Music & Chocolate, Indulgent Brazil
DURATION: 12 nights /13 days
AIRPORTS: GIG/SDU – IOS – SSA
ITINERARY: Rio de Janeiro Cocoa Coast of Bahia
Salvador treat your senses to the abundant pleasures of Brazil; from musical tracks and Carnival beats, to the intoxicating movements and rhythms of dance; from the heady aromas and exotic flavors of edible delights, to the captivating sights of its natural wonders. Throughout this sensory journey, celebrate life and all it holds in the typical Brazilian spirit, by mixing music with chocolate on a tour to beautiful Bahia, where virgin beaches give way to lush green lands – it’s here that the Cacao plant grows. Taste its fruit, juice and of course the seed, which is the source of one of life’s greatest indulgences: chocolate!
DAY 1 – Origin – Rio de Janeiro
Airport arrival at Rio de Janeiro. The Carioca City has a magical quality and offers the traveler a wide variety of touristic sights and a daily program with great number of leisure activities. Transfer from the airport to the hotel located on the famous beach of Copacabana. Accommodation.
DAY 2 – Rio de Janeiro (B)
After breakfast, we will start a tour that covers the most famous spots and the most beautiful landscapes of Rio. We’ll visit the main touristic city icon and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, Cristo Redentor, with access by train through the lush Tijuca Forest. After that, we will get to the Pão de Açúcar lookout, where we’ll enjoy one of the best views of Rio de Janeiro. The ascent and descent to reach the top of the lookout are made through a traditional cable railway.
By afternoon, Samba School in Ipanema. We’ll learn some basic steps to start moving our body to the rhythm of samba that will get into you and will not let you stand still. You will understand why this dance makes the Carnival the biggest party in the country. Following the teacher’s steps we’ll receive tips to have the ginga and the samba of Brazilian’s feet. After dancing and having fun in a nice samba atmosphere we go back to the hotel. Accommodation.
Duration of samba class: approx 50 min.
DAY 3 – Rio de Janeiro (B)
Nothing more representative for Brazil than the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro; big event that takes place every year bringing people from all over the world. The colors, the music and costumes parade before our eyes spreading the joy and warmth of the Brazilian people. On this experience we’ll make a guided visit to the Cidade do Samba, a special place that concentrates many sheds where samba schools make their costumes and presentations. We will know the Acadêmicos da Grande Rio, one of the major samba schools of the City.
We will learn a bit about the history of samba and carnival parades. We will also wear costumes and take pictures, and those who want it can enjoy a welcome caipirinha!
At night, we will discover that Rio’s 40 Cº are not only felt during the day! We’ll visit the Lapa neighborhood to get to an antique shop that was transformed into a very popular samba bar among Rio residents. There is always a band playing good samba and guaranteeing the fun and musicality of the atmosphere. We will have the option to enjoy a drink (not included), while we have a good talk and watch the band play, or we can dance to the music and feel free to practice the ginga and the samba with our feet! Accommodation.
DAY 4 – Rio de Janeiro – Ilhéus – Serra Grande (B, D)
After breakfast and check out, we will transfer to the airport of Rio de Janeiro to fly to Ilhéus. Reception at the airport of Ilhéus and land transfer until arriving at our Fazenda in Serra Grande, municipality of Uruçuca.
Later we will have a presentation of capoeira by a local group. Capoeira is a typical Brazilian cultural expression that mixes martial arts, sports, popular culture and music. It was developed by descendants of African slaves and is characterized by its musicality, as a capoerista learns to fight and play its instruments. Dinner and accommodation.
DAY 5 – Serra Grande (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will go for a walk to discover a cocoa plantation in the middle of the Atlantic Forest. We have lunch at our pousada and in the afternoon we visit the NGO Floresta Viva where we will see the nursery of Atlantic Forest native trees and receive explanations on the project and the ecosystem. Dinner and accommodation.
DAY 6 – Serra Grande - Taboquinhas (B, L, D)
In the morning, transfer to Taboquinhas where we will visit a community near Rio das Contas that elaborates artisanal chocolate. After lunch here, we’ll take the afternoon to visit the chocolate factory and taste its delicious varieties.
Dinner and accommodation.
DAY 7 – Taboquinhas – Península de Maraú (B, D)
After breakfast, land transfer to the community of Cassange, within the Maraú Peninsula. Here are some of the best beaches of the Brazilian coast, which are combined with a paradisiacal lagoon of fresh water where we can also take baths and watch the sunset. Free time for lunch. Dinner and Accommodation
DAY 8 – Península de Maraú (B, D)
Free day to do optional activities. We can visit the village of Barra Grande and its quiet beaches, go snorkeling in Taipu de Fora reefs, or just relax at the pousada and finish reading the novel by Jorge Amado. Free time to have lunch. Dinner and accommodation.
