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Inaugural South American Journey

Embark on a breathtaking cruise from Bridgetown, traversing the mystique of Devil's Island, the vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro, to the coastal gems of Porto Belo and Santos. A fusion of culture and coastlines awaits.

Cruise Only
16 nights

Luxury Holiday
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fortaleza, Brazil
Bridgetown, Barbados

Call us now on 01756 706500 to secure your cabin!

EJ

With a quest for Carnival, the fates bring us to Brazil to experience not one but two of the most epic celebrations in Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. We follow the sound of beating drums to the South American continent where hips sway with a tangible ease.

To prepare for the festivities, we begin on the sybaritic beaches of Barbados, the birthplace of rum and home to UNESCO-listed turquoise bays. Carpe diem and all that we call on the untamed Devil’s Island. Tender ashore to this infamous French penal colony where Emperor Napoleon III once cast his political enemies. Today, however, the only thing unyielding is the wild jungles that frame Instagram-worthy photos. The round shoulder of Brazil welcomes us to Fortaleza where the bohemian beaches are amongst the widest and sparkle with shifting dunes that are ripe for “sand surfing.” Timing is everything and our arrival in Salvador de Bahia is impeccable. In the UNESCO-protected heart of this 500-year-old city, we join the world’s largest street party at our first Carnival. Here, in the country’s African soul, Salvador beats to a rhythm all its own fuelled by Afro Bloco (drum-based troupes) with massive drumlines that will blow your mind.

Now it’s the mesmeric sounds of the samba that call us to Rio de Janeiro, where we arrive on the most fervent night of its infamous Carnival. Flamboyant floats, ostentatious costumes, choreographed dancers and acrobats all pulsate in the Samba Parade. To describe the spectacle as a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience would be an understatement until you opt to go behind the scenes at Samba School or don your own costume and join the riotous revelry. With the advent of Lent, we find wellness at sea then tuck into Pôrto Belo to check out wildlife of the natural world. Then the Manhattan-like skyline of São Paulo draws us in as a cosmopolitan basecamp for expeditions to Iguazu Falls, the mighty Amazon rainforest, mystical Machu Picchu, and further into the deepest reaches of the continent.

EJ137 Operated by Explora Journeys

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Inaugural South American Journey Itinerary

Day 1 - Bridgetown

Gently breeze into the vibrant capital of Barbados. Steeped in fascinating history, with architecture to match, uncover the wonderfully laid-back West Indian ambiance. Embrace the slow Bajan rhythm of this welcoming island; surf, snorkel and try spotting turtles in balmy azure waters. Explore subterranean Harrison’s Cave, Jacobean St Nicholas Abbey and zipline high above bountiful tropical flora. Then return to restore on pastel pink sands at palm-studded beaches, where you’ll discover cocktail hour is endless, and measures of rum are copious.

Day 3 - Devil's Island

At first glance, Devil’s Island looks like paradise. Dotted with towering palm trees and surrounded by sparkling waters, this idyllic isle was once where Emperor Napoleon III imprisoned his enemies. Immortalised in “Papillon,” the hauntingly beautiful ruins hold secrets one shudders to imagine. Discover the mysteries for yourself on footpaths that ring the island and lead to ghostly churches built by prisoners. All that remains is the pristine jungle teaming with peacocks and monkeys, brilliant bougainvillea and butterflies. As you leave Devil’s Island, you realise you will forever be prisoner to its beauty.

Day 6 - Fortaleza

Two words define the capital of Ceará State: sun and party. In this “City of Light”, prevalent sunny skies reign over 25 kilometres of glistening white beaches punctuated with palm trees, lagoons, dunes and stunning red cliffs. For two centuries, Fortaleza was a sleepy fishing village preserved in its candy-coloured cultural centre. Now, it is a vital port brimming a creative spirit for fashion, art and imaginative thinking. Groove to a resort vibe fuelled by the national cocktail, cachaca, and the endemic e-music, Farro, for the perfect combination of sun, sand, and sea.

