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BRAZIL IN 10 DAYS
Detailed Itinerary Brazil in 10 Days
Day 1: Rio de Janeiro
Take a flight that will arrive early at Rio de Janeiro – Galeão International Airport. Travel to your chosen accommodation in Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon where you will be staying for two nights. Get settled and spend the morning in your hotel to recover from jet lag. Rio de Janeiro has some of the best backpacker hostels, villas and luxury hotels ideally nestled in the heart of the city. If you are stressed out, or simply needing a place where you can recharge and enjoy some downtime, then stay by the harbor, at the beach, with fantastic city views.
Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro:
• Hilton Barra Rio de Janeiro
• Belmond Copacabana Palace
• Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro
• Arena Leme Hotel
• Ipanema Inn
Built-in the beginning of the twentieth century, Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro is considered to be one of the most beautiful and important theaters in the country (Frazao / Bigstockphoto)
In the afternoon, explore the many attractions in Rio de Janeiro such as Corcovado – Cristo Redentor (98-ft.-tall mountaintop statue of Jesus Christ, accessed by train and offering incredible city views), Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil and Ipanema Beach. If you have extra bucks to splurge, get a bird’s eye helicopter view of Rio de Janeiro (cost is about 200 USD for the 13-minute flight but it is totally worth the money). After a full day exploring, enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants with a view of the harbor.
Every Sunday, the roadway closest to the beach is closed to motor vehicles and local residents and tourists use the opportunity to ride bikes, roller skate, skateboard, and walk along the ocean (Ekaterina Belova / Bigstockphoto)
Day 2: Rio de Janeiro
On your second day, leave before dawn and wait for the sun of the new day to appear on the horizon from the top of Morro Dois Irmãos. Waiting for the sunrise is probably one of the most fascinating experiences you could get in Rio de Janeiro. Sunrise tours normally start at 4:00 am and takes around an hour of hiking up by the forest (save your money and do it on your own – just ask the staff at your hotel or hostel where is the nearest spot to enjoy the sun showing from behind the ocean). Then, it’s time to hit the sun and bask in the laid-back beach culture of some of the world’s best beaches in Leblon. In the afternoon, check out Rodrigo de Freitas Lake and Botanical Garden (tickets cost 9 Brazilian Reals or about 2.50 USD;. Had enough of beaches in Rio de Janeiro? Then make your way to Pedra do Sal, a historical and religious site in Rio de Janeiro believed to be the birthplace of Samba.
The Botanical Garden showcases the diversity of Brazilian and foreign flora (xura / Bigstockphoto)
Day 3: Rio de Janeiro – Salvador
Start early on day 4 and catch a flight for Salvador (direct one-way tickets start at 65 USD for the two-hour flight). Founded in the 1500s by Portuguese colonials, this beautiful city is famous for its Afro-Brazilian culture, charming neighborhood, baroque churches, and tropical coastline. Staying at one of the Portuguese-style colonial houses in Salvador is one of those quintessential Brazilian experience which can’t be skipped. Get settled and explore the nearby attractions such as Sao Francisco Church and Covent, Ponta de Humaita, Museu de Arte Moderna and Farol da Barra Beach.
Detail of the Sao Francisco Church and Convent in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture and gilt woodwork in the world (R.M. Nunes / Bigstockphoto)
Where to stay in Salvador:
Aram Yami Hotel
Hotel Casa do Amarelindo
Mar Brasil Hotel
Hotel Deville Prime Salvador
Day 4: Salvador
Today is spent learning all about Salvador. Start early and have breakfast at one of the restaurants of the historic Pelourinho. Wander through this densely populated neighborhood of Salvador and make sure to try some Bahian delicacy like Moqueca (moo-kek-a), Quindim and Acarajé (a-ka-ra-zjeh). Spend the rest of the afternoon at Porto do Barra, Salvador’s most iconic praia (beach).
