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Home > Culture and Brazil's colonial charm

                     Culture and Brazil's colonial charm                      

This luxurious trip will take you to discover gems from the imperial era and some of the biggest architectural movements of Brazilian history, following the chronological order from Rio to Minas Gerais, then Brasilia and Sao Paulo.

Map

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Rio De Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain - Santa Teresa
  • Day 2: Rio De Janeiro - Santa Teresa - Rio De Janeiro - Corcovado - Santa Teresa
  • Day 3: Rio De Janeiro - Historical Center - Santa Teresa
  • Day 4: Rio De Janeiro - Petrópolis
  • Day 5: Petrópolis - Tiradentes
  • Day 6: Tiradentes - Ouro Preto
  • Day 7: Ouro Preto
  • Day 8: Ouro Preto - Inhotim - Belo Horizonte
  • Day 9: Belo Horizonte - Brasília
  • Day 10: Brasília
  • Day 11: Brasília - São Paulo
  • Day 12: São Paulo
  • Day 13: São Paulo

TRAVEL BOOK

Day 1: Rio De Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain - Santa Teresa

Airport pick up (time and flight number to be confirmed) and transfer to the hotel.
Your English-speaking guide will meet you at the hotel at 14:00pm. You will go to the cable car which will take you to the Sugarloaf.

Halfway up the summit, you will stop at the morro da Urca for a panoramic flight of 12 to 13 minutes: laguna Rodrigo Freitas, Beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, praia Vermelha, Redeeming Christ…

Then you will continue the cable car trip to the summit of the Sugarloaf (400 m.a.s.l.), symbol of Rio and marking the entrance of Guanabara Bay.

Return to the hotel at 18:00pm.
Night at the Santa Teresa hotel (breakfast included). Superior room.
Included : english speaking guide, reception with english-speaking guide, private transport, entrance fees, room & breakfast

Day 2: Rio De Janeiro - Santa Teresa - Rio De Janeiro - Corcovado - Santa Teresa

At 9am, your driver will pick you up at the hotel.
Short transfer to Rio's uplands in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa. You will meet there your English speaking guide, Raphael, born and raised in Santa Teresa and a graduate in geology.
He will tell you about the social life and the story of Santa Teresa, which used to be one of the richest neighborhoods of Rio when was still the capital of Brazil. Surrounded by the urban area, the neighborhood lost its appeal and the rich population migrated toward the southern part of Rio and the ocean.
Santa Teresa is now home to a heterogeneous population and is considered as the bohemian neighborhood of modern Rio. The entire visit is by foot, following the narrow and winding streets. You will have the opportunity to see houses from the ninetieth century and get a feeling of the Rio from another era.
You will get to the entrance of the Pereira da Silva favela, a neighborhood that was born from the important expansion Rio went through at the end of the 1970s.
You are welcomed in this small favela by its inhabitants who want to make sure that you see the good sides of their neighborhood, and not only what people commonly think of favelas (traffic and insecurity). Here people live, go to work, go to school, and have a social life, as anywhere else.
It is in this favela that you will find the original Projeto Morrinho, when, in 1997, kids from the neighborhood created a miniature of the favela to play and to reenact scenes from their everyday life in the favela.
Their miniature got bigger and bigger and attracted people from the arts who showed interest in their work. From there, what was initially their playground became known internationally as a work of art. They were then invited to reproduce their miniature in more than 10 different cities around the world for some of the most famous artistic encounters.
You will get to see this miniature favela which spreads out on more than 400 sq meters in the favela and you will be told the story behind the project.
Your tour will end at a local restaurant in the favela (traditional local food) with an amazing view of the Sugarloaf Mountain.

Back at the hotel at 1pm.

Note: the tour lasts between 3 to 4 hours and is best in the morning.

At 14:00pm, your English-speaking guide will meet you at the hotel. Climb to the Corcovado, worldly known symbol of Rio. The ascent to 700 meters above sea level will be done by train. Once at the summit, take the time to appreciate the unique and wonderful panoramic view of the "cidade maravilhosa" (wondrful city). Rio will spread under your feet, majestic and calm. This outstanding viewpoint will give you a better understanding of the physical and "social" topography of the town. Return to the hotel at 01:00pm.

