Luxury journey colonial Brazil with rental car

19 days - from € 7.275 per person

self-drive - rainforest - history

  • Hop on the tram through the old district of Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro
  • Stroll through historical streets of picturesque Paraty
  • Spend the night in an original fazenda amidst untouched nature
  • Drive your rental car along colonial beauties Tiradentes and Ouro Preto
  • Slip into your flipflops in Trancoso, one of the most beautiful beaches of the country

Travel itinerary

Day 1: Amsterdam – Rio de Janeiro

Your unique journey through Brazil starts today. You will depart today with an intercontinental flight from Amsterdam to Rio de Janeiro. Upon arrival at Rio de Janeiro airport you will be welcomed by your driver-guide and brought to your hotel. You will stay in the Santa Teresa district. The old districts of Santa Teresa and Lapa have become quite popular in recent years, resulting in the arrival of several trendy boutique hotels and a selection of excellent restaurants. Hotel Mama Ruisa has a typical "Carioca" atmosphere.
Overnight stay: Mama Ruisa | bed & breakfast


Hotel Mama Ruisa

This hotel is located in the Santa Teresa district. This small-scale boutique hotel is an oasis of tranquility and sophistication in the bustling metropolis of Rio. The exoticism of Brazil is combined here with French influences. The owner Jean-Michel Ruis and his team will do everything to make your stay as pleasant as possible. You will not lack anything here. It is the perfect choice for those who want to stay in the historical part of Rio de Janeiro.

Day 2: Rio de Janeiro

This day you will be picked up by a private guide and will visit the famous Corcovado with its huge statue of Christ the Redeemer. At the statue you have a great view over Rio de Janeiro. After this you will be taken to the Sugarloaf Mountain where you will go up by cable car. From here you have a completely different view over the city and you will see the statue of Christ the Redeemer where you just stood. Afterwards you will be brought back to your hotel.
Overnight stay: Mama Ruisa | bed & breakfast

Day 3: Rio de Janeiro

Today your private guide will take you to the historic center of Rio de Janeiro using public transport. In the historic center you will be guided past several colonial and important buildings, such as the cathedral, town hall and historic churches. On the way you will take a short break at the Confeitaria Colombo (a well known coffeehouse). This immense confectionery and tearoom revives Vienna in the time of Empress Sissi. In the evening you and a guide will visit some of the most popular botecos of Rio de Janeiro. These are typical Brazilian pubs. The city has a lively Bohemian scene that is constantly changing. You will mingle here among the Cariocas, as the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro are called and enjoy petiscos (snacks) and live music. You will not enter the tourist pubs but you will be taken to the botecos that are visited by the Cariocas. Of course you will have to drink a delicious caipirinha (Brazilian cocktail made of lime, sugar cane and brazilian pinga) or one of the various refreshing variations with other fruits. 
Overnight stay: Mama Ruisa | bed & breakfast

Day 4: Rio de Janeiro – Paraty 

(approx. 260 km | 4.5 hour drive)
After breakfast you will be taken to Rio de Janeiro airport, where you will pick up your rental car. Once you have your car you can drive to Paraty on your own. When you pass Rio de Janeiro, you will drive mainly via the Rodovia Rio-Santos, one of the most beautiful roads of the Brazilian coast. The road runs parallel to the coast, surrounded by Atlantic rainforest. The historic coastal town of Paraty has its own characteristic atmosphere. The city was founded in 1667 and has fulfilled important functions in history as a transit port of sugar cane, gold and diamonds to Portugal. Over the past 20 years there have also been several (pirate) feature films, series and video clips recorded in Paraty.
Overnight stay: Casa Turquesa | bed & breakfast

Casa Turquesa

Casa Turquesa is a beautifully restored 18th century mansion overlooking the pier in the historic center of Paraty. The accommodation has only 9 very spacious and tastefully decorated rooms. You will find a moment of rest in the pleasant garden with swimming pool and lovely sun beds. A very nice place in the most beautiful part of the town.

"When we first came here, we were asked to take off our shoes and we were offered white with turquoise Havaianas. I hope that during your stay you will also be able to meet Tetê (short name for Teresa), a very sweet woman, very passionate about making a success of her hotel, as if she had invented hospitality herself".

