This Brazil travel pairs three sizzling days in heart-pumping Rio de Janeiro with its antithesis, the laid-back tropical paradise of the country’s idyllic northeast coast. In cosmopolitan Rio, one of the world’s greatest cities, you’ll experience cultural riches, fabulous cuisine, a vibrant nightlife and the beaches of the glamour set. Then you’ll head north, traveling overland to places most people have never heard of. This is a region of pristine beaches and freshwater lakes surrounded by gigantic sand dunes where the swimming, windsurfing and kite surfing are superb. You’ll stay in small villages, visiting nearby dunes. Stops include the photogenic landscape of Lencois Maranhenses, perhaps the most exotic national park you’ll ever explore, a sand dune ecosystem of white dunes and freshwater lakes. You’ll end these Brazil tours in São Luiz, the country’s reggae music capital. Swaying palms, the dunes, the reggae beat. Live the beach life.


Today, upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel where you can drop off your luggage then continue on with your guide for a one-hour walking tour of your new neighborhood. 
Today, after breakfast, you will head into the Tijuca Rainforest, the largest urban forest in the world at 12.5 square miles. The Tijuca Forest was the result of a successful reforestation project in the late 1800s and is now home to hundreds of species of plants and animals that are only found in the Atlantic Rainforest. You will explore this beautiful mountainous park by car before being taken to Rio de Janeiro’s most famous attraction, the massive statue of Christ the Redeemer that stands with arms outstretched atop Corcovado Mountain. For lunch, you’ll be dropped off at a pleasant spot and have the day and early evening to unwind and start getting acquainted with this mesmerizing city on your own. Return to your hotel for another overnight at your Rio hotel. (B)
Active Rio Options - For those who desire a more active itinerary option, we offer Active Rio which substitutes walking and hiking during some segments of your Rio de Janeiro tours.
You’ll start with a 2½-hour hike accompanied by your bilingual guide to the top of Rio’s highest peak, ascending 3,350-ft Tijuca Peak. Tijuca National Park comprises the world’s largest urban forest, a restored mountainous landscape of lush Atlantic forest. After passing 100-ft Tounay waterfall and stunning viewpoints, you’ll reach the summit where spectacular views of the city and the coastline await. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is located on the far edge of the park, a short car ride away. To reach the base, visitors may go by conveyance or walk up the 222 steps. Afterwards, you may choose to have an optional lunch in the artsy Santa Teresa neighborhood or be dropped off in the Ipanema neighborhood for lunch on your own. Return to your hotel for another overnight at your Rio hotel
After a free morning and lunch on your own, you’ll travel to famous Sugar Loaf Mountain with your bilingual guide.  On the way, you’ll drive through the shoreline neighborhood of Urca.  You’ll take an aerial cable car to the summit for some memorable views of Guanabara Bay and Rio.  After taking in the scenery, a cable car will transport you back to your starting point before being returned to your hotel.  (B)
Today you’ll have until 2 PM for Rio de Janeiro tours of your own making or to take it easy at the beach.  You’ll spend today’s official Brazil tours accompanied by your English-speaking guide, traveling through the shoreline Urca neighborhood to reach the destination on everyone’s list of must-see destinations during their travel to Brazil.  Most tourists arrive at the summit en masse by aerial cable car, but you’ll begin the journey on foot.  You’ll hike for about forty-five minutes up to the top of the lower mountain, Morro da Urca, where you then catch the cable car to reach the top of Sugar Loaf.  After taking in the scenery, you’ll take the cable car back to Urca Mountain and hike downhill the last thirty minutes before being returned to your hotel.  (B)

Today you’ll trade the glitz and the glamour of Rio for the tranquility of the northeast coast. You’ll be picked up at your hotel for the flight to the city of Fortaleza. On arrival, you’ll be taken to the hotel and enjoy the brief stay here on your own. Fortaleza is a large metropolis with a colorful colonial history, a huge central market, a modern art museum and an interesting nightlife among its attractions. The seafront boulevard and Ponte dos Ingleses are great places to stroll, watch the sunset and enjoy tasty meals. At the dancetarias here the swing-like forro is popular. Overnight at your comfortable Fortaleza lodgings. (B)


