Brazil's Cuisine and Culture | Trip Itinerary
Long Version is 10 days and includes Belém, Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro
Short Version is 7 days, and skips Belém.
Day 1: Arrival Belém.
Arrival in Belém, the capital of Pará state. Our driver and local guide will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to your select hotel, with the evening best spent searching out one of the town’s many fantastic restaurants after a day of travel.
Day 2: The Markets and Heritage of Belém.
We have an early start this morning for a real-life taste of Belém’s fishing industry and markets. Departing the hotel at 5 am, the day begins with a visit to the Açai fruit markets, observing the comings and goings of local boats as they bring in shipments of Açai berries, a delicacy of the Amazon. Next stop are the fish markets of Ver-o-Peso, where the newly arrived haul will be on display.
Ver-o-Peso is a local market with a difference; known as a place to source ingredients used in natural remedies and even witchcraft practices. Though also a busy food bazaar; the market is awash with stalls selling everything from potions made of vegetable roots, to crocodile teeth, bottled snakes and mystical amulets. This morning’s walk will, however, focus more on the fresh produce, fruits and herbs which the market is also famed for, including a stop for breakfast and coffee while there.
From the hubbub of the bustling food markets, it is on to some other points of historical and cultural importance throughout Belém, including the Basílica de Nossa Senhora de Nazaré, Museu Emílio Goeldi; a botanical, zoological and anthropological park home to more than 2,000 native plant and tree species, and the Museu de Arte Sacra; Brazil's finest museum of religious art.
A well-earned waterfront lunch at a local restaurant offers another chance to sample a selection of local dishes, with a typical Brazilian buffet menu including ‘Pirarucu ao leite de coco’, a mouthwatering dish of Pirarucu fish cooked in coconut milk; the perfect reward for a day of touring! (B, L)
Day 3: Visiting Parrott Island.
Another early start this morning for an unforgettable sunrise over Ilha do Papagaio, or ‘Parrot Island’. As the name suggests; the island is densely populated with thousands of native Parrots who, every morning, make a daily commute to the mainland as the sun hits the sky. The sight of this migration and accompanying frantic squawking is a beautiful natural spectacle, and highly enjoyable way to begin the day. When all the birds have passed safely overhead, take a motorized canoe down the narrow creeks and mangroves of the surrounding waterways to explore the varied flora and fauna which line the riverbanks, while also observing the busy boat traffic of local tradesmen ferrying their merchandise up and downstream to be sold in the city’s markets.
Once back on dry land, the rest of the day can be spent at leisure, either relaxing along the promenade or visiting the Palácio Lauro Sodré state musem or Forte do Presépio, for a glimpse into the militarized colonial period Belém endured.
This evening, Belém will offer no-end of eateries in cozy locations for you to choose from, particularly in the Old-Town. (B)
Day 4: On to San Salvador
A driver will be on hand for the journey to the airport. Check-in for your flight to Salvador da Bahia. On arrival in Salvador, a guide and vehicle will be there to assist.
**the 7 day/ 6 night shorter version of this itinerary begins with arrival to San Salvador airport.
From here, it is onward to your select hotel for check-in, and time to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Salvador de Bahia, sitting proudly atop the All Saints Bay, was Brazil's historical first capital. For Brazilians, Bahia is synonymous with a more relaxed pace of life compared with other main cities such as Rio or Sao Paolo, and more than any other city represents the fusion of culture, history, food, dance and religion which spreads throughout the country. (B)
Day 5: Full day Salvador City Tour
This morning’s guided walking tour around the old town is an excellent way to understand the unique energy of this magical place and its people. The Pelourinho district is the starting point; located right in the heart of Salvador’s historic center. Awash with colonial buildings and traditional churches dating from the 17th and 18th century; this UNESCO world Heritage site is an eminent example of colonial history and symbol of the black movement in Bahia.
In addition to the churches, museums, galleries, and local artist studios, particular highlights of Pelourinho that can be visited (for a small extra fee) include: Novelist Jorge Amado's House, São Francisco Church and the Cathedral Basílica, with the traditional Cravinho Bar being a great place to pick up some native food along the way! The tour passes the Pierre Verger Gallery and the studio of Goya Lopes (a Bahian textile designer who seeks inspiration from African-Brazilian influences in Bahia) ideal if looking for locally produced artwork and artefacts. Finally, it is on to Elevador Lacerda, a famous 19th-century mechanical elevator still functioning to connect the Upper and Lower parts of the City. Having descended the Elevador Lacerda, relax and enjoy panoramic views of the All Saints Bay and Mercado Modelo.
