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Honeymoon in Brazil: Rhythms of Rio, Salvador and the Iguazu Falls

15 days from £4026pp

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Honeymoon in Brazil: Rhythms of Rio, Salvador and the Iguazu Falls:
Trip Dossier

A fortnight’s intimate honeymoon in Brazil. You’d like your holiday to be relaxing and stress-free, but you also yearn for new experiences to remember throughout your married life. The dreamy beaches of Brazil’s northeast make for a quintessential honeymoon. Whispering palms, sun-bleached white powdery sands, tranquillity, privacy and just a splash of exotic colour. What more could you ask for? Well, a day or two in Brazil’s most exuberant and musical city, the African-influenced Salvador. 

But as a preface to this excitement, spend a few days in fabulous Rio de Janeiro, enjoying its views and its sunlit beaches.  Follow your experience of surveying Rio from the Sugar Loaf mountain at sunset with the spray splashing your faces at the stupendous Iguazú Falls.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro. Transfer to hotel on Copacabana beach.

Day 2

Excursion by cable car up Sugar Loaf mountain.

Day 3

Day at leisure followed by a Samba show experience.

Day 4

Fly to Iguazú falls.

Day 5

Boat safari to the foot of Iguazú falls.

Day 6

Explore Argentine side of Iguazú falls.

Day 7

Fly to Salvador.

Day 8

At leisure to explore Salvador.

Day 9

A day out in Cachoeira.

Day 10

Fly to Natal, transfer to beach Praia da Pipa.

Days 11-14

At leisure on the beach.

Day 15

Transfer to airport

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro. Transfer to hotel on Copacabana beach.

Transfer to your hotel on the seafront of Copacabana beach. Rio is the most romantic, intriguing and beautiful city on the continent. Sumptuous apartments overlook the sparkling bays against the backdrop of half-built slum dwellings, favelas, which cling precariously to the hillsides. But everywhere the city is being spruced up in time for the World Cup and Olympic Games. Rio has an awesome bay-side location among near-vertical granite mountains. Here, tropical foliage swoops down to white-to-toffee coloured sandy beaches, in turn battered by the huge waves of Atlantic surf.

Romantic Rio

Day 2

Excursion by cable car up Sugar Loaf mountain.

Visit the world-renowned, hump-backed Sugarloaf mountain, located between the city centre and Copacabana beach in the picturesque bay-side quarter of Urca. Its peak is reached by a spectacular cable-car journey (made in two sections), and has breath-taking views over Copacabana beach,  the pinnacle of Corcovado mountain with the illuminated Christ figure on top, the sapphire waters of Guanabara Bay and the lush forested mountains beyond. These are especially magical against a tangerine sunset when the twinkling lights of the city are coming on.

Day 3

Day at leisure followed by a Samba show experience.

At leisure during the day. Within a short taxi ride from your hotel are the pleasant botanical gardens and the arty, historic district of Santa Teresa in Rio’s colonial heart.

No trip to Brazil is complete without a samba experience and this evening you'll get to see the Cariocas in action at a samba dance show in the city.

Copacabana at dusk, Rio de Janeiro

Day 4

Fly to Iguazú falls.
Transfer to the airport for the 2-hour flight to Foz do Iguaçú in the southeast of the country, on the border with Argentina and Paraguay. You’ll be driven to the Hotel das Cataratas, the only property in the sub-tropical national park in which the Iguazú Falls are situated. A mock-colonial building which was once a museum, it’s a very elegant hotel, beautifully restored, sitting a short stroll from the falls themselves.

Here there’s a broad panoramic view of these colossal falls, and there are some excellent opportunities to photograph the full sweep of the water. Being based at Das Cataratas offers wonderful opportunities to explore the walkways solitude once the national park has closed. You might even have them to yourselves.

The Iguazú Falls are unquestionably one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world. A total of 275 falls thunder over a 60m high rust-coloured cliff surrounded by dense tropical forest. The U-shaped Devil’s Throat is the most dramatic sight, here the frothing water of the Iguazú river crashes over a 1.5 km-wide precipice and columns of vapour are thrown skyward. Elsewhere the river flows decorously through the rainforest breaking up into dozens of smaller cascades. You can usually spot toucans and many other exotic birds perched in the foliage above the tumultuous waters.

Iguazú Falls

Day 5

Boat safari to the foot of Iguazú falls.

Macuco Safari. You'll join an open safari truck for a 20min ride through lush sub-tropical forest - where orchids, bromeliads, tropical birds and lizards may be seen - to the start of the Macuco Trail. Next, a 600m guided walk down into the Iguazú Canyon, formed over millions of years through erosion by the receding waterfalls. Upon reaching the banks of the river, the real fun begins: a 20-30 minute ride in open boats up the canyon towards the base of the falls. Ahead and above is the main cataract of the Devil's Throat, and the dozens of smaller falls as they cascade over the precipice. It can be a thrilling ride along the rapids and up-close to some of the more benign waterfalls: prepare to get very wet indeed!

Macuco Safari Iguazú

Day 6

Explore Argentine side of Iguazú falls.

Private guided tour of the Argentine side of the falls.A little natural gas-powered train transfers you to Cataratas station where the Upper Walk begins. This sequence of causeways and passarelles links dozens of tiny basalt islands at the top of the sheer rock face, and the walkways cross the myriad of streams as they cascade over the lip of the precipice. The train then continues across the river to the thunderous Garganta del Diablo, the Devil’s Throat. From this spectacular vantage point you can feel the incredible power of the water as it plummets into the vortex below.