After breakfast you’ll make the four-hour overland journey to Jericoacoara, your base for the next two days. For your first evening of laid-back entertainment, you’ll go to the huge Sunset Dune on the west side of the village to watch a magnificent sunset. Most nights, after sundown at the dune, the dance-like Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira is the entertainment to watch. Overnight at your restful accommodations in Jericoacoara. (B)


After breakfast, you’ll depart for the tiny village of Jijoca on another day of Brazil travel in the dunes, visiting the transparent waters of the Blue Lagoon and Paradise Lagoon, two freshwater lakes surrounded by sand dunes in picturesque Lencois Maranhenses National Park. You’ll stop first at Blue Lagoon and then go on to Paradise Lagoon to relax and enjoy lunch on your own or a snack. A huge natural pool of clear warm waters and perfect temperatures with a sandbar in the middle, Paradise Lagoon is a lovely place to swim and windsurf. After returning to Jericoacoara in the late afternoon, you’ll take a fifty-minute walk to Pedra Furada (Pierced Rock), oft-depicted in area postcards. The rest of the day and evening are yours to enjoy the environs of Jericocoara. (B)


With the cooperation of the tides, after breakfast you’ll travel by 4-WD vehicle to the town of Camocim, ninety minutes west of Jericoacoara. Here you’ll enjoy the emblematic dunes and raft in the green sea. Then you’ll travel another two hours to Parnaiba, stopping briefly in the city before going on to Porto dos Tatus, a village in the Parnaiba Delta. From here you’ll go by boat to the delta’s Canárias Islands, bordered by dunes, home to fascinating wildlife including monkeys, crocodiles and large bird species such as the red ibis. You’ll stop at the Jeijao Bravo dune and pass streams where, if conditions are right, you may observe alligators. You’ll have a relaxing lunch on your own before checking into your lodgings and then enjoy a free evening. Overnight in your island accommodations. (B)


After breakfast, you’ll go by boat to Tutóia, passing islands large and small, stopping at some along the way. You’ll have lunch on your own at Tutóia before traveling to Caburé, a two-hour drive by 4-WD vehicle. Caburé is one of the highlights of the Lençóis Maranhenses. Situated between the beautiful Preguiças River and the ocean, this tiny village is great place to swim and relax on the piers where enjoying fresh seafood and cocktails is a must. After checking in to your comfortable lodgings, you may wish to enjoy some time on the beach or walk to the “Ponta da Brasilia” where the river and sea meet. You’re on your own for the evening. Overnight at your Caburé accommodations. (B)


After breakfast and check-out, today’s first stop is the fishing village of Mandacaru, a five minute boat ride away. You’ll visit the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the dunes and the Preguicas River estuary where you’ll stop for lunch on your own. In the afternoon, you’ll go by boat to the environmentally protected area of Pequenos Lençóis, visiting the riverside fishing village of Vassoura before going another forty minutes to Barreirnhas near Lençóis Maranhenses National Park where you’ll enjoy a free evening. Overnight in Barreirinhas. (B)


After breakfast, you’ll depart by 4-WD vehicle for a ninety-minute float trip and snorkeling in the clear waters of the bucolic Cardosa River. After a tasty picnic lunch, you’ll go on to Santo Amaro, a journey of three plus hours. After checking in to your accommodations, you’ll take a twenty minute drive to the sand dunes by 4-WD vehicle and walk to the Gaivota Lagoon where a spectacular view of the dunes and other lagoons awaits. Here you’ll be able to swim, and if you desire, walk to other nearby dunes before watching a brilliant sunset. You’ll be returned to Santo Amaro for dinner and an evening on your own. Overnight in your Santo Amaro lodgings. (B,L)


Two more lagoons remain on your Brazil travel among the northern dunes. After breakfast, you’ll return to the park to visit Betania Lagoon and Espigão Lagoon, returning to Santo Amaro for lunch on your own. Then it’s back in the 4-WD vehicles to reach the village of Sangue where you’ll be transferred to the final destination of these Brazil tours, Sao Luis, the seaside capital of the Maranhao State. You’ll have a free evening for some reggae entertainment or whatever you choose. Overnight at your São Luis hotel. (B)


