Buffet breakfast daily (B), 2 lunches (L), and 3 three-course dinners (D); Local Host service in each city; sightseeing with a Local Guide and transportation as outlined in the day-by-day itinerary (except intra-vacation flights, which are additional; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE).
Day #1 Arrive Salvador, Brazil. Welcome to Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia. Situated on a peninsula overlooking Todos los Santos Bay, this is thought by many to be the “Soul of Brazil.” Here you will be met by your Local Host.
Day #2 Salvador. Guided SIGHTSEEING showcases the Upper City. View the district’s well-preserved 17th- and 18th-century buildings, representing some of the finest colonial architecture in all of the Americas and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the 17th-century Jesuit CATHEDRAL, the baroque CHURCH OF ST. FRANCIS, and the AFRO-BRAZILIAN MUSEUM that houses objects highlighting the strong African influence on the Brazilian culture. The balance of your day is free to explore. (B)
Day #3 Salvador–Rio de Janeiro. This morning, possibly visit the Mercado Modelo, a must for securing wonderful souvenirs and experiencing the true Bahian life. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro, South America’s capital of glamour! Your Local Host will be available with suggested activities during your free time. Tonight, you may opt to join an outing to a fun churrascaria for a feast of barbecued meats marinated and roasted over charcoal in true Brazilian style, followed by a Samba show, where the sheer vitality of this country explodes in a colorful extravaganza. (B)
Day #4 Rio de Janeiro. An included city TOUR takes you to bustling downtown Rio, where modern office towers stand next to relics of the Portuguese colonial past. View the Sambodromo and the Cathedral before visiting 300-foot-high SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN. Ascend by cable car to its summit, where you can savor spectacular vistas of the city and beaches. The afternoon and evening are at leisure. (B)
Day #5 Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy a full day at leisure. Your Local Host will suggest an optional Jeep tour to the rainforest in the middle of the city, Tijuca National Park and its bird sanctuary. This afternoon you may elect to discover historic Petropolis, a mountain resort and site of the former summer palace of Emperor Dom Pedro II. (B)
Day #6 Rio–Iguassu Falls. Fly to IGUASSU FALLS at the crossroads of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. This masterpiece of nature encompasses 275 separate falls and spans almost two miles. The afternoon is dedicated to enjoying the spectacle of this 2-mile-wide torrential downpour. With some cataracts as high as 250 feet, it’s nothing short of hypnotic. The clouds of spray, the incessant roar, and the surrounding luxuriant tropical growth make this an unforgettable natural wonder. (B)
Day #7 Iguassu Falls. This morning, take the ECOLOGICAL JUNGLE TRAIN and tour the Argentine side of IGUASSU FALLS with numerous walkways that wind under the crashing water. (B)
Day #8 Iguassu Falls–Manaus. Head to the airport for your flight to Manaus, gateway to Brazil’s Amazon. Later, guided SIGHTSEEING shows you opulent sites from Manaus’ rubber boom at the turn of last century, like São Sebastião Square and Palácio Rio Negro. Next, proceed to the famous OPERA HOUSE, built almost entirely of European materials during the rubber boom and inaugurated in 1896. Top off your tour with a stroll through the Municipal Market and learn about the region’s local fish, fruits, and medicinal herbs. (B)
Day #9 Manaus (Embarkation). Transfer to the pier and embark your cruise ship, the Iberostar Grand Amazon, your home for the next three nights. Stops will be made at locations along the Amazon’s Rio Solimões, offering excursions to explore the Amazon jungle and local vegetation, see indigenous animals, and even visit local river communities. This evening, enjoy a Captain’s welcome cocktail party before dinner. (B,D)
Day #10 Cruising: Rainforest Walk & Piranha Fishing. This morning, board a panga BOAT for a ride to the shore and embark on a Naturalist-guided WALK through the rainforest in the Manacapurú region. Along the trail, learn how natives subsist off the flora. You’ll also hear about some of the medicinal qualities each plant possesses. Keep an eye open for Capuchin and Howler Monkeys! After a lecture on the region and lunch on board, head back out via Panga and try your hand at piranha FISHING. Tonight, under the dark of night, CRUISE the waterways on a Caiman-spotting expedition. (B,L,D)
Day #11 Cruising: Bird Watching & Local Home Visit. Enjoy the sunrise over the Amazon as you depart on a bird-watching SAFARI in search of the many endemic birds of the Janauacá Lake region. Later, visit a LOCAL HOME for an up-close view of how the native communities live and work. This afternoon, a CRUISE through some of the Amazon tributaries allows you the chance to spot wildlife. Your final evening on board begins with a gala dinner followed by a Brazilian Folkloric Show, the perfect finale to your vacation. (B,L,D)
Day #12 Meeting of the Waters–Manaus (Disembarkation). En route back to Manaus, cruise the Meeting of the Waters, where the chocolate-colored Rio Negro meets with the yellow-gray Rio Solimões to form the mighty Amazon. For four miles the differently colored bodies of water flow side by side and never mix! Say goodbye to the Amazon when you disembark in Manaus, where your vacation ends. (B)