Rio. Copacabana Beach. Sugarloaf Mountain. Christ the Redeemer Statue. The Amazon Rainforest. These are a few of the things that come to one’s mind when you think of Brazil — our neighbor to the south has a well-deserved place as one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and rightly so!
So, want to explore all of those, and more? (Like those amazing pool-filled sand dunes, above?)
My journey-architect friend Kym Pham and I have wanted to visit Brazil for quite some time now, and we thought, what better way of doing that than to have an amazing group of like-minded adventurers with us as we do so!
Join us for an 9 day expedition packed full of some of the most amazing scenery, awesome side-trips, cultural experiences, and of course, plenty of churrascaria.
This adventure — Brazil x ALIVE — is scheduled for: August 11-19, 2018 and there will be 6 spots open for grabs–first come, first served!
Table of Contents
You’re looking at 9 days/8 nights of all-inclusive adventure*. Meals (besides lunch), tips, accommodation, transportation — all of that is set. All you need to do is show up in Rio on June 9th, then we get going.
The plan is to fly into the capital city of Rio de Janeiro, where we’ll meet up together over a welcome dinner. The next day we’ll start early and see as much of Rio as is possible — Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana Beach, Christ the Redeemer, etc. — before ending the evening with a samba class, dinner, and trip to check out the local nightlife. The next day we’ll board a domestic flight to the north, to Sao Luis, the Reggae capital of Brazil. We’ll explore the historic downtown before heading to Barreirinhas, the gateway to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. The next day we’ll hike over the dunes and jump in the crystal clear pools that magically appear at the end of every rainy season. The following day we’ll jump on some ATV’s to explore the coast and some other dunes a bit, before returning to Barreirinhas. After our visit in the north we’ll fly back to Rio, where we’ll grab a hang glider to explore the city from the air, and see and experience as much of the city as possible before our flight back on the 19th.
It will be a packed 9 days, that’s for sure. But hey, when you’re coming all the way to Brazil, you want to make the most out of your time there!
For more on our itinerary, see the Itinerary section, below.
* a couple optional activities, such as paragliding, are on your own dime if you choose to partake.
This will be an active trip, with a focus on adventure activities, sightseeing, and cultural experiences. We’ll be doing everything from ATV’ing over sand dunes, to hang gliding over Rio, river tubing, a bit of beach time, perhaps a boat or two — that kind of thing.
This will not be a luxury trip per se (as in, 5 star beach resorts or the like), but we’ll be making sure everyone is comfortable and provided for during our time together. We’ll of course tell you everything you need to bring with you, and make all of the arrangements — you don’t have to worry about a thing.
There will be a maximum of 6 spots available for this journey (not including Kym and I).
Kym and I met at a travel blogger’s meetup in New York City in early 2012, connecting right away through a shared passion for travel and adventure. I had already been on quite a few adventures myself at that point, and Kym was just gearing up to start her life of nearly full-time adventuring.
Since then we have explored Burning Man together, floated down rivers in Thailand, traversed the length of India on a rickshaw, enjoyed the many delicacies of Japan, celebrated in Barcelona, hung out with lemurs in Madagascar — hanging on a pretty consistent basis.
Over the years Kym went on to specialize in creating amazing experiences around the world for small groups of travelers (becoming an Instagram powerhouse in the process), while I went on to do a similar thing with my annual trips to Japan, as well as the one-off trips I’d do a couple of times every year for friends.
In 2016 we got to thinking that it would be fun to combine our powers and do a group trip together — the only tough part would be to pick an awesome spot to do it in! This culminated in our first co-led trip, to Madagascar, in 2017.
Well, Madagascar went so great that soon after it ended we began dreaming up where our next joint-venture would be. After going through our respective ‘lists’, we eventually agreed that Brazil would make an excellent choice!
We’ll be staying in three-star equivalent properties throughout our stay, at each of the three locations we are visiting (Rio, Sao Luis, and Barreirinhas).
We’ll have an Internet connection present (as much as is possible given the location), and each property will provide a complimentary breakfast for us as well.
