Day 1: Depart United States
Depart on overnight flight to Salvador, Brazil.
Day 2: Salvador
Upon arrival in Salvador, meet our local guide at the airport & transfer to the hotel. This afternoon, have a welcome session at the hotel to prepare for the program's activities.
After dinner this evening at a local restaurant, attend a performance of the Balé Folclórico da Bahia, one of the most respected folklore dance troupes in Brazil. The dance company performs in the Miguel Santana Theater in the historical Pelourinho district. The presentation includes various African traditions that are a part of the traditions of Bahia. (Bahia is the state where Salvador is located.) We will see the sacred dances of the Candomblé religion; puxada de rede, a song by fishermen in honor of Yemanjá, the goddess of the sea; maculelê, an acrobatic stick & sword dance that has its origins in the sugarcane fields; capoeira, a martial art/dance of Angolan origin & the samba de roda, a spinning, swirling version of this energetic national dance. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Salvador
Today, we have a guided tour of Salvador, Brazil's first capital. As the entry point for the majority of slaves brought to Brazil, it is renowned for its rich history & African influence on the regional cuisine, music, & religion. We start with a walking tour of the Pelourinho neighborhood, with its cobblestone streets & colorful buildings. One of the best-preserved areas for colonial architecture in the Americas, Pelourinho is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll see the the ornate gold interior of the São Francisco Church & the 17th-century Basilica Cathedral. Stop by a local artist's studio to see his work before continuing on foot to the towering elevator that connects the upper city to the lower city, offering wonderful views of All Saints Bay.
This afternoon, channel your energy in a Brazilian percussion workshop. The workshop is led by an experienced musician, with various types of percussion instruments, for all levels of experience. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Salvador
Morning at leisure. This afternoon participate in a capoeira workshop. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance & music & is popular in Salvador, due to its African influences. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Rio de Janeiro
Transfer to the Salvador Airport for your flight to Rio de Janeiro, approximately two hours. Meet our local guide at the airport & transfer to the hotel. This afternoon, visit Sugarloaf Mountain. Reachable by a two-stage cable car, Sugarloaf Mountain offers impressive views of the city and the bay. It is especially picturesque at sunset. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Rio de Janeiro
This morning starts with a guided walk through a local street market to see the selection of the fresh fruits & vegetables. Learn about the regional foods that locals enjoy. From there, we visit the Corcovado Mountain & the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue. Take a 25-minute cogwheel train ride to the top of the mountain for stunning 360-degree views of the city. This afternoon, we explore the historical downtown area of the city, including the November 15 Square, Candelaria Church & the Municipal Theater. Learn more about the history of Brazil and the Imperial Family from Portugal who lived in Rio for some time, ruling all of their colonies from here. This evening, participate in a private 60-minute Brazilian dance class. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Rio de Janeiro
Spend most of this day volunteering at a youth social project or community center for a hands-on activity with locals. Enjoy lunch with them following the project. End the day with a stroll in the tranquil Rio botanical gardens. Known for its towering imperial palm trees, the gardens are home to thousands of tropical plants & trees. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Paraty
Transfer from Rio de Janeiro to the coastal town of Paraty by private bus (approx 4 hours). Paraty is located along the green coast, with its stunning mountains, lush forests & tranquil turquoise waters. Upon arrival, there will be a late afternoon guided walking tour of the car-free historical center.
Day 9: Paraty
Today, enjoy a full-day private schooner cruise in the bay with lunch included on board. Enjoy the calm waters & beautiful scenery. There will be opportunities for swimming & snorkeling when the boat stops during the excursion. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant with typical Brazilian cuisine.
Day 10: Return to the US
Transfer by private bus from Paraty to the Rio de Janeiro Airport (approx 4 hours) for the international overnight flight back to the United States.