Option: Helicopter flight of a few minutes from the mirador of Dona Marta, check with us.
Night at the Santa Teresa hotel (breakfast included). Superior room.
Included : english speaking guide, entrance fees, room & breakfast

Day 3: Rio De Janeiro - Historical Center - Santa Teresa

At 09:00am you will meet your french-speaking guide for a private visit of Rio’s city center, from a colossal avenue framed by imposing glass buildings to quaint, small streets and their little affordable shops. Many styles, one spirit, is the best definition to describe the architectural cocktail of the center, where past and modernism coexist in harmony.

Among the possible visits (to be coordinated with the guide depending on opening times, your centers of interest, or eventual manifestations organized that day): Imperial Municipal (replicate of the Opera Garnier in France), foundation Banco do Brasil, casa da França (old custom house), national History museum, largo da Carioca, convento Santo Antônio, metropolitan cathedral, plaza Tiradentes...

Return to the hotel at 05:00pm.

Note: For the visit of the center, avoid Sundays, Mondays and bank holidays.
Night at the Santa Teresa hotel (breakfast included). Superior room.
Included : english speaking guide, entrance fees, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 4: Rio De Janeiro - Petrópolis

08:30am: departure from the hotel, in a private vehicle, with your English-speaking guide (1-hour trip). The road from Rio to Petrópolis is by itself worth the detour. With bridges over opulent valleys, it meanders between the mountains of the Serra dos Órgãos. Close to 1000 meters above sea level, you will discover the favorite holiday destination of the Brazilian Imperial family. The Imperial museum, the former summer palace, is the most visited site. There you will find the Scepter and the Crown of Emperor Don Pedro II, some historical documents (notably the original of the lei Aurea, the decree of abolition of slavery from 1888), jewelry and art pieces which had belonged to the Imperial family. You will also visit numerous colonial mansions and Palaces (home of the baron of Mauá, of Santos Dumont, of princess Isabel, of Stefan Zweig, Amarelo palace, the Presidents Palace), museums, churches (cathedral of São Pedro de Alcântara) and finally the Cristal palace.

Night at the Solar do Império (breakfast included).
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 5: Petrópolis - Tiradentes

Departure from Petrópolis at 09:00am. It will be a 280 km trip to the little colonial town of Tiradentes, drivingthrough a continental decor of rolling hills full of history (around 3-hour drive). Visit of the city. This town will certainly be the most romantic visit among all the colonial towns of the Minas Gerais. The easiest is to let yourself drifting freely through the narrow and steep streets, from a small shop to a church, from a church to a garden, in a baroque setting. The atmosphere is tropical due to the opulent vegetation of the fertile Mata surrounding the village at the foot of the cliffs of the Serra de S̃ao José. The church "Matriz" de Santo Antônio de Tiradentes is one of the most beautiful pieces of Brazilian baroque art.
Night at the pousada Boutique Oratório.
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 6: Tiradentes - Ouro Preto

The morning will be dedicated to the second part of your visit of Tiradentes, a colonial town now converted in a bohemian city where many artists and artisans have decided to live, attracted by the architectural elegance of the buildings (houses, patios, fountains, churches) and the pleasant life of this quiet village.

After lunch, you will drive towards the village of Congonhas, where you will stop to discover the statues of the twelve prophets, considered as the masterpiece of the sculptor Antônio Francisco Lisboa, also called the Aleijadinho ("the crippled") because of the acute polyarthritis he was suffering from. These pieces ornament the forecourt of the Basilica of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, and dominate over an esplanade with the six chapels dos Passos, containing some scenes of the Passion of the Christ sculpted in cypress wood at real size.

