Brazil: Royal Route + Salvador + Chapada Diamantina

Select Experience Tour, Brazil: Royal Route, Salvador & Chapada DiamantinaSelect Experience Tour, Brazil: Royal Route, Salvador & Chapada Diamantina

Brazil

Royal Route + Salvador + Chapada Diamantina

overview

Journey on the Royal “Golden” Route back to the 17th century. Built by order of the Portuguese Crown, this roadway conveyed enormous quantities of gold from the Minas Gerais countryside to Europe. Today, these riches endure, in churches lavished with gold, in the history of towns well preserved from colonial times. Next, your adventure brings you to Salvador, Bahia’s capital state and home to the world’s largest carnival. Situated on a magnificent tropical bay, its vibrant mix of colonial and modern, European and African, results in diverse local culture.

Chapada Diamantina National Park, your final destination, surrounds you with wild nature in a dramatic mixed terrain. Once famous for diamond mining, the area is now known for its caves, waterfalls, idyllic rivers and panoramic plateaus. From your base at a comfortable, traditional pousada, enjoy meditative walks, a river boat ride, and a dip in natural thermal baths.

Activity Level
Activities vary and
are accessible to
most fitness levels;
see full itinerary
Meet
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Depart
Alta Floresta, Brazil
Daily Itinerary
Download printable
itinerary
Reading List
Recommended
pre-trip reading
View All

From our blog

Select Experience 
11 days, 10 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Accommodations for ten nights (with private bath)
  • Meals: 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 1 dinner
  • Private guided walking tour of Mariana and Ouro Preto
  • Private guided full-day walk excursion in Itacolomi State Park
  • Visit of Inhotim Art Institute and Botanical Garden with local host
  • Private guided walking tour of Salvador
  • Private guided excursion to Praia do Forte and Tamar sea turtle project
  • 3½ days of excursions (as outlined in the itinerary) in Chapada National Park with local expert guide
  • Entrance and park fees for all sites outlined in the itinerary
  • Private ground transportation from meeting to departure point (excludes internal flights but inclusive of airport transfers)
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $0 
Please contact us for 7+ traveler pricing.

*Surcharges may apply for New Year’s, Christmas, or other national holidays

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION

gallery

Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Ouro Preto
View on map
2
Ouro Preto
View on map
3
Ouro Preto
View on map
4
Brumadinho
View on map
5
Salvador
View on map
6
Salvador
View on map
7
Lençóis
View on map
8
Lençóis
View on map
9
Lençóis
View on map
10
Lençóis
View on map
11
Lençóis
View on map
Day 1

Ouro Preto

Arrival Belo Horizonte; transfer to Ouro Preto

Upon your arrival at the Belo Horizonte Airport, the capital of Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, you are met by your local guide and transferred (2 hours) south to the town of Ouro Preto, meaning “black gold”—one of the most exquisitely preserved colonial towns on Brazil’s historic “Royal Route,” connecting the gold mines of the interior to the coast—and named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its outstanding Baroque architecture. After settling in, you may chose to stroll to the nearby Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário before dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant.

Hotel Solar do Rosário

Ouro Preto, Brazil

Situated in the heart of historic Ouro Preto in a refurbished 19th-century building, this comfortable hotel offers spacious rooms with classic décor, an excellent restaurant and bar overlooking the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário.

Day 2

Ouro Preto

Private guided walking tours of Mariana and Ouro Preto, easy city walking

After breakfast this morning, a short drive (approximately 20 minutes) takes you to the town of Mariana for a half-day guided tour. Also rich in colonial architecture, the city of Mariana was the first capital, the first diocese, and one of the most important historical cities of the state of Minas Gerais, meaning “General Mines,” for its source of colonial wealth. Founded in 1711, its historic center contains some of the region’s most stunning Baroque buildings within its three main squares—the Civic, Intendencia, and Matrix, including its Basilica Cathedral, with its rare early 18th-century organ. Returning towards Ouro Preto, you stop for lunch for a taste of the region’s cuisine, and this afternoon, a guided walking tour takes you to the sites of Ouro Preto’s historic center. The Nossa Senhora do Pilar Church, dating from 1733, contains the most gold in this gold-mining state of Minas Gerais (and has a Silver Museum in its lower floor). Ouro Preto’s most well-known church, the São Francisco de Assis Church, is considered the colonial architect Aleijadinho’s masterpiece. You also visit the museum dedicated to the “Inconfidência Mineira,” Brazil’s early, but failed, movement for independence against the Portuguese around the same time as the American Revolution. For dinner, you may wish to again wander out in Ouro Preto’s charming squares and cobbled streets framed by white-washed stucco and stone buildings.