A delicious lunch in one of the old towns many fantastic restaurants will include local delicacies such as vatapá, moqueca de peixe and bobo de camarão. Other noteworthy highlights of the tour include the Fort of Santa Maria in the Barra district, the famous Bonfim church, and the traditional neighborhoods of Corredor da Vitória, Campo Grande and Piedade. (B, L)
Day 6: Bahian Cooking Class
Moqueca is a much-loved staple of Brazilian cuisine, and is typical of the Bahian area. This beautiful stew of fresh salt water fish, coconut milk, tomatoes and coriander, showcases some of the many international influences in Brazilian food. Beginning at a local market with an expert chef, you will be responsible for bargaining and purchasing all of the ingredients needed for the dish, before returning to their private kitchen and begin the cooking! With the help of insider tips and guidance from your knowledgeable chef; mastering the delights of Bahian gastronomy will come throughout the tutorial, before sampling your own delicious creations for lunch. (B, L)
Day 7: Travel to Rio de Janeiro.
A driver will be on hand for the journey to the airport. Check-in for your flight to Rio de Janeiro. On arrival in Rio, a guide and vehicle will be there to assist. Arrive to your select hotel and check-in for 3 night stay (+ late check-out Day 10)
This afternoon you will learn the secrets of Brazil’s best-known beverages with a 2-hour cocktail making class. You will learn not only the ingredients and techniques of much-loved drinks such as the Caipirinha and Batida de Coco, but also some of the science behind the distilling of cachaça; a clear spirit made from sugarcane and used as the base for many of Brazil’s signature recipes. (B)
Day 8: Full Day Tour of Corcovado and Santa Teresa Neighborhood with Lunch.
Today is a full though varied day, witnessing several different sides to the city. The first full day in Rio promises action and iconic landscapes with a tour of Corcovado, lunch, and the artistic Santa Teresa neighborhood.
Undoubtedly the best-known monument in Brazil is the spectacular Christ the Redeemer statue. This giant sculpture stands guard of the city on top of Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, at 710m above sea level.
It’s just a short transfer to the Cosme Velho district to board a cog and pinion railway cart. This carriage climbs the steep, forested hillside leading to the peak of Corcovado, and the famous Christ the Redeemer monument. As iconic as the monument itself is; the breathtaking views of Copacabana, Ipanema, the Botanical Gardens and Rodrigo Freitas Lagoon are just as memorable and well worth taking the time to appreciate fully. Having digested the city from above, a gentle descent back down comes courtesy of the same shuttle train. Carriages will pass over the lush vegetation, streams and waterfalls of Tijuca Forest Reserve, and once at ground level; there is time to make a photo-stop at the famous Mário Filho or 'Maracanã' stadium, and the nearby Sambódromo.
With feet back on the ground, lunch is served at the fantastic Aprazivel Restaurant, known for its tropical blends of Brazilian and international cuisine, using organic, sustainable produce from locally sourced plantations and farms. Aprazivel’s décor reflects the owner's passion for nature, with plants and shrubs lining the thatch covered wooden walkways and dining area, matching the laid back atmosphere of the Santa Teresa neighborhood which the restaurant sits in. Suitably nourished courtesy of this gastronomic gem, it is onward to explore the district.
Known for its long love affair with the art world; the guide will lead the way, visiting Santa Teresa’s workshops, bars, and iconic hotspots such as the studio of Jorge Selarón and the cultural center of Parque das Ruínas. Discover the creative process behind some of the area’s most inspirational residents, while also exploring the wider artistic culture associated with Santa Teresa, Rio, and Brazil as a whole. (B, L)
Day 9: Food Tour of Rio de Janeiro
The penultimate day of the trip offers a full exploration of Rio’s food scene, taking in some of the city’s best street food, café’s and traditional restaurants, with no less than 8 stops throughout the day, before finishing with a meal and cocktails in one of Rio’s best eating establishments. Beginning in the Lapa neighborhood, the tour begins with a scenic walk past the colorful bars of the district, and of course, the famous Selarón Steps, before sampling some Amazonian fruit juice and street food. Your guide will lead you through some of the cosmopolitan and traditional areas of Rio, stopping in at various eateries along the way, while also giving background to Brazil’s more famous, and lesser known dishes.
This is a full day spent wandering the city and exploring some of its many neighborhoods and fantastic food. The tour is taken at a leisurely pace to make the most of the experience. (B, tastings)
Day 10: Full day at Leisure to Explore Rio de Janeiro
Your hotel has been confirmed for a late check-out, so you can continue to explore the charms of Rio during the day, have time to return to your hotel to freshen up & pack before heading off to the airport for your evening flight back to the US (Based on usual flight departure times.) OR—spend this night in Rio and next morning depart for your next destination. (B)
B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D-Dinner
Photo credits: Hans von Manteuffel
3 Star hotels
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5 Star hotels
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4 Star hotels
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