Moqueca is a Brazilian stew based on salt water fish in coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coriander and some palm oil (HLPhoto / Bigstockphoto)
Day 5: Salvador – Iguazu Falls
On your fifth day, leave the Portuguese colonial city of Salvador for the amazing Iguazu Falls, located on the border between Brazil and Argentina, out of the way of any other destination in either country. Iguazu Falls is a 5-hour flight away that could be very expensive if you don’t book in advance, otherwise, a way-way ticket starts at about 95 USD (Azus Airlines with a layover in Campinas VCP). Another alternative is by taking a bus from Salvador but the trip takes 48 hours to get to Iguazu (not worth the time).
Travel Tip: You may also avail of an all-in package tour from a local travel agency in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. Also, find a hotel or hostel with good reviews and book well in advance. There are several accommodations in the heart of the protected natural preserve where you can practically see the falls from your bedroom window.
Where to stay in Foz do Iguacu:
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
Che Lagarto Hostel & Suites Foz do Iguacu
Wish Resort Foz do Iguacu
San Martin Hotel & Resort
Day 6 – 7: Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of Argentina and Brazil. They are considered to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (saiko3p / Bigstockphoto)
On day 6, after having a filling breakfast, set out this morning for the impressive Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls. The opportunity for incredible photographs is endless, so frequent stops are expected for visitors to enjoy the landscape.
On day 7, begin early with a quick trip to the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls. You will wind your way through different stations depending on the types of activities you want to be involved in. You’ll walk along well-maintained footpaths and get an up-close glimpse of the fall from a number of perfectly perched view decks. Unless you want to splash out on a helicopter ride, go back to Brazil.
Travel Tip: The National Park is huge so prioritize which side you would like to stay in longer. The Brazilian side is pretty manageable since there is only one walkway while the Argentine side is much bigger and there is a maze of walkways. Seeing both sides in one day is not recommended for visitors who are not physically prepared.
Day 8: Iguazu Falls – Sao Paulo
Catch a flight from Iguazu Falls to Sao Paulo (If you book in advance, one-way tickets start at 70 USD and up). An overnight bus is a cheaper alternative. This option will give you an extra day exploring Iguazu Falls as well as a great way to save money on accommodation. Travel time is approximately 12 hours and one-way fare costs USD 50 to USD 100. Choose a bed class seat so that you can sleep through most of the journey.
Day 9: Sao Paulo
And now that you are in Sao Paulo, check into a hotel in the old downtown neighborhood of Centro or wherever you prefer. Visit some attractions in the afternoon or just stay in your hotel. It all depends on your interests and if the pace is a bit breathless, consider skipping a stop to have some chill-out time.
Sao Paulo in the evening (Frazao / Bigstockphoto)
Where to stay in Sao Paulo:
Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo
Gran Estanplaza Berrini
Clarion Hotel Faria Lima
Radisson Sao Paulo Vila Olimpia
Before you go on your walking tour, enjoy some exotic fruit, spices and other fresh produce at Mercado – Sao Paulo Municipal Market, open daily: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Check out Paulista Avenue, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Monumento às Bandeiras and Ibirapuera Park. In the late afternoon, make your way to Banespa building (Rua João Brícola, 24 – Centro, São Paulo – SP, 01014-900, Brazil). This is a perfect place for sunset viewing where you can get splendid panoramic views of Sao Paulo and beyond.
Day 10: Sao Paulo
Today marks the end of your Brazil adventure. If your international flight is in the evening or late afternoon, explore the city for other attractions you might have missed. Biking around Sao Paulo is a great option that allows you to enjoy the city at your own pace. Fit in one last amazing lunch or dinner in the city. You could even squeeze in some souvenir shopping at Rua 25 de Marco before you travel to the airport.
Rua 25 de Março or Rua Vinte e Cinco de Março is a popular shopping street in the central zone of São Paulo, Brazil. The district surrounding Rua 25 de Março has long been synonymous in Brazil with large crowds and discount shopping (Frazao / Bigstockphoto)
This is the end of our 10-day suggested itinerary. Remember, this is just a guide for planning and is in no way, shape or form the only way to travel the country. There are several alternative routes of travel within the country and it will depend on your intended length of stay. Enjoy Brazil!