In the afternoon, you will arrive at Ouro Preto (about 100 km away). With steep paved streets, old stone houses, over-ornate and excessively baroque churches, the town of Ouro Preto, founded in the early 18th century, keeps the greatest ensemble of Brazilian colonial art. The monuments, the pieces exhibited, the numerous details make it the archetypal cultural visit of Brazil, also because of its tragic history and of its splendor. You can admire, among others, pieces from the creating genius of the time, the painters Manoel da Costa Athaíde and Aleijadinho, who, like in Congonhas, left his signature. Among the visits: the church of Saint François of Assis, the church of Our Lady of the Pilar, the School of mines museum, the Oratory museum.

Note: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can travel with the little steam train named "Maria Fumaça" to feel a bygone era of travelling between Tiradentes and São João del Rei in an early 20th Century atmosphere. The train leaves Tiradentes at 13:00am and reaches São João del Rei 30 minutes later. The train museum located in the São João del Rei train station retraces the world’s train history. The first Baldwin engine used during the inauguration trip of the "Estrada de Ferro Oeste e Minas" in August 1881 is exhibited there.

Night at the Solar do Rosário hotel (breakfast included). Standard room.
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 7: Ouro Preto

In the morning, a short trip (6km) will take you to the mine of Passagem, halfway on the sinuous road between Ouro Preto and Mariana. Visit of this gigantic old gold mine, preserved nowadays like a testimony of the gold rush which made the area busy during the 18th century. A little cart will take you to a few hundred meters below the ground in the large caverns dug by slaves a few centuries ago.

Nearby, you can also visit an open pit Imperial Topaz mine where dozens of Brazilians are still trying, with hope as their only motivation. You will drive a few more kilometers to reach Mariana. First town established in the Minas Gerais area by the Portuguese after the discovery of the gold and diamond deposits, Mariana, unchanged since the conquistadors, is surrounded with mountains. Mariana will instantly charm you with its particular character, the paved streets, the churches and the peacefulness of its inhabitants.

Town visit: Arquidiocesano museum, churches of Do Carmo and of São Francisco and Cathedral da Sé where you can admire a German organ Arp Schnitger (Hamburg) from 1701. Offered in 1753 by the king of Portugal Dom José 1er for the creation of the diocese of Mariana, it constitutes the only existing model nowadays outside Europe. It is still in use twice a week, during baroque music concerts organized on Fridays at 11:00am and on Sundays at noon.

Return to Ouro Preto, around midday, to finish your visit of town.

Night at the Solar do Rosário hotel (breakfast included). Standard room.
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 8: Ouro Preto - Inhotim - Belo Horizonte

Meet with your guide at the hotel reception at 8am.

Leave Ouro Preto for Inhotim. Located in the south of Belo Horizonte, near Brumadinho, to visit Inhotim.
Created in 2005, Inhotim presents itself as "a site that produces knowledge and in which the environment and the art cohabit, making up the starting point for applying sociol-educative means to various fields".

In various suburban houses located at the heart of a vast green park, you can enjoy a great collection of contemporary art (paintings, photographs, videos, installations...), as well as the impressive botanical garden (hundreds of different species, some of which are especially rare).

Transfer to Belo Horizonte at the end of the day.

Night at the Ouro Minas Palace Hotel (breakfast included). Deluxe Room.
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 9: Belo Horizonte - Brasília

Departure by private transport for your airport transfer, 3 hours prior to departure. Flight from Belo Horizonte (arrival airport, flight time and number to be confirmed).

Pick up at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

Night at the Brasília Palace hotel (breakfast included). Standard room.
Included : departure transfer with english speaking guide, transfer arrival, reception with english-speaking guide, english speaking guide, local guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 10: Brasília

