This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Tailor made vacation
This trip is run by a company which specialises in only Central and South America vacations. It can be tailormade to create a unique vacation for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. The length of stay, standard of accommodation and even the itinerary can all be amended and tailored to suit your preferred style of travel and budget. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips.
Responsible tourism: Brazil vacation, tailor made
Travel and tourism can both benefit and damage the environment, the economy, the social structure, culture and communities in any country. We know how mass tourism, unrestricted hotel building, poorly devised tours and environmentally destructive activities can bring money flooding in and governments have, in a spirit of short termism, been tempted to accept them. But experience teaches us that in the long term this sort of uncontrolled activity can be detrimental to the country's development, and we endeavour to do nothing to encourage it.
On this short vacation, you are not sent off on coach tours to the highlights with package and cruise clients. Instead you’ll have a mostly private adventure introducing you in a few short days to Brazil’s rich Portuguese colonial heritage in places where much is being done to conserve and renovate: Santa Teresa district in Rio, the port of Paratí on the Emerald Coast and Ilha Grande, a traffic-free island off the same naturally-forested stretch of coast. Travel by open-top jeep climbing up through the protected Tijuca rainforest to Corcovado mountain, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who can tell you how the forest was reclaimed from agriculture and is now the world’s largest urban park. You also visit the arty quarter of Santa Teresa, Rio’s colonial heart, where history radiates from the leafy squares and mansions which bear testament to the city’s cultural roots. There’s graffiti around and it’s a bit scruffy in places but your visit will encourage the residents to maintain the quarter’s integrity.
Your drive down the coast to the colonial port of Paratí passes through one of the few remaining areas of mata atlãntica, the original forest of the coastal hills. Parati itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is a living example of how a run- down fishing port can be transformed into a showcase of which a country can be very proud.
To give you a taste of authentic Brazil, we take you to Ilha Grande, an island where the authorities have striven to preserve the natural environment. Development was always so to take foot owing to its having accommodated a prison. There is no jail any more but no vehicles are allowed on the naturally-forested island which is peppered with walking trails. The Parque Estadual da Ilha Grande was set up in the 70s to preserve natural resources and supervise the development of sustainable tourism on the island. Initiatives range from the establishment of various biological reserves to ingenious socio-ambiental projects such as the transformation of used cooking oil into soap.
Contracting our services in Brazil, we have worked with the same Brazilian-owned and Rio-based company for many years and their personnel are familiar with our desire to work with locally owned hotels and operators which demonstrate a responsible attitude to use of resources and employment. Their guides are among the most experienced and informative in Rio and we regularly send our UK based staff to participate in excursions to establish that they give you an accurate impression of the historical and cultural aspects of what you are experiencing.
The cobbled streets of Paratí on the emerald coast west of Rio are lined with galleries and boutiques featuring the work of local and national artists and designers. The mansions and fishermen’s cottages alike have been deliciously refurbished maintaining the original Portuguese style, and most hotel s (independent guest-house style “pousadas”) are accommodated in them. Any development in the central pedestrianised area which you will explore is closely controlled. Your visit will support local businesses and encourage the authorities to maintain this conservation policy.
Pousada Naturalia on the island Ilha Grande is a relaxation-focussed guesthouse with a philosophy of conservation. 8 of the 12 guest rooms have solar-heated water, all have an optimisation system in place to avoid the waste of energy, furniture is made from sustainable eucalyptus and every stone from the original site has been included in the architectural project. The accommodation is at the edge of the low-key little town of Abraão where you can support the community by patronising locally owned restaurants serving meals prepared with local ingredients and purchasing island-made craftwork.