Come and discover four “must-see” attractions on a tour introducing you to the cultural and natural heritage of southern Brazil with beautiful wild landscapes steeped in history.
On this regional package tour , you will discover the most emblematic natural and historic sites of Brazil’s south eastern regions. Offering a variety of contrasts in its destinations, this tour starts at the Argentinean border at the foot of the largest natural cataracts in the world, the Iguaçu Falls.
You will see an impressive spectacle: the intimidating power of the waters amidst the magnificent tropical forest.
We then suggest visiting the Pantanal which is the largest biodiversity reservoir on the planet. You will be able to blend into an exceptional environment and discover the treasures of the Brazilian fauna. An exclusive stay in a region practically unspoilt by man and resembling a “lost paradise”.
After glimpsing the beauty and diversity of the Brazilian landscapes, you will discover the rich colonial cities of the Minas Gerais region on a road trip to discover the magnificent baroque architectural heritage that has continually influenced the visual history of Brazil.
Last but not least, your South and Central tour of Brazil could not miss out the “Cidade Maravilhosa”, or the “Wonderful City” of Rio de Janeiro. Its unique ability to offer the best of Brazilian civilization such as the luxuriant local nature makes it a “must see” place for those travelling in southern Brazil. With the modern buildings and tropical forest, there is a unique sight from the mythical heights of the Corcovado and the Sugar Loaf mountains.
South and Central Brazil tour program summary
The rich fauna of Pantanal
The colonial Brazil of Minas Gerais
Rio de Janeiro, the “Marvelous City”
About South and Central Brazil tour program
Day 1 : Iguaçu / in
A private guided visit of the Falls from the Argentine side.
Day 2 : Iguaçu / Culaba
Visit of the Falls from the Brazilian side and Macuco Safari option, flight to Cuiaba.
Day 3 : Cuiaba / Pantanal
Transfer to the fazenda (ranch) in Pantanal and safari.
Day 4 : Pantanal
Animal observation day in the Pantanal.
Day 5 : Pantanal / Ouro Preto
Safari then return to Cuiaba airport. Flight to Belo Horizonte, arrival and private transfer to Ouro Preto.
Day 6 : Ouro Preto /Mariana / Ouro Preto
Visite of the colonial towns of Ouro Preto and Mariana.
Day 7 : Ouro Preto / Tiradentes
Visite with private driver of the colonial towns along the Golden Route : Congonhas, São Joao del Rey, stop and night at Tiradentes.
Day 8 : Tiradentes /Petropolis / Rio de Janeiro
Private drive with chauffeur to Rio de Janeiro visiting Petropolis on the way. Night in Rio de Janeiro.
Day 9 : Rio de Janeiro
Visit with private guide of Sugar loaf mountain and free time.
Day 10 : Rio de Janeiro / out
Visit with private guide of Corcovado and Christ the redeemer, transfer out.
Enjoy the beauty of Southern Brazil, from the Iguacu Falls to the plains of Pantanal
Those who love new sensations, space and freedom, will discover the immense beauty of the natural landscapes in southern Brazil!
The Iguaçu Falls are huge gushing cascades over steep cliffs that offer you an amazing spectacle of hundreds of giant cascades falling around small green islands surrounded by a luxuriant jungle.
A few kilometres from the border town of Foz de Iguaçu, you will discover one of the wonders of our planet belonging to the UNESCO world heritage sites.
These cataracts, unmatched on earth by their dimensions, have the particularity of defining the border between Brazil and Argentina, just like the river with the same name. For this reason this tour will take you to visit both the Brazilian and the Argentinean sides of the Falls which are very different.
The Argentine side may seem more spectacular with the famous “Garganta del Diabo”, a horseshoe shape where the water rushes down to explode some 80m below in a thunderous spray of incessant foam. It is also very well equipped to allow easy access for everyone.
The Brazilian side offers a more natural setting and an overview of the falls so you can better appreciate the magnificence of this phenomenon spreading over nearly 3kms
An exceptional show that we invite you to discover with a guide so as to learn all the secrets of this amazing place.
