate drive time - 3hrs / 190km
We will stay in a local guesthouse
Today we travel by ferry across the Maroni River to Albina in Suriname.
At certain times of the year, it may be possible to arrange a local boat to take us to the turtle nesting site of Galibi further north. Please note that if this is not available due to local circumstances or the timing, we may choose to head directly to Paramaribo.
Border Information: Exit French Guiana at Saint Laurent du Maroni, Enter Suriname at Albina
We continue our journey west to the lively capital Paramaribo.
This evening we may choose to take an evening sunset boat trip in the hope of seeing some Dolphins playing in the Suriname River.
Approximate Driving Time: 145km / 3hrs
In Paramaribo we stay in a locally owned hostel in dorms and twin rooms with shared bathrooms.
Today we have a full day to explore Paramaribo's historic inner city and the Commewijne area. You can easily explore the historic centre on foot, visiting Fort Zeelandia and the Suriname museum, and enjoying the fantastic architecture of Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, one of the largest wooden buildings in the western hemisphere, or hire a bike and take a boat across the river to cycle the peaceful Commewijne Plantation Loop, visit the star shaped fort at Neiu Amsterdam. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from.
This morning we leave the truck behind and set off for an unforgettable adventure into the interior of Suriname. We will travel by minibus for approximately 190km to the port at Atjoni, we then hop on a boat for approx 1hr trip along the Suriname River, deep into the rainforest where we will stay for two nights on our own private island!
Be sure to pack light for this excursion, as we can only take a small bag each with us.
We will stay in comfortable cabins and enjoy our own pool. All meals are provided during our visit, though you will need a small amount of money for drinks and tips for our local guide.
During our stay we can visit local villages, walk around the island in the hope of meeting some of its furry inhabitants and learn about the medicinal plants, try to spot Caiman on a night time canoe trip, take a dip in the river at the Ferulassi rapids - a natural Jacuzzi, and relax on the island by our pool, spot the kingfishers on the banks of the river and enjoy the tranquillity of the Amazon Rainforest.
We will stay in comfortable cabins.
All meals are provided.
This morning is free for you to enjoy how you wish, walk, swim or relax and after lunch we will transfer back to Paramaribo.
Paramaribo and its surroundings definitely deserve at least one more day for exploration. Today is yours to spend as you wish; take a boat trip to Jordensavanne, take part in a Moengo Cultural experience, go walking in the Peperpot Nature reserve or Brownsberg Nature Park, learn the art of Surinamese cookery, or take part in one of the many day tours available.
Today we have a big drive from Paramaribo, across the border by Ferryboat to the Guyana Capital, Georgetown.
Border information: Exit Paramaribo, Enter Guyana
In Georgetown we stay in a central located, basic but cosy, locally run hostel, with shared bathrooms in a combination of twin and dorm rooms.
Take a morning tour of the city, explore the old canals and great sea wall, visit incredible wooden cathedrals, the huge market and try to spot the manatees swimming in the National park's lake. Georgetown is a busy place, and feels happily free from mass tourism. Be sure to take your camera!
Today we have a second free day in the city.
Perhaps one of the greatest highlights of Guyana is the spectacularly remote and impressive Kaieteur Falls, one of the tallest single drop waterfalls in the world, and reachable only by light aircraft. Take a half day flight to the falls and then enjoy a walking tour to the Falls and search for the tiny golden rocket frogs, hiding in the tank bromeliads leaves, as well as an impressive variety of butterflies, you may also be lucky enough to spot the bright orange Guayanan Cock of the Rocks.
Today the adventure really begins, as we travel south into the Guyanan Interior. We enjoy the comforts of a tarmac road for around 120km, as far as the town of Linden, and then the dirt road begins! it's the only road that connects Georgetown to Brazil, at some times of the year it becomes impassable due to the rains, but most of the time you'll find trucks and minibuses happily bumping along the road transporting people to and from Lethem. Many people choose to fly to the jungle resorts, but as overlanders we will get to enjoy the pristine rainforest - keep your eyes peeled in case of the illusive jaguar road crossing!
Please note we will likely set off very early today in order to make the most of the coller parts of the day.
Driving Distance: 400km / 12 hours
Today we will camp or stay in bunk rooms in the Iwokrama Forest, with basic amenities.
We are deep in the Guyanan rainforest, based beside the river which gives us some unique wildlife spotting opportunities in one of the most pristine and untouched eco-systems in the world. We have a variety of options for us including walking, bird watching, canoeing trips, nocturnal wildlife spotting and even a spot of swimming (if the watre is low enough).
Today we will have an opportunity to visit the Iwokrama Forest Canopy Walkway, set 30metres above the forest floor and providing a unique opportunity to experience the jungle's mid-level canopy through a series of suspension bridges and decks. Visits during dusk or dawn are best for bird spotting of Macaws and Tucans, you may even be lucky enough to see Red Howler Monkeys.
Today we leave the dense rainforest behind and head towards a village settlement in an area of Savannah. Here we stay in hammocks or camp, all meals are included, we can go on a village walk, spot birds and wildlife, hike up the nearby mountain or take a canoe trip.
Today we head further south and into the more open savannah area, where we will have further opportunities for sportting wildlife, photography, walking and cultural activities.
Today we will camp with basic facilities.
This is our final day in Guyana, we will head south past the town of Lethem and onto the city of Boa Vista in Brazil
(Please note that it is possible to fly from Lethem to Georgetown for approximately 150USD, for outbound international flights).
Drive time - 245km / 5 hrs
Today is the final day for passengers finishing their trip in Boa Vista. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking an extra night of accommodation in order to fully explore the area.
Border Information: if you are finishing in Boa Vista, you will most likely exit Brazil at Boa Vista-Atlas Brasil Cantanhede International Airport (AITO code: BVB)
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Trip Name: Rio De Janeiro to Boa Vista
Duration: 62 Days
From Price: £3,500
Supplier Tour ID: LRAV1/201186
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