DAY 9 – Península de Maraú - Ilhéus - Salvador (B)
After breakfast, we travel overland to Cassange community within Maraú Peninsula. Here we can find some of the best beaches of the Brazilian coast which combine with a paradisiacal fresh water lagoon, both in which we can take baths and watch the sunset. Free time to have lunch. Dinner and accommodation.
After breakfast and check out, we will go by land transfer to Ilhéus airport to board to Salvador. Airport arrival at Salvador. Salvador de Bahia is the cradle of the Afro-Brazilian culture and offers the visitor many popular delights with its cuisine, music, enchantment and cheerfulness. From the airport, transfer to our accommodation place situated next to the city center known as the Pelourinho. Here we will find the most important architectural collection of Hispanic-America and it is also the meeting point for all the locals. Accommodation.
DAY 10 – Salvador (B)
After breakfast we will leave walking from the pousada and visit the main attractions of Salvador’s historic downtown: the famous Pelourinho, which is the largest collection of colonial building in Latin America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will walk the streets with their colonial neighborhood cobbled sidewalks surrounded by houses in pastel colors. Then we visit the exuberant São Francisco Church, the Cathedral, where we will see the imposing baroque tropical progression with its first trends of the Rococo refinement.
We continue to the Praça Municipal where we will be above the Cidade Baixa, with wonderful views of the Baía de Todos los Santos. Return to the pousada. Accommodation.
Later, we leave towards a studio where we will be under the professional guidance of a local percussion expert to learn and put into context various aspects of the percussive jungle that is Bahia, focusing on the most important and accessible rhythms in a workshop that is instructive, interactive, interesting and fun. Accommodation.
DAY 11 – Salvador (B)
During the day, we leave the city behind to explore the agricultural hinterland on the western side of the Baía de Todos os Santos. This is the land of sugarcane plantations, peaceful colonial towns and their markets. We go north out of the city and then west, stopping in the bustling country market town of Santo Amaro. We will continue going west through some hills to Cachoeira. After lunch (not included), we will make a walking tour of the city. We cross the west bank of the river and visit the Cultural Center Danemann where we can also see the preparation of world-class cigars. A journey through time back to the Brazil of the past.
At night, we leave bound for the Rio Vermelho neighborhood, which has plenty of bars, restaurants and (botecos) pubs, the last being key to the charm of the neighborhood where the boteco tradition represents a bohemian lifestyle, offering an informal atmosphere where friends meet and drink an ice cold beer or their favorite cachaça, always accompanied by snacks. The neighborhood is also home to three of the most famous acarajé Baianas in the city that sell the best of Bahian street food. Rounding out Rio Vermelho’s attractions, we’ll hear the best local music in its many forms, from traditional to contemporary, that all the bars offer. Accommodation.
DAY 12 – Salvador (B)
Our day starts with a story of Neguinho do Samba, who was the innovator of the samba– reggae percussive storm that powered the world famous Olodum drumming troupe. He later went on to form the Banda Feminina Didá, the pioneering and now renowned all- women percussion group. Their performances are a mixture of grace, skill and full on driving percussion. The group has an inspiring social program working with underprivileged women and kids.
We’ll visit the groups’ headquarters in the historical center where we’ll be welcomed by one of the leaders who will introduce us to their origins and works, while we make a short stroll through the place.
Then we will have another perspective of the city`s expansion, taking us to the quiet waters of Itapagipe Peninsula, where life moves at a slower pace than the bustling Cidade Alta (upper city).
We will see fishermen in their canoes “escavadas”, locals collecting shellfish at low tide, anchored schooners, all protected by the famous Bonfim Church, one of the most important churches of pilgrimage in Brazil and deeply related to Candomblé. We will continue in the Monserrat district with its panoramic view of the city and the Mercado Modelo, a thriving market for local artifacts and souvenirs. This is also where you can test your trading skills!
At night, we leave bound for Miguel Santana Theatre to watch the presentation of the Companhia de Balé Folclórico da Bahia. The company performs in the intimacy of Miguel Santana Theatre in the Pelourinho in a seamless presentation of the multiple African traditions that shape Bahian culture. We will see the sacred dances of Candomblé; “puxada de rede” a song by fishermen in honor of Yemanja, the goddess of the sea; maculelê, a stick and sword dance acrobatics with its origins in the cane fields; capoeira, a martial art/dance of Angolan origin and the samba de roda, a spinning, a version of this exuberant national dance. At the end of the show, time for dinner and we return to the pousada. Accommodation.
DAY 13 – Salvador – Destination (B)
Transfer to the airport of Salvador for departure to our next destination.