Day 9 - Salvador de Bahia

Colours explode around you, the sun sparkles and the people — all sexy. Set on a pretty peninsula, stunning beaches surround Brazil's first capital. African slaves were brought here to build it into one of the most opulent cities in the New World. Colonial Pelourinho, a UNESCO heritage site, commemorates this history. Its cobblestone streets wind past brightly coloured buildings, squares filled with musicians and dancers. One of the world’s biggest carnivals raves in February. Indulge in fantastic food, Moqueca and caipirinha cocktails, samba and capoeira in the pulsing epicentre of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Day 10 - Salvador de Bahia

Colours explode around you, the sun sparkles and the people — all sexy. Set on a pretty peninsula, stunning beaches surround Brazil's first capital. African slaves were brought here to build it into one of the most opulent cities in the New World. Colonial Pelourinho, a UNESCO heritage site, commemorates this history. Its cobblestone streets wind past brightly coloured buildings, squares filled with musicians and dancers. One of the world’s biggest carnivals raves in February. Indulge in fantastic food, Moqueca and caipirinha cocktails, samba and capoeira in the pulsing epicentre of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Day 12 - Rio de Janeiro

‘Cidade Maravilhosa’, the Marvellous City, Rio constantly finds ways to surprise – whether it’s the tropical rainforest within, Tijuca National Park, the soul-stirring views from towering Christ the Redeemer or Sugarloaf Mountain. Marvel at the unique “favela” neighbourhoods that are precariously stacked up-and-down hillsides or the spectacular, modernist Niemeyer-designed architecture. Home to legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, and the mind-blowing spectacle of Rio Carnival in February, the entire city seems to sway to the infectious rhythms of samba. An astonishing depth of discovery few cities in the world offer.

Day 13 - Rio de Janeiro

‘Cidade Maravilhosa’, the Marvellous City, Rio constantly finds ways to surprise – whether it’s the tropical rainforest within, Tijuca National Park, the soul-stirring views from towering Christ the Redeemer or Sugarloaf Mountain. Marvel at the unique “favela” neighbourhoods that are precariously stacked up-and-down hillsides or the spectacular, modernist Niemeyer-designed architecture. Home to legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, and the mind-blowing spectacle of Rio Carnival in February, the entire city seems to sway to the infectious rhythms of samba. An astonishing depth of discovery few cities in the world offer.

Day 14 - Rio de Janeiro

‘Cidade Maravilhosa’, the Marvellous City, Rio constantly finds ways to surprise – whether it’s the tropical rainforest within, Tijuca National Park, the soul-stirring views from towering Christ the Redeemer or Sugarloaf Mountain. Marvel at the unique “favela” neighbourhoods that are precariously stacked up-and-down hillsides or the spectacular, modernist Niemeyer-designed architecture. Home to legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, and the mind-blowing spectacle of Rio Carnival in February, the entire city seems to sway to the infectious rhythms of samba. An astonishing depth of discovery few cities in the world offer.

Day 16 - Porto Belo

Set on the serpentine coastline of the sparkling "Emerald Coast" and surrounded by lushly forested mountains, Pôrto Belo radiates quaint fishing village charm. There is no other place where you will feel more in harmony with nature than in Florianópolis, Pôrto Belo’s connection to its peninsula of lush rainforest and glorious beaches. Warm and cool waters meet here, attracting an incredible diversity of marine life. Abundantly rich in natural beauty and centuries-old Azorean culture, Pôrto Belo exudes a diversity unlike anywhere else in the world.

Day 17 - Santos

“Sampa” is everything on a grand scale. It is Brazil’s largest city and the world’s seventh most populated. With its trademark wide avenues and Manhattan-like skyline, São Paulo is a vibrant financial centre offering a cosmopolitan coalescence of world-class restaurants, a world-renowned arts scene, and a rich architectural tradition ranging from neo-Gothic to modernist to colonial. The club scene is 24/7 where sertanejo and samba set the mood. You’ll find the city the perfect place to linger longer before or after your journey or venture further inland to experience Iguazzu Falls, one of the world’s wonders, El Calafate in Patagonia, where you can trek to the birthplace of glaciers, or the Amazon Rainforest to behold the “lungs of the earth”.

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