Brazil is a country abundantly blessed with natural beauty. Atlantic rainforest tumbles down rugged mountain ranges, soft-sand beaches are framed by swaying coconut palms and washed by clear blue waters and the flora and fauna is among the most colourful on the planet. Add to this year-round hot sunny weather, welcoming locals and a real party spirit, and you´ve got all the makings of the trip of a lifetime. Cruz the Coast trips take travellers to all the best spots – from major tourist destinations to hidden treasures – so you´ll know you´re seeing the best of Brazil.
Known in Brazil as ´the marvellous city´, Rio is simply spectacular. The beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana are two of the world´s most famous stretches of sand, and the Christ Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Maracana Soccer Stadium are legends in their own right. Rio is also home to the world´s largest swathe of urban jungle – Tijuca National Park – and is famous for its non-stop party action. This is the city of Carnival and Reveillon, after all! Rio´s size and frenetic energy can be intimidating to the first-time visitor, but Cruz the Coast will make sure you visit the best bars and beaches while paying the best prices and mingling with the most interesting of people.
Often compared to the Caribbean, this beautiful beach town has crystal clear waters and a unique ecosystem that counts turtles, toucans, parrots – and even penguins and whales at certain times of year – among its native inhabitants. With Cruz the Coast you will take an included boat cruise around the bay, visiting hidden coves and pristine white beaches as well as the famous Blue Cave. This cruise includes refreshments and several stops for sun-bathing, swimming and snorkelling.
Set on a peninsula that enjoys more sunny days per year than virtually anywhere else in Rio de Janeiro state, the lovely coastal resort of Buzios was a sleepy fishing village until screen siren Brigitte Bardot arrived in the 1960s to holiday with her Brazilian boyfriend of the time. The international press arrived to snap the beauty lying on idyllic beaches in her bikini, and Buzios was reborn as a major Brazilian tourist attraction. Today it is a chic beach resort and the preferred weekend getaway for wealthy and beautiful cariocas (locals of Rio). As well as scores of gorgeous beaches – from secluded spits of sand to busy surfer hangouts – you can expect to find a buzzing nightlife scene and superior restaurants.
The capital of Espirito Santo state, Vitoria is located on the largest island of a beautiful archipelago and is famed for its perfectly-preserved colonial buildings, imposing ports, long beaches and picturesque tree-lined streets. The six-kilometre promenade is a big focal point, attracting runners, cyclists and others just taking a stroll and enjoying the view. Vitoria is famous for its lively night life too, with partiers flocking to the famous ‘Bermuda Triangle’ area – where all the best restaurants, bars and clubs are located.
The picture-perfect village of Itaunas is a real treat for nature-lovers and partiers alike. Home to brightly-painted houses that lie on the banks of a wide river, Itaunas sits at the entrance of a huge eco-reserve that counts giant sand dunes, unspoilt beaches, mangrove forests and abundant native wildlife among its many charms. By night the village moves to the sounds of forro. This accordion-led music, famed for its sensual dance style, is much-loved across Brazil. In July, a forro festival held in Itaunas attracts Brazlians in their thousands!
This well-preserved historic town was one of the first settlements built by the Portuguese, and dates back to the early 1500s. While the whitewashed colonial buildings make for perfect photo opportunities, the beaches are ideal for working on that golden tan. Nightlife is lively here too, with street drink stalls and beach parties making for a fun, budget-friendly night out.
Passengers on Cruz the Coast trips between Rio and Salvador are offered the chance to take a day trip to this tiny cliff top coastal town. Trancoso, with its colourful colonial homes, leafy village square and little whitewashed church is reached by an early-morning low-tide walk along gorgeous long stretches of beaches from Arraial. Those up for the 3-4 hour walk will be well rewarded with stunning panoramic views across the cliffs and ocean.
One of the major highlights of Northern Brazil, the coastal town of Itacare is home to perfect white-sand beaches with excellent surf – some of the best surfing in Brazil can be found here – while the dense Atlantic rainforest that surrounds the town is sprinkled with natural pools, lagoons and waterfalls. The town is also famous for its capoeira and opportunities for adventure sports, and reggae-lovers will be right at home in the super-chilled beach bars and clubs.
If you are looking for a place to kick back and relax after partying hard in Rio or Salvador, Morro de Sao Paulo is the place. Not to be confused with the metropolis that is Sao Paulo city, this place is the polar opposite. The pace of life is wonderfully slow, the beaches are insanely beautiful, and the beach parties are legendary.
One of Brazil’s most iconic cities, this former Brazilian capital lays claim to the highest concentration of colonial buildings in the Americas. Its colourful historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At times feeling more like Africa than Brazil, Salvador is renowned for the African influences that can be seen, heard and tasted on the streets of this fascinating city.
One of the most beautiful towns in Rio de Janeiro state, Paraty is a perfectly-preserved colonial gem surrounded by blue seas, lush rainforest and towering mountains. The cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings take you back to the era of gold rushes and pirates. A boat trip around the bay will take in hidden coves, isolated beaches and glorious views. Paraty is also famous for its locally-produced cachaca – that legendary Brazilian fire-water – and each year hosts a lively weekend cachaca festival.
The name translates as ‘big island’. This vast nature reserve island just off the Green Coast of Rio state is the place to come for rest and relaxation after partying in the city. Home to over 100 unspoiled beaches and untroubled by cars, Ilha Grande is famous for its clear waters, nature trails, and the lovely laid-back nightlife of Abraao – the small village that is the jumping off point for boats arriving from the mainland.