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A Never-Ending Carnival in Brazil

Travel for eight days from the Marvelous City of Rio de Janeiro to some of the country's natural wonders.

Brian McMahon
Origin travel writer

Brazil is a kaleidoscope of colors, from the chromatic neighborhoods of vibrant Rio de Janeiro down to the lime-green caipirinhas. The most biodiverse country in the world, there’s a constant sensation that Brazil is exploding with life, whether you're shaking your hips at a samba bar or diving in one of the coastal coral reefs.

Take an eight-day journey across the country to see for yourself.

Trip Overview
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  • 3 nights in Rio de Janeiro
  • 2 nights at Iguazu Falls
  • 3 nights in Trancoso
Days 1–3: Rio de Janeiro

The map says Rio de Janeiro, the postcards say the Marvelous City, but when you say it aloud, it’s simply Rio. The seamless progression from tropical mountains to urban center to seductive beaches is truly one of a kind and Cariocas, as the locals are known, look for any reason to celebrate their city’s uniqueness. Whether it’s Carnival, a football game, or just a night out in the lively Lapa district, you’ll be sure to find a reason or two yourself.

Your Stay: Fasano
One of the best views in Rio

Even Christ the Redeemer would be envious of the views from Fasano’s rooftop, made all the better by an infinity pool and free-flowing caipirinhas. Everything downstairs is just as fascinating as up top, from the elegant dark wood walls and designer furniture to the king-size beds in every room. Ipanema Beach is Fasano’s front yard, so you’re never more than a few steps away from sinking your toes in the sand.

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You could call Brazil the world's greenhouse, and Rio's Botanical Garden is the most accessible way to experience the thousands of plant species that exist throughout the country.

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Hit the beach like the Cariocas do: by bike. Take a scenic ride along iconic coastlines like Copacabana and Ipanema. Whenever you need a break, just hop off and jump in the water.

The bike path along Ipanema Beach
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View Rio from above on a private helicopter tour of the cidade maravilhosa. See Christ the Redeemer, the Sugar Loaf, the spectacular beaches, and forested hills.

Days 4–5: Iguazu Falls

Spelled Iguaçu on the Brazilian side, these waters easily earn their place as some of the most impressive in the world. Taller than Niagara and wider than Victoria Falls, you can admire the thundering majesty of Iguazu from Brazil and Argentina.

Your Stay: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

Belmond sets the bar for luxurious accommodations, but even the five-star amenities and gourmet restaurant take a backseat to the location of Hotel das Cataratas. It’s the only property on the Brazilian side of the national park, giving guests immediate access to thundering Iguazu Falls. And when the tour buses depart at the end of the day, you have this natural wonder all to yourself.

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The only way to truly understand the power of Iguazu is to get in the water. Board a high-speed Zodiac boat and get up close to the falls to really feel their might.

Plan to get wet on a boat ride to Iguazu
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You'll want to keep your passport somewhere dry so after you've hiked around the Brazil side of the falls, you can cross the border and see them from the Argentina side as well.

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A bird's eye view is necessary to fully take in the entire scope of Iguazu Falls. A 15-minute helicopter ride will show you just how momentous it is.

Days 6–8: Trancoso

The creator of the Uxua Hotel has said that "what makes Trancoso special is its simplicity," and it's true. There are no big-name restaurants or designer boutiques in this beach town, yet there's an energy that's attracted the likes of Beyoncé and Naomi Campbell. It won't take long for you to feel that same transcendent spirit.

Your Stay: Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa

If any hotel captures the essence of Trancoso, it’s Uxua. The designer was committed to authenticity, which shows in the Bahian cuisine, the colorful fishing-houses-turned-suites, and even in the name, which means "wonderful" in the Indigenous Pataxó language (pronounced oosh-wa). In line with the ethos of a sleepy fishing village, the most energy you’ll have to exert is the scenic trek through the mangrove trees to the white sand beaches.

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Trancoso's beaches are the highlight of this idyllic town. Natural tide pools are the first place to explore, but you can always dive deeper into the surrounding reefs. But sometimes the best activity is laying out and doing absolutely nothing.

A gorgeous place to lay back and relax
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Trancoso still feels like the sleepy fishing village it's been for decades. The town center, called the Quadrado, is a UNESCO-protected square with a 16th-century church and colorful houses. Tour the area while enjoying tropical Bahian cuisine.

Ready to come alive on your own trip to Brazil?

Chat with an Origin travel curator today for your own personalized itinerary and start planning your next trip to Brazil.