This morning you’ll take a tour of the city’s historic colonial architecture followed by a final lunch on your own. You will be transferred to the airport for the flight to your next Brazil travel destination or home, ending your Southern Explorations Brazil tours. (B)


When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Visitors may find one of several distinct climates in Brazil, depending on where they travel. Along Brazil’s northeastern coast, temperatures are mild year-round, rarely dipping below 75F. The summer rains, usually lasting three to four months, arrive as early as April here, consisting mostly of quick showers. Rio de Janeiro is pleasant year-round with slightly cooler winters than summers. Rio’s rainy season begins as late as October though rains can occur anytime of the year. Further down the coast, temperatures are more variable. Visitors will experience the most temperature variation between seasons in the south, with hot humid summers December to March and cooler temperatures in the evenings and during winter from June to August. In the country’s interior, the hottest, wettest weather occurs from December to March.

So vast is the Amazon Rainforest that its climate varies by sub-region. The north is rainy most of the time with a little less rain from June to December. In Amazon areas further south, especially around the largest population centers where there are fewer trees, temperatures are more variable with distinctly drier months between August and October.


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*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
**The summer high season in Rio is December to March. Off-season (May-October) is also a good option since Rio’s winter temperatures stay around the 70sº F/20sº C, dipping occasionally below 60ºF/15ºC. Rainy days are unpredictable andcan happen even in the high season.


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*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
**For the central Amazon region (Manaus) the average daytime temperature in the rainy season is in the mid-80º F (30º C), with a fall of 10 to 20º F (7 to 12º C) at night. In the dry season the average temperatures are 5º F (2-3º C) higher. Although recipitation varies significantly within the Amazon due to various factors (e.g. altitude) it is usual to consider two distinct periods: the rainy season, and the dry season. In the central zone (Manaus) the rainy season begins in December and lasts until mid-May.


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*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
**The rainy season lasts from December to March. The intermediary seasons are April-June and October-November. During the rainy season rain storms can be intense, the temperature is high and the Pantanal is subject to flooding. This isn’t the best period to visit Pantanal, particularly January and February. It’s much better to visit the Pantanal in the dry and intermediary seasons.


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*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
**Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife and nearby resorts (Praia do Forte, Porto Galinhas, Natal, etc.) have agreeable temperatures all year round, rarely dipping below 25ºC (77ºF) and there are very few days hotter than 32 or 33ºC (90ºF). Winter temperatures are just 3-4ºC degrees below the summer averages. In Salvador and Recife the rainy season begins around the beginning of April and lasts three months. At Fortaleza the rain begins a little later. Rain showers usually don’t last enough to spoil your visit to these year-round beach resorts.


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**March-November could be considered the best time to visit Iguazu Falls but there really isn’t a 'best time'. The high season is in January and February, when most Brazilians and Argentineans are on vacation. It’s a good period to visit Iguazu Falls. But there are downsides, the humidity and the heat are also at their peaks and this is also a crowded period which you might prefer to avoid. If you want to avoid busy periods then avoid Easter time also. May and July are rainy months, though the rain is rarely a problem and the volume of the falls is at its highest.



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*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
**The coastal city of Florianópolis enjoys a semi-tropical climate, without extreme variations in climate so any time of year is a good time to visit. It just depends upon your preferences. Winters are mild and summers hot with an average of 80% humidity. Rains should be expected from September through March. Mid-winter (June to August) is drier than summer, but anticipate cooler temperatures then as well. That said, even the coldest temperatures brought in by southerly wind will rarely drop below 50 Fahrenheit. The windiest days are most likely during the spring months of September and October for those interested in trying their hand at kiteboarding. The busiest time on the Island is in the summer months from December through mid-March, so those looking for a more peaceful trip should travel during the winter months.