For those who want to go even further in the encounter with the titanic forces of the liquid element, we suggest you go on the Macuco safari.
After a stroll in Iguaçu National Park in electric vehicles and then on foot, to appreciate the local jungle, you will reach a pontoon from which a large twin-engine zodiac will take you to the very heart of the waterfalls!
It’s an experience that combines entertainment and adrenaline in complete safety and with the right equipment and perfectly qualified professionals!
Your Tour then continues towards the centre of the country and the Pantanal in the immense Central West region which stretches from the centre of Brazil to the border with Bolivia. This virtually uninhabited area is simply the largest wetland on the planet.
This mosaic of plains and savannahs is a rare ecosystem of unrivalled diversity that our professional guides will help you discover during boat trips, horseback rides or on foot. Jaguars, parrots, toucans, curicacas (ibis mandore), deer, taman, maned wolves, sloths, cougars, armadillos, caimans, anacondas and tapirs are some of the many emblematic species of the area that you can see during your stay.
For those who are looking for an authentic connection with the surroundings and their inhabitants, we have chosen full board in small pousadas for your stay. These modest but comfortable lodges are located on the land of the fazendas, the huge farms of the region and represent the best option.
This will allow you to interact with the natives and get closer to the reality of local life. It also means that thanks to the isolation of these pousadas out in the wild and swampy plains, it is easier to see the animals.
From Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro, follow the « Golden Route » intimately linked to the history of Brazil
After these two nature-oriented stages, your holiday will continue towards the Southeast, and the Minas Gerais region.
In a chauffeur driven vehicle, you will discover the cities of the golden age of Portuguese colonization that marked the history of Brazil.
Ouro Preto, Mariana and Tiradentes are superbly preserved examples of colonial towns . These small towns with their many baroque churches, sloping cobbled streets and colourful houses with tiled roofs are a real delight to be discovered.
Wandering along the narrow streets of these ancient towns, which were, in the gold rush times, Brazil’s artistic and cultural centres, will plunge you into the magnificent atmosphere of yesteryear. With the sculptures of Aleijadinho, the most famous artist of this period and the good food that makes the reputation of the region, you will leave conquered by this region’s rich savoir-vivre and its mysteries.
Then on to Petrópolis via the famous gold road connecting the regional mines to the state of Rio de Janeiro. Petropolis is famous for being the former summer residence of the Imperial family wishing to escape the hot furnace of the capital on the coast and enjoy the cooler climate of the mountains that surround the “Wonderful City”.
You will discover unusual imperial buildings with Alpine and neo-Gothic architecture in the midst of a landscape where palm trees and pines cohabit, forming a unique mixture in the style of a tropical Swiss village.
Rio de Janeiro, the fluminense capital, will be your host for the last days of your tour. Due to its exceptional location, diversity and cultural influence, it is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary cities that you can visit in the 21st century. You will be charmed by the southern area with its old European buildings and its shaded streets
On Copacabana and Ipanema, two of the most mythical beaches in the world, you can stroll along the promenade at dusk and enjoy the fresh air. It’s the ideal opportunity to admire or participate in the incessant ballet of sportsmen who have come to practice their favourite activities in the most wonderful setting between ocean, sky and mountains.
In Lapa the party is in full swing every weekend and there are lots of good restaurants. Santa Teresa, the bohemian quarter with its rich mansions perched on the hills is the meeting place for the local artists, and ideal for a walk.
Here we can find the Aprazivel, one of the best restaurants with a splendid view of the city. Rio de Janeiro is a city full of activities and visits and never really sleeps!
We suggest you contemplate this “city of God” from two very different view points, accompanied by a guide.
Firstly, the famous Sugar Loaf which dominates Guanabara bay: a short route by cable car that guarantees you a sumptuous view of the Carioca coastline. For the more motivated, it is possible to walk up and/or down the Urca hill using a trail that starts from where the first cable car is. You will walk among the tropical vegetation, where it is common to see friendly little monkeys called Sagui.
