Northeast Special - Brazil

Northeast Special - Brazil
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The largest country in Latin America, Brazil covers an area comparable to that of continental USA or Europe, making it a land of diverse landscapes and climates. From tropical beaches to cool mountains, from virgin forest to arid backlands, from peaceful countryside to bustling metropolis, Brazil is full of great contrasts. The coastal drive from Recife to Salvador is not only incredibly scenic and relaxing, but also takes in numerous colonial hotspots, wildlife, and some of Brazil’s best beaches. Starting out in Recife, affectionately known as the Venice of Brazil, take a look at an entirely different part of Brazil’s cultural heritage and history, through the town's Dutch and Portuguese influences and association with the slave trade. From here, the road-trip really begins, with stops at the fishing villages of Porto de Galinhas and São Miguel dos Milagres, both much-loved for their laid-back lifestyle and sublime beaches. The journey continues through to lively Maceió for a slice of city life, before heading briefly inland, first to Penedo and then to the ecologically diverse sanctuary of the Santa Isabel Nature Reserve. Finally, the tour concludes with two days back on the beach, relaxing around the settlement of Praia do Forte; home to a 16th Century mediaeval style landhouse, and onward to the country’s cultural epicentre; Salvador da Bahia. 

Tour highlights:

♦ Dutch influences in colonial Recife.
♦ A slower pace of life in the former fishing village of Porto de Galinhas, now a popular beach resort.
♦ The colonial town of Penedo on the mighty São Francisco river
♦ The pristine Nature Reserve of Santa Isabel.
♦ Full day unwinding around Praia do Forte.

Trip plan:   

Day 1. Departing Recife

After touching down in Recife airport, your guide will pick you up for a guided tour of some of the historical gems and socially significant sites in central Recife, a town characterised by its Dutch influence and quaint townhouses.After the city tour, the rental car can be picked up from Localiza Boa Viagem, and, from here; this enticing road-trip can really begin. From Recife, your first taste of life on the road comes with a 2-hour journey down the coast, to the wonderful beaches of Porto de Galinhas. Known for its bright blue seas and tree-lined tropical bays; Porto de Galinhas makes for an idyllic stop for the two nights ahead.  +/- 50km

Day 2. A day on the coast

The once tiny fishing village of Porto de Galinhas has built up a well-earned reputation as one of the foremost beach destination anywhere on this section of Brazils vast coastline. This is certainly for good reason, with the easily accessible reefs just off the central bays providing fantastic snorkelling and scuba diving, while the coconut groves and white sand beaches back on dry land are the perfect place to soak in one of Brazil’s most iconic vistas. For those seeking a little action while here, there are no end of water sports and boat trips available, as well as Spa therapies and massage for anyone looking for a more tranquil start to this 10-day adventure.  

Day 3 & 4. Making the most of the coast

Another scenic coastal drive today takes you 3-hours south, to the remote, though heavenly beaches surrounding the village of São Miguel dos Milagres. The emerald sea, golden sands, and thatched houses of São Miguel dos Milagres make it a veritable paradise. With an effortlessly serene atmosphere, unforgettable ocean sunsets, and unspoilt forest lining long expanses of the sandy shore; it is hard not to feel at ease while here. In addition to lazing in a hammock or sipping cocktails from a freshly felled coconut, São Miguel dos Milagres is also well geared up to deal with more active visitors; with plenty of walking trails and watersports to keep you busy if looking to explore everything this picturesque region of Brazil has to offer. One ‘must-see’ is a trip to the nearby Manatee Rehabilitation Centre on the Tatuamunha river.  +/- 160km

Day 5. To the state capital of Maceió

From the small fishing village of São Miguel dos Milagres to the capital of Alagoas State; Maceió, where the pace of life may change but the gorgeous coastline and pristine sandy beaches do not. Continuing south, the 2-hour drive between the two towns will hug the coast for almost its entire duration, with the South Atlantic Ocean firmly in view as you traverse the scenic highway which connects São Miguel dos Milagres with Maceió. In addition to the offshore reefs, natural coastal pools, and the idyllic urban beaches of Pajuçara; Sete Coqueiros; Ponta Verde and Jatiucá; Maceió is also a modern, cosmopolitan, and exciting city, with no end of buzzing bars and quality eateries to be enjoyed this evening. Depending on exactly when you arrive in the town, pay a visit to the Metropolitan Cathedral; craft fair at Pajucara, and Théo Brandão Museum of Anthropology and Folklore to explore some of Maceió’s cultural highlights as well as its sublime seafront setting, perfect for walking at night to seek out a local bar or restaurant.+/- 100km

