Tailor-Made Tours

Introduction to Brazil


Cultural and diverse contrasts are abound in Brazil – stand in awe of Christ the Redeemer towering above the exhilarating city of Rio de Janeiro, home of the samba and bossa nova. Experience the colourful folklore, rich traditions and delicious cuisine of Salvador or the beaches and Baroque architecture of the cities in the northeast.


Spend some time relaxing in the Portuguese colonial centre of Paraty with its amazing backdrop of jungled, rugged mountains. Visit the extreme natural wonder of the Amazon Jungle and the vast Pantanal, each a haven for Brazil’s diverse wildlife or be inspired by the sheer size of Iguazu Falls (Foz do Iguaçu) which borders with Argentina. With a country so rich and full of diverse experiences, let our team of experts help you to tailor create a holiday in Brazil that is right for you.

Brazil Map



Rio de Janeiro is famed for Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Christ the Redeemer statue (38 metres tall) atop Mount Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain – a granite peak equipped with a cable car to take visitors to its summit. The city is also known for its sprawling favelas (shanty towns) as well as the raucous Carnival festival, featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and samba dancers. Carnival is considered the world’s largest.  The city also has many excellent restaurants and museums and couple of days are needed to explore this famous city.


The Pantanal, south of Cuiaba, is said to be the largest wetlands on earth covering 230,000 sq km. The area is richly forested with abundant wildlife and flora, including numerous species of mammals, reptiles, plants, and over 600 types of birds. You can hike, ride horses or make photographic safaris into the area by boat, canoe and jeep, and if you’re fortunate you might get photos of tapirs, anteaters, capybaras and, with a little more luck and a visit to the right region, jaguars, hyacinth macaws, and even maned wolves. The dry season (June to October) is the best time for wildlife viewing


The delightful colonial port of Paraty is a reminder of a bygone era.  This tiny port once shipped huge amounts of gold and diamonds via Rio to Portugal and this brought pirates, smuggling and intrigue that all played their part in Paraty’s colourful history.  When new overland routes were found to avoid the pirates, Paraty lost its importance – but none of its allure.  Located on the coast 260km southwest of Rio de Janeiro and surrounded by tropical rainforest, Paraty’s well-preserved buildings, beautiful churches and cobbled streets remain just as they were in colonial times.  Stroll along picturesque narrow streets that are lined with restaurants, cafes and art galleries, or visit other small towns nearby.


Although Carnival (Carnaval in Portuguese) is celebrated in towns and villages throughout Brazil and many other Catholic countries, Rio de Janeiro has long been regarded as the ‘Carnival capital of the world’. The Rio Carnival is not only the biggest – and one of the most interesting artistic events on the globe – but is also the benchmark against which every other carnival is compared. Almost everyone has heard of it! Foreign visitors alone number around 500,000 every year, with the total annual number of visitors in excess of 2 million.
Brazil’s world-famous annual festival and a party from dusk ’til dawn!
2017 Friday 24th February to Tuesday 28th February
2018 Friday 9th February to Tuesday February 13th February
2019 Friday 1st March to Tuesday 5th March


The Brazilian Amazon is massive (7 million square kilometres) and it’s quite a journey to reach Manaus (over 4 hours from Rio) – the gateway to Brazil’s famous Amazon River and and rainforest. Despite the enormity of the rainforest found  in Brazil the opportunities for viewing wildlife and the options for how you visit (lodges and river cruise boats) are in many ways more limited than the opportunities and options in Peru and Ecuador. Our experienced consultants can guide you through choosing the best option to suit you itinerary. One reason to go to Manaus, unrelated to the rainforest, would be to see the Amazon Theatre, an opera house which opened in 1896, another would be to see Amazon , or pink, river dolphins.

You can either stay at a comfortable lodge with expert guides and engaging activities or cruise the Amazon River on a comfortable river boat. To find out more about exploring the Amazon contact our friendly consultants.


For a different view of Brazil, spend some time in Salvador, the country’s original capital. Salvador is rich in Afro-Brazilian culture and colourful folklore and offers a great variety of Brazilian arts and crafts. The vibrant colonial area of Pelourinho in the historic ‘upper city’ is well worth visiting to sample the local Creole-style cuisine and see the women of Bahia in their traditional white lace dresses.


The Iguassu (Iguazu and Iguacu) Falls are on the border of Brazil and Argentina.  Whilst a higher percentage of the falls are on the Argentine side there are several benefits in visiting, or, in particular staying on the Brazilian side.