Day 5: Paraty

Together with your guide you will discover and experience Paraty's unique combination of culture, nature and history. Today you will go back in time as you walk the 'Gold Trail'. This trail was laid in the 18th century by African slaves to get the gold and diamonds on board the ships to Portugal. During the hike the guide will tell you more about Paraty during the sugar, gold and coffee era. On the way you will make a stop at a waterfall for a refreshing dive. The Toboggan waterfall, a rock slide, is a favorite with the locals and is often used for diving or sliding. After your short stop at the waterfall it is a short walk to the cachaça distillery. Here you will get acquainted with the distillation process and you can taste different kinds of cachaça (a sugar cane distillate). At the end of the walk you will return to the historical center of Paraty.
Overnight stay: Casa Turquesa | bed & breakfast

Day 6: Paraty

This day is at leisure. Paraty flourished in the 17th century when the gold and diamonds mined in the state of Minas Gerais were shipped from Paraty to Europe. However, after the independence of Brazil in 1822 this came to an end, but the beautiful colonial buildings remained intact and since 1966 the center has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many idyllic beaches in the vicinity of Paraty and in the coastal waters surrounding the town there are 65 small islands. A must is to visit the fish auction and the fruit and vegetable market. With your rental car you can also explore the enchantingly beautiful surroundings of Paraty. 
Overnight stay: Casa Turquesa | bed & breakfast

Day 7: Paraty – Petrópolis

(approx. 275 km | 4.5 hour drive)
Today you will leave Paraty and continue to Petropólis. Petropólis was originally an estate where the Brazilian Imperial family resided in the summers to escape the heat of Rio de Janeiro. Although Emperor Pedro I bought the land and conceived the city in the 1830s, Pedro II built the actual palace in 1840. The road to Petrópolis is a wonderful experience itself; you will be led up through the mountains amidst lush, well-preserved subtropical vegetation. The town of Petrópolis is quiet, with cobbled streets flanked by flowerbeds, vintage horse-drawn carriages and beautiful buildings. You can visit the cathedral of São Pedro de Alcântara (1884), built in the French Gothic style. The Crystal Palace (1879) is a glass building that still houses garden shows, exhibitions and banquets. The imperial summer palace exhibits the crown jewels, furniture, paintings, tapestries, colorful robes and cloaks of the former imperial family. 
Overnight stay: Solar do Imperio | bed & breakfast

Day 8: Petropólis – Reserva do Ibitipoca

(approx. 200 km | 3.5 hour drive)
After breakfast you get in the car and drive further inland towards the north to Ibitipoca. You will notice that you will leave the inhabited world further and further behind you, while the landscapes through which you drive, will become rougher and rougher. Your final destination today is a unique ecolodge, situated in a private nature reserve called Ibitipoca.
Overnight stay: Pousada Reserva do Ibitipoca | bed & breakfast

Reserva do Ibitipoca 

In 1984 this estate of a fazenda, as these typical farms in Brazil are called, was purchased and converted into a private nature reserve. The area covers a rugged and pristine 5000 hectare nature reserve with large stretches of Mata Atlantica rainforest, an ecosystem that is under increasing pressure. The aim of the owners of Reserva Ibitipoca is to introduce people to the breathtakingly beautiful nature and local culture, while at the same time protecting them. The lodge is small, which makes it feel more like a home-away-from-home than a hotel. The original, historical elements of the farm have been preserved. Most of the ingredients of the meals served at Reserva do Ibitipoca are home-produced and the rest is purchased from local producers. During your stay you can undertake various activities to discover the beautiful surroundings. Enjoy this authentic experience in this unique place!

Day 9: Reserva do Ibitipoca 

Today you have a day off. You can take part in one of the excursions offered, or explore the area by car on your own. In the surroundings of your accommodation you can go hiking, horseback riding, visit waterfalls, etc. Get disconnected! There is only Wi-Fi in the main building and no reach for mobile phones. 
Overnight stay: Pousada Reserva dp Ibitipoca | bed & breakfast

Day 10: Reserva do Ibitipoca – Tiradentes

(approx. 210 km | 4 hour drive)
Today you drive further north to Tiradentes, a small town with a historic center. Tiradentes owes its name to Joaquim José da Silva Xavier. He was nicknamed Tiradentes (tooth puller) because of his profession as a 'dentist', but was mainly known as a Brazilian freedom fighter.
Overnight stay: Solar da Ponte | bed & breakfast

Dag 11: Tiradentes

This day is at leisure. You can visit one of the old churches or the museum of Padre Toledo. You can also visit the nearby city of São João del Rei. You can go here by car, but there is also a charming little train between the two cities. This way of transportation may not be as smooth as the car, but this way you can enjoy the surroundings in a fun way.
Overnight stay: Solar da Ponte | bed & breakfast