Upper walk

Day 7

Fly to Salvador.
Transfer to the airport and fly to Salvador da Bahía in the northeast. The city of Salvador is the most exotic in the country, where the influence of Portuguese colonial architecture and culture blends with the African traditions imported by the slaves brought in to work on the plantations.

Your hotel is right in the middle of the action with numerous bars, shops and restaurants nearby and if you're here on a Tuesday or over the weekend don't be surprised to encounter spontaneous eruptions of music or drumming seemingly at every turn. The local cuisine is very much a product of the region and its cultural mélange: you can try out any number of dishes at the many eateries in town.

Salvador da Bahía and the Chapada Diamantina

Day 8

At leisure to explore Salvador.
On your hotel doorstep is a compact core of staggering architectural riches making Salvador an ideal city to explore on foot. The Portuguese built the country’s first colonial capital here and their pastel-hued masterpiece was arguably never exceeded in Brazil. Once the site of slavers’ markets, the cobblestone squares of the historic Pelourinho district now resound with vibrant African drumming and capoeira displays. You have the whole day at leisure to explore.

Day 9

A day out in Cachoeira.

Two hours from Salvador, Cachoeira is a colonial town and national historic monument that in its heyday was a thriving river port, but is now a sleepy and unpretentious place full of atmospheric, crumbling colonial buildings.

Cachoeira is wonderfully photogenic and runs at an entirely different tempo to Salvador: to explore its tumbledown streets during the quiet middle of the day can feel like you are strolling into an open-air film set. Return to Salvador in the afternoon. For evening entertainment, we can organise tickets to the renowned Bale Folclorico da Bahia: their shows at the Teatro Miguel Santana represent an authentic interpretation of Bahian folklore through Afro-Bahian colours and rhythms.

Day 10

Fly to Natal, transfer to beach Praia da Pipa.

Transfer to airport for a flight to Natal, continue by road to the beach at Praia de Pipa. The village of Pipa flourished in the 1980s when it was adopted by surfers. But you don’t need to ride the waves to enjoy it: the golden sands (widely acknowledged as among the top ten beaches of Brazil) are defined by huge coconut plantations, cliffs covered in Atlantic forest, sand dunes and hidden coves where dolphins frolic in the ocean.

Praia da Pipa

Days 11-14

At leisure on the beach.

At leisure in friendly Pipa. You can explore the ecological sanctuary (dolphins, turtles and monkeys are visitors here) which is accessible by boat or canoe, beach buggy, on horseback, or on foot. It’s a young people's place, with a particularly energetic nightlife which attracts an international clientèle. That said the entertainment has a delicious Brazilian flavour influenced by the famous forró dance and folk music of the northeast.

Day 15

Transfer to airport

Essential information


Three flights (longest 3 hrs); 2 scenic road transfers (longest 3hrs).


We have chosen a mix of accommodation styles and standards according to location or suitability for honeymooners, from a good value mid-range hotel overlooking Copacabana beach to the ultimate in luxury overlooking Iguazú Falls. They all have excellent and convenient locations and good facilities.


Breakfast daily, dinner day 3, lunch day 9.


We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Included excursions

  • Half day cable car excursion to Sugar Loaf mountain, Rio.
  • Brazilian samba show, Rio.
  • Boat safari to the foot of Iguazú Falls.
  • Tour of Argentine side of Iguazú Falls.
  • A day out in Cachoeira, Salvador.

Summary of nights

15 days, 14 nights: Rio 3; Iguazú 3; Salvador 3; Praia de Pipa 5.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions.

Optional excursions

There are a number of half, full-day or longer excursions or activities you may wish to consider in order to customise your holiday to cater for your interests. Please contact us to discuss these further or to add them to your itinerary before you depart. A selection of these include:
  • Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio de Janeiro.
  • Helicopter ride over Iguazú.
  • Bird Park, Iguazú.
  • Afro-Brazilian dance show, Salvador.


The unit of currency in Brazil is the ‘real’, plural reais.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$45 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are gradually falling out of use (American Express are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.


Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.


Travel insurance is essential. 

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

There are no long days of travel on this trip. There are three domestic flights by commercial jet.

In the summer months of December to March the weather is extremely hot and humid, you might want to bear this in mind.


In tropical Rio and Iguazú, December to March are the hottest and most humid months, with temperatures sometimes reaching 40°C, and rain which falls in heavy showers. 

From June to September, temperatures are more moderate (18-23°C) and there is plenty of sunshine, but cold fronts can usher in periods of up to several days of cloud and drizzle. Iguazú can be cold from June to August and very hot in December-February. Salvador is hotter and more humid than Rio, although there is often a cooling sea breeze.

Clothing and special equipment

For day-to-day wear you should take loose-fitting, breathable clothes. Comfortable shoes are important and sandals are useful. A sun hat, sun block and sunglasses are necessary, and you should take a light fleece for cool nights and a Gore-Tex layer, as well as swimwear, a towel, insect repellant and a torch. If you plan to go to good restaurants or out for evening entertainment, you might bring something a bit smarter as well (although formal attire will not be required).

At the Iguazú Falls you can get very wet from the spray. Some clients like to take dry clothes in a dry bag.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.


Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.


Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online

This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.

Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

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