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Brazil: Rio, Paraty & the Pantanal

Spot wildlife on a sunrise canoe ride, look out over Rio from Christ the Redeemer & waterfall hop by 4x4 through Paraty’s jungled hills

What's Included

  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Max 14 travelers per group
  • Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
  • All activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Hand-picked 3-4 star hotels
  • 2 domestic flights
  • ATOL protected
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Experienced local Pack Leader in each location

Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, international flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.

About your trip

Once visited, never forgotten. Brazil is a country that dazzles with its vibrant culture, diverse landscapes and world-class wildlife-watching. Get a taste of it all, Flash Pack style, on this action-packed 11-day adventure.

From sophisticated São Paulo to the fun-loving rhythms of Rio, you’ll soak up some urban culture in two of the world’s most exciting cities. You’ll search for animals in the incredible Pantanal wetlands, and you’ll road trip along the Atlantic coast to find your chill in picture-perfect Paraty.

You’ll discover what makes this country tick through immersive local-led experiences. Like visiting a local samba school as they prepare for carnival and witnessing the awakening of nature on a magical sunrise canoe ride. There’ll be street food tours and horseback rides, piranha soup and cachaça tasting, waterfall hopping by 4×4 and sunset views from the Sugarloaf. 

With a daily dose of ice-cold caipirinhas sipped with new friends, you’ll discover a passion for life that will make you feel like a certified Brazilian. 

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A caipirinha welcome
  • Touch down in São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, where a private Flash Pack transfer will be waiting to meet you at the airport
  • Check in at your boutique hotel near Avenida Paulista, an area of skyscraper-lined streets, cutting-edge museums and Michelin-star foodie scene
  • Get to know your fellow Flashpackers over a lime-spiked caipirinha cocktail, followed by a three-course welcome dinner
Journey to the Pantanal wetlands
  • Fly to Cuiabá, gateway to the Pantanal: a vast area of rivers, grasslands and lily-covered lakes that forms the world’s biggest wetlands
  • Transfer to your remote riverside eco-lodge and meet your expert local guides; enjoy a taste of piranha broth (a local specialty)
  • Take a night-time Jeep safari in search of nocturnal animals; keep your eyes peeled for alligators, nightjars, giant anteaters and crab-eating foxes
Nature safaris & a poolside barbecue
  • Visit the lodge’s rehabilitation center, set up by the owner to rescue and release wild animals – an experience not usually available to the public
  • Explore the winding Motum River by boat – perhaps spotting giant otters playing on the bank or stingrays darting through the crystalline water
  • Spend the afternoon enjoying a relaxing poolside barbecue with your group; an activity exclusive for Flash Pack
Wildlife-spotting by horseback
  • Explore the submerged landscape on a horse riding safari, looking out for monkeys, capybaras, armadillos, tamanduas and vast number of birds
  • Kick back and relax through the heat of the day in a hammock by the shady pool
  • Take a boat excursion to Sia Mariana Bay, a breeding ground for piranhas; listen to the roosting birds as you soak up the sunset views
A magical sunrise canoe ride
  • Rise before dawn for a sunrise canoe ride, paddling through the mirror-still water as the Pantanal wakes up – a truly dazzling spectacle
  • Prepare for a change of pace as you fly to Rio de Janeiro; the ‘Marvelous City’ has an incredible setting on Guanabara Bay
  • Spend an evening at leisure, exploring the golden beaches, sprawling suburbs and samba-fueled nightlife right on your doorstep
Hello, Rio de Janeiro
  • Catch the first train to Christ the Redeemer, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; standing next to the iconic monument is a real pinch-me moment
  • Explore Rio’s oldest and most charming neighborhood, Santa Teresa, and visit the colorful mosaic staircase of Escadaria Selarón
  • Take the cable car up the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain; soak up the panoramic views as the sun sets over the city
Behind the scenes at Rio Carnival
  • Go behind the scenes of Rio’s famous carnival, visiting a samba warehouse, trying on the flamboyant outfits and learning some basic dance steps
  • Travel along the Atlantic coast to the pretty colonial town of Paraty; take a walking tour and sample some delicious sugar cane cake
Waterfall chasing & cachaça tasting
  • Take a Jeep ride through Serra da Bocaina National Park, a lush, tropical playground where you can swim in forest pools
  • Slide down the smooth rock face of Tobogã cascade – the perfect natural waterslide – surrounded by Atlantic forest
  • Visit a working cachaça distillery to see how the sugar cane liquor is made, learning about (and tasting) the beloved Brazilian beverage
A day at leisure in Paraty
  • Enjoy a free day: explore Paraty’s gold-mining past, hike the Gold Trail, visit Praia do Sono beach or explore the mangroves by kayak
  • Gather with your group at a lively local bar for an evening of cachaça tasting, cocktails and local snacks
São Paulo's colorful markets
  • Fly back to São Paulo and explore the Municipal Market, sampling exotic fruits, such as passion fruit, star fruit, guava and cashew
  • Celebrate your last night together with happy hour drinks of craft beer and cocktails followed by typical petiscos (Brazilian tapas)
Tchau, Brazil
  • Pack your bags and take a taxi to the airport for your onward journey home; your Pack Leader will make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time