For a different and even more impressive view due to its height, we have organized a visit to the most famous monument of Rio de Janeiro. Perched on top of the Corcovado, symbol of the “Wonderful City”, it is of course the imposing statue of Christ the Redeemer
From up here, you can take in the immensity of this ancient Brazilian capital that seems to spread as far as the eye can see, encircling the largest urban forest in the world, Tijuca. This was saved from total destruction by industry at the flourishing coffee producing era thanks to the intervention of Emperor Peter II. Faced with chronic shortages of drinking water in the region, he actively replanted the original Atlantic forest from 1862 onwards.
History says that a team of six slaves, led by the foreman Archer, planted more than 100,000 trees over 13 years in the 19th century, culminating some 150 years later in the result that we see today. A unique place where you can stroll as if you were in the heart of the jungle, but in fact you are in the heart of the samba capital!
Discover the program step by step for our Southern Brazil Tour
Day 1 : Iguaçu / in
Arrival in Iguaçu by plane, welcome and transfer to your hotel.
After lunch, transport to take you on a visit of the famous Iguaçu Falls on the Argentinean side.
Culminating at more than 80m and spreading over almost 3000 m, they have a unique and beautiful configuration. These Falls were listed as a Natural heritage site in the 1980s.
You’ll discover this magnificent place accompanied by a guide for about XX hours before returning to the hotel to enjoy your evening as you wish.
Night at the hotel.
Day 2 – Iguaçu / Cuiaba – fazenda
After a Brazilian buffet breakfast, your chauffeur will take you back to the Falls to see the Brazilian side this time.
If you so wish and your flight times allow it you can continue your adventure in an even more exciting way and go on the famous Macuco Safari (about 1hr45) to discover the local jungle and go up the river right to the bottom of the falls. An excursion full of thrills !
After checking out of the hotel it’s off to the airport for a flight to Cuiaba. On arrival, transfer to your fazenda (local farm with a guesthouse where you will stay) Located next to the famous Transpantaneira track that begins at 1hrs drive from the airport (1h20 to 2Hrs) depending on which fazenda you have chosen.
After arrival and check-in, dinner is served and you can taste the delicious culinary specialties of the region (full board not including drinks).
Night at the fazenda
Day 3 : Pantanal : fazenda
Morning (about 3hrs) and afternoon (about 3hrs) A local professional guide will take you on an excursion to see lots of birds, mammals and reptiles. You can go by vehicle, on foot, on horse back, in a rowing boat or motor boat depending on the weather, season and the establishment chosen. The nature of the activities varies so that you can profit as much as possible. (No activities between 11a.m. and 3 p.m. as the animals hide in the shade due to the heat)
After returning to the fazenda for dinner you will go on a nocturnal safari.
Night at the fazenda.
Day 4 Pantanal : fazenda
After a full Brazilian buffet breakfast, it’s off on a morning trip (about 3hrs.)
Return to the farm lodge for lunch.
You set off again for an afternoon of landscapes and wild animals accompanied by a guide.
Dinner at the lodge followed by a night safari.
Night at the lodge.
Day 5 : Fazenda – Cuiaba / Belo Horizonte / Ouro Preto
At dawn, an early morning excursion by boat or horse to observe the morning animal activity.
After breakfast, it will be time to leave for Cuiaba airport (about 2hrs drive) to catch your flight to Belo Horizonte, the capital of the Minas Gerais region.
On arrival, a vehicle awaits to take you to the small historical village of Ouro Preto with its beautiful cobbled streets lined with houses and churches right out of a different era, as though lost in time.
Check-in and night at the lodge.
Day 6 : Ouro Preto / Mariana / Ouro Preto
After your Brazilian breakfast at the hotel, your driver will drop you off in the small town of Mariana a few kms away so that you can visit it at your leisure.