Brazil's Northern Beaches

Included in tour cost
  • Nightlife guide
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear
  • Visa fee

Brazil's Northern Beaches

Trip Dates
Can’t find a date that works for you in the list below? Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details.
Thursday, June 15, 2017 to Monday, June 26, 2017
Saturday, July 1, 2017 to Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Thursday, August 3, 2017 to Monday, August 14, 2017
Friday, September 1, 2017 to Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Thursday, October 5, 2017 to Monday, October 16, 2017
Thursday, November 16, 2017 to Monday, November 27, 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017 to Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Saturday, January 20, 2018 to Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 to Sunday, March 4, 2018
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 to Sunday, April 15, 2018
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 to Sunday, May 13, 2018
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 to Sunday, June 17, 2018
Wednesday, July 4, 2018 to Sunday, July 15, 2018
Wednesday, August 1, 2018 to Sunday, August 12, 2018
Wednesday, September 5, 2018 to Sunday, September 16, 2018
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 to Sunday, October 21, 2018
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 to Sunday, November 25, 2018
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 to Sunday, December 23, 2018

Rio de Janiero
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

  • World’s largest river island system, the Anavilhanas Archipelago
    Amazon River and Rio Negro
    Lago Janauari Ecological Park
    Pink and Grey River Dolphins and other Jungle Wildlife
  • Home of the samba, the jet-set capital of Brazil is a smorgasbord of experiences for first time visitors and veteran travelers alike. . . spend a few days here on your way to or from your South America tour

"I have already recommended Southern Explorations to my friends. The phone calls at the hotel from you guys were very much appreciated. Checking up on me and making sure everything was good was very comforting in a foreign place. I trust Southern Explorations and will use them again. Thank you for a trip of a lifetime. My only complaint was that it was not long enough but I'm thankful for experiencing a little bit of So. America." - Debra Giancola, USA (Rio de Janeiro & Iguazu)

Southern Explorations has arranged 3 very successful trips for us. We appreciate all the help with details and suggestions. We loved the Pantanal. The Cordilhiera Lodge was wonderful. Beautiful views. Guides and other personal at the lodge were very friendly and knowledgable. The activities during the day were great, saw many animals and birds. 
- Leslie Williams, USA (Custom Amazon & Pantanal Tour)


Brazil - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer both active and cultural tours that visit the incomparable Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon, massive waterfalls, the epicenter of Afro-Brazilian culture, and seemingly endless beaches. These itineraries vary in length and level of accommodation. Our Adventure Travel Coordinators would be happy to chat with you to help you find the itinerary that best meets your needs and interests.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to put together a custom Brazil tour for you if our current itineraries are not quite what you are looking for. We can also add extensions onto any of our existing tours.
Q: When is the best time to go to Brazil?
A: Brazil is a year-round destination. High season runs from December through April, which is also generally the warmest time of year.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: You will find several distinct climates in Brazil, depending on where you travel. Along Brazil’s northeastern coast, temperatures are mild year-round, rarely dipping below 75F. The summer rains, usually lasting three to four months, arrive as early as April, consisting mostly of quick showers. Rio de Janeiro is pleasant year-round, with slightly cooler winters than summers. Rio’s rainy season begins as late as October, though rains can occur anytime of the year. You will experience the most temperature variation between seasons in the south, with hot humid summers from December to March and cooler temperatures during winter, which runs from June to August. In the country’s interior, such as the Pantanal and Bonito, the hottest, wettest weather occurs from December to March.
Q: What is a typical day like on a Brazil tour?
A: A typical day in Brazil will vary from tour to tour, but you can generally expect to start your excursions right after breakfast, with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. A lunch break is included and you’ll retire to your accommodations in the late afternoon, with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Brazil?
A: Our Brazil trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do we need to visit Brazil?
A: Most of our Brazil trips are between one and two weeks, depending on how much of the country you would like to see.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For the best guide availability and selection in hotels, we recommend booking three to six months in advance. December through April are especially popular times for Brazil travel, so more advance planning is ideal. For the Christmas holiday season, Carnival and the week prior to Easter, we recommend booking a year in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We only hire guides who are native to the destination and licensed or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels including boutique properties and larger business-style hotels. Throughout the rest of the country we work with a combination of pousadas, small traditional hotels, and remote lodges. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Eight travelers is the maximum for our Brazil trips, but the majority of our departures are private.
Q: Do I need a visa to enter Brazil?
A: Yes, Brazil requires tourist visas for travelers from most nations. Please contact your nearest Brazilian consulate for more information or a third-party visa specialist such as VisaHQ.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal, which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary. This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.