Hotel Solar do Rosário

Ouro Preto, Brazil

Situated in the heart of historic Ouro Preto in a refurbished 19th-century building, this comfortable hotel offers spacious rooms with classic décor, an excellent restaurant and bar overlooking the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário.

Day 3

Ouro Preto

Itacolomi State Park walking options: Tea Museum to Itacolomi Dam and Lavras Novas, 5½ miles, easy to moderate; or longer option beginning at the Interpretation Center, 7½ miles, moderate

Today brings you into the landscape that was at the origins of the gold-mining boom in Minas Gerais state, starting as early as the 17th century, when explorers found gold near the distinctive-shaped 5,500-foot peak of Itacolomi State Park. Two walking options bring you around its base in Atlantic rainforest and where you can get up close to the geology in which gold was discovered and mined. In the early 20th century, tea was an important crop, explained at the Tea Museum at the walk’s start. You continue on to the Custódio Dam, and end in the village of Lavras Novas, with its winding and narrow streets, for lunch. An alternative, longer walk starts at the state park’s interpretation center and ascends to the Tea Museum and restored house of the early explorers—adding a steep initial ascent. You return later in the afternoon to Ouro Preto to relax at your hotel or again explore its historic (and also steep!) streets.

Hotel Solar do Rosário

Ouro Preto, Brazil

Situated in the heart of historic Ouro Preto in a refurbished 19th-century building, this comfortable hotel offers spacious rooms with classic décor, an excellent restaurant and bar overlooking the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário.

Day 4

Brumadinho

Transfer to Brumadinho; visit of Inhotim Art Institute and Botanical Garden, easy walking, gardens and galleries

This morning you depart for the approximately 2-hour drive to the city of Brumadinho, at the gateway of Brazil’s Western Tableland. Dating to 1708 as a gold prospecting settlement, the region is at the base of the Espinhaço Massif. Your destination this morning is The Inhotim Art Institute and Botanical Garden, spread over more than 3,000 acres of preserved native forest and gardens, designed according to the guidelines of its founder Burle Marx. Its contemporary art collection in nine galleries and installations throughout the grounds showcase renowned Brazilian and international artists; while its botanical garden is dedicated to maintaining and propagating endangered plant species with a goal of maximizing biodiversity. Guided tours of both its artistic and botanical and environmental themes are available; you stroll its serene paths through native flora, pools, and streams. You proceed later in the afternoon to your hotel for the night, an architecturally designed inn in a stunning location overlooking the Paraopeba Valley.

Pousada Estalagem do Mirante

Brumadinho, Brazil

In a stunning location at the crest of a mountain range at almost 4,000 feet overlooking the Paraopeba valley, 16 individual luxury cabins with panoramic window views are interconnected by a series of landscaped walkways to the main building and restaurant, as well as panoramic terrace and waterfall.

Day 5

Salvador

Departure from Brumadinho and transfer to Belo Horizonte Airport for flight to Salvador; afternoon private guided walking tour of Salvador; easy

Ready for an early breakfast and check-out, you depart the Minas Gerais region this morning to make your way to the coast and the city of Salvador in Brazil’s Bahia state. You begin by transferring to the Belo Horizonte Airport (about a 1½-hour drive), where you catch your flight to the city of Salvador.