You will discover a similar setting to Ouro Preto, with white houses and window frames of contrasting colours but with less commotion and tourists. Mariana was founded more than 300 years ago, and offers ideal conditions to admire the superb baroque heritage that has made the tourist reputation of this region.
You can lunch where you wish and then spend the afternoon visiting Ouro Preto.
Fountains adorned with details carved in stone, magnificent, richly decorated churches and imposing bourgeois houses, everything is here to remind you of the prosperous period when the gold rush attracted men from all walks of life looking to make their fortune in the region
You will easily recognize the strong Portuguese architectural influence, but also the emergence of a specific regional style, the Brazilian baroque. Strolling through the streets of the city, you will experience a real journey through Brazilian colonial history.
Night in the charming lodge of Solar do Rosario.
Day 7 : Ouro Preto / Congonhas / São João del Rey / Tiradentes
Morning, after breakfast at the hotel, you will continue your journey along the gold route with your driver, this time towards the town of Tiradentes.
This town is named after an important person of the region who was condemned to death for having declared Brazilian independence, several times, against the Portuguese crown and demanding more and more gold. Today he is a national hero and the 21st of April, the day he was executed, is now a national holiday.
On the way you will stop in the charming town of Congonhas, and discover the magnificent basilica of Bom Jesus Matozinhos, as well as the 6 chapels that relate the life of Jesus and the statues of the 12 Prophets, The work of the greatest Brazilian sculptor of the time, Aleijadinho
The road will continue through Sao Joao del Rei so you can visit the San Francisco Church of Assis and take a panoramic tour of this pretty colonial town perched on some very steep hills.
You will finish your journey arriving at Tiradentes where your driver will drop you off at your selected lodge.
Overnight stay in the charming hotel Brisa da Serra.
Day 8 : Tiradentes / Petropolis / Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian breakfast at the hotel.
Morning; You can continue to explore the town of Tiradentes. This small town has some very old and beautiful buildings including the famous Matriz church of Santo Antonio.
This is the cradle of the martyr of the failed revolution that took place in 1789, this city has kept the atmosphere of a small village where the miners came to eat and entertain themselves after long days of harassing work. Sometimes they would fight etc…… it is no coincidence that the river bears the grim name of “Rio dos Mortos” or river of the dead!!
Free time for lunch.
After lunch you set off for Petrópolis, the imperial family’s getaway during the summer heat that hits the region of Rio de Janeiro.
This beautiful city has one of the few neo-Gothic cathedrals in Brazil that you will visit as well as the imperial palace, an imposing building in the Alpine style dear at that time (beware, it is closed on Monday).
After Petropolis, you will continue on to ther final destination of your Southern tour of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro where you will arrive at the end of the afternoon.
After your hotel check-in, you can spend your first night discovering the most beautiful city in Brazil (Extra option to go on a night tour with a guide, ask us for details)
Night at the hotel.
Day 9 : Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian breakfast at the hotel.
Morning, A guide will collect you and take you on your day’s tour of the famous Sugar loaf mountain (entrance tickets included).
The excursion lasts about 4hrs. During which you will go to the Red Beach (Praia Vermelha) situated between the Urca hills. You will take a first cable car to the top of the first hill at 220m above the Guanabara bay and then a second one will take you to the top of Pão de Açucar, the second mountain.
Overlooking the waves and the city at almost 400 meters high, you will enjoy a magnificent panorama and discover all the southern area of the city at your feet, and also the city of Niteroi on the other side of the bay. For enthusiasts, it is possible to follow a small hiking trail to go up or down the first hill.
Free afternoon to do as you wish. several optional excursions are possible, either cultural such as visiting the town centre or the Santa Teresa quarter, or sportive, such as visiting the Tijuca forest on foot or by car, or hang gliding or paragliding, you won’t get bored !
Night at the hotel
Day 10 : Rio de Janeiro / out
After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you to the most famous spot in Rio de Janeiro. For about 4hrs. you will start at the foot of the mountain and go up to the Christ the redeemer that dominates the city.