Our Favorite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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Pousada Rio Mutum, Pantanal

A boutique back-to-nature eco-lodge immersed in the wild wetlands. Rooms are simple and elegant with traditional tiled floors and exposed beams, while the outdoor pool is the perfect place to unwind after a sunrise canoe ride, horseback safari or nocturnal wildlife excursion. 

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Novotel Rio Leme, Rio de Janeiro

You’ll have surf and sand right on your doorstep at this smart, 4-star hotel, just 5 minutes’ walk from Copacabana Beach. Kick back with a caipirinha at the rooftop bar and soak up the phenomenal views of the ocean and Christ the Redeemer statue – particularly atmospheric at night. 

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Pousada Porto Imperial, Paraty

Set along a cobbled street in the historic heart of Paraty, Pousada Porto Imperial is in a lovingly converted warehouse dating from 1804. Colonial-style rooms, a pool shaded with tropical foliage & an attractive open-air lounge all add to the character of this charming riverside guesthouse.    

Important Notes

Which airport should I fly in and out of? Plus airport code

Fly into and out of São Paulo (GRU).

What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?

The plan is to meet at around 5 pm on Day 1 of the adventure, so please book a flight that arrives before 3 pm if you can.

Are airport transfers included?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

We don’t offer a departure transfer as Flashpackers leave at different times of the day and many stay for extra nights. We will offer you support with finding a local taxi.

Are tips included?

Tips are not included in this adventure. Your Pack Leader can advise on suitable amounts to tip local activity guides or services where appropriate, and we will provide a suggested tipping budget closer to your departure date. Please note that all tipping is optional and will depend on what you feel comfortable with.

How much should I budget per day for extras?

Approximately 50 USD per day for extra meals and drinks.

Am I guaranteed to spot wildlife in the Pantanal?

Wildlife sightings can never be guaranteed but the rivers, lakes and grasslands of the Pantanal are the best places to spot wild animals in the Americas. Thanks to its seasonally flooded open habitat, capybara, anaconda, peccary, giant otter, meter-long macaws and ocelots are common sights. At times, the number of water birds, raptors and parrots can be mind-boggling. Although jaguars are found in the Pantanal, they don’t live in the area that you’ll be visiting.

In the rainy season (October to March) rivers break their banks and flood the surrounding lowlands, creating a beautiful patchwork of shallow lakes, marshes, grasslands and forests. In the dry season (April to September) wildlife clusters around water holes, making it easier to spot.

While you are sure to have an incredible experience whatever time of year you visit, it’s best to avoid travelling with a checklist.

Will I need a visa?

Up-to-date visa and entry information can be found using our official partner, Sherpa, who can help you arrange a visa if needed.

You can also find essential travel advice – including security and local laws, as well as passport and visa information – on the government website of your home country:

Please be aware that passport and visa requirements can change before departure, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest information.

What vaccinations and medication will I need?

While we are not medical professionals and cannot offer personalized medical advice, we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable adventure. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Consult with a healthcare professional

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your travel nurse or doctor at least eight weeks before your adventure. This will give you ample time to receive any necessary vaccines or medications.

2. Up-to-date medical advice

3. Government travel advice

4. Medication tips

If you take prescription medication, ensure you bring enough to last the entire adventure, plus a few extra days in case of travel delays. Carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need to visit a clinic while abroad.

We hope this information will help you prepare for a safe and healthy adventure.

Will the itinerary change?

Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh.

Your experience in the Pantanal wetlands will be different according to the season. During the rainy season (October to March) much of the area will be flooded and land safaris may be replaced with boat rides.

Will I have the same Pack Leader for the whole trip?

On this trip, you’ll actually have four different Pack Leaders.

That’s because laws and regulations in Brazil mean that guides cannot work in different states unless they have a specific license to do so (it’s very rare to find someone with a license to cover all the locations in this itinerary).

As this trip covers four different regions of Brazil, you’ll have a different Pack Leader for every stage of your trip – each with incredible expert knowledge and guidance specific to their local area.

Rest assured that you’ll be well looked after at all times, from the moment you land in one location until you depart to your next location. For example, your São Paulo Pack Leader will take you to the airport for your flight to the Pantanal and you’ll be met at the other end.

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