Rio & the Route of Gold
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Visit Brazilian National Treasures of Paraty (above left) and Petrópolis, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Congonhas & Ouro Preto (above right)
Discover where the gold originated to build Europe's great palaces and churches. And discover a few treasures along the way.
The Route of Gold rambles along rugged mountains from the beautifully preserved colonial gold mining towns of Ouro Preto and São João del Rei to the ancient seaport of Paraty. This bounty of gold provided the wealth to build the royal colonial seat of Rio de Janeiro as well as the Old World capital, Lisbon. The richest deposits of gold ever found in the Americas even financed England's Industrial Revolution!
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- Rio de Janeiro
- Sugar Loaf Mountain
- 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ancient Seaport of & Gold Mining Town of Ouro Preto
- 3 Brazilian National Treasure sites: Ancient Seaport of Paraty,Tiradentes and Petrópolis
- Visit to a Gold Mine
- Schooner Excursion w/ lunch
- 8 days / 7 nights in Brazil
- 4 Dinners, 1 Lunch
- 7 Brazilian Buffet Breakfasts
- All Transfers
- English speaking Tour Director
Sunday: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, the city between mountains and beaches! Welcoming you to the 'marvelous city' is your bilingual SouthAmerica.travel tour guide who will escort you to your hotel on the Copacabana - Golden Tulip Continental****.
The afternoon is free for a stroll, some shopping or relaxing on the beach or at your rooftop pool!
Meet your fellow travelers for a complementary caipirinha or other tropical drink before attending a Rodizio, an All-You-Can-Eat Brazilian Barbecue (included).
Monday: The panoramic view from the top of the Sugar Loaf Mountain is the highlight of today's sightseeing tour. Board a cable car to reach the summit with its 360† spectrum of golden beaches, green forests and a thriving metropolis that has earned Rio de Janeiro the title of the "world's most beautiful city". Sightseeing continues with a tour of Rio's historical past. Learn how Portugal's prince scandalously broke all family ties and declared himself Emperor of Brazil.
In the afternoon heat, everything slows down, and the Cariocas (as the people of Rio call themselves) head for the beach!
Tuesday: Christ the Redeemer keeps an eye on Rio from an elevation of 710m (2340ft). Board the tremzinho (cogwheel railway) up to the top of Corcovado Mountain for a bird's eye view of the center of the city from the center of the city! In the afternoon follow Brazil's winding coastline and granite cliffs south to the ancient port city of Paraty.
Check in to the Pousada Porto Imperial.
Enjoy dinner in one of the charming local restaurants (included).
Wednesday: In Paraty, the gold was loaded on ships destined for the Old World. The city has been declared a Brazilian National treasure.
Stroll through the streets often covered by water, past houses in elegant decay before boarding a schooner for a half-day cruise of the islands including a lunch prepared by the crew!
Thursday: This morning, board your coach for a climb up to the Serra da Bocaina National Park, amongst the world's oldest rock formations. Retrace the route of Rio State's gold rush, up to Minas Gerais, Brazil's historic mining area.
Take a sip of Caxambu's world-renowned mineral water in this well-preserved spa town, getaway of Brazil's health-conscious, before continuing on to the historical mining town of São João del Rey. Check into Pousada Beco do Bispo , before taking a stroll through the city and enjoying a hearty local dinner (included).
Friday: A few minutes' drive brings us to the hilltop town of Tiradentes (lit. Tooth-puller), the most charming of colonial cities. Named after the martyr of the Inconfidéncia who was known for his dental skills, Tiradentes exudes a sense of another age. Tiradentes has been awarded Brazilian National Treasure status.
The masterwork "The Prophets" by Aleijadinho (Brazil's Michelangelo) is the highlight of our stop in Congonhas, and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Chiseled out of soapstone by the artist without the use of his arms or legs, the sculptures bring the Old Testament figures to stirring life.
Overnight in another UNESCO World Heritage Site: The 'Black Gold' of Ouro Preto (the largest deposits in the Western Hemisphere) financed Lisbon's glory as well as the English Industrial Revolution. At its peak, this town's population was twice New York's and five times Rio de Janeiro's! Check in to the Pousada Luxor Ouro Preto
Dinner is included tonight in what was once 'the world's richest city'.
Saturday: This morning's walking tour covers the best of the former state capital, declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Ouro Preto's churches and plazas have been witness to incredible wealth and bloody rebellion. Formerly known as Vila Rica - the name was changed by decree of Emperor Dom Pedro I, and Ouro Preto was declared an Imperial City.
The town of Mariana, Ouro Preto's quieter cousin just 12km away, offers a unique contrast. Take an adventurous visit into a former gold mine and shop for local arts and crafts.
Sunday: Return to Rio de Janeiro through the spectacular Serra do Mar, stopping in the Imperial city of Petrópolis, the former Summer residence of the Emperor, and a Brazilian National Treasure. Continue on your next tour, post extension or return home.
(Some guests may transfer directly to Belo Horizonte for tour continuation)
Got a small group? Get even BIGGER discounts!
or consider joining one of our Special Edition Tours:
THE South America Wine Tour - Special Edition
The Essence of Peru - Special Edition
Tango, Samba, Waterfalls & Carnival
Tango Samba Waterfalls & New Year's in Rio
Tango, Samba & Oktoberfest in Brazil
As most trips operates on commercial air, space may be extremely limited 90 days prior to departure. To ensure your spot, we encourage you to book as early as possible.
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