To do this you will ride in a small cable car taking you to the top, through the jungle. This monument was a gift from France to Brazil and seems to arise out of nowhere in the middle of its natural environment in craggy rocks on which the virgin forest clings. It is a very different panorama and practically twice the height of the Sugar Loaf.
Afternoon, If your flight time allows it, you are free to have a last laze on the Carioca beach or do some last minute souvenir shopping. There are optional excursions possible to discover some hidden treasures of Rio (ask us for details).
Transfer to the Rio de Janeiro airport for your flight home, end of our services.
All transfers mentioned are private and with a driver who speaks Portuguese. All meals are included from lunch on day 3 to breakfast on day 5.
Accommodations of the South & Center tour of Brazil
Continental Inn (Standard)
This is our best offer in Foz de Iguacu if you want to stay in the town centre. It’s in the chic side of town and was totally refurbished in 2016 with bright modern rooms and all necessary comforts for a relaxing stay in Iguacu at the best price.
Hotel Bourbon Convention & Spa Resort (Superior)
This is an ideal choice for staying in Iguacu if you prefer peace and quiet away from the town centre. There are all the services required for meals, entertainment and relaxation with pleasantly decorated rooms in a mix of contemporary and classic styles. This is also a good choice for those looking for superior class lodgings. (For a stay at the Luxury Belmont das Cataratas, contact us).
Pousada Fazenda Santa Tereza (SouthWild Pantanal) (Standard)
This pousada is located in the heart of the Pantanal, on a fazenda (farm or ranch) of several hundred hectares. The owners have reconverted into animal tourism and built a small pousada of 10 guest rooms. Taken over by North Americans it has been completely renovated and offers clean, plain rooms with the minimum of modern comforts. (air-con, electric shower) You will be able to relax here in peace during your stay. Definitely one of the best choices in the region with the extra chance to see the only known family of domestic otters!!!
Solar do Rosario (Standard & Superior)
The Solar do Rosario opens its doors onto an exceptional setting with a main stone building dating from the 19th century, ideally placed opposite the baroque church of the same name. A true historical heritage it has been entirely renovated. Decorated in the local colonial baroque style, it has 40 rooms in 4 different categories all equipped with wooden furniture and excellent bedding. There are 2 pools, one indoor & one outdoor and a garden. A charming place with an atmosphere of the Mineiro past.
Pousada Boutique Brisa da Serra (Standard & Superior)
Located on a hill away from the centre of Tiradente, this pousada is a truly peaceful place where everything is made for you to relax in an enchanting natural setting. This unusual place has superb rooms ech with its own decoration and layout. The rooms are excellent with high ceilings and some with real working stone fireplaces, wine cellars and baths! A unique and charming place that we fell for, almost a luxury stay.
Altos de Santa Teresa (Standard)
Located in Santa Teresa, the famous hill from which you have a view of the whole bay of Rio de Janeiro, this is a small charming pousada with a particularly refined decoration. It’s the choice destination for those looking for a calm and relaxing place with spacious and comfortable rooms at only 20 mins taxi drive from the Copacabana beaches.
A heated swimming pool and jacuzzi on the terrace with a view of the bay makes this place very attractive to visitors. One feels at home thanks to the especially friendly staff. It’s also our best value for money in Rio de Janeiro!
Hotel Sofitel (Superior)
This is a top of the range hotel very well situated at the end of the Copacabana beach, near the famous Garota de Ipanema park. Decorated in a classic style focusing on comfort the rooms are very pleasant.
The services are of similar quality to French hotels of the same standing known the world over. It’s the hotel of choice for those ready to pay a little extra for more comforts during their stay.
Belmont Copacabana Palace (Luxury)
This is the reference for palaces in south America since 1923. It’s more than just a hotel, it’s a legend! A stay here facing the ocean is a privileged moment during which you will appreciate the Brazilian hotel expertise.
From simple rooms to large suites, it offers accommodation for all kinds of visitors. Pool, tennis, spa, shops and gourmet restaurant will make your stay a pure pleasure to remember