The Colonial Road to Rio
9 days with Alexander+Roberts Rating:
Day 1 Welcome to Salvador, Brazil
On arrival in Salvador, you’ll be escorted to the luxurious Hotel Fasano. This afternoon, join our engaging guide for a walking tour through the historic Pelourinho district. Filled with splendid pastel-hued buildings, this is the largest ensemble of Colonial architecture in Latin America; it offers rich insight into the city’s history as the gateway through which African slaves arrived on their way to the gold and gem mines of Ouro Preto and Minas Gerais. Then tour the ornately gilded, Baroque interior of São Francisco Church and take in the views of All Saints Bay and Lower Town from Municipal Square. This evening, enjoy the innovative Brazilian-Fusion cuisine of Cuco Bistrô. (D)
Day 2 A Look into Bahian Life
Today’s exploration of Salvador begins at the iconic Barra Lighthouse, perched at the spot where the Atlantic Ocean meets the waters of All Saints Bay. With insight from our native guide, a pleasant stroll through the residential district of Barra and lively Sao Joaquim Market offers an authentic experience of Bahian life. Mingling with residents at a popular ice cream parlor, you can choose from traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla as well as exotic ones like corn, Caipirinha and tropical fruits. At the 300-year-old Church of Bonfim, you’ll learn more about the city’s early days when Afro-Brazilian rituals began to blend with Catholic traditions. A congenial lunch at Uauá showcases the traditional home-style cooking of northeastern Brazil. (B+L)
Day 3 Art + Culture of Salvador
Today’s sightseeing has been uniquely planned to reveal Salvador’s thriving arts scene, including publicly displayed works by Carybé, an influential painter and sculptor who settled in Brazil from his native Argentina. In the hip and eclectic oceanside district of Rio Vermelho, you’ll admire the works of Bel Borba, a visionary graphic artist and sculptor who still lives in the neighborhood. Highlighting your foray into Salvador’s public art are the remarkable metal statues of Tati Moreno, rising from the waters of Lake Tororó. You’ll also make a stop in one of Salvador’s fishing communities to visit a temple dedicated to Yemanjá, an important deity in Candomblé, a local religion that traces its roots to Africa and the Colonial-era slave trade. For lunch, we’ll take you to Casa de Tereza, set in a restored 19th-century home and famed for its contemporary take on traditional Bahian cuisine. Then cap off this day of culture at the Museum of Modern Art before returning to your luxury hotel. (B+L)
Day 4 Travel to Belo Horizonte
Fly to Belo Horizonte where you’ll be met and escorted you to the 5-star Hotel Fasano. Then set out with our engaging resident guide to explore the Pampulha Modern Ensemble c, a visionary garden city built around a lagoon. Created in 1940 by famed architect Oscar Niemeyer and a team of artists and engineers, its remarkable fusion of architecture, sculpture and landscape design remains as bold today as it was 80 years ago. This evening’s dinner at Dona Lucinha showcases the culinary traditions of southeastern Brazil. (B+D)
Day 5 Onward to Ouro Preto
From city landmarks like Liberty Square to the lively Central Market, this morning’s tour reveals more of Belo Horizonte’s vibrant modern spirit. Then travel south to Congonhas to visit the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, a spectacular Baroque basilica built in the 18th century and adorned with a magnificent Rococo interior of Italian inspiration. Its outdoor staircase, decorated with statues of the prophets, and six chapels illustrating the Stations of the Cross are also considered masterpieces of Brazilian Baroque art. After lunch, continue to Ouro Preto and check in to Solar do Rosário, our charming hotel set in a 19th-century landmark in the heart of this historic Colonial-era town. (B+L)
Day 6 Exploring Ouro Preto
Fueled by the incredible wealth of the gold rush that began here in 1698, Ouro Preto grew rapidly into a grand city filled with extravagant Baroque architecture – from town squares and churches to bridges and fountains. Exploring along its winding cobbled streets, today’s guided tour showcases the most splendid of the city’s landmarks - including the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, built in 1771, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar, perhaps the most lavish of them all. With elaborately gilded interiors, these churches were the only way for locals to keep the wealth in their country; all the other gold was shipped to Portugal via the port of Salvador. (B+L)
Day 7 Inhotim Museum + Onward to Rio de Janeiro
Founded by a Brazilian mining magnate to house his personal art collection and now one of the country’s premier cultural institutions, The Inhotim is a vast and beautiful garden with 5,000 species representing more than 28% of the known botanical families on the planet. Throughout its lushly landscaped grounds, there are more than two dozen dazzling pavilions devoted to the art of more than 100 contemporary artists from Brazil and around the world. Enjoy lunch at the museum restaurant before continuing to Belo Horizonte for your included flight to Rio de Janeiro. On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the Belmond Copacabana Palace where you’ll have a deluxe oceanview room overlooking the most famous beach in the world! (B+L)
Day 8 Discover Rio!
Setting out with our expert native guide, your full-day tour begins atop Mt. Corcovado. Take in the panoramic vista and behold the inspiring 100-foot tall statue of Christ the Redeemer – arms spread to protect the city below! Descend through the lush Tijuca Forest, a remarkable urban rainforest, back to the city to see the famed Maracanã Stadium, site of the 1950 and 2014 World Cup soccer finals. See the soaring contemporary silhouette of Metropolitan Cathedral before lunch at Confeitaria Colombo; founded in 1894, this grand restaurant is still one of the city’s most popular! In the afternoon, a thrilling 2-stage cable car takes you up Sugarloaf Mountain for amazing views over Rio and its dramatic backdrop of sea, mountain and sky. The return drive to your hotel takes you along the city’s stunning beaches including Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana. (B+L)
Day 9 Depart Rio
We’ll take you to the airport today for your onward flight. (B)
All This Included
Beyond the allure of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil promises remarkable diversity. Starting with the lavishly beautiful towns of Salvador and Ouro Preto and continuing to lively Belo Horizonte, our exclusive itinerary reveals the country’s rich heritage of architecture, art, cuisine, and Colonial-era history. End on a high note with an oceanview room at the luxurious Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio!
Salvador: Hotel Fasano
Ouro Preto: Solar do Rosario
Rio de Janeiro: Belmond Copacabana Palace Rio
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.