- Enter the gigantic expanse of Lençóis Maranhenses and swim in the pockets of turquoise lagoons nestled between the endless white dunes.
- Hike to a spectacular point witnessing how the land appears like white bedsheets billowing in the breeze becoming the Sheets of Maranhão
- Meet the incredible people upholding a traditional way of life during a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into remote communities.
- Spend three days in the paradise of Noronha, a tiny untouched Island teeming with wildlife and endless pristine beaches
- Discover the beauty of Noronha from beneath the waves with a private scuba diving experience
Luxury South America Trip Overview
Brazil is famed the world over for its colorful carnivals, bustling beaches, and sprawling cities but as the largest country in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s also hiding some incredibly under-visited destinations. During this 8-night voyage, you’ll uncover some of Brazil’s most unbelievable natural wonders, connect with remote communities and explore untouched islands teeming with wildlife.
The journey begins away from the crowds in the sun-soaked laidback northeast of the country and the city of São Luís, the colorful capital of Brazil’s Maranhão state. Take a stroll through the World Heritage-listed historical center – an enchanting neighborhood of steamy cobbled streets lined with pastel-colored colonial mansions, museums, galleries, and craft stores.
Lying a three-hour drive from São Luís is your next destination. The gigantic expanse of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is a vast spectacle of sand dunes and crystal-clear lagoons. You’ll spend the next three days here, staying at a nature-engulfed eco-camp on the edge of the national park and journeying across the expanse to dip in the pristine pools, connect with local people in remote communities and hike to an unmissable ariel vantage point where the land appears like a series of white bedsheets billowing in the breeze.
Then as if that wasn’t enough natural sublimity for one luxury South America vacation, you’ll fly to the paradise of Noronha, an untouched land teeming with wildlife and endless pristine beaches, 350 km off Brazil’s northeast coast. Untouched and incredibly remote, this tiny island is fiercely protected, with access and development strictly controlled to preserve the island’s untamed nature.
You’ll only find a few other visitors here for most of the year and a handful of small hotels – offering a unique chance to slip away from the chaos and onto a real-life paradise island. Between beach hopping, sunset canoe rides, and private scuba diving excursions, you’ll stay at a luxurious boutique hotel tucked away in a private cove home to just 8 chalets each with its own panoramic sea view
The ultimate off-grid adventure, our itinerary Finding Paradise: The Treasures of Brazil is a passage to the Brazilian wonder that the rest of the world is yet to discover.
As ever, this luxury South American tour is only a guide. Aracari can curate a bespoke vacation handpicked to suit your particular travel taste and style.
- Day 1
São Luís View on map
Arrive in Brazil and then onto São Luís where you’ll tune into the unique vibrations of Brazilian culture with a private tour of the Maranhão state capital.
Today, your Aracari representative will welcome you to your luxury South America tour. Depending on the origin of your international flight, Aracari will advise on the best possible route for arriving at the start pointing of São Luís – this differs for European and US flights, for example. Flight schedules permitting, we’ll either whisk you straight to São Luís or create an additional day in the Brazilian city you’ve arrived in, before flying northeast the following morning.
Once you arrive, you’ll be presented with your welcome pack, before being whisked off to your São Luís hotel, where we will assist with all check-in procedures. Then, depending on the time of your arrival, you’ll head out into the city with a private guide for your first taste of Brazilian culture.
Originally named Saint-Louis-de-Maragnan, São Luís, is the only Brazilian state capital founded by the French. The World Heritage-listed historical center of São Luís dates back to the 17th Century and is an enchanting neighborhood of steamy cobbled streets and pastel-colored colonial mansions, some restored, many crumbling. It’s a charming area with a unique atmosphere and one of the Northeast's best concentrations of museums, galleries, and craft stores.
You’ll have a chance to explore some of these treasures during your private tour of the city, before heading back to the seafront Hotel Luzeiros São Luís for a blissful first evening of your luxury Brazil vacation.
Overnight at Hotel Luzeiros São Luís.
- Day 2
São Luís – Santo Amaro View on map
Enter the gigantic expanse of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park – one of the continent’s most sublime natural wonders – where pockets of turquoise lagoons are nestled between the endless dunes.
Your luxury South America vacation will continue today with your first glimpse of one of Brazil’s most impressive natural wonders: the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. With an early start from your hotel in São Luís, you’ll be driven by private vehicle to the remote village of Santo Amaro – taking around 3 hours. Before entering this small hamlet, you’ll switch vehicles – adopting a 4x4 capable of traversing the dunes found in the National Park.