1.  Scenic flights by helicopter over the falls and surrounding forest operate throughout the day when conditions are appropriate – you get a very different perspective from above the falls.
2.  Visit to the Bird Park (Parque das Aves) where you’ll have the opportunity to see many of the rainforest’s most spectacular birds (macaws, toucans, scarlet ibis and harpy eagle to name a few).

3.  Guests of Belmond Das Cataratas, the only hotel inside Iguacu National Park, have exclusive access to the falls when the park is closed.  If you get up early (7am) and walk out the front door of the hotel within a few minutes you’ll be gazing at these magnificent falls with no one else around (during the day the same walkways/causeways may have several hundred people on them).


Carnival - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - February/March

Carnival’s origin can be traced back to ancient rites of spring and in the Middle Ages, after failing to suppress the pagan festivals, the Catholic Church decided to incorporate them into its own calendar – and European nations gave thanks by holding parties, wearing masks and dancing in the streets. The first festivals in South America date back to 1723 when Spanish, Portuguese and French colonists carried the tradition to the New World. In Brazil it arrived with a difference and prior to 1840 the streets of the towns ran riot, the Negro slaves quickly taking up the celebration and surrendering themselves to mad revelry over the three days leading up to Ash Wednesday.

Today Rio is, without question, the biggest and most famous Carnival in the world, with two million people a day on the streets. It begins on Friday night and the samba schools parade over the next four days up until ‘Mardi Gras’ (Fat Tuesday), with the winner announced on Ash Wednesday; the Winners’ Parade takes place on the Saturday after the carnival ends.

Carnival happens at the peak of summer when the ‘cariocas’ (Rio locals) are at their best and, just as every carioca loves their soccer team, every carioca also loves their samba school and the atmosphere and energy throughout the competition is electrifying! While the parade of floats is taking place in the Sambadrome and Carnival balls are being held in the Copacabana Palace Hotel, street festivals are happening on every corner – anyone can participate as pulsating samba music blares from neighbourhoods throughout the city and crowds gather to party all night long!

Carnival - Salvador, Brazil - February/March

Salvador de Bahia, the original capital of Brazil, is the most ‘African’ Brazilian city and the influences are clearly visible in the hot and spicy food, the colourful folklore, music and dances. And while Carnival in Rio is mostly taking place in the Sambadrome and the ballrooms, in Salvador the idea of samba schools and an organised parade is unknown – everything’s happening on the streets and beaches, going non-stop for six days, and largely free for all!

The centre of attention here is the Trio Elétrico, when dozens of bands (often some of the biggest names in Brazilian showbiz) make their way along the narrow streets on the back of huge trucks called ‘trios’, blasting out loud Axé music (a fusion of all kinds of styles), and are followed for hours by surging crowds of dancing people. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted or claustrophobic, and you may prefer to position yourself on grandstands along the streets and watch the mayhem from a distance. Usually one or more Trios and artists come together to form a ‘bloco’, an area created by ‘bodyguards’ that becomes an artificial, moving dance floor; you can pay to join any of them and will receive a colourful T-shirt identifying you as a member, with the privilege to dance and parade within the velvet ropes of the bloco of your choice. Those who dance alongside the Trios but outside of the ropes are referred to as ‘pipoca’ (popcorn), describing how the jumping crowd looks when seen from a distance!


SouthWild Jaguar Extreme (Brazil) – South America Travel Centre

From Cuiaba on set dates:

Jun-Aug & Oct-Nov

Combine your visit to SouthWild Pantanal eco-lodge with a 4 night stay at SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, an air-conditioned houseboat anchored a short way downstream from the mouth of the Three Brothers River, squarely in the heart of the Jaguar Zone, making it central for searching the river sections that have produced the best sightings of jaguars.  The reserve is a haven for exotic wildlife including the ‘big three’ mammals – Tapir, Giant Otter and Jaguar. The specialist trackers at SouthWild Jaguar are incredibly successful each season in locating good numbers of the wild jaguars that inhabit this area, claiming a 90% probability of sightings over a 3-day period.   

Built in 2010, the Jaguar Flotel provides simple, comfortable accommodation on two levels: 10 small, twin-bedded cabins aboard, and large newly-added Jaguar Suites on a barge anchored end-to-end with the vessel.  All have a split air-conditioner and an en suite bathroom with flush toilets and hot water showers, while the suites also have a desk and chairs for ease of writing or photo-editing on a laptop, and lots of electrical sockets for operating and recharging devices, a wide floor-to-ceiling window and a private screened porch.  There are two dining rooms, one air-conditioned with picture windows and the other open-air and screened, with large fans, and both look out over the mighty Cuiabá River and the wild Pantanal.  Additionally, guests can relax in hammocks, sunbathe, or enjoy breakfast, lunch, or after-dinner drinks on the Flotel’s partially-roofed top deck.