Day 12: Tiradentes – Congonhas – Ouro Preto

(approx. 190 km | 5 hour drive)
The next stop is in the town of Ouro Preto. On the way to Ouro Preto you can make a small detour to Congonhas if you wish. In Congonhas you can visit the Basílica do Senhor Bom Jesus de Matosinhos. The Brazilian architect and sculptor Aleijadinho completed his masterpiece for this basilica: the Stations of the Cross depicting the 12 prophets made of sandstone and 64 life-size wooden statues, which he made between 1796 and 1805. Aleijadinho could no longer use his hands and legs from the age of thirty. However, he succeeded, with a hammer and a chisel tied to his arms, in making the most beautiful sculptures. 
Overnight stay: Solar do Rosario | bed & breakfast

Day 13: Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto, with its historic center, is a true open-air museum. Before Brazilian independence the city was called Vila Rica, which means 'rich city'. After independence, the name changed to Ouro Preto, which means 'black gold' and refers to canga, an iron-containing mineral that hides grains of gold. Until 1897 Ouro Preto was the capital of Minas Gerais and from 1980 the city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In this region a fierce struggle for independence against the Portuguese rulers took place. The records of the rebellion are in the Museum of the Inconfidência, the former Municipal Palace and Prison, which has furniture, utensils, documents and religious artefacts in its collection. Tiradentes Square is home to the Governor's Palace, which now houses the Mining School, a college founded during the Empire, and also houses the Museum of Mineralogy. Definitely worth a visit are the Casa dos Contos where gold used to be weighed and where the Municipal Theatre was located.
Overnight stay: Solar do Rosario | bed & breakfast

Day 14: Ouro Preto – Belo Horizonte – Porto Seguro – Trancoso 

In the morning you will drive to the airport of Belo Horizonte (approx. 150 km | 2.5 hour drive), where you drop off your rental car and board your domestic flight to Porto Seguro. Upon arrival at the airport you will be welcomed by our local staff and brought to your hotel. You will stay for the next few days in Trancoso, an authentic and atmospheric village located by one of the most pristine and undiscovered beaches of Brazil.
Overnight stay: Casa Uxua | bed & breakfast

Casa Uxua

For the discerning guest, the best of everything was chosen here. This hotel is the absolute top of the 'new generation luxury hotels' in South America. The location is great and in 'barefoot luxury' style.

The owner of this hotel is the Dutchman Wilbert Das, the former creative director of the Italian fashion empire Diesel. This hotel is also often used in photo shoots, including for the existing Pirelli calendar (2010), Vogue and more. The boutique hotel consists of 10 different 'Casa's' (houses), each with 1 to 3 bedrooms. The Casa's are fully furnished houses with a kitchen, private garden and scattered near the lovely swimming pools for cooling down. From your Casa you can walk straight into the picturesque fishing village and / or to the beach.

Day 15 to 17: Trancoso 

Enjoy your last days in Brazil. Casa Uxua is the place to be for a relaxing end to your trip. You can walk from your Casa straight into the picturesque fishing village and / or to the beach. After a delicious Bahian breakfast your 'own' sofa in the Uxua Beach Lounge is ready for you. Of course there is also a spa available.
Overnight stay: Casa Uxua | bed & breakfast

Day 18: Trancoso –  Porto Seguro – Amsterdam

Unfortunately, your journey is comes to an end. Our local staff will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Porto Seguro airport, where you will board your intercontinental flight to Amsterdam (via São Paulo).

Dag 19: Amsterdam

You will arrive in Amsterdam today.


From € 7.275 per person

  • On the basis of 2 persons travelling together
  • Depending on the time of booking, availability of local flights and accommodations and the period of travel


  • local flights, economy class
  • 15 overnight stays, meals as mentioned
  • 2 overnight stays in Reserva do Ibitipoca with full board and excursions 
  • 10 days rental car (cat. GX: Renault Duster 1.6 or similar alternative) incl. basic insurance, pick-up in Rio de Janeiro and drop-off in Belo Horizonte
  • all transfers and excursions (with English speaking guides) as mentioned 
  • 24/7 our backup; locally and in the Netherlands
  • extensive travel document package with small attention

Not included:

  • international flights, if desired we can reserve these for you
  • early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability, sometimes given by hotel. If you want to be sure that you have this, please enquire about the surcharge. 
  • (Dutch) public contribution Calamity fund; € 2.50,- per booking
  • SGR contribution of € 5,- per person per booking
  • travel and cancellation insurance

Request travel proposal

Would you like to make this journey too? We can of course arrange the above journey for you, but we are also happy to put together a programme based on your wishes and ideas. Feel free to contact us. Call +31 73 610 62 04, send an e-mail to or request a customized quote below. We will be happy to help you. 

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