Needless to say, there won’t be a ton of time spent in your hotel rooms on this particular adventure!
Dates are set for June 9th-June 17th.
Day 01: Fly to Rio de Janeiro (August 11)
Fly into Rio, where we will arrange transport to bring you to the hotel. We’ll meet up that evening for a group dinner so you can meet everyone, and go over the week’s itinerary together. If we have the energy, we may even check out some nightlife afterward (it is Saturday night after all…)
Day 02: Explore Rio (August 12)
We’ll start the day with an early breakfast, followed by a full day of sightseeing around the city — Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana, etc. That evening we’ll try our feet at a bit of samba (with some professional lessons), and head out to see the nightlife after dinner.
Day 03: Fly from Rio to Sao Luis (August 13)
After breakfast we’ll take a cab to the airport to board our four hour flight up north to Sao Luis. We’ll explore the old downtown area in the evening, and grab a special dinner in town to cap off the long day of travel.
Day 04: Drive from Sao Luis to Barreirinhas (August 14)
Drive to Barreirinhas, which will serve as our base of operations to explore Lencois Maranhenses National Park for the next couple days. We’ll explore the dunes in the late afternoon, with some hiking and swimming before we head back to town for dinner.
Day 05: Parque Nacional dos Lencois Maranhenses (August 15)
Today we’ll spend the entire day at the park, starting on the opposite side of where we explored the afternoon prior, and ending with an ATV tour of the rest of the park in the afternoon. After this we’ll head back into town for dinner.
Day 06: Barreirinhas to Sao Luis (August 16)
After lunch we’ll visit the village of Cardosa, where we will meet the families who live in the area and learn about their way of life. After lunch we’ll hop on the Rio Formiga river and leisurely tube down it along with a local guide, as they explain the flora and fauna along the way. After the river we’ll head back to Sao Luis, where we’ll be grabbing dinner.
Day 07: Drive back to Sao Luis, flight to Rio (August 17)
After breakfast we’ll get a transfer to the airport, where we’ll be flying back to Rio from. Upon arrival in Rio we’ll be transported to our hotel, where we’ll be grabbing dinner.
Day 08: Explore Rio (August 18)
Today we’ll be exploring the rest of Rio that we have yet to see. There will be time for an optional hang gliding session over the city, a hike up a local mountain, and a cruise to see the city from the water. That night we’ll get together for a farewell dinner, to be followed by one more trip to see the nightlife.
Day 09: Departure (August 19)
After breakfast at our hotel we’ll grab transport to the airport and say our goodbyes!
- Pay the entire balance at once, $3,790.00, or
- Pay a deposit of $2,000, with the rest ($2,290) due 30 days before departure (total: $4,290)
If you choose Option #2, the balance for the entire trip will be due 30 days before the start date of the trip (July 10, 2018). If your payment is not received by that day you may lose your initial deposit/place on the trip.
What the $3,790/$4,290 payment includes:
- 9 days/8 nights of accommodation (see Accommodation above)
- Double Occupancy in twin-bed rooms. If you are not traveling with a companion you will be matched up according to gender. If you want your own room this can be arranged for an extra $500.
- Guide services the entire time (Kym and I + driver and/or local guides, where applicable)
- Domestic airfare, from Rio to Sao Luis and back
- Airport pick-up/drop-off
- Breakfast & Dinner
- Guide & staff gratuity
- All taxes and surcharges
- All park and vehicle fees
- ATV rental fee in Lencois Maranhenses National Park
- Local highlights, such as dance classes, tubing down the river, boat rides, etc.
- All transport, fuel, and tolls
What the $3,790/$4,290 payment does NOT include:
- Flights to/from Rio (Airport code: GIG)
- Some optional activities, such as hang gliding over Rio
Weather & Packing
After heavy rains in the first few months of the year, most of the precipitation stops around June, allowing the best window to experience the dunes at Lencois Maranhenses National Park (which is why we are going in August).
