Sun, sand and plenty of samba – see some of Brazil’s hottest highlights all packed together in an eight-day Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid. Start the party in Rio de Janeiro, where Copacabana, Ipanema and Christ the Redeemer all vie for your attention. Travel to the cobbled streets of colonial Paraty, then cruise to the pristine Ilha Grande – an island where lush green rainforests meet untouched sandy beaches. You’ll have local knowledge to guide your way and plenty of time to explore at your own pace, and when it comes to free time in Brazil, all you need to know is the word ‘praia’ – beach.
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Bem-vindo! Welcome to Brazil. Your Lonely Planet Experience begins at 1 pm today with a leader-led orientation walk around Rio. In the evening, there will be an important meeting at 6 pm where you’ll talk through the details of your Brazilian adventure. Rio locals like to say that 'God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio'. In this heaving metropolis, set against Guanabara Bay and surrounded by the slopes of Sugarloaf and Corcovado, it's hard not to be caught up in the passion of the city's residents, known as Cariocas. Known for both the glitz and glamour of Carnaval and the contrasting image of the favelas, Rio is a fascinating and diverse centre of all things colour. Tonight, after your briefing, why not keep the introductions going with an optional welcome dinner with your group.
This morning, take a local bus from Rio to Paraty (approximately 4 hours). The remainder of today and rest of tomorrow are yours to explore Paraty. Admire the architecture as you wander along the town’s cobbled, pedestrian-only streets, which become partly covered in seawater at high tide. You might prefer to explore the rainforest trails in the surrounding national park, which is rich in wildlife and waterfalls. Otherwise, a boat trip on the island-studded bay for scenic views along the coast could be on the cards, or join an excursion to the nearby village of Trindade, which boasts some of Brazil’s best beaches. The best thing is you get to decide.
Location: Paraty – Ilha Grande
Today, jump on a shared transfer to Angra followed by a ferry to the island getaway of Ilha Grande, taking approximately 5 hours, in total. This paradise of pristine beaches and rainforest has been largely untouched by development. Previously a pirate's lair, a leper colony and a prison for violent criminals, the island has a fascinating history to uncover. The ruins of the prison can still be seen today. Once you’ve arrived and got your bearings, head to the beach – it’s calling your name.
Location: Ilha Grande
Rise and shine in paradise, ready to enjoy two full free days exploring Ilha Grande. Wander along rainforest trails to beautiful and remote beaches – Lopes Mendes and Aventureiro Beach are two of the best. You could book yourself in on an optional boat trip out to the Blue Lagoon, beach-hopping through Ilha Grande Bay along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for fresh seafood, and to swim and snorkel in the clear water. Or just plonk yourself on the beach with a good book and laze the day away. In the evening, why not meet up with some of your travel pals and relax with a caipirinha at a restaurant or bar in Vila do Abraao – the island’s main town.
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Bid farewell to this slice of heaven as you board a boat to the small port of Mangaratiba today, and from here, take a minivan back to Rio de Janeiro. The total journey should take about 3.5 hours, so you should be back in Rio in the early to mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is free to explore the city or simply hit up Copacabana and relax. Tonight, get together with your travel crew for a night of food, drinks and some samba – speak to your local leader who’ll have some great recommendations for what to do tonight.
Location: Rio de Janeiro
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policies. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to continue soaking up the sun in Rio, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Intrepid was started by two friends from Melbourne, Australia, in 1988 after embarking on a trip through the wilds of Africa in a modified ex-council truck, crammed with friends, supplies, a handful of aviator sunglasses and a case or two of beer. Could this type of travel be something others would be interested in? The answer was a resounding yes and today Intrepid send 100,000 travellers across the globe each year with the help of a staff of 1,000.
After three decades, founders Darrell and Manch, feel they know what travellers want. They get that it’s a big decision to fly across the world to wander the souks of Marrakech or enjoy a dreamy Angkor sunrise. They understand that you’re looking for a balance of inclusions and free time, a mix of classic highlights and local secrets you won’t find on Google. And of course, an authentic real life experience. Their leaders are born and raised in-country and they know their destination better than anyone. So you’ll do more than just see a place, you’ll live it. Small groups, big adventures and responsible travel – that’s Intrepid’s thing. With 1,000 trips in a variety of styles across 100 countries, you’re sure to find something you like.
Intrepid believe the real magic happens well away from the beaten path. It’s the little noodle bars, hidden galleries and backstreet bodegas and real life experiences you won’t find in a search engine. Real life experiences are those moments you know you’re really alive and experiencing something special. While it could be the instant you see one of the world’s great icons for the first time, it is more likely to be the moment you find yourself in the middle of a village square soccer game, being treated to a home-cooked meal by your new local friends or sharing a laugh with your fellow travellers as you try a new mode of transport … camel anyone? These unexpected moments are what travelling with Intrepid is all about, giving you a trip like no other.
Intrepid realises the world is a really big place. And there’s a plethora of different languages to learn, borders to cross and cultures to negotiate. Small group adventure travel makes these things easy and allows you to maximise your precious time off. Instead of worrying about logistics, you can focus all your energy on having the experience of a lifetime. Their tour groups are small enough to feel like you’re exploring a destination independently, but big enough to create a good social vibe. Group size will vary depending on where and how you’re travelling, but the average group size is about 10.
Intrepid’s themed trips encompass all hobbies and interests or could pique an interest in a new hobby you never knew you needed. From foodie explorations across Asia or India, sailing the seas in Thailand or the Caribbean, wildlife encounters in the Serengeti or Antarctica, scenic cycling or walking to Base Camp or through Tibet, and epic expeditions in Burma or Russia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Intrepid is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. These values are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every Intrepid office and tour. In addition, they hope their travellers also demonstrate the principles of responsible travel - respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.