Meet with your local guide at the hotel at 09:00am for a guided visit of the town, to discover the principal touristic sites of the capital:
- the small church of Fátima dating from 1958
- the residential complex of the South
- the History and the Institute of Geography of Brazilia (only Monday mornings)
- the Sanctuary of Dom Bosco (superb stained glasses exhibiting 12 different shades of blue)
- the television tower (a metallic structure of 224 meters in height with a belvedere of 75 meters)
- the Ayrton Senna sport center (one of the best equipped in the country)
- the Buriti palace (seat of the federal government)
- the JK Memorial (in commemoration of President Kubitschek – entrance fee not included – closed on Mondays)
- the army’s headquarters (from outside only), the Cathedral Nossa Senhora Aparecida
- the ministry esplanade (17 identical buildings except the one of the ministry of Justice and of Foreign Affairs)
- the Congress (ensemble of 2 towers in the shape of an H, master piece of Niemeyer)
- the plaza of Three Powers
- the Lucio Costa Space (with a 13 m by 13 m miniature of Brasilia)
- the Alvorada Palace (from outside only)
- the official residence of the Brazilian President and the JK bridge (2003 award winner of the most beautiful bridge in the world – only on Mondays).

Entrance fees not included.

At the end of the day, return to the hotel.

Night at the Brasília Palace hotel (breakfast included). Standard room.
Included : local guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 11: Brasília - São Paulo


Transfer by private vehicle to the airport 2-3 hours prior to departure. Flight from Brasília (flight time and number to be confirmed).
Pick up at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

Night at the hotel Unique (breaksfast included). Deluxe room.
Included : transfer departure, transfer arrival, reception with english-speaking guide, room & breakfast

Day 12: São Paulo

Meet your English-speaking guide at 10:00am for a visit of town. Many sites and museums can be visited, among which: Ibirapuera Park, the Japanese district, the cathedral, Páteo do Colegio, the São Bento convent, the Municipal theater, Terraço Italia, the Luz station, the museum of Sacred Art, a painting collection, Avenida Paulista, the Gardens, the governor’s palace, the Casa da Fazenda, the Foundation Oscar Americano, the Morumbi stadium, the museum do Ipiranga and the Institut Butanta.

Return to the hotel around 06:00pm.

Night at the hotel Unique (breaksfast included). Deluxe room.
Included : english speaking guide, private transport, room & breakfast

Day 13: São Paulo


Private transport to the airport leaving 3 hours prior to departure. Flight from São Paulo (arrival airport, flight time and number to be confirmed).

Included : transfer departure

Hotel Santa Teresa MGallery by Sofitel   Santa Teresa

Level : 5*
Included : room & breakfast

After three years of careful restoration, the Hotel Santa Teresa reopens its doors, redefining the boutique, luxury experience in Rio de Janeiro. Once a colonial mansion, today the Hotel offers a chic, elegant refuge for the most demanding guests. With magnificent views of Rio de Janeiro, the Hotel Santa Teresa is located in the heart of historical Santa Teresa, closer than any 5-star luxury, boutique hotel to the main touristic attractions of the city, including Guanabara Bay, Corcovado, Sugarloaf, Tijuca Forest, the historical centre and with fast and easy access to the best beaches in and close to the city. Charming and picturesque, surrounded by colonial mansions, museums, artist ateliers and the only remaining tramway in Rio, the Hotel Santa Teresa is the authentic Rio, a place where high-rise buildings and traffic are replaced by red-tiled rooftops, cobblestone streets and exuberant nature.

Hotel Solar do Império   Petrópolis

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

Pousada Boutique Oratório   Tiradentes

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

Hotel Solar do Rosário   Ouro Preto

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

Ouro Minas Palace Hotel   Belo Horizonte

Level : 4*
Included : room & breakfast

Hotel Brasília Palace   Brasília

Level : 3*
Included : room & breakfast

Hotel Unique   São Paulo

Level : 5*
Included : room & breakfast

Hotel Unique, A thought-provoking experience to the senses in one of the São Paulo's postcards, elected by Condé Nast Traveler as "The Best Hotel in South America" in 2015. Visually stunning architecture crafted by Ruy Ohtake. Hotel Unique is a living, breathing part of the city of São Paulo, a place where architecture, art, design, fashion, gastronomy, music and exquisite service are at the heart of a groundbreaking hotel culture. A piece of urban art with 94 accommodations, where technology, luxury and design are combined to provide an extremely comfortable and unforgettable stay in the city of Sao Paulo.

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