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Luxury Holidays to Rio, Buzios & the Costa Verde

Rio de Janeiro has perhaps the most stunning physical setting of any city in the world, with the legendary beachfront neighbourhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema the city's most famous districts.

Spend a few days of your holiday on the beaches of Rio, soaking up the sun and watching the Cariocas (Rio residents) strutting their stuff. Of course, Rio is also synonymous with the feverish intensity of the world's largest carnival, held annually in February. Those not lucky enough to be in Rio for carnival can attend a Samba School at the favella of Mangueira, an intense and unforgettable experience.

A small fishing community, Buzios was put firmly on the map when Brigitte Bardot was photographed on holiday here in the 60s. Despite increasing popularity the area has retained its charm by strictly controlling development allowing only low rise construction. Pick your favourite of over 20 beaches in the vicinity, and head off windsurfing, surfing, diving, riding, trekking, biking or sailing.

To the south, on the lush Costa Verde, Picinguaba is a charming coastal village, home to a typical pousada by the same name; one of our favourite properties. Nearby, Paraty has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well preserved colonial architecture. The cobbled streets are a delight to wander around, as are the boutique shops, fine restaurants and bars, some of the best in Brazil. Original Travel also has an exclusive trip exploring the coastline by kayak from Paraty.

SAO PAULO HOLIDAYS

If you head further south still, São Paulo is South America's biggest city - a megalopolis of around 17 million people. The nightlife, cutting-edge hotels, endless shops and boutiques and diverse cuisine are enough to occupy any visitor, but the city has plenty of excellent museums and cultural appeal too.

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Street in Paraty
If You Do Three Things
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Explore Paraty

Visit the pretty town of Paraty and wander its cobbled streets, colourful colonial houses and 17th century churches. Delve into tiny restaurants and charming craft shops or head into the surrounding rainforest for a hike. You could even board a yacht on a seafaring jaunt and explore its secluded virgin islands. Stop to snorkel in the crystalline water and tuck into delicious seafood lunches.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer
If You Do Three Things
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Christ the Redeemer

You may have seen South America's most iconic landmark featured on just about every postcard, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Take the train up the Corcovado Mountain where Christ the Redeemer stands surrounded by the Tijuca National Park. Its towering height and outstretched arms are just as beguiling as the panoramic views that stretch across the sprawling city all the way to the sea.

Santa Teresa yellow tram
If You Do Three Things
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Local Kicks in Santa Teresa

Head up in the hills to the bohemian district of Santa Teresa, home to the brightly-coloured Selaron stairs, Rio's most celebrated creative landmark. Wind through its cobbled streets and sloping alleys dotted with artistic enclaves. Or hop on the school-bus-yellow tram, Latin America's oldest electric railway. Duck into charming local hangouts serving traditional dishes like the beloved feijoada (meat stew) and the punchiest caipirinhas going.

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Rio, Buzios, Paraty & the Costa Verde
Rio, Buzios, Paraty & the Costa Verde
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A Note on Price

Brazil is the most expensive country in South America to visit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t represent great value for money – but it’s still one of our absolute favourites. A two week itinerary starts from £3,500 per person including flights – but if you’re hoping to cover a lot of ground, expect to pay a lot more.

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