Dubbed the Sheets of Maranhão (Lençóis Maranhenses) this vast spectacle in the sun-drenched, laidback region of Northeast Brazil, is a field of dunes composed of fine, white sand that stand as high as 40 meters (130 feet), extending across 80 kilometers (50 miles) of coastline and stretching about 25 kilometers (15 miles) inland. From afar and above, the land looks like a gigantic series of white bedsheets billowing in the breeze, hence its namesake.
From May to September, our most recommended time window for this luxury South America tour, rain filters through the sand to form thousands of crystal-clear lagoons in pockets between the dunes. Together with your private guide, you’ll traverse the dunes to find the most pristine pools, before taking a dip in the warm waters. Hopping between the turquoise lagoons of the National Park, you’ll enjoy a freshly prepared picnic, set against the unforgettable views, before exploring the unique flora and fauna found here including migratory birds and turtles.
With dusk on the horizon, you’ll head back to the village of Santo Amaro with your private guide. Here, you’ll be staying at the eco-camp Ciamat Camp. An ecological pousada completely immersed in nature on the shore of Rio Alegre, the camp’s cozy chalets are built with wood and straw to take advantage of the natural ventilation and are well distributed in the large garden, to ensure maximum comfort and privacy.
Overnight at Ciamat Camp
- Day 3
Lençóis MaranhensesView on map
Meet the incredible people upholding a traditional way of life during a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into the world of the remote communities that surround the Lençóis Maranhenses.
Your luxury South America vacation will today introduce you to the local communities native to the region. Leaving Ciamat Camp early in the morning with your private guide, you’ll once again enter the National Park in a 4x4 vehicle. Our destination is the area of Espigão – requiring us to go further into the park than the previous day. During the journey, there will be plenty of opportunities to stop and bathe, before continuing to reach the first experience of the day.
It's here in Espigão that you’ll visit the home of Mr. Codo – a local flour producer – and his family. From his incredibly rural and extremely humble holding, Mr. Codo plants manioc used to make the kind of flour that is essential in Brazilian cooking. During this one-of-a-kind experience, Mr. Codo will demonstrate how he turns the manioc into flour using simple tools and equipment, an arduous process that takes up to a few days to produce just 10% of what is needed for a minimum living. The demonstration takes around 2 hours, after which Mr. Codo will invite you to enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of homemade cake prepared by his wife. An unforgettable opportunity to gain an invaluable glimpse into communities like the one to which Mr. Codo belongs, you’ll learn about local culture, interacting with these incredible people via your translator.
After the experience, you’ll be given two options for reaching our next destination: the village of Betânia. The first is a 1-hour walk through the lush landscape – spotting pockets of quicksand that create a natural playground – whilst the second is a 20-minute speedboat ride.
The village of Betânia is like an oasis set amongst dunes, right by a river. Each year, during the rainy season, the river floods, forcing many of the villagers to annually rebuild their homes. However, because of climate change, the seasonal flooding has increased, moving the dunes closer toward the village, leaving some to say that Betânia may disappear in less than 30 years!
Your host for this afternoon is one of Betânia’s oldest residents, Dona Terezinha, who will tell you more about the changeable nature of the place she calls home. Dona Terezinha has served lunch to travelers hiking the 3-day trail through the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, before having to move more inland due to flooding. Today, you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch in an authentic and simple setting, in the company of Dona Terezinha’s unique charm.
After lunch and a recline in the sun, you’ll board your own kayak. After paddling for 20 minutes along a river, we’ll reach a point in the dunes where it’s possible to return to Santo Amaro either by 4x4 or via your own quad bikes. You’ll arrive back at Ciamat Camp in the early evening for a restful night.
Overnight at Ciamat Camp
- Day 4
Lençóis MaranhensesView on map
Journey deep into Lençóis Maranhenses exploring the pristine pools at your own pace, with the option to hike to one of the Park’s most spectacular ariel vantage points, before enjoying dinner in one of the world’s most unique settings.
Today is your final day in Lençóis Maranhenses and you’ll spend it exploring its sprawling beauty. If you prefer, you can simply meander from lagoon to lagoon, traveling at your own pace. Or instead, you can opt for a 4-hour hike across some of the park’s most impressive vantage points. Should you choose the trek, you’ll travel 1 hour from the village of Santo Amaro by 4x4, before arriving at the starting point of your trail. The climb will take around 4 hours circular, but the views are undoubtedly worth it. You’ll have a breathtaking view of the park from above – seeing truly how it got its name – as well as being able to reach the more remote lagoons which are always empty.
