Rio to Quito via Manaus
Please note that our itineraries are not set in stone and can be subject to change.
Days 1 to 5
• Departing Rio we head for the cool mountain retreat of Teresopolis. Free day in Parque Nacional Da Serra Dos Argaos to walk trails to waterfalls and stunning views.
• Congonhas - Aleijadinho's most impressive sculptures reside outside the Basilica do Bom jesus de Matosinhos.
• Ouro Preto - a beautiful colonial town with the Minas de Passagem (Gold Mine), opened in 1719.
Days 6 to 12
• Explore the coastline of Brazil's best and least known beaches.
• Itaunas, a sleepy fishing village and Parque Estadual de Itaunas, where Sea Turtles may still be hatching.
• Caravelas, on the mangrove lined Rio Caravelas. Optional day trip to the nearby reefs in Parque Nacional Marinho de Abrolhos.
Days 13 to 19
• Parque Nacional Monte Pascoal. Hike trails and spot the endangered spider monkey, sloths, porcupines, capybara, deer, elusive jaguar and numerous species of bird.
• Porto Seguro - colourful old buildings, museums and sweeping views from Cidade Historica . Also known for its nightlife and 'beach action!'
• Ferry across Brazil's largest bay, Baia de Todos os Santos.
• Salvador - wander around Cidade Alta (Upper City) and Baixa (Lower City) and take in the music, cuisine and religion of the area.
• Praca da Se - watch locals practicing the dance fighting known as Capoeira.
Days 20 to 29
• Lencois - an old diamond mining town with cobbled streets and brightly painted 19th Century buildings.
• Optional trips Fumaca waterfalls, various caves & hikes, idyllic rivers and panoramic plateaus.
• Navidade - explore the town and relax in the nearby small waterfalls and refreshing natural pools.
• Taquarucu, a cozy eco tourism mecca, guided trips to waterfalls, caves and pools of the area.
• Wildlife spotting in the nearby parks of Estadual do Jalapao and Ilha do Bananal. Spot dolphins, caiman, giant river turtles and lots of bird life. We may also catch a glimpse of a Tapir or Jaguar!
Days 30 to 41
• Drive through the unforgiving Amazon, camping in the wilds or at small villages.
• Belem - Visit the Teatro da Paz or wander around the Estacao das Docas area, full of arty shops and eateries.
• 4 to 5 day Riverboat trip to Manaus up the Amazon River.
• Relax in hammocks on board the boat and practice our Portuguese and get to know the locals over a few beers on the upper deck while watching the rainforest and river drift by.
• Meeting of the waters (Rio Negro & Amazon River).
• Manaus - Visit the restaurants, shops and sights including the Teatro Amazonas (Opera House) and the local fish market.
Days 43 to 50
• Optional activity - Amazon Jungle
• Leave Manaus and head north passing through the Waimiri Indian Reserve area.
• Boa Vista - spend a day in the vast grounds of Parque Anaua, or take a day trip out on the Rio Branco to Serra Grande and go hiking.
• Cross into Venezuela and spend 2 nights in Santa Elena.
• Optional climb (5 days) of Mt. Roraima (2810mtrs) - the flat topped Tepuis that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyles 'The Lost World'. Shorter hikes, white water rafting or paragliding are also options!
• La Gran Sabana (Great Savanna) - an endless sky extends over a wide open grassland.
Days 51 to 59
• Ciudad Bolivar - Casco Historico - wander the historic centre and along the waterfront of the Rio Orinoco.
• Parque Nacional Canaima and the famous Angel Falls. Various trips are available to suit all budgets.
• Cross the Orinoco River and continue north to the Caribbean Coast.
• Beautiful drive in to Parque Nacional Henri Pittier. Hang hammocks from palm trees and hike the trails in search of the local Criollo (chocolate).
Days 60 to 66
• Merida, Venezuela's mountainous 'adventure capital', opportunities to hike and trek in the mountains trails as well as paragliding, canopy tours, zip-lining, canyoning and white water rafting.
• Great nightlife as well as bars, cafes and restaurants.
• Optional 2, 3 and 4 day trips into the immense Los Llanos savanna wetlands to see caiman, capybara (the world's largest rodent), anaconda, anteaters, tapirs and possibly a jaguar, amongst other wildlife.
Days 67 to 76
• San Cristobal, also known as the Friendly City.
• Cross into Colombia. Optional paragliding in Bucaramanga. Head north to Santa Marta.
• Tayrona National Park - walk trails to beaches set in deep bays, snorkel and possibly scuba dive.
• Cartagena, a Unesco World Heritage site, wander cobbled alleys of the old city amongst churches, monasteries, plazas and bougainvillea draped balconies and also the trendy area of Bocagrande.
Days 77 to 84
• Medellin - a good spot to get a few Salsa or Tango lessons and great nightlife. Option to travel via local bus to the sleepy colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia.
• Manizales - a mountainous region with a cool climate, visit one of the many coffee plantations in the area.
• Parque Los Nevados, a great place to spend a day trekking (optional) and hang out at some funky bars in the evening.
• Bogota - trek up the Cerro de Monserrate or wander around the historic centre of La Candelaria, and take in a few cafes and picturesque buildings.
Days 85 to 92
• Tatacoa Desert, an arid area of striking eroded cliffs, an excellent area for camping and star gazing.
• Parque Purace - the only place to see Condors in Colombia, also home to some good walking trails.
• Climb Volcan Purace or hikes to a Sulphur Mine and Termales de San Juan - a spectacular hot spring.
• Ipiales - visit Santuario De Las Lajas, a neo-Gothic church built on a stone bridge spanning a gorge.
• Ecuador, overnight stop in Otavalo - a great place to stock up on Andean handicrafts such as jewellery, woollen goods, blankets and bags.
• Quito, the capital, and our trip ends here on arrival.
Quito is the gateway to the Galapagos Islands and a playground for hikers and mountain bike fans, and it's certainly worth taking an extra couple of days to explore the city and surrounding areas.
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