A country the size of a continent, Brazil has so much to offer. This 12-day itinerary is one for the true aficionados who can't get enough of the country's natural wonder. Venture north-east to visit the otherworldly sand dunes of Lencois Maranhenses National Park, the lush Parnaiba Delta and the windswept beaches of Jericoacoara.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Fly over Lencois Maranhenses' stunning desert and lagoons in a private plane
- Explore the dunes on a buggy with a private guide
- Go fishing with a local fisherman and enjoy your catch for lunch
- Learn how to kitesurf in Jericoacoara
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Fly to Brazil
Your overnight flight to Sao Paolo departs the UK in the late evening and takes 11-and-three-quarter-hours.
We'll send you a Brazilian playlist to get you in the mood.
Day 2: Brazil Landing
Arrive into Sao Paulo in the early morning and connect across to your onward three-and-a-half-hour flight to Sao Luis, with your bags checked straight through.
Touchdown, and a private driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel by the sea. The rest of the afternoon you have free to explore the city's pastel-hued colonial houses and cobble streets at your leisure.
Day 3: Lencois Maranhenses
This morning, a private chauffeur transfer will take you back to the airport to board your private plane. Fly in style over the Lencois Maranhenses National Park; nearly 1,000 miles of rippling dunes and sparkling emerald lagoons.
You'll land in Barreirinhas Airport where a guide will whisk you away in a buggy through vast undulating dunes. During the rainy season, the hollows are full to the brim with water and provide excellent swimming pools for a few months. After spending some time here, journey on to the sleepy fishing village of Atins where your hotel awaits.
Day 4: Dunes and Lagoons
After breakfast, your private guide will help you discover all the natural gems that Lencois Maranhenses has to offer on a 4x4 trip.
Lencois literally means 'bedsheets' and it's easy to see where it gets its name from; the smooth blinding white sand affords mesmerising sights from horizon to horizon. You'd think it's a desert, but with clear-water lagoons topped up every year, you can enjoy a fleeting, otherworldly landscape. During this time wildlife lovers will no doubt enjoy spotting wolffish that surface from beneath the sand and fresh water turtles that feed into the temporary pools from interconnecting rivers.
Day 5: The Parnaiba Delta
It's time to explore a different kind of waterworld. This morning head out to sea with a local fisherman. After reeling in your catch and soaking up the salty breeze, you can enjoy your fresh fish lunch cooked in a local bar.
Then cruise down one of the greatest waterways on the planet. Flanked by creamy sand and lush mangroves, not only is the Parnaiba Delta dreamy to look at, but it's also an ecological haven with Einstein monkeys, iguanas and the elusive anteater to name but a few of its resident creatures. At sunset, the sky comes alive with hundreds of red ibis flocking to sleep in the sheltered islands - a spectacular sight. Moor up in the evening and a transfer will take you to Barra Grande and your beachfront hotel.
Day 6: Barra Grande
You have the day to relax on the beach, drink in one hand, book in the other.
Feeling more active? Why not try your hand at kitesurfing, or go stand up paddleboarding in the surrounding lagoons. The long, wild beaches are ideal for galloping on horseback. Further inland you can hike over the dunes or take a kayak into the mangrove-fringed waterways.
- Explore the city of Parnaiba with a local guide
Day 7: The Sea Horse Sanctuary
Spend the morning unwinding at your own pace. After lunch take on a new (or old) mode of transport and hop on a local horse and carriage to the river.
A couple of canoes will be waiting for you and you can paddle out with your guide who will lead you to a sea horse sanctuary. Enjoy this rare opportunity to observe these creatures up close. Make sure you stop off at one of the oyster farms along the way to sample a few delicacies straight from the morning catch.
Day 8: Journey to Jeri
It's an early start this morning for your transfer to Jericoacoara (affectionately, and economically, known as 'Jeri').
On the way, you can stop at Tatajuba, a remote beach town and kitesurfing hotspot where you can watch locals soar and glide across the waves. Then onto the Duna do Funil, one of the highest sand dunes in the region at nearly 200ft high. Feeling brave? Why not try sand boarding all the way to the bottom, or for a faster pace you can go careering down the slopes on a sledge.
Your next hotel (or rather, chic shack) oozes typical Jeri style. Once you arrive, grab a caipiroska (a caipirinha with vodka instead of cachaca, the local moonshine) at the bar and enjoy panoramic views of the sweeping Atlantic Ocean.
Day 9: Hippy Town
You have the day to spend exactly as you please, although, since you're in a kitesurfing mecca, we recommend doing as the locals do.
A kitesurfing rookie? No problem. We can arrange beginner courses where you can learn with an expert who will show you the basics. Otherwise head to Jeri's hippy beach shacks serving cachaca-based cocktails or take a whirl on a quad bike down the endless shores. Enjoy capoeira dancing at dusk or join the locals climbing up a sand dune to celebrate the sunset views.
Day 10: Paradise
After breakfast, hop on a dune buggy to the start of your hike. Your guide will accompany you to the Pedra Furada, a rock arch carved by years of wind-fuelled waves.
During the walk, you can slip in and out of the natural pools which appear at low tide. Back on the buggy, venture to the Blue Lagoon and Paradise Lagoon, both with requisite bottle green water and sugar-white sand banks. You can while away the hours under a palapa (thatched shelter) with a caipirinha or lounge on a hammock in the shimmering shallows.
Day 11: Last Day on the Beach
You have the day to relax independently.
If you took on a kitesurfing lesson a couple of days before, then you may want to follow up with another one. It's your last night in Brazil, so we recommend a private candlelit dinner to celebrate your holiday.
Day 12: Head Home
You have the full day to enjoy at your leisure before your transfer to Fortaleza Airport, so you may want to enquire about late checkout.
The overnight flight to Lisbon takes around seven hours, so don't forget to charge the iPad. You then have a three-hour layover before your onward flight to the UK.
Will is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.