Discover Brazil's exciting Rio De Janeiro, and take a cable car ride up to Brazil's world-renowned Sugar Loaf. Hike in Rio’s Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world. Explore Ouro Preto’s well-preserved Portuguese colonial architecture, its 18th- and 19th-century churches decorated with gold and the sculptured works of Aleijadinho, and visit some of the gold towns including Marina and Sabará, founded in 1711, which was one of the most productive gold mines at the time.

Country Information


Brazil Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)


(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways


Adventure Travel

(Tour Length)

8 Days

Tour Highlights

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  • Take a cable car ride up to Brazil’s world-renowned Sugar Loaf, with its all-encompassing views from a 270-meter/886-foot high lookout
  • Enjoy a private tour of Rio’s Tijuca Forest, with a hike in this, the largest urban forest in the world
  • Discover Belo Horizonte, and its Pampulha District, famous for the works of three of Brazil’s renowned artists, who helped create the neighborhoods around its manmade lake
  • Explore Ouro Preto’s well-preserved Portuguese colonial architecture, its 18th- and 19th-century churches decorated with gold and the sculptured works of Aleijadinho
  • Visit other fascinating gold towns including Marina and Sabará, founded in 1711, was one of the most productive gold mines at the time

Day 1: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s most vibrant city. After claiming your luggage, exit customs, where a representative from Big Five will be waiting to escort you to your hotel.  This afternoon, begin your exploration of this fascinating city at Lapa Arches. See the modern cathedral on the way to 15th of November Square in the heart of downtown Rio. See the French architectural influence that is found in Banco do Brasil Cultural Center and Casa Franca-Brasil (France-Brasil foundation), which was designed by the famous French architect Grandjean de Montigny. It is the finest example of the neoclassical style in the city. Continue to Marechal Floriano Square, also known as Cinelandia. This square concentrates the best of late 18th-century French style architecture, and includes the Municipal Theatre, a scaled-down version of the Paris Opera house; the Fine Arts Museum; the National Library (reputed worldwide for its copies of Gutemberg's Bible and other first editions dating back to 1500, which were brought to Brazil by the imperial family of Portugal when they came to Brazil fleeing Napoleon's threat. You will see a fine example of baroque art, usually unnoticed, in the Sao Bento Monastery. Enjoy a cup of coffee at Confeitaria Colombo Restaurant, a traditional restaurant that is part of the city's cultural heritage. Its magnificent salons are lined with ornate jacaranda-framed mirrors imported from Belgium at the turn of the century. The art nouveau decor is found throughout its showcases, furniture, fittings, ceiling lights and even the floor. Emiliano hotel Rio de Janeiro – Ocean View Room

Day 2: Rio De Janeiro
Today you enjoy a private tour of Tijuca Forest and Corcovado Mountain. Tijuca Forest is the largest urban forest in the world, covering the hills of Rio and is easily accessible from the city.  You enter the forest through the tree farm where the contrast between the forest and the city that surrounds it. A brief stop at the "Cachoeira dos Macacos" (Monkey Waterfall) will give you the opportunity to appreciate the mix of African and European cults – Macumba. At "Vista Chinesa" (Chinese View), you learn about the history of the reforestation process of the Tijuca Forest and the importance of the Atlantic jungle. See Mesa do Imperador, where the imperial family used to picnic, and Cascatinha Waterfall. Mayrink Chapel offers fantastic views, lush tropical vegetation, colorful butterflies and birds. If you are lucky, you may see monkeys and sloths. Enjoy a trek of approximately one hour on an easy trail, where you learn more about the ecology of the forest. Then visit the most iconic symbol of Brazil, the 36.6-meter/120-foot statue of Christ the Redeemer atop the hunchback Corcovado Mountain. At Corcovado train station, board the cogwheel train for a brief ride up the mountain to the statue's base at about 732 meters/2,400 feet.  The stunning 360-degree panoramas show the great sweep of this amazing city, its beaches and Guanabara Bay.  Marvel at the construction sculpture features and outstretched arms spreading above the Rio de Janeiro. After lunch, you are free to explore the city independently. Emiliano hotel Rio de Janeiro – Ocean View Room (B) 

Day 3: Rio De Janeiro
This afternoon, you take in the world-renowned Sugar Loaf, which is reached on a two-stage cable car ride. This Italian-made cable car carries 80 persons per trip on brief ride – just two-minutes for each stage. The first stage, Morro da Urca, has a restaurant, amphitheater, a helipoint offering optional scenic rides. From this stage, you enjoy great views of the Yacht Club and Botafogo Bay. The second stage takes you up to the Sugar Loaf. The all-encompassing views of from this 270-meter/886-foot high lookout are unrivaled. This is a wonderful place to catch the sunset.Emiliano hotel Rio de Janeiro – Ocean View Room (B) 

