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Brazil Itinerary: The best of Brazil in 3 weeks

Overview

This itinerary offers the best of Brazil in 3 weeks. Enjoy a quick 24 hours in Porto Alegre before heading to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site of Iguaçu National Park. Take in the amazing waterfalls on both the Argentinian and Brazilian side. Continue on to Curitiba, a prime example of eco-friendly urban planning done right. Soak up the lively squares, beautiful architecture and bubbling fountains. Finally, reach the pinnacle of your Brazil trip in Rio de Janeiro where every day offers a unique experience – from beach sunbathing and boutique shopping to downtown exploring and nights out dancing.  Enjoy your wanders in Brazil!

Breakdown

Porte Alegre: 1 day + 1 travel day
Iguaçu Falls: 3 days + 1 travel day
Curitiba: 3 days + 1 travel day
Rio de Janeiro: 7 days

Days 1-2: Porte Alegre

Pedestrians walk in Porto Alegre, the capital of Brazil’s southern state, Rio Grande do Sul.

Porto Alegre is typically explored en route to other destinations in Brazil like Foz do Iguaçu, but is a fascinating city in its own right. Dive in and soak up the city’s vibrant street life by wandering the historic district. Look for the iconic Portuguese black and white pavement among the colorful neoclassical buildings. Visit the towering Our Lady of Sorrows Church, peruse the Porto Alegre Public Market and see most important landmark buildings in Plaza Marechal Deodoro, such as the regal Piratini Palace.

Days 3-6: Iguaçu Falls

Iguaçu Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is considered one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls.

From Porto Alegre, take an overnight bus to Foz do Iguaçu, home of some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. The falls straddle both Argentina and Brazil and are best experienced by dedicating one full day to each side. If you only have one day, choose what appeals to you most. The Argentinean side contains up to 80% of the falls, including to the infamous “Devil’s Throat,” and lets you get up close and personal. The Brazilian side offers more impressive viewpoints from a distance, giving a better idea of size and scope.

Days 7-10: Curitiba

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum (“The Eye”) features works of Visual Arts, Architecture, Urbanism and Design.

From Iguaçu Falls, take an overnight bus to the eco-friendly urban city of Curitiba. Head downtown to November 15 Street (also known as Flower Street), a lively pedestrian mall, to get your bearings. Enjoy the bevy of street performers and don’t miss the Metropolitan Cathedral. Make your way to the city’s historic quarter. If you’re there on a Sunday, check out the Curitiba Little Fair. Stroll Passeio Públic, the country’s oldest municipal park and take a 10-minute ride on a local bus to visit the Botanical Gardens. Lastly, spend a few hours at the incredible Oscar Niemeyer Museum (“The Eye”) – one of the largest museums in the world.

Days 11-18: Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer, an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ, stands at the summit of Mount Corcovado.

From Curitiba, take one final overnight bus to reach “The Marvelous City.” Then head straight to the beach to relax in the sun and people-watch. Rio’s most iconic beaches are side by side: Copacabana and Ipanema. When you’ve had your fill of sand, head to the urban Centro to take in exquisite architecture like the Museu Nacional De Belas Arte. Also worth seeing is the ultra modern Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian. Spend a day (or two) exploring the artsy hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Definitely don’t miss El Cristo, the Art Deco statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado mountain. And for some nighttime fun, head to the bars of Lapa or one of the lively Samba Schools – we recommend Mangueira.

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