Best of Brazil A New Year's Journey by South American Escapes

Manaus Highlights

This immersive itinerary takes you into the heart and soul of the Brazilian experience. Begin your journey in Manaus, the city built in the heart of the Amazon by the Rubber Barons at the turn of the century; visit the opulent Teatro Amazonas where the first performance was given in 1897 by Enrico Caruso. Meander through the food stalls at the Adolpho Lisboa Municipal Market and sample the rich variety of Amazonian fruits that are mostly unknown outside of the Amazon region. Taste the mouth tingling “tacacá soup” made from jambu which leaves your mouth curiously numb as it is a relative of the coca plant. Here you can also see one of the largest fresh water fish on earth—the Pirarucu that can grow as large as 3 meters long. Afterwards cool off with an ice cold açaí juice at an outdoor café.

Teatro Amazonas - Manaus

In the evening dine at the award winning Banzeiro Restaurant where unusual Amazonian delicacies are featured. You may be hesitant to try the ants on manioc foam, but the delicious tambaqui ribs simply melt off the bone.

Tambaqui Ribs & Ants on Manioc Foam at Banzeiro Restaurant

Next day board a speedboat to see the awe inspiring “Meeting of the Waters” where the two great rivers, the Negro and the Solimões flow side by side for miles without their distinctive black and brown waters intermixing.

Meeting of the Waters

After spending the night at your upscale boutique hotel near the Teatro Amazonas, board a private sea plane and fly to the heart of the largest grouping of fresh water islands in the world—the Anavilhanas Archipelago.

Anavilhanas Archipelago

Here you will stay for the next three nights at one of the Amazon’s premier jungle lodges in a panoramic private bungalow. Your days are filled with explorations by motorized canoe into the backwaters and byways, discovering the rich abundant flora and fauna as well as visiting the local indigenous villages where you may get to know the lifestyle, traditions, agriculture and social organizations of the “caboclo” people. On your return to the lodge, stop by a special platform in the river where you may safely interact with the curiously pink river dolphins.

Panoramic Bungalow & Interacting with "Boto Cor de Rosa" Pink River Dolphins

Salvador da Bahia

From the Amazon, fly on to the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture, Salvador da Bahia on the North East coast of Brazil. Bahian culture is infused with African traditions—religion, music, cuisine, art, dance and festivals where they all merge creating a great kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, rhythms and spiritual beauty. Your five star boutique hotel is located in the heart of the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Pelourinho.

Salvador da Bahia - Historic Pelourinho District

This locale is considered the most important district for colonial architecture in the Americas and has been officially designated a National Treasure. In the evening attend a dance performance by the Balé Folclórico da Bahia featuring a seamless presentation of the multiple African traditions that underpin Bahian culture. On the following day visit Our Lady of Rosarios dos Pretos Church, which was built by slaves in the 18th century. If your visit coincides with the Sunday Mass service, hundreds of devotees fill up the church and the street outside. The ecstatic drumming and singing, is a fusion of Catholic liturgy and the music of Bahía’s Candomblé religion.

Irmandade da Boa Morte - "Sisterhood of the Good Death", Cachoeira - Bahia

In the afternoon watch a performance of Capoeira—Brazil’s hybrid of an Afro-rooted martial art and rhythmic dance form. Visit the Afro-Brazilian Museum with its collection of Candomblé religious artifacts and costumes used by the Orixas; the Gods worshiped in the African cults brought to Brazil by Yoruba slaves. Your guide, a scholar in Afro-Brazilian Religion and Culture will take you through the cobble-stoned streets to a terreiro to witness a Candomblé ceremony first hand. Afterwards dine at the Sorriso da Dadá, and sample the region’s specialty, a moqueca de peixe—a delicious caldron of seafood, coconut milk, azeite de dendê, cilantro and peppers.

Moqueca de Peixe - Bahian Seafood Stew

Trancoso, Bahia

After a short forty minute flight you will arrive in Trancoso, one of Brazil’s most fashionable and stunningly beautiful beach destinations. Trancoso’s powder white beaches open onto natural swimming pools protected by the reefs; its cliff-top village square, the Quadrado, is lined with artisanal boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Activities range from yoga classes and kayak trips on the waterlily dotted Rio Trancoso, to golf lessons and horseback riding on the beach. Your home for the next few days is a boutique hotel’s exclusive Tree House Suite where eco-consciousness meets summer palace meets Robinson Crusoe. Sprawling across three levels, this elevated tree house has an award winning interior built from reclaimed organic materials gathered from across Southern Bahia. While in Trancoso, visit the Pataxo indigenous tribe, take a cooking class in the Quadrado or drink caipirinhas ocean side at the private beach club. Trancoso’s laid back atmosphere is so finely tuned; it’s a place where relaxation has become an art form.

Cliffs of Trancoso
Pink Petals along the Path in Trancoso & The Interior of "The Treehouse"

Explore the many miles of pristine beaches in Trancoso.

Over 300-years ago moqueca was already being referred to in Portuguese colonial documents as a prominent dish of Brazil, where the culinary tastes of the new world were being shaped by native Indian, African, and of course Portuguese traditions. Bahia was the epicenter of this merging of influences. Take an afternoon off from the beach and learn how to make this wonderful dish in a private cooking class with Uxua's famous chef Luiz Hara.

Luiz in front of his homemade cakes, cooking moqueca, the final dish

There are also many cacao trees around the Uxua Casa Hotel and Chef Luiz loves to share his love of chocolate making with his guests. Take some time for a chocolate class with Chef Luiz.

Chocolate Class and Cacao Beans and homemade chocolate at Uxua
Take a capoeira class on The Quadrado

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

From Trancoso fly to Rio de Janeiro and for the next few days prepare for the world’s most spectacular New Year’s celebration on Copacabana Beach. Nestled on an alluvial strip of land between Guanabara Bay and the Tijuca Forest and extending down to the sea, Rio’s dramatic setting has long been the inspiration for artists, musicians, poets and writers. Beyond its iconic sites, the glistening white sands of Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, the prominent Christ the Redeemer, Rio has much to wow visitors, including lush botanical gardens and historic colonial neighborhoods whose architecture chronicles Brazil’s history. The culmination of your journey is the famous New Year’s Celebration on Copacabana Beach. A spectacular way to ring in the New Year!

New Year's Eve on Copacabana Beach

Your journey will be a private, customized travel experience, based on your individual schedule, interests and budget.

Request your customized itinerary at www.SouthAmericanEscapes.com

Jill Siegel is an award winning Brazil Travel Agent and Brazil Travel Specialist who has been wowing her clients with her creative approach to travel planning for over 25 years. With her extensive network of key connections throughout Brazil and South America, Jill has been able to create extraordinary custom designed journeys that many of her clients have described as “once in a lifetime.” For the past 8 years, she has been recognized and included on the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s “Top Travel Specialists List.”

© SOUTH AMERICAN ESCAPES 2017

Created By
Jill Siegel
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Created with images by OBORÉ / Projeto Repórter do Futuro - "Teatro Amazonas"

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