At night, the Flotel is powered by a special, night time generator located 40m away on the Jaguar Tug Boat, thus eliminating noise.


Located on the north-eastern bulge of continent is Natal. In the 16th century, the Portuguese built a fortress around which the town grew and, after brief occupation by the Dutch, it continued under Portuguese rule. Natal reflects all these influences and, situated between a river and the ocean, is best known for its excellent beaches and gigantic sand dunes, the highest and most impressive of which reach imposing heights of 50 metres.



Belmond Copacabana Palace

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Top class design and the finest facilities. Usually located in a spectacular setting it may be an exclusive hotel in a meticulously restored historic building, or recognised as the leading property of an international chain.


Casa Turquesa Boutique Hotel

Paraty, Brazil

A perfect alternative to the big brand hotels:
exclusive and independently-owned properties with a smaller number of rooms and highly personalised services.

First Class

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

Iguassu Falls, Brazil

High quality with an excellent room standard, a full range of facilities and first-rate service; may be a new property or regularly refurbished with attention to ongoing maintenance.

Tourist Superior

Hotel Villa Bahia

Salvador, Brazil

Very good standard (sometimes not far below first class, or may just have been overtaken by new hotels), has a better range of facilities than Tourist, and is often in a better location.


Cristalino Lodge

Mato Grosso (southern Amazon), Brazil

In the rainforests and jungles of Peru choose from a wide range of eco-lodges – from a comparatively luxurious retreat among the forest, to a complex of thatched cabañas in a lakeside location on a private reserve, to remote and rustic cottages offering a truly authentic experience. All lodges are eco-conscious and dedicated to conservation management and preservation of their environment.

River Boats

Amazon Clipper

Manaus (Amazon River), Brazil

Often the best way to observe dramatic scenery or experience the wonders in a world of amazing flora and fauna is by boat. And if you are looking for a voyage that will also offer the comfort of excellent facilities, there are several exclusive and sophisticated vessels that will fulfil your wish.

Tourist-superior and tourist class accommodation is also available. For more information on the accommodation we offer, call 1300 784 794 or email

Planning Your Trip

The Booking Process

South America Travel Centre can look after all aspects of your holiday, including flights and travel insurance.

We start by asking you what your interests are and where you are interested in, when, for how long, what standard and style of accommodation . Once we have a good understanding of just what you’re looking for, we can begin to create a holiday to meet your time and budget requirements and, most importantly, that will deliver interest and enjoyment in an experience to exceed your expectations.

Please book early. Many of the hotels, lodges and cruise vessels we recommend are relatively small.  This exclusivity combined with high demand means they can be booked out up to 6-8 months in advance.

If you’re thinking of travelling during any major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Easter, or during any festivals, our advice is simply to book as early as you can, even 12 months or more, and we can add flights as soon as they become available.

Visa and Health Information

Australian citizens do require a visa to enter Brazil – we will help you obtain this. You will need to hold a valid passport and have a return ticket when you arrival. Visitors are allowed to stay up to 183 days in Peru.

It is strongly recommended that all travellers to Brazil be vaccinated for yellow fever before commencing their trip.

Malaria is prevalent in some areas of Brazil. Your Travel Doctor will be able to advise you whether prophylaxis is required. Vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid as well as Influenza.  There are no compulsory vaccinations.

We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess any health risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.

The Best Time To Go

You can travel to Peru year-round. Given the range of terrain – rainforest, semi-desert and high altitude – temperatures and rainfall vary with each region you travel through.

Flight Information

We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Latin America are LATAM Airlines, QANTAS Airlines and Air New Zealand. We can also arrange internal flights for you within Latin America.

Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll request the details of all of your fights to ensure if there are any changes your transfers and other arrangements are adjusted accordingly.


  • Is Rio Carnival worth all the hype? Our answer is an unequivocal yes....

  • One of the many highlights of South America is undoubtedly the magnificent Iguazu Falls. Situated on the border of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls is one of the widest waterfalls in the world spanning a width of 2,700m across, consisting of 275 individual falls, and spilling 13 million liters of water over the falls every second. I have always been an enthusiast for nature’s wonders and to say the Iguazu Falls were amazing is an understatement. The day I spent exploring this natural wonder left me humbled and in awe of its size and power. Below is a brief overview of my day tour of Iguazu Falls, Argentina and what you can expect....


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