Back in Santo Amaro, tonight you’ll be treated to what is sure to be one of your most memorable evenings during your luxury South America vacation. The specifics of evenings aren’t revealed until right before for the experience to have the most dramatic impact. However, what we can say – is it’s unlikely you have ever had dinner in such a uniquely beautiful setting.
- Day 5
Lençóis Maranhenses – Recife View on map
Fly from São Luís to the city of Recife, where you’ll spend a relaxing layover night in preparation for an early morning flight to Fernando de Noronha.
On the fifth morning of this private South America tour, you’ll return to São Luís by private vehicle and head to the airport to catch your 2-hour flight to the city of Recife in the early afternoon. Upon arrival in Recife, you’ll go straight to your hotel, located just 15 minutes from the airport. Here, you’ll unwind and enjoy your evening ahead of an early morning flight to Fernando de Noronha first thing tomorrow morning.
- Day 6
Recife – Fernando de NoronhaView on map
Arrive in the paradise of Noronha, a tiny untouched Island teeming with wildlife and endless pristine beaches, 350 km off Brazil's northeast coast.
The first flight leaving from Recife to Fernando de Noronha is at around 7 am, taking around 1 hour and 40 minutes. It’s this schedule that you’ll be catching, as your luxury South America vacation continues to the far-flung volcanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, located around 350 kilometers (217 miles) off Brazil's northeast coast.
Untouched and incredibly remote, this tiny island is fiercely protected, with access and development strictly controlled to preserve the island’s untamed nature. This conservation effort has been successful too because you’ll find only a few other visitors and a handful of small hotels here – offering a unique chance to slip away from the chaos and onto a real paradise island.
Having arrived early on the Island, you’ll have plenty of time to spend your first day exploring the postcard-perfect beaches of Noronha, before checking into your hotel: the sublime NANNAI Noronha Solar Dos Ventos. Only 350 yards from Fernando de Noronha´s Sueste Bay, this exclusive property features just 8 chalets each with its own private panoramic sea view.
It’s worth noting that to enter Noronha you need to pay an environmental fee, per day spent on the island, as well as another fee to access most of the beaches. We can coordinate this for you in advance of your visit.
- Day 7
Fernando de NoronhaView on map
Spend the day beach hopping, going from one unspoiled cove to the next via your own sand buggy, before taking in the sunset during a private canoe ride.
Much of the island, as well as all the surrounding islets and waters, is encompassed by the Parque Nacional Marinho de Fernando de Noronha, Brazil’s first-ever national park. Under its protection, the beaches of Noronha have become some of the most unspoiled and natural in the world. Today, you’ll explore several of those beaches via the means of a sand buggy. The easiest way to get around this tiny Island, a sand buggy allows you to hop from beach to beach until you find the one you just can’t walk away from!
At dusk, you’ll have the chance to head out onto the ocean for a canoe ride at sunset. An unforgettable moment of this luxury South America vacation as you gently cruise on some of the world’s most heavenly waters.
- Day 8
Fernando de NoronhaView on map
Discover the beauty of Noronha from beneath the waves with a private scuba diving experience.
With such stringent conversation laws, it’s no wonder Noronha is teeming with marine life. During a private scuba diving experience, you’ll head out into the blue waters of the Atlantic to witness giant shoals of brightly colored fish, rays, and skates fluttering over the sandy sea floor, turtles paddle serenely under the waves, and lemon and nursing sharks cruising silently through the water.
There are endless diving spots around Noronha, each varying in depth and requiring varying levels of experience. Your guide will be able to advise on the best option for your group, and should you prefer, can alter the experience for snorkeling rather than scuba diving.
For the final evening of your luxury South America vacation, you’ll enjoy an exquisite dinner back at the hotel – reflecting on the trip of a lifetime.
- Day 9
Fernando de Noronha – Departure View on map
Head to Noronha airport full of a sense of Brazilian adventure, and here, we will assist you with all check-in procedures for your onward journey home.
Aracari specializes in tailormade travel. Here are just some of our further trip suggestions. Contact us for more bespoke ideas to inspire your travels.
Journey pricing as of 2023
Basic Pricing - US$11,000 per person
This is a sample journey and can be tailored to your interests and travel style.
- Based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy
- Cost is per person for this 8-day itinerary
- Accommodation at hotels as mentioned above.
- Meals where indicated.
- Local English speaking guides throughout.
- All transfers to and from the airport.
- A detailed itinerary produced by us which includes historical information about the places you will visit, tips for the traveler, where to eat and where to shop, maps of the places you will visit, and a comprehensive reading list.
- Domestic flights (quoted separately).
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Travel Insurance.
- International Flights and airport taxes.
- Neither personal expenses nor any other service not specified in the itinerary.