UK - Rio de Janeiro
You arrive in Rio de Janeiro to be met and taken to your hotel – the perfect base for immersing yourself in the iconic sights of Brazil’s capital. And there are plenty of irresistible tours to choose from.
Copacabana Beach is an absolute must, of course, if you’re an avid sun worshipper, but Corcovado Mountain offers the huge statue of Christ the Redeemer whilst Leblon Hill will give you stunning panoramic views of the Ipanema and Leblon districts. A cable car will take you to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain and an architectural tour will reveal the city’s finest buildings, both modern and historic.
Stay: Two nights in a junior ocean suite at the Emiliano Hotel.
Cruising from Angra dos Reis to Paraty
You say goodbye to Rio and drive over to Verolme Marina in Angra dos Reis, a sparkling harbour in a prestigious bay – a mecca for the wealthiest of Brazilian boat-owners. You’ll board your white yacht and set sail towards Ilha Grande, stopping along the way for a chance to snorkel in the crystal waters of the fabled Blue Lagoon.
You’ll moor for the night at Saco do Ceu, famed for having waters so calm you can gaze at the stars by looking at its surface. Or go ashore and enjoy the local nightlife. The following day you’ll arrive upon the shores of Ilha Grande. Here Lopes Mendes Beach beckons you. Only accessible by boat, or by a long trail from Abraao Village, the beach is flawless with white sand and aquamarine waters.
After Lopes Mandes you’ll sail over to Caxadaco Aventureiro or to Parnaioca to visit a cascading waterfall, tucked away in a luxuriant tropical forest. Back on board you’ll cruise over to the protected side of the island to anchor at picturesque Sitio Forte for the evening. Now your captain sets a course for the isolated and unbelievably pretty bay of Cajaiba – just three hours sailing away. Here you’ll be able to visit a small fishing village so untouched by time that it still does not have electricity.
You’ll also trek through a dense forest to a hidden waterfall where you can bathe in a crystal-clear pool. You complete a heavenly day by cruising over to Saco de Cotia, where you’ll moor up for the night. Your final day on the Janneau begins with an hour’s sail to Saco de Mamangua, which is outstanding for its beauty and for being the Brazilian coast’s only tropical fjord. It’s a scene of tropical forests stretching for eight kilometres along the sides of the fjord, cloaking the channel in emerald green.
You’ll disembark to wander through the forest, with its indigenous the wildlife, birds and profuse displays of tropical plants. You can also kayak through the mangroves or swim in the calm waters of the Saco. If you want to take some breath-taking photographs it’s worth climbing Morro do Pico for a 360˚ panoramic view of the island and coast. You’ll return to Saco da Cotia to anchor for the evening amidst tiny islands and tranquil bays.
Stay: Four nights aboard a Janneau 379 or 509.
Disembark in the morning as early as possible to give yourself time to explore the historic colonial town of Paraty. Founded in the 17th century by Spanish settlers the old centre has a wealth of picturesque white buildings, multi-coloured houses, a quaint church and an atmosphere of timelessness.
You’ll find yourself being drawn along tiny winding streets and tree-lined avenues to graceful squares lined with small shops and cafés. But all good things must come to an end. After lunch your driver will collect you for your return to Rio de Janeiro, and your flight back to the UK. Unless, of course, you’ve decided to take the helicopter option back to Rio.
Ayesha was patient and informative. Her skills became even more apparent on the vacation - such as the order of the hotels, which were each perfect for that moment.- S and RD, Bhutan, 2015