Daytime in Rio is generally in the high 70’s Fahrenheit (27C), and the evenings are cool enough that you may want a hoodie or windbreaker with you just in case you get cold (63F/17C). Up north it’s a bit warmer, with daytime temperatures in the mid-80’s (32C), and evenings in the high 70’s (27F). Rain may fall, so it’s a good idea to bring a lightweight raincoat just in case.
What to wear? Anything you find comfortable! There won’t be any formal occasions on the trip, so feel free to bring whatever you’d like. I would recommend synthetic fabrics, cotton blends, or wool, as they’re great for any weather conditions. Definitely bring a couple pairs of shorts, a pair of jeans, a pair of hiking pants, T-shirts, a lightweight waterproof jacket, bathing suit, a nightlife outfit, a hoodie/fleece, and about a trip’s worth of socks and underwear (laundry services will be available to the hotels, but since we are only staying a night or two at each place it’s best to bring enough for the entire trip).
Insects aren’t much of an issue, but there are some mosquitos in and around Rio (see Immunizations, below). Bring bug spray — either DEET- or Picardin-based.
However, when crimes do occur, it is generally of the petty theft variety, especially when travelling in a group, as we are. The only area where this would even be an occurrence would be during out 2+ days in Rio, and we’ll be spending much of the time there with a local guide, who knows where to go versus where to stay away from.
In the north we will also be accompanied by a local guide, although there isn’t much to be wary of up there, as it is very tame compared to the south.
Note: I always recommend you purchase travel health and trip protection insurance on every trip, just to be safe (see Disclaimer, below).
It is pretty easy to get there from anywhere in North America, with the flight taking about 10-14 hours, and costing from $800-$1200 (mostly depending on whether you want non-stop flight versus one with a single layover).
Try and make it to Rio by the late afternoon on August 11th so that you don’t miss the welcome dinner! If you choose to come in early feel free to do that as well (we will be there a bit early as well to set things up, so just let us know and we’ll help you arrange transfer).
Visas for citizens of the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan are easily done by the official e-Visa system, at a cost of $40/person for a 2-year visa.
All other nationalities can consult this web site to see what the requirements are for their visa to Brazil.
Make sure your passport has 6 months validity (from June 9th on) and at least three blank pages in it.
Brazil (at least the parts we will be traveling to) doesn’t really have any more communicable diseases than many of the other developing nations you might have traveled to.
The only exception to this is that you’ll want to get a Yellow Fever vaccine — easily procured at your local drug store or travel medicine specialist — as Brazil is classified as a Yellow Fever endemic country.
There is a slight risk of malaria — mostly in and around Rio — so please talk to your travel medical specialist if you would like to bring anti-malarial medication with you (there are a few different types, but they all have their side effects–I usually choose to go without and just use longer clothing at night along with some bug spray on exposed skin).
As far as immunizations go, just make sure you are up-to-date on your usual foreign travel stuff–tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria, meningitis, etc. (Most of us should have already gotten the Hepatitis A+B vaccine in childhood.) More information on recommended vaccines is available on the CDC website.
This is adventure travel, and unexpected things may happen. Although we will do everything in my power to assist if something goes wrong, you get sick, etc, we are in no way legally responsible for your well-being during the duration of the trip. By signing up for this trip you are acknowledging this fact. Medical facilities for routine visits, prescriptions, etc. are few and far between in rural Brazil (such as when we head up north), so you may want to buy travel medical insurance (and think about the emergency evacuation option possibly) just in case something more serious befalls you.
This also goes for the itinerary as listed above. Although we are pretty set as far as the schedule because hotels are pre-booked, there may be things we may not get to see because of weather, plane delays, bad luck, etc.
This is a first-come, first served opportunity. We only have a maximum of 6 spots, and once those are gone we are not planning on adding any additional seats.
Secure your spot by clicking the button below and then filling out the form, after which you need to send your payment to us (payment details to be provided upon submitting the form).
Once we reach a maximum of 6 people, the trip will be closed to new sign-ups, and we will refund any money sent our way (you can be added to the waiting list if you’d like).
If you have any questions please send me an email through my Contact Page.