Day 4: Rio De Janeiro / Belo Horizonte
Transfer to the airport to board your flight to Belo Horizonte. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. This afternoon, discover the city passing by residential areas to reach Pampulha District, famous for its integrated project by three, world-renowned artists. It includes Oscar Niemeyer's first public buildings; Roberto Burle Marx and his integrated gardens and landscaping; and Candido Portinari who painted the interior of the Saint Francis of Assisi Church. The area also houses the art museum, yacht club, soccer stadium and Minas Gerais University. Ouro Minas Palace – Premium Room (B)

Day 5: Belo Horizonte / Congonhas / Ouro Preto
This morning, you depart for Ouro Preto, with a stop in Congonhas, one of few remaining gold rush towns. You see Aleijadinho's sculptural masterpiece, the Twelve Prophets, in soapstone, and the representation of the Via Crucis, in polychromatic woodwork. Aleijadinho life-size sculptures of the apostles is considered the greatest art treasure in Brazil. You also visit Cathedral Basilica and its famous 18th-century German-made organ, its gold inlaid wood panels with oriental-style decoration and the Via Crucis chapels. Continue on to Ouro Preto, founded in 17th century. Its reached its height in the 18th century under Portuguese rule.  It is a masterpiece of colonial architecture and a UNESCO Cultural Patrimony of Mankind Site. Solar Do Rosario Hotel – Double deluxe (B) 

Day 6: Ouro Preto
Ouro Preto was founded in the early 18th century and is a masterpiece of colonial architecture.  It is a UNESCO Cultural Patrimony of Mankind. One of the highlights of a visit to Ouro Preto is the Church of St. Francis of Assissi, a singular example of Brazilian religious architecture, designed and sculpted in wood and soapstone by Aleijadinho.  The Museum of the School of Mines presents a complete mineralogical view of Brazil, in addition to displays of geological artifacts from other countries.  The Church of Our Lady of Pilar is noted as a prime illustration of architecture at the height of the golden age, with its carved works painted entirely in gold. Ouro Preto is also the only place you will find Imperial Topaz gemstones.  Casa dos Contos is a beautiful 18th-century building that houses a collection of gold coins from the colonial period. Lunch will be a taste of typical Mineira dishes of the region. Then, you will visit Mariana, a short distance from Ouro Preto. Founded in 1711, it became known during the gold rush era as a place where you could easily find gold in the riverbeds. Visit Mariana, designated a National Heritage Town in 1945. See the cathedral, famous for its 8th-century German manufacture organ, and oriental-style wall paintings; the Archidiocesan Museum with important its religious baroque art collection, furniture, paintings and silver objects; Minas Gerais Plaza, an architectural complex with the chamber house and jail, the churches of Carmo and São Francisco; and the Pillory, where slaves were punished. Solar Do Rosario Hotel – Double deluxe (B,L) 

Day 7: Ouro Preto – Sabará - Ouro Preto
Today, be prepared to visit two of the most important areas in Ouro Preto. Mariana 12km.7.5 mi from Ouro Preto, founded in 1711 was Minas Gerais state first capital. When it was first discovered Gold could be easily found in riverbeds. Mariana is a National Heritage Town since 1945 and its highlights are: Cathedral - and its famous 18th Century German manufacture organ, and oriental style wall paintings; Archidiocesan Museum with an important religious baroque art collection, furniture, paintings and silver objects; Minas Gerais Plaza - an architectural complex with the Chamber House and Jail, the churches of Carmo and São Francisco and the Pillory, a place where slaves were punished.

Sabará, 27 km/17 mi from Belo Horizonte, was founded in 1711 and was one of the most productive in the gold mining years of the 18th century along with Ouro Preto and Mariana. The Gold Museum, in the former Casa da Intendência (Mayor's Manor), has a collection of scaled models of the gold mines in the area and mining systems and artifacts. Nossa Senhora do Ó Church has displays of wood panels painted using Chinese techniques, while Our Lady of Carmo Church features sculptures and engravings by "Aleijadinho".  The theater here is one of only two Elizabethan theaters in Brazil.  While the gold has long been gone, the mines can still be visited, especially the most noted – Chico Rei mine, dating from the 1700s. Solar Do Rosario Hotel – Double deluxe (B,L)

Day 8: Ouro Preto / Belo Horizonte / Sao Paulo / Depart
Transfer back to Belo Horizonte to the airport for you flight home. (B)


Land price, per person, double occupancy:  From US$600 per person per day

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