Discover Northern Brazil
8 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Fortaleza
Bem vinda! Welcome to Fortaleza, home to 30 km of golden beaches and a thriving nightlife that rivals Rio. Your adventure begins at 1 pm with an important Welcome Meeting, followed by an afternoon tour of this vivacious city. Join your leader as you explore the major highlights – learn the story behind the Statue of Iracema, bargain for local leather goods and artisan crafts at the Municipal Market and discover the stunning Metropolitan Cathedral, an exponent of Gothic architecture with elaborate stained glass decor that towers over the Praca da Se (historic city centre). This evening, you might like to join your fellow travellers for a group dinner, perhaps try Churrasco – a local-style barbecue bursting with authentic Brazilian flavours.
Day 2 Jericoacoara
This morning, travel by 4WD to the cinematic town of Jericoacoara (approximately 5 hours) where you can relish an afternoon at leisure. Nestled among spectacular dunes and surrounded by stunning coastal scenery, the small beachside community of Jericoacoara, or ‘Jeri’ for short, is an adventurer’s paradise offering visitors access to a wide range of activities – from sandboarding to surfing, to diving into the depths of the pristine lagoons. This evening why not venture just outside of town and grab the best seat in the house for sunset –the top of a sandbank – to watch as day transitions to night and the moonlight illuminates the dunes.
Day 3 Jericoacoara
After an early breakfast, jump in a buggy and cruise through the town of Jeri, venture behind the rocky headland and ride along the stretch of white sand that is Praia do Prea. Visit the natural masterpiece Pedra Furada, an impressive sandstone rock shelter that’s been carved out by the sea. Continue your buggy adventure on a 12 km drive along the sand to the village, then on to the crystal-clear waters of Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Paraiso, where you can relax in the hammocks that hang over the lagoons. Perhaps grab a bite to eat before continuing back to Jeri through the spectacular white sand dunes of the national park.
Day 4 Parnaiba Delta
Today, jump in the 4WD and head west along the coastline to the rustic riverfront village of Mangue Seco. Explore the mangroves on a boat trip to Guriu and the ruins of Tatajuba, a township that succumbed to nature when it was buried by the encroaching dunes, forcing the residents to abandon their homes and relocate. Continue your journey by 4WD through miles of deserted beaches and dunes until you reach Lonely Palm and Beach of Love, where you’ll board a ferry and cross the Rio Coreau to Camocim. On arrival, travel by road into Piaui State where you’ll reach the Parnaiba Delta. This ecological sanctuary is considered a slice of tropical Amazon rainforest, consisting of a unique confluence of landscapes – including dunes, islands, mangrove forests and igarapes (small water passages in Brazil that can only be navigated by canoes). Enjoy an afternoon boat tour through the delta – keep your eye out for monkeys, iguanas, snakes and scarlet ibis as you cruise through the surrounding creeks, rivers and estuaries. Enjoy a remarkable delta sunset before returning to Parnaiba where you will settle into your pousada (type of Brazilian guesthouse) for the evening.
Day 5 Lencois Maranhenses
The day begins with a 2-hour journey to Paulino Neves, a small town in the environmentally protected area of Rio Novo. Continue off-road on an adventurous journey through the miles of undulating dunes and remote beaches that encompass North-East Brazil. By midday, the journey by vehicle ends in Cabure – a village built on a disappearing sand-spit that separates the river from the ocean – the village has already had to relocate at least twice! From here we cross the river to Atins, a small town on the edge of the Lencois Maranhenses National Park – on arrival, take time to have some lunch and relax a little, then head out by 4WD to the spectacular surrounding dunes in search of another beautiful Brazilian sunset.
Day 6 Lencois Maranhenses (Barreirinhas)
After breakfast, travel by boat along the Rio Preguica (Lazy River) past the Mandacaru Lighthouse and the smaller dunes of Lencois. Explore the fishing community of Vassouras, with its friendly monkeys, before continuing to the town of Barreirinhas, regarded as the gateway to Lencois Maranhenses. Check in to your hotel where you’ll have time for a short break, before heading out in 4WDs across the river and into the Grandes Lençois Maranhenses National Park, home to the only desert on the planet with its own freshwater lakes. Once in the park, the journey begins on foot as you explore Lagoa Azul and Lagoa do Peixe, or Lagoa Bonita and the surrounding dunes. Perhaps try your hand at ‘skibunda’, which involves sliding down the dunes on a sled and into the lake – a refreshing way to end a long day in the sun!
Day 7 Sao Luis
This morning, travel to the enchanting city of Sao Luis (approximately 4 hours), capital of the state of Maranhao. The town boasts a World Heritage-listed historic centre, paved with cobbled streets and colourful colonial mansions, as well as a distinct Afro-Brazilian culture, prevelent through its lively reggae scene and the unusual Bumba Meu Boi festivities. This afternoon, join your leader on a brief orientation through the charming heart of the historic district, which was founded by the French and occupied by the Dutch, before falling under Portuguese rule. The city has preserved the original rectangular street plan in its entirety and thanks to a period of economic stagnation in the early 20th century, an exceptional number of historic buildings have survived, making this one of the finest preserved examples of a Portuguese colonial town.
Day 8 Sao Luis
There are no activities planned after breakfast this morning, if you have time why not check out some of the town’s unique museums. The Casa do Maranhao features an elaborate collection of props and costumes from the cities famed festivities, Carnaval and Bumba Meu Boi, and the Museo do Reggae Maranhao is dedicated to local musicians and promoters who bought the Caribbean sounds to the shores of Sao Luis. The city is also home to a beach – perfect if you feel like flopping and dropping after an adventurous week exploring Northern Brazil.
All This Included
Take the road less travelled and traverse the ever-changing landscape of Northern Brazil – from the undulating sand dunes of Jericoacoara to the ecological paradise of the Parnaiba Delta. Ride buggies along stretches of white sand beach, 4WD through vast expanses of rolling desert, swing in hammocks that hover above crystal-clear lagoons and feel the rhythm of the reggae scene in the historic centre of Sao Luis. Find yourself among remote beaches, rustic villages, rippling sand dunes and calm teal waters on this 8-day adventure that exposes the natural beauty of unchartered Brazil.
Hotel (7 nights)
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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.