Day 6. A day of exploring en route to Penedo

Leaving the urban hub of Maceió, the road-trip continues to the more laid-back town of Penedo, known as much for its colonial history as for its modern day welcoming atmosphere and friendly locals. Today’s 3-hour drive will take you away from the coast, and into the verdant green, undulating inland region which Penedo nestles in. The journey is a fascinating one, and should be taken at leisure, with numerous interesting stopping points along the way, such as the beaches of Praia do Francês, which is well worth a visit before leaving the coast. The road also passes Praia do Gunga; one of the finest beaches anywhere in Brazil, before an optional detour to the quaint colonial town of Marechal Deodoro; a charming old settlement of cobbled streets and tiled colonial houses on the banks of Lake Manguaba. Penedo itself was founded by Dutch colonialists in the early 17th century, and, situated on a hill, overlooking the mouth of the São Francisco River; it's widely considered to be one of Brazil’s finest examples of preserved colonial architecture and history. This goes for both its well-maintained churches; convents and mansions, though also for its scenic location, surrounded by lush green hills and native flora. Alternatively, take to the waters with a relaxed river tour down the São Francisco River aboard one of the many comfortable speed boats which sail from Piaçabuçu towards the Atlantic. +/- 170km

Day 7. The wilds of Santa Isabel

The drive continues today, first crossing the river by ferry, and onward to Aracaju, taking in one of the trips highlights along the way; the unspoilt natural wilderness of the Santa Isabel Nature Reserve, just 2-hours from Penedo. The reserve is awash with coconut groves; deep blue lagoons; swamplands, and occasional wildlife, all of which is enhanced by the ever-present emerald hue of the Atlantic Ocean in the background, so well worth visiting as the perfect way to break up what is only a modest day of driving. From the reserve, continue to Aracaju; the capital of Sergipe, Brazil’s smallest state. This sugar producing region was strategically important during colonial times, with Aracaju at its heart, sitting on the banks of the Sergipe River, and surrounded by high sand dunes and rugged bays. Among other things, Aracaju is famous for its Oceanarium, exhibiting many species of regional sea life, as well as its rows of fantastic restaurants, making for a suitably relaxed end to proceedings after touring the trails and pathways of Santa Isabel earlier in the day. +/- 130km

Day 8. From the city to the popular resort of Praia de Forte

Departing the lively streets of Aracaju, the contrast of sleepy coastal towns and major urban centres continues today, with a drive to the small beachside settlement of Praia do Forte, known for its crystal clear seas and coconut palm groves. Praia do Forte has long been a favoured spot for visitors seeking the heavenly white sand and tropical bays which many associates with the best of Brazil. Off the coast, a nearby coral reef which runs the length of the shore provides fantastic snorkelling and scuba diving. The beaches themselves are often visited by nesting sea turtles laying their eggs, some of which end up in the towns turtle conservation project, where five different species of sea turtle are nurtured and encouraged to breed. For a glimpse into Brazil’s distant past, the ruins of the country’s only mediaeval castle of 16th-century Garcia D’Avila are well worth a visit, before enjoying the remainder of this trip relaxing in one of the many picturesque stretches of Praia do Forte’s coastline.  +/- 240km

Day 9. Full day at leisure to explore Praia do Forte and its surroundings

Day 10. Homeward bound

As the road-trip draws to a close; make the final drive 1-hour south, to the cultural hub Salvador da Bahia. Be sure to leave plenty of time to return the rental car to the airport before any onward flight. +/- 70km

Recommended travel period of the year:   Possible year round, temps between 25-30 degrees all year. July-September may see more rain showers

Practical Information: Self-drive info package
You will receive the Self-drive info package, containing all directions, on your arrival in Brazil. If for some reason this does not happen, please call Ideia Tours immediately for us to ensure you receive this information (the contact is listed below as overall agent). Car will be Ford Fiesta Hatch 1.0 a/c or similar (C) + insurance. Minimum driving age is 21. Driving license held for at least 2 years. Passport and credit card are required and must be in the same name as the driving license. Please note that upon presentation of your credit card you will be required to key in your PIN code (password). These are mandatory requirements. In case of an additional
driver, please inform Localiza upon collecting your car. If you experience any kind of trouble during the pick-up of your rental car or communication is a problem, ask Localiza to call us and we will be happy to help over the phone.

Price Includes:
All hotels based on double or twin in the selected hotel category
Breakfast included throughout
Air-conditioned rental car,including insurance
Self-drive information pack,with itinerary and small route maps

Not Included:
International air fares and Domestic flights
Lunch,dinner and restaurant recommendations unless stated
Transfers from restaurants unless stated
other personal expenses


Northeast Special - Brazil (Rated 4.73 / 5 Based on 120 Reviews.)
Group Size
min. 2 persons
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