You are met upon arrival at the Salvador Airport and transferred to your beachside boutique hotel in a tranquil neighborhood. After lunch, your introduction to Salvador—Brazil’s “capital of happiness” begins! You set off on a private guided walking tour of Salvador, including its historic old town perched high on an escarpment over the Baía de Todos os Santos (“All Saints’ Bay”)—a UNESCO World Heritage site of cobbled streets, colonial architecture, artisanal shops and cafés, and the country’s most important colonial church, the church of São Francisco, with its exuberant gold-leafed Baroque interior. At the heart of the old town, Pelourinho Square is surrounded by pastel-colored historic house, and the tour winds through the Terreiro de Jesus Square to the Municipal Square for wonderful views of the immense bay and bustling lower city below. You take the Lacerda Elevator connecting the upper and lower cities down to the financial district and the Mercado Modelo, a thriving market for local artifacts and souvenirs. This evening, you can unwind in comfort, enjoying dinner at your hotel’s restaurant, or stepping out at a lively local restaurant to sample traditional (and revered throughout Brazil as the country's best) Bahian cuisine.

Zank Hotel

Salvador, Brazil

In a residential neighborhood on Salvador’s coast, a boutique hotel balancing cutting-edge design within a historic property with inviting individually decorated rooms featuring Brazilian-made furnishings and artwork. A terrace lounge and the coconut-tree shaded garden overlook the nearby ocean; also with a spa with a range of treatments.

Day 6

Salvador

Praia do Forte and Tamar sea turtle project; time for beach strolling or town browsing

An excursion today takes you to one of the best beaches in Bahia, and to both historic and ecologically important sites. You leave Salvador on the scenic Coconut Highway to Praia do Forte, a fishing village about 50 miles north of Salvador—as you approach, the distinctive white sands of the sparse restinga (coastal tropical broadleaf forest) vegetation begins to appear. A first stop is at the ruins of the imposing Garcia D’Ávila castle, dating from 1556, one of the first Portuguese settlements in Brazil and the home of the largest landowner at the time. Well preserved and excavated, it has an excellent small museum, and absolutely fantastic views of the northern coastline. Arriving in the village of Praia do Forte for lunch, you then proceed to the Tamar sea turtle sanctuary, a national sea turtle preservation project and one of Brazil’s most successful ecological programs. The visitors’ center provides an up-close view of these majestic animals. Later, you can relax, swim, or stroll the tidal pools of Praia do Forte’s beautiful beach, or browse in the many local handicrafts stores. You return in the late afternoon to Salvador with recommendations for dining from your local host and hotel concierge.

Zank Hotel

Salvador, Brazil

In a residential neighborhood on Salvador’s coast, a boutique hotel balancing cutting-edge design within a historic property with inviting individually decorated rooms featuring Brazilian-made furnishings and artwork. A terrace lounge and the coconut-tree shaded garden overlook the nearby ocean; also with a spa with a range of treatments.

Day 7

Lençóis

Transfer to Salvador Airport for flight to Lençóis. Introductory walk to Salão de Areias Coloridas, Poço Valley, Cachoeira da Primavera, Mirante, and Cachoeirinha, easy

This morning you enjoy a leisurely breakfast and perhaps a dip in the pool before bidding farewell to Salvador. You are transferred to the airport to catch your midday flight for Lençóis and southern Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina National Park.

You are met upon arrival at the Lençóis Airport and transferred to your hotel to check in and refresh. The late afternoon light is perfect for a guided walk to Serrano, for a swim at the natural pools and to continue on through countryside of contrasting deep green vegetation and red stone, ending at the Cachoeirinha waterfall and the inviting waters at its base. Later, savor a welcome dinner of local specialties at your lovely pousada hotel in the charming town of Lençóis.

Hotel Canto das Aguas

Lençóis, Brazil

A lovely property set on the Lençóis River with large rooms overlooking gardens or river with extensive grounds and garden, swimming pool, spa facilities—architecturally designed to incorporate traditional regional plaster, stone, and wooden beams. The hotel received the certification of first sustainable hotel in Brazil from the ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Norms).

Day 8

Lençóis

Full day walking and boating in the Marimbus, swimming in Roncador River, easy

A full-day excursion begins with a 45-minute drive by four-wheel drive vehicle to the village of Remanso, founded by the descendants of slaves in 1948. From there, catch a boat downstream on the Santo Antonio River to the Marimbus, which are the wetlands of the Chapada region, habitat for rare aquatic life and numerous waterbirds. You continue on foot to the natural whirlpools of the Roncador River, fed by a high spring, the perfect spot for a refreshing swim and well-earned picnic lunch before the approximate 90-minute return drive to your hotel. Unwind in your hotel’s pool or grounds before dinner on your own at one of the many lively restaurants in this vibrant town.

Hotel Canto das Aguas

Lençóis, Brazil

A lovely property set on the Lençóis River with large rooms overlooking gardens or river with extensive grounds and garden, swimming pool, spa facilities—architecturally designed to incorporate traditional regional plaster, stone, and wooden beams. The hotel received the certification of first sustainable hotel in Brazil from the ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Norms).

Day 9

Lençóis

Guided Gruta Torrinha cave walk, easy; excursion to Pai Inácio Hill, Mucugezinho River, and Devil’s Well waterfall

This morning, travel one hour to the “Gruta Torrinha”—an enormous cave that can be explored, amazingly, via a two-hour walking route past its stalactites, stalagmites, and other cave formations. Later, you continue on to the Pai Inácio Hill, which has one of the best panoramic views of the entire Chapada Diamantina—and a perfectly situated restaurant for lunch. Afterwards, the drive continues to the Mucugezinho River to visit the Devil’s Well waterfall and then, by late afternoon you return to your hotel in Lençóis for an independent evening of dining with recommendations from your guide and hotelier.

Hotel Canto das Aguas

Lençóis, Brazil

A lovely property set on the Lençóis River with large rooms overlooking gardens or river with extensive grounds and garden, swimming pool, spa facilities—architecturally designed to incorporate traditional regional plaster, stone, and wooden beams. The hotel received the certification of first sustainable hotel in Brazil from the ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Norms).

Day 10

Lençóis

Cachoeira da Fumaça peak, easy to moderate, 950-ft elevation gain and loss

Today’s full-day guided walk takes you to the summit of Cachoeira da Fumaça, which at just over 1,100 feet offers stunning views of the dazzling, almost otherworldly, “Diamond Highlands” landscape. Begin with an approximate two-hour drive to the Vale do Capão to the walk start. A well-deserved picnic is unpacked at the summit. On the return drive, you stop at the stunning Riachinho Waterfall. Enjoy a final celebratory caipirinha and dinner at your hotel.

Hotel Canto das Aguas

Lençóis, Brazil

A lovely property set on the Lençóis River with large rooms overlooking gardens or river with extensive grounds and garden, swimming pool, spa facilities—architecturally designed to incorporate traditional regional plaster, stone, and wooden beams. The hotel received the certification of first sustainable hotel in Brazil from the ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Norms).

Day 11

Lençóis

Departure

Your final day includes a special breakfast at a nearby historic colonial inn before a transfer to Lençóis Airport for your departure and onward travels.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Experience More

Select Experience Tour, Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Paraty & Southern Amazon

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro + Paraty + Southern Amazon

You can feel the excitement in Rio de Janeiro, vibrant by day with sparkling bay vistas, historic neighborhoods, and museums... Departure Dates: This tour is available on request. Rio de Janeiro and Paraty can be enjoyed all year. The rainy season in the Amazon is from November through April, so we recommend travel between May and October for this tour.
Select Experience Tour, Brazil: Rio de Janeiro

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro

From a five-star hotel beside one of the world’s most famous beaches, you’re poised to experience the energy and tropical charm of Rio de Janeiro... Departure Dates: This tour is available on request. Ideal months to visit Rio de Janeiro are April through September, with temperatures generally around 73° F.
Select Experience Tour, Brazil: Paraty

Brazil: Paraty

Along Brazil’s “Green Coast,” the exquisitely preserved colonial city of Paraty combines historic charm and tropical beaches... Departure Dates: This tour is available on request. Ideal months to visit Paraty are February through May and August and September, with temperatures generally around 70° F. December and January are the hottest and rainiest months.
PDF Download Capture: