Rio to Salvador

Rio to Salvador

From $ 2,611 AUD


Copacabana beach, Christ the Redeemer, Corcovado… Rio de Janiero is a must-see city, there’s no doubt about it. But a destination as vast and eclectic as Brazil naturally has more than one trick up its sleeve. Join Intrepid in discovering the unsung heroes of this legendary South American destination. Uncover former diamond and gold mining towns that teem with photogenic architecture, quiet beaches where surfers and chillers wile away entire summers, and national parks that flaunt that famous Brazilian biodiversity which is unrivalled in all the Americas. Culminating in a feast for the senses – the pulsing town of Salvador da Bahia – this is an overland adventure not to be missed.

Trip Name
Rio to Salvador
Last Updated
  • Kick things off in frenetic and festive Rio, an essential destination on any Brazil itinerary
  • Stroll the cobbled streets of gorgeous former diamond- and gold-mining towns such as Ouro Preto and Lencois, both awash with colourful architecture
  • Step inside a virtual time warp in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, a city that displays a fascinating 1960s vision of the future
  • Uncover two of Brazil’s spectacular yet often overlooked natural beauties: Chapada Dos Veadeiros and Chapada Diamantina national parks
  • Chill out for two days in Itacare, a perfect place for some sun, sand and surf after some time on the road
  • Watch Portuguese, African and Brazilian flavours collide to beautiful effect in Salvador de Bahia, a city awash with top street food and capoeira (artistic martial arts) performances


Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time. We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip. Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or just let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Rio De Janeiro
Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. If you are flying into Brazil, arrive at Rio Galeão International Airport. Your adventure begins with a group meeting at 6 pm at the hotel reception. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy Rio as you please. Arriving early is highly recommended, as there's plenty to see and do (if you need to book extra accommodation, contact your sales agent). Recommended optional activities include: a spectacular cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain, a Colonial Gems of Rio city tour, or a visit to the legendary Christ the Redeemer statue. Otherwise, kick back and relax on the famous urban beaches, enjoy a beer or caipirinha at one of the many street-side cafes, and then when evening comes you can party the night away in the buzzing Lapa or Ipanema areas.
Day 2 - Ouro Preto, Petropolis
Settle in for the drive to the beautiful old colonial mining town of Ouro Preto (approximately 8 hours). Along the way, make a stop at Petropolis, the cool hillside hideaway for local Cariocas escaping the heat of Rio. Ouro Preto is a fascinating place to explore, as the surviving colonial buildings are beautifully preserved and the city is free from modern development (any new buildings must be constructed in line with the town's historical aesthetic). There are several old mines that are open for visitors, providing a glimpse of how life was for the miners all those years ago. There will be two hours to explore the Museu Imperial, check out the former Imperial Palace, wander the town, or visit the Palacio de Cristal (the site where the last slaves of Petropolis were released).
Day 3 - Ouro Preto
Enjoy a half-day guided tour of Ouro Preto, the first Brazilian town to be considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time to explore. You might like to stroll around and check out the baroque churches, visit the underground mines, or explore the interesting Minerology Museum. Alternatively, head to the nearby village of Congonhas to see the remarkable statues of the Twelve Prophets by Aleijadinho, an accomplished sculptor who worked despite losing his hands to leprosy. There are also some fantastic local cafes and restaurants. Don't forget your camera today, as this is one of the most picturesque towns on the itinerary. At the day's end, bunk down in a local hostel.
Day 4 - Tres Marias
Journey through the Brazilian countryside today. A full day's driving brings you to a nice camping spot near the Tres Marias, a great reservoir of Brazil.
Day 5 - Brasília
Continue to the capital, Brasilia. In the morning, enjoy a guided tour of this intriguing World Heritage-listed city, which was designed and built to be the Brazilian Government's headquarters in 1960. The whole place is laid out to resemble a plane, and boasts some incredible, futuristic cathedrals and monuments. To really appreciate the plan of the city and its odd shape, try a trip up the television tower for a panoramic view of the city. The Metropolitan Cathedral, shaped like a crown of thorns with angel statues suspended from the ceiling, should not be missed, nor should the blue stained glass of Dom Bosco Cathedral. Other fascinating buildings include the National Congress and Senate, the Juscelino Kubitschek Memorial and the incredible JK Bridge. At the end of the day, settle into a campsite on the edge of town.
Day 6 - Alto Paraiso
After a morning tour of the city, drive to the chilled-out town of Alto Paraiso (approximately 3 hours). This will be your base for exploring the Chapada dos Veadeiros. Alto Paraiso is crossed by Parallel 14 (in the same way as Machu Picchu) and is at the centre of some fantastic stories of space ships and aliens. Tonight you'll camp at a well equipped camp site.
Day 7-8 - Chapada Dos Veadeiros National Park, Alto Paraiso
Enjoy two full days to explore the national park. The Chapada dos Veadieros is one of Brazil's hidden gems, one of the oldest and most beautiful tropical ecosystems in South America – home to incredible waterfalls, rock formations, caves and grottoes. You'll visit the Vale da Lua or the Valley of the Moon, so called for its lunar rock formations. This area is perfect for hiking, horse riding and cycling, not to mention swimming in some refreshing natural pools. It is said that due to the high amount of quartz in the ground, the park glows from space! Wildlife lovers can keep an eye out for the Rhea (Brazilian ostrich), Seriema, Tapeti, Armadillo (Tatu Canastra), Anteater, Capybara (Capivara), Tapir (Anta), Green-Beek Toucan, Black Vulture and King Vulture.
Day 9-10 - Lencois
Over the next two days, travel overland across the central Brazilian countryside towards the town of Lencois and the stunning Chapada Diamantina. On Day 9 we will aim to travel approximately 500 kilometres (9 hours) and find a nice bush camp along the way. On Day 10 the aim is to travel 400 kilometres (8 hours) and stay in an eco-tourism campsite in the laidback town of Lencois. On arrival, stretch your legs and acquaint yourself with this beautiful old diamond-mining town, your gateway to Chapada da Diamantina National Park.
Day 11-12 - Chapada Da Diamantina National Park, Lencois
Lencois's friendly inhabitants, great restaurants, cobbled streets and brightly coloured buildings make it a lovely place to explore on foot. The Chapada Diamantina, just a short trip away, could easily be counted among South America best national parks, and Lencois is the perfect base for hiking, biking or kayaking adventures in the park. Valleys of lush green dotted with bright tropical flowers surround a mountain range of twisted red-rock formations reminiscent of the American Southwest. Numerous small rivers carve their way through the highlands, splashing over waterfalls and natural slides. There are also numerous caves to explore, some many kilometres long.
Day 13 - Itacare
Continue to the coast today, arriving in the beautiful beach town of Itacare (approximately 10 hours). It's located just south of Salvador, in the cocoa region of Bahia state. With its stunning Atlantic rainforest, eco-friendly cafes and bars, and 20 miles of postcard-perfect beach, this is a lovely place relax and unwind for a couple of days. Keen surfers won't have to look very far for a wave to catch, and the water is nice and warm.
Day 14 - Itacare
Enjoy a day to explore the area, stroll along the beach, or take part in some of the many adventure activities available – horse riding, rafting, mountain biking, kayaking or off-road adventures. Alternatively, a great day trip is to visit the stunning Peninsula de Marau, stopping off at Praia Taipus de Fora and Lagoa Azul. You'll be camping at a campsite equipped with facilities.
Day 15 - Salvador
Today we drive to the beautiful town of Salvador da Bahia (approximately 7 hours). Salvador is a vibrant and exciting place to visit, with its bright colonial architecture, solid street food scene, great music and impressive Capoeira, so there's plenty to keep us busy for two days. Apart from the historic interest of the town, there are some excellent beaches to visit nearby, but you should definitely try to get to a 'Candomble' evening while you are here. Candomble is a popular religious cult in the region, and the ceremonies offer a fascinating insight into the culture of this area. Salvador is also well known for its spectacular Carnival and other festivities, but the nightlife is good fun here at any time of the year. Tonight's accommodation is a hotel situated just by the old centre of Pelourinho.
Day 16 - Salvador
Take some free time to explore, perhaps starting with a stroll around to check out some of the city's 300 churches. A great optional activity today is to visit the Forte Santo Antonioa da Barra, Brazil's oldest lighthouse, for panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, visit a Capoeira school to watch Brazilian martial arts, which combine elements of dance, acrobatics and music.
Day 17 - Salvador
The trip comes to an end today, with no further activities planned. If you are leaving in Salvador, exit Brazil at Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
06-03-201922-03-2019AUD $ 2,611-
03-08-201919-08-2019AUD $ 2,611-


Camping ( 13 nights ),hotel /hostel / lodge / cabin ( 5 nights )


Overland expedition vehicle,